Matthew is an eBay Expert & consultant with over 10 years of experience on eBay. Has worked for two eBay auction management companies and has helped hundreds of eBay based businesses sell on eBay, including his own for 3 years.

Having run his own business on eBay UK for 3 years, been featured on BBC News 24, BBC Radio 4 “In Business” with Peter Day and also featured in the Sunday Times.

eBay Top Rated SellerHosting the very first eBay PowerSellers meeting of its kind in the UK, attended by eBay, which then lead to the eBay university program. Then working for the USA auction management company (now owned by ChannelAdvisor) here in the UK and then later on another eBay listing software company, Matthew has probably seen more eBay based businesses outside the confines of eBay than anyone else in the UK.

Matthew takes a different approach to eBay and it really shows in the articles he writes. eBay is just a sales channel, admittedly a rather large one at that, but this should never be forgotten and he knows that its all to easy to become caught up in a whirl-wind of noise that is generated by selling on eBay and does his best to help keep your feet on the ground and focus at the job at hand, making more profit.

Its unlikely you’re going to ask Matthew something he does not already know about eBay, you can contact him on his dedicated Contact Matthew page.

Introducing Cross Border VAT Made Easy (Recorded Webinar)


eBay & Amazon will happily promote “Cross Border trade” to us all as online merchants, however they both complete dodge the implications of this when it comes to tax.

Let’s be frank here, calculating for just one country can be tricky enough, throw in separate tax thresholds across Europe and the rosey idea of “Cross Border trade” becomes “Cross Border Nightmare“.

It’s not meant to be that way at all.

Last week myself & Dave held a live Webinar with Gurpreet Sidhu from Cross Border VAT (CBV for short). CBV helped his own business save £32,000 that he had over-paid to HRMC and is shortly becoming available as a tool available for you to use too.

We recorded the live event and have put the recording below for you.

In this video you will learn:

  • What the correct way is to calculate your VAT from the online marketplaces
  • Why you need “normalised transactional data”
  • How you can see how close (or how far away) you are from the VAT thresholds in each European country
  • And how CBV can help your business with a single button press

Press Play on the Video Below

Contacting CBV

If you also feel that CBV can help you & your business Gurpreet can be contacted either directly here on LinkedIn or via email at [email protected].

As always, to your continued success,


Order Search & Series Wrap Up – 5/5 Buyer Features eBay Is Missing in 2016


During this mini-series we’ve been looking at the features buyers are missing from eBay even now in 2016.

As we’ve already found there is several super-obvious things missing already!

If you’ve missed the previous parts of this series, you can catch up with part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here and part 4 here.

In this final installment we look at a couple of extra features that are missing from eBay today and also summarise what we’ve found together during this series.

Before we start it’s worth noting again that this entire series has been focused on the buyer’s side of the table.

None of the changes suggested require any input from sellers like yourself. 

This is a key note to keep in the back of your mind because for sellers to be involved in making any changes could take years to take effect (such as a unified product catalog, gallery images & so on…), instead these are small tweaks to the buying experience that could be deployed without any interruption or input from yourself as a seller on eBay.

Right let’s get into the two other things I’ve spotted eBay is still missing!

The Ability to Search Previous Orders

Right now your email account has better search tools than what can be found in eBay for a buyer!

This might sound like a daft one, but when as a buyer you make several orders, the ability to find an order is actually very restricted in eBay.

It gets worse the more you buy!

Below is a screenshot from my eBay account.

Take a few moments to study the search/filter options a buyer has.

My eBay Purchase history

Did you get them all?

All 3 of them!

The following features a buyer has in the top menu are:

  • Hidden or non-hidden orders
  • See orders within a date range
  • And a filter option for “All”, “Dispatched”, “Ready for feedback” (all frankly pointless tbh)

Now consider the following basic task.

“Last year you purchased a 10Kg sack of lawn seed and wish to purchase it again. How do you find it?”

As a buyer you might have to use of of the epically poor search filters at the top, say by selecting “2015” for the date range search or just ended up scrolling through one or more pages to find the item that was purchased (or just given up).

  • Simple?
  • Intuitive?
  • Fast?

None of those words could be used to describe the process involved in finding a previous order made on eBay.

Infact it would have been quicker to open up my email account and search in there instead!

So… with this clearly in our minds.

What if a buyer has this additional search option within their My eBay purchase history?

my ebay search option


A simple search option would allow us as buyers to quickly find previous purchases.

So that lawn seed I now need again in Spring, I could purchase within a few clicks.

That customer who bought from you before, could buy from you again, easily!

Finding previous purchases on eBay isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination.

We all know that making buyers think is a bad idea, the addition of a simple search option within the buyer’s purchase history section would allow them to find such orders quickly, simply & intuitively.

Note: My wife Helen who works with me just commented on the 2015 filter and then having to scroll down the page to find the previous order. “I just had to do that!”. As I gave that to her as a task to do today for me. Thankfully we found the order we were looking for (well Helen did rather).


Infinite Scrolling Search Results

American Eagle Outfitters Infinte ScrollFor this one I’m going to assume you’ve either not seen this or not heard it called “Infinite Scrolling” before.

It’s quite simple actually.

Take a look at the American Eagle Outfitters website here:

Now start scrolling down the page.

Does it ever end?!!!

That ladies & gents is infinite scrolling.

My point here is not the discussion over whether infinite scrolling or using “load more” buttons is effective (this is discussed in depth here & well worth the read), my point is purely that allowing a buyer to carry on scrolling down the page without constantly wading through separately “defined” pages would make the overall eBay searching & buying expereince a lot easier & faster.

The Buyer Features eBay is Missing in 2016

During this series we’ve covered a lot, let’s recap what buyer features eBay are still missing in 2016.


Block Sellers List

Unfortunately not all sellers are #amazeballs on eBay.

We discussed this in part 1 of this series where just like you as a seller on eBay have a block bidders list, I’d like to see a block sellers list to remove the sellers that have performed inadequately for me personally from my search results.

By allowing buyers to have their own block sellers list, this gives the power to the buyer to make their own choices.

Remember a customer’s experience is subjective to each & every customer. The service I receive may be considered quite different to what you feel about your experience.

The block sellers list is a simple tool that allows for macro adjustments by individual customers to meet their own requirements.

eBay Search Options

Default Search Filter Options

Putting the power of search in buyers hands.

We learned that while myself specifically has two main buying modes on eBay, “anytime as long as it’s cheap” and the other mode “I want it now“, the search filters on eBay are very restrictive and don’t actually give buyers any ability to truly “home-in” their search results, let alone be able to use the same search criteria again & again.

Also we learned that when facing similar situations in the past with complex & often unique options, the best way of tackling such scenarios is through the use of profiles or templates.

Empower buyers to make pre-made search filters, let them set up default search options to make finding and ultimately buying faster.

Having 20 tabs open all saying eBay is so “the naughties” (year 2000).

Highlight Sellers from Previous Purchases

I’ve Purchased From You Before!

This is as simple as a one liner. See the image below:

standard eBay search result - edited

A positive reinforcement that there is already a relationship between the buyer & seller has to encourage trust between both the buyer, the seller and also the relationship between eBay & the buyer.

Answer the Fundamental Questions Fast

When will the item be with me?

In part 4 of this series we looked at the simple question above.

How hard would it be to show the estimated delivery time for an eBay listing from the search results page?

eBay listing shipping etaNote: Not that hard, it’s already being haphazardly shown on the search results page and also in the listings too.

Again having to wade through listing after listing to find out when a item could be with us as buyers is tedious.

Also part 4 of this series we discovered a search filter that would slam location abuse on eBay on one hit.

Imagine you had a search filter that allowed these options:

  • “Delivery within 2 working days”,
  • “Delivery within 3 working days”
  • “Delivery within 2 working days & include seller’s expedited option”.


That would floor miss-representated locations on eBay overnight.

And it would make it a whole lot easier for buyers to select an item from a seller that has the ability to deliver their purchase in a sensible timeframe.

The Ability to Search Previous Orders

my ebay search option

We covered this earlier in this post, so won’t cover in too much detail.

Once purchases have been made, buyers are left stranded in their “My eBay” with no ability to actively search through their previous orders.

Buyers cannot make repeat purchases from you easily!

Scrolling Instead of Tabbing

Again we covered this earlier in this post and will skimp the smaller details.

The key point is that having to individually click for each page of results can be made into a much more simpler, natural expereince by using infinite scroll or scroll/load more buttons.

The Competition is Biting at eBays Loin Regions

I was going to write “biting at eBay’s ankles”, but that wouldn’t have been a true representation, it’s gone way past a snappy dog now, there is sooo much choice for buyers out there beyond eBay.

The only reason I’m personally not purchasing more from Amazon boils down to just two things:

  1. Choice. The range of products on Amazon is limited compared to other options, eBay being one of them.
  2. And price. Amazon is rarely the cheapest since the price fixing has been scarpered.

Earlier in part 2 I mentioned about Amazon having ultra fast delivery, next or even same day here in the UK & no hassle returns to boot. Aliexpress is cheaper and just-as-fast as buying from Chinese eBay sellers. Banggood is around 20% cheaper than eBay. eBay unbeliebavly promoted the website to me as an eBay customer from within their mobile app!

And that’s just 3 sites.

The choice is now firmly in the hands of the buyer.

Buying stuff needs to be simple, fast & easy.

Everything that has been set out in this mini series is:

  • Buyer focused
  • Requires no action from eBay sellers
  • And is ultra-fast to implement

Don’t for one second think I’ve not enjoyed the eBay buying expereince for those +170 purchases.

Yep a couple of them have been dire, but overall it’s been great to see the personalisation & professionalism of the eBay selling community.

However as buyers today we have lots of choices, eBay is one of those.

There are some gaping holes and some things that could do with some love on eBay for buyers.

What do you Make of the Suggestions?

When was the last time you purchased on eBay & took a look around while were you at it?

Do you feel that these suggestions would or maybe would not have a positive impact on your business on eBay?

Let me know in the comments box below.

As always, to your continued success,


When will the item be with me? – 4/5 Buyer Features eBay Is Missing in 2016

When will the item be with me?Howdy,

In this mini-series we’re learning what the top 5 features that buyers are missing on eBay are.

As you might already know I’m used to dealing with the other side of the table, the seller’s side of the table for multi-channel businesses. However, over the past 2 months or so I’ve really got back into hobby electronics and eBay being eBay, it’s a great choice to grab a whole variety of goodies.

The more I’ve refreshed myself with the buying side of eBay (+170 transactions in less than 2 months), the more I’ve realised there are several key features missing from eBay.

In part 1 we looked at the suggestion of adding a block sellers list, in part 2 we looked at search profiles to expedite the identification of listings, in part 3 yesterday we looked at reminding customers that they’ve purchased from you before.

Today we’re looking at the second most important question running through a buyer’s head. When will their order be with them?

To be able to answer this fundamental question for us as buyers on eBay, we’ll be looking at the possibility of adding a search filter that allows a buyer to refine their search based upon the delivery ETA of the listing to the buyer.

Oh and this single filter would slam location abuse on eBay overnight.

Read on to find out more.

When Will the Item you Ordered be With You?

For me this is the most glaringly-obvious search filter that is missing on eBay.

This filter would solve overnight the issue of non-UK (or insert your country here) sellers masquerading as local businesses with the old eBay chestnut of “location abuse”.

As a buyer I’d like to be able to refine my search results by the delivery ETA.

For example, today is Friday 25th March.

I’d like to be able to refine my search results on eBay for only products that can be delivered between the now and Tuesday 29th March.

So a “Delivery ETA of 2 days” filter option.

As part of this search filter I’d like to select whether this ETA includes the seller’s standard shipping or whether it includes an upgraded shipping option, e.g. a courier or not.

A slider bar to choose a delivery date range would be a good way of keeping it simple for customers, similarly the option of selecting options such as these would expedite the purchasing process for us as buyers:

  • “Delivery within 2 working days”,
  • “Delivery within 3 working days”
  • “Delivery within 2 working days & include seller’s expedited option”.

Such filters could easily be combined with the search profiles we looked at yesterday. If you missed that article, you can read it here.

As I mentioned above, this would slam non-UK based products from my search results as a customer.

Having a filter like this would save me as a customer ages & ages filtering out which items can actually be with me in a sensible period of time. Save me from using 10 or more browser tabs, all because I “want it now” (or as soon as possible).

Below is a screenshot of the top 3 items for a random search of “Dyson nozzle” with “But it Now” selected.

From those 3 listings, ask yourself the question: “If you ordered them right now, when would they be with you?”

eBay dyson nozzle search results no delivery eta

As a buyer you are unable to find out when the product(s) will be with you.

Well unless of course you click into or open each listing in a new browser tab.

My point here is simple:

Why should buyers have to do this all the time?

It doesn’t make the buying expereince on eBay as good as what it should be (my point for this entire series).

I, as you probably appreciate too, keeping details on the eBay search pages down to a minimum is a good idea, however this is eBay we’re discussing here and as we all know the shipping options & delivery times between just one seller can vary, let alone 3 or millions of them.

At a minimum buyer’s need to have an idea on when the products can be with them at a birds-eye-view (and not open 20 squillion tabs!).

Oh look, the image below, after clicking into the listing I can now see the delivery ETA. The data is available….

[sarcasm mode]I only have to do that how many times as a buyer? Oh everytime…[/sarcasm mode]

eBay listing shipping eta

eBay Orders are Always Late

Despite the efforts made on eBay showing estimated delivery ETA’s, besides a few rare exceptions, ni-on every order I’ve made on eBay has been late.

Note: The delivery ETA isn’t always shown on eBay listings from the search results page (more on that in a moment), instead you have to go into the listing to find out when, thus when shopping on eBay having 10 or 20 browser tabs open is the norm. This should not be the norm.

To clarify what I mean by “late” here, “late” means it has been extremely unlikely an order I’ve personally made on eBay is with me the next working day, rarely within 2 working days and more like 3-4 days.

The more this happens, the more frustrating it becomes when buying on eBay.

Note: My reference here is Amazon, same or next day delivery 99.9% of the time. And of course I’m not considering orders made from outside the UK in this “lateness” either, they’re always going to take a while. I appreciated that when I made the purchase.

To be fair, sometimes you do get an indication of a delivery ETA from the search results on eBay.

But not always and never 100% of the time.

Take the screenshot below for the keyword “tent” on (BIN listings only).  5 out of 25 listings show a delivery ETA.

The rest as a buyer, we’re left guessing (or rather clicking).

Inconsistant eBay delivery ETAs in the search results

When Will the Product be With Me?

MailboxesSuch a simple question when you think about it.

On eBay the vast majority of the time as a buyer we’ve got to open up multiple listings to then make a choice.

Why not consistently show the delivery ETA from the search results pages and give buyers the ability to make an informed decision before even clicking into the listing or opening up another bastard web browser tab?

Adding a search filter for buyers to refine their searches to include delivery ETA would also slam the location abuse issue that has plagued eBay globally for years instantly.

Let’s face it, having to open up 10 or more browser tabs to look at a handful of items on eBay is laborious.

It’s not how online shopping should be. 

And crucially it’s not what buyers (your buyers) should be expected to do everytime they go shopping on eBay.

Your Thoughts?

I’d love to hear what you make of the idea of having a search filter option like this available.

  • What do you think of buyers having a search option like this being made available to them on eBay?
  • Would it help you as a customer on eBay?
  • Would you find having the delivery ETA consistently on all eBay listings in the search results helpful to your business?

Let me know in the comments section below.

As always to your continued success,


I’ve Purchased From You Before! – 3/5 Buyer Features eBay Is Missing in 2016


In this mini-series we’re learning what the top 5 features that buyers are missing on eBay are.

As you might already know I’m used to dealing with the other side of the table, the seller’s side of the table for multi-channel businesses. However, over the past 2 months or so I’ve really got back into hobby electronics and eBay being eBay, it’s a great choice to grab a whole variety of goodies.

The more I’ve refreshed myself with the buying side of eBay (+170 transactions in less than 2 months), the more I’ve realised there are several key features missing from eBay.

In part 1 we looked at the suggestion of adding a block sellers list, yesterday in part 2 we looked at search profiles to expedite the identification of listings that meet a buyer’s criteria and today, something else obvious is missing.

Wouldn’t you prefer to purchase from a seller that you’ve already had a good relationship with?

Hold that thought…

Indicating Sellers Whom You Have Purchased from Before

The Hidden eBay Customise your search options

The Hidden eBay “Customise your search” options

Let’s pause for a few moments to understand why such a feature is important from both a buyer’s perspective and also eBay’s too.

Starting with eBay’s perspective.

On eBay each transaction is performed between a seller and a buyer.

This expereince while as much as eBay would like to fit it into be “exactly the same for every purchase”. The reality is quite often very different due to the wide breadth of personal & business sellers that use eBay.

It’s an point that is rarely leveraged against other sites AKA amazon, where ni-on every transaction is a vanilla one (normally a very nice vanila one that arrives the same or next day!).

We have favourites

I know I have some personal favourite sellers on eBay whom I’ve purchased from a number of times, that’s probably true for you as well.

But on eBay you don’t see the seller ID in the search results unless you specifically turn that option on in the hidden “Customise your search” option.

Even if you find the option (which the average buyer won’t because it’s now hidden in a double menu), at best you can only show the eBay seller ID.

This doesn’t make it much easier to identify sellers you’ve purchased from before because you’re left to remember who you have bought from by their eBay ID and how many items are on a typical search results page?

Yea I think you’re seeing my point now.

Even if a buyer wanted to buy from the same seller again because one of the items in their new search results was from a seller they would like to reconsider, they’re left “on their tod” to do so.


Why not take standard search result from something like the image below (noting I have customised options already enabled).

Standard eBay search result

See the extra additional message indicating that a purchase has been previously been made from that seller.

Note: Obviously the red arrow is there to highlight the line ;-)

standard eBay search result - edited

A positive reinforcement that there is already a relationship between the buyer & seller has to encourage trust between both the buyer, the seller and also the relationship between eBay & the buyer.

So Simple

As with all the things we’re covering in this series, there is no requirement for an eBay seller to change anything they’re doing.

In the scheme of things on eBay, changes that require sellers to take (or not take) an action can take years to implement (because of the number of sellers and number of items available on eBay, take the product gallery image being used above as an example….).

However just like the suggestion above of showing whether the buyer has purchased from the seller previously with a line of text “You purchased an item from this seller on NN of YYYY” which would build a new level of trust between buyer & seller is simple to implement on eBay.

Personally if I was to implement this as eBay, despite doing the obvious of A/B testing the line for effectiveness, this could easily be kept as a “Top Rated Seller” feature to give a little extra back. But that’s just me!

What do you think about reminding customers that they have previously purchased from you in the search results?

  • Do you feel it would have a positive impact on your sales?
  • Would you like to see it as a global option for all sellers or just a “Top Rated Seller” thing?

Let me know in the comments box below.

As always, to your continued success,


Part 4 is Now Available!
You can read the next installment of this series here where we’ll be looking at answering the simple question “When will the item be with me?

WTF! eBay Pushing Your Customers Elsewhere!


This I just don’t get and I know you’ll be thinking the same once you realise what’s going on.

eBay are actively promoting product sales for the same products on external websites.

You might be thinking “so what” eBay have been running adverts on the site for ages now.

Let me make the point of this post right now for you. I’m about to spend a whole chunk of cash, more than £500 (+$1000 USD) not on eBay because of it.

If you sell on eBay, I assume you might be slightly concerned because that’s a hefty order that you could be missing out on. All because eBay sent me as an eBay buyer, somewhere else.


Read on to find out more.

I just received an alert on my phone that the replacement mini-quadcopter I bought has been marked as dispatched (the other one is 50ft up in a tree).

Great, I now know it’ll be here in a day or two. Happy days so far.


Below is a screenshot from my phone using the eBay mobile app.

eBay Remarketing Adverts


Have you worked out what the issue is for you as a seller is yet?

Scrolling down the notification page in the eBay app, as a buyer we’re presented with the obvious options

  • 5 buttons for “Buy another”, “Leave Feedback”, “Contact the seller”, “Sell one like this” & “More options”
  • An image of the listing and the the title of the listing
  • Then an advert block. In my case a “” one, typically these are for something very unrelated to the products purchased like “Sky” for example
  • A decent related items section sporting 6 related products with an option to view more
  • But then the kick in the balls for eBay sellers as shown in the screenshot above

The Kick in the Goolies

You’re probably already following the mini-series on the 6 things eBay is missing for buyers in 2016, there are several obvious things missing for buyers on eBay. And why I’ve been buying a lot from eBay, I’ve been looking elsewhere too.

It appears from the set of adverts above that eBay has allowed product remarketing ads to be displayed on the site and in the eBay app too.

A big boo-boo

While my issue isn’t with remarketing (which works exceptionally well and a topic for a different day), what eBay has inadvertently allowed to happen is this:

  1. As an eBay buyer I went to eBay and found a listing I was interested in (which took too long, see the mini-series for more on this)
  2. I bought a quadcopter for £10.44 + £2.99 postage from an eBay seller (this could have been any product and also from you as a seller on eBay)
  3. The seller updated the shipping details & as a eBay buyer I received an alert on my phone via the eBay app
  4. I check the details and scroll down the page and this is where it just goes all wrong

To clarify the situation here:

I am an eBay buyer and made a purchase from a seller on eBay.

With that clearly in our minds, because ultimately as a seller on eBay you pay eBay to list products there and you pay eBay AND PayPal each time you make a sale there as well.

eBay have now just rubbed salt into wounds by showing me that I could have purchased the product elsewhere for considerably cheaper.

Not on the eBay site ( a little price disparity is to be expected, I chose a slightly more expensive eBay seller anyway ), but from a 3rd party product website.

You might be wondering why I’m raising this point.

It’s only a couple of adverts after all right?

Wrong, Wrong & Wrong

Here is why.

eBay Purchase: £10.44 + £2.99 = £13.43
Banggood: £9.14
Price difference: £4.29 or 47% more expensive

You don’t need a calculator to have visually worked out that Banggood was a country mile cheaper than eBay.

And also to hammer this point home, hard.

This is my current shopping cart on, I’ve highlighted the part you’re interested in as a seller on eBay with a red box.

Shopping Cart on Banggood

Thanks eBay

I found out about from two sources, the first was in a video tutorial series on YouTube, the second source was….

Yep you guessed it eBay.

And now because of the role that eBay played in this process, I’m about to dump a +£500 / +$1000 order there.

That is an order that I could have been placing on eBay.

That’s an order that I could have been placing with you as a seller on eBay.

But as an eBay buyer I’m not.

Because eBay actively promoted a 3rd party site that has inventory available that is similar to that I can find on eBay.

How do you feel about this?

Frankly speaking, if I was sat on your side of the table as an eBay seller, I’d be pretty annoyed.

eBay through the ability to spam adverts through the eBay site & apps have now just enlightened me to as a buyer that there are other sites available that have the same products for cheaper.

How many adverts are being shown on eBay every day? How many customers are being leaked to alternative sites?

I know I’m not your “typical buyer“, but come on…

  • How much is eBay leaking buyers off to other sites?
  • How much is eBay leaking your potential customers to other sites?
  • Have you seen this in your categories as well?

Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments box below.

As always, to your continued success,


Default Search Filter Options – 2/5 Buyer Features eBay Is Missing in 2016


In this mini-series we’re learning what the top 5 features that buyers are missing on eBay are.

As you might already know I’m used to dealing with the other side of the table, the seller’s side of the table for multi-channel businesses. However, over the past 2 months or so I’ve really got back into hobby electronics and eBay being eBay, it’s a great choice to grab a whole variety of goodies.

The more I’ve refreshed myself with the buying side of eBay (+170 transactions in less than 2 months), the more I’ve realised there are several key features missing from eBay.

In yesterdays part 1 we looked at the suggestion of adding a block sellers list that you can read about here.

And in today’s part we’ll be looking at the idea of adding in the ability for buyers to set their own search filter options.

Let’s find out more about these filter (because searching on eBay feels like looking at the stars for a a rock, 3 orbits away from a star at times).

eBay Search Options

Default Search Filter Options

When it comes to purchasing on eBay, I have two modes of purchasing:

  1. The item I want I have no urgency for, so a global search based upon price is a priority to me
  2. I want the item in 2-3 days tops, I only want UK based sellers who can deliver in that time frame

Also I’d rather purchase from a business who I have previously bought from (this is a hint at what tomorrow’s feature is going to be).

And to face the truth on profile #2, price is important because I’m looking on eBay for it to be cheaper than Amazon, because if it’s on Amazon & available via Amazon Prime I could have next day and probably buy there instead.

But eBay doesn’t sport any ability for me to have default search options.

I have to set these manually each time and for #2 the ability to filter on a delivery is missing (and another hint at what a later feature in this series is going to be).

So the ability for me to save a profile such as these two would save me time in refining eBay search results.

For example:

Profile #1 – Anywhere, cheapest first

This would be for an item that I have no urgency for. I’m willing to wait a while because the item will be most likely cheaper.

The search profile would have the following options available & set for me:

  1. Sort order “Lowest price + P&P”
  2. Format: “Buy it Now”
  3. Condition “New” or “New other”

Profile #2 – I want it now

In this instance I certainly don’t want any international sellers outside my country, nor do I want any Chinese sellers masquerading as a local seller either.

So a filter with these options would greatly expedite the purchasing process:

  1. Item location “UK Only”
  2. Sort order: “Best Match”
  3. Format: “Buy it Now”
  4. Condition “New” or “New other”

There is a 5th option I’d like to set for this filter as well, I’ll cover this in tomorrow’s eBay missing buying feature, but for now having to set these 4 options every time is annoying.

I’d rather just have to select a profile at the top and these options to be applied immediately for me.

Faster Finding Through Profiles

There was a time when having to “hunt” for products on eBay was fun.

Now it’s just time consuming and not fun.

This issue of time consumption is especially important when you consider that there are so many other alternatives out there for buyers that offer similar, cheaper or better services when compared to the overall eBay expereince.

For example:

Same or next day delivery, amazing customer support, a reviews system that works & no-hassle returns

Cheaper & just-as-fast delivery as buying from Chinese eBay sellers

Moderate shipping times, but around ~20% cheaper for specialist products when compared to eBay

And that’s made me realise that I’ve missed out another sort option.

The option to sort by “number of orders”.

On Aliexpress this is my most-used feature.

You can sort the search results by the number of orders a listing has had.

Take a look at the screenshot below. I’ve highlighted the filter by number of orders option and where this appears next to each listing.

Now consider that there are over 7 pages just for the search term “CC3D”.

I’ve just saved myself the time of working out which boards are the popular ones. I can make the simple choice of buying both the distribution power board (the black board) and the flight controller (the 2nd item) because those two listings have naturally pushed themselves to the top through the number of orders made.

Aliexpress Search by order Count

Side Note:

I didn’t actually buy those components from Aliexpress, instead I elected for a kit from Banggood at almost £60 (that’s 445% more!) because they sent the kit to a chap on YouTube who I follow and he’s detailed the whole kit over 5-6 video tutorials (see here).

Something I’ve never seen eBay do for any products.

Getting back onto topic.

In Summary – Finding products on eBay is laborious

The rest of the world has caught up with eBay’s “Best Match” and exceeded it.

Every buyer’s requirements is going to be slightly different, when I’ve come across this challenge in multi-channel software tools, the simplest option has always been to create templates or profiles.

Let the user select what they want and then wrap it up in a bundle that can be quickly used and quickly tweaked.

In this case a search profile which contains the things that are important to me depending on my personal requirements and then show me the results that match.

So what’s your thoughts?

  • Is “Best Match” on eBay not really living up to your expectations as a buyer? (Not a seller!! We all know we’d like to abuse it from a seller’s perspective ;-) )
  • Would search profiles help you find products more quickly on eBay?
  • Is there a search filter you feel we’re missing? If so what is it?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments box below.

As always, to your continued success,


Part 3 Available!
You can read part 3 of this mini-series where we explore what impact reminding buyers that “I’ve Purchased From You Before!” would have on eBay here.

A Block Sellers List – 1/5 Buyer Features eBay Is Missing in 2016


In this mini-series we’ll be learning what the top 5 features that buyers are missing on eBay are.

As you might already know I’m used to dealing with the other side of the table, the seller’s side of the table for multi-channel businesses. However, over the past 2 months or so I’ve really got back into hobby electronics and eBay being eBay, it’s a great choice to grab a whole variety of goodies.

The more I’ve refreshed myself with the buying side of eBay (+170 transactions in less than 2 months), the more I’ve realised there are several key features missing from eBay.

In this mini-series we’ll be looking into what they are and of course, any comments or suggestions are welcomed in the comments section at the bottom of this page.


Missing Buyer Feature #1

Today we’ll be looking at missing feature #1 and this is the most controversial of them all.

I know that this suggestion won’t go down well with the seller’s side of the table, but on the buyer’s side, it makes complete sense.


Because of it’s nature and it needs to be put into context with a couple of examples, first to appreciate why it would be useful to buyers.

A Block Seller List

That’s right I want to block you (if you don’t perform).

Just as sellers have a block bidders list where we can elect to block specific buyers from purchasing their products, I’d like to see a block sellers list as well.

Unfortunately, I’ve had a couple of bad experiences with at least 3 different eBay sellers and there is no ability to block their listings from my searches on eBay.

Example #1 – Out of stock & poor customer support

One seller took 2 days to tell me that they didn’t have the product in stock, then took an additional day to make a refund for the order.

I don’t want to make the mistake of ordering from them again. Stock control is obviously an issue for them and the time it took to respond to my messages was far too long.

Example #2 – Long delivery & turned up faulty

I knew I ordering from China was going to take a while, normally it only takes 12-14 days for most things to reach me here in the UK. One order took over a month and the servo control board turned out to be faulty.

Do I want to wait another month next time and risk it being faulty from the same seller? Probably not.

Example #3 – Never actually shipped the order

And in another example, I had to chase an order of ball bearings to find out when it was going to arrive after waiting a couple of days for delivery, turned out even though I had paid they’d not actually shipped it. Most annoying.

Do I want to order from them again if they won’t ship my order? Nope.

Blocking Sellers

The 3 businesses above, I do not want anything to do with them again, hence the requirement of a block sellers list.

Below is a comment I left for a seller on eBay.

Personally I feel really uncomfortable with leaving bad feedback for a seller because I know what impact neutral & negative ratings have on my own buying decisions on eBay.

So my reasoning behind the suggestion of a block sellers list is two fold.

Firstly so I can avoid that business in the future and secondly because I don’t want to be put in the position of even having to consider leaving bad feedback for a business owner.


Right now I have to manually filter them out when searching for products which slows me down (even more!) when product hunting on eBay.

Slowing a customer down = Bad

The thing is that “overall” an eBay business may be meeting eBay’s requirements to continue to sell and hey even scoring top rated seller status on listings, but once the trust has gone from a specific buyer, just like me & you would do, they don’t want to order from them ever again.

By implementing a block sellers list, this would help speed up the product selection process for a buyer, again an important factor if you consider how many tabs we end up with open when looking at a specific product across a couple of different sellers.

Anything that expedites the product research to purchase process has to be a good thing right?!

So what’s your thoughts on the idea of buyers having a block sellers list?

  • Would you have anything to be concerned about if you’re over-delivering every time anyway?
  • Would you use it for your buying account on eBay?

Let me know what you think in the comments box below.

As always, to your continued success,


Part 2 Available!
You can read part 2 of this mini-series where we explore what impact “Default Search Options” would have for buyers on eBay here.

A Competitive Advantage for eBay & Amazon in Plain Sight


For any product based business there is a competitive advantage hiding in plain sight, it’s so obvious when you spot it and lethal when you implement them into your business.

As you’re about to find out, kits (also known as bundles) are lethal.

Kits help your customers, kits help you sell more products, kits help you increase your average order value and kits also help you gain an advantage over your competitors.

So what are Kits?

Kits are simply bundles of products that are put together with products that would normally be bought at the same time.

The best way of showing you how they work is you give you an example.

One of my tasks for today was to buy a network cable testing kit and a pokey-thing to push down the wires into network cables (a punch tool), so straight onto eBay and I filtered to UK only sellers.

You can take a look at the eBay category here and below I’ve included a screenshot of the page I could see.

Notice how 2 of the top 4 items are actually for more than one product?
eBay Kits Example

If we take the upper item as an example, this listing contains the following tools:

  1. A punch tool
  2. Cable test tool
  3. A crimp tool & stripper

That was me sold. The listing had everything I needed, a UK seller and promptly went off and purchased it.

Make things easy for your customers

Making kits of products aren’t just confined to networking tools, it works in any category on any site. Bundling products together “just makes sense” when done right, there are 3 simple reasons for this:

Firstly it helps your customers.

So using my purchase as an example, that eBay listing had everything I needed in one go.

The seller had taken the time to put everything I would need (bar the cable, which I already had) into a single listing and made it super easy for me to make a single purchase.

No waiting around for separate deliveries, one purchase, one delivery and job done.

This genre of product & related eBay categories is a brilliant category set to use, because if you dig a little deeper you’ll find many businesses have already caught on to this and are making listings that contain cable, sockets, wall plates, jacks, cable ties, punch down tools and even including the screws needed!

The word we’re looking for here, is “convenience”.

It makes the purchase more convenient for your customers to buy a bundle of related products in one go, rather than buying separately.

Note: Are you already thinking of two products that you have that would go together nicely? If you are, jot them down on a piece of paper and keep it to hand so when more spring to mind, you can record them quickly.

You sell more.

Instead of, sorry “as well as” (woohaa that was a close shave there, always do both!) listing each product separately, putting products that naturally go together into a single listing, means that the price goes up, yay!

Not only do you gain a higher average order value, you’re also getting through more products, more quickly (which means you order more frequently from your supplier(s) and thus potentially savings to be made there).

At no point so far have I mentioned that you should discount the pricing because you’re putting two or more items into a kit.

When you start to spot these on eBay, Amazon or on websites, when you look more closely, you’ll frequently spot that some kits have a higher price than what they would be when bought separately.  

The first reaction is always to push the price down, however, do keep in mind that customers will pay for convenience and that because there is now more than just one product in the listing, that the final delivery weight & dimensions go up. Thus you’re likely to be paying more for the delivery to your customer.

A huge tip here is to price upwards when you first start creating your own kits.

It’s all about making profit at the end of the day, so go upwards first. If a customer queries it (which they won’t and I’m adding this line to reassure you), just say it costs more to pick & ship them together.

Other Considerations

I felt it important to highlight a couple of considerations when it comes to kits, because it’s not all champagne and roses.

Firstly factor in that it will take extra time to create the kits.

This is as simple as picking two separate products at picking time in the warehouse. In more complex kits, this could mean many separate picks and even the pre-building of kits to speed up the dispatch process.

Not all multi-channel software supports the creation & stock control of kits.

For example ShipWorks, an American shipping tool didn’t manage bundles from Magento properly for a while. So do check that they are supported in the software tool you’re using.

Quantity is and is not a kit.

Let me explain this one a little further.

According to Amazon, you’re not supposed to make kits of products based just upon quantity. However, this loosely interpreted even by Amazon themselves, such as these batteries, they’ve separated quantity out into separate ASIN’s, it’s the same product, just packaged in different boxes (in multiples of packs of 4 too!).

Note: And yes this does mean a new barcode (EAN, UPC etc..) and ASIN for Amazon, which means a separate product.

The same for eBay too, but many products come in packs, say a dozen or more. If you’re going to create an eBay listing that has quantity as a variation option, don’t call it quantity (eBay won’t let you do this anyway), instead call it something like “Pack Size”.

Side note: I’m thinking of a mastermind webinar we did a couple of weeks back on researching products to sell on eBay. “gold tea lights” was the product suggested by one of the sellers who attended. We soon worked out that while tea-lights are sold in packs, weddings were a consideration, several times a month customers would buy loads of them.

So packs of 12’s would be a pain for those types of customer, so one of the suggestions was to make wedding packs for 48, 72, 96 and more. This pushed the pack value above £100 in several cases.

Gain an Advantage

Kits are all about convenience for your customers and if you haven’t already, you’ll start to spot them being used everywhere.

Manufacturers cottoned on to this a long time ago, this is while you’ll find assortment packs. Using washers as an example here (yes you guessed it, I’m a bloke so most examples here are tool related) you’ll find O-ring’s rarely sold as packets of just 1, they’ll be in assortment packs. Higher value and more convenient for someone like me & you.

For me, buying the cable tester and punch tool together, saved me from multiple purchases, most likely from multiple sellers and means I get one package delivered.

The seller I purchased from, they gained an advantage by selling the tools separately and (note the AND here!) together in a kit. They doubled or more their chances of making a purchase by doing this.

Creating unique kits of products that go well together gives you an advantage over your competitors.

They won’t have the same kits as you for a while at least (well until they cotton-on to how successful you’re going to be with them! Which could be weeks or months, while you’ve been nailing them in the meantime).

Here are a couple of examples to get your creative juices going:

  • A Nerf gun and an extra pack of darts (maybe two extra packs of darts)
  • A dress and a matching handbag
  • A set of pliers, bull-nose, pointed and nippers
  • Drain rods and attachments
  • Sanding pads in multiple grits
  • A whiteboard rubber and a set of marker pens
  • A fancy dress outfit, a wig, a mustache and face paints

Think about your products, how could you create a kit of two or more products, that naturally go together?

If you’re already using kits, how have you found their success for your business?

Let me know in the comments below.

As always, to your continued success,


Co-Founder of UnderstandingE & Founder of WidgetChimp


eBay Caught Napping by Amazon Handmade


If you’ve not seen it yet, Amazon have released “Amazon Handmade”, an integrated marketplace on the Amazon US site that supports the customisation of products, we can only assume to take on Etsy and to take yet another chomp at eBay.

Personally I’m a huge fan of eBay, however they have really been caught napping by failing to adapt.

I’ve never been to an eBay meetup (organised by eBay or externally) where business owners attending have not raised the inability for their customers to customise the products they are purchasing as an issue.

Right now business owners on eBay are using a mish-mash of workarounds to allow their customers to customise their purchases, hardly ideal by any stretch of the imagination.

Using the simplest of examples, customisation via email. This is where the customer/seller communicates the customisation options via one or more emails after the purchase.

Just think of the time-sapping communications spent by those business owners “toing and froing” between each other, when frankly the time spent could be better spent in so many other areas of their businesses (such as finding new products to customise!).

Then Amazon Handmade appears.

Amazon Handmade in Action

It’s reported that from idea to launch, Amazon Handmade took two years.

Amazon had to take very similar steps that eBay would have had to have made to enable this on their site and the best way of explaining this is via an example.

If you take a look at customisable product on Amazon Handmade here you’ll see that you as a customer are able to select from 3 options, Colour, Year & Name to personalise the purchase.

Amazon Handmade Options

Allowing the customisation of any fields by customers on eBay is not possible.

There are no options for a customer to enter such details and eBay businesses rely on buyers either adding customisation notes in the hidden “add message to seller” box during the checkout on eBay or say via email (arhhhhh!).

Both options rely on the customer to take these extra actions and we know that relying on a customer is never a good idea (ever).

The Annoying Thing is….

eBay have the framework in place to enable customisation like this.

When creating a new listing for a product on eBay, you have the option to add in item specifics and also single or multi-variation options.

These are text entry fields that allow the seller to customise the options that buyers see when selecting a size or say colour choice for a pair of boots on eBay.

Using the size and colour options as the example here, the seller sets what these values are and thus what a customer can select from drop-down boxes when making a purchase.

eBay Custom Options

Or if we make this even more simple, the seller has defined options for the customer to select using the “dropdown” input type for a web form.

Why can’t this be an “edit box” instead?

So that the customer is able to set the text for one more additional option for “name”. We’re dealing with a web-based app here and technically anything is possible we’ve just changed the input type.

Note: I am keeping this really simple here. Obviously there would need to be extra options for input validation and whether the option has a stock control impact, but there isn’t any need to overcomplicate things to make the point in this article (that’s what the development team is there for after all).

Caught Napping

I’m a big fan of eBay, infact I’m off to grab a 2nd hand computer for the workshop as soon as I’ve written this article. However if I wanted that purchase customised in any shape or fashion, I’m screwed.

eBay right now is in a perfect position to adapt.

Its just had it’s cash-cow PayPal pulled out by its horns and eBay has now been left to fend for itself. Literally, Carl Icahn who instigated the breakup, has just dumped his stake in eBay and moved them over to PayPal only a few days ago.

This one seemingly small detail of customisation has spawned not just one marketplace, Etsy, but a second too with Amazon Handmade.

Its “fight or flight” time for eBay over the next couple of years. Let’s hope they don’t continue to nap.

What’s your thoughts on this?

Should eBay allow customisable options for customers? Have eBay been caught napping by Amazon?

Let me know in the comments box below.

As always, to your continued success,

Matt Ogborne
I love coffee almost as much as I love Fridays

eBay Cross Border Trade Made Easy with Magento


Selling internationally on eBay or Amazon for that matter is a no-brainer decision.

You can reuse your existing product data and business processes over & over again to reach more customers easily.

However, when it comes to actually putting this into practice, it can get complicated quickly.

Everywhere else you’re told that you should go and do Europe. Getting tied up in a horrific language battle and opening the doors to a potential VAT nightmare, especially if you’re based in Europe as well is… nuts.

And the thing is, it doesn’t need to be that way at all.

Go Simple, Go English

I’m not suggesting for one moment you should overlook the other European countries. There is massive potential for you & your business in them.

However, they all speak different languages.

That makes customer services and translating your product data a nightmare.

In the recent video tutorial that myself & Dave put together, we explain exactly how you can skip this challenge and get started with cross border trade, the simple way. And that’s to go “English”

You can view the video guide here:

Note: There is software that can translate your listings into the different languages and on the different sites for you. These are great! But it’s certainly not the way I’d personally tackle this challenge.

CBT with Magento & M2EPro

eBay Cross Border Trade with Magento and M2E ProWe’ve just published a new course to show you how easy it is to expand your business internationally using Magento & M2EPro. AKA “The 3rd Generation”

And it really is simple to do in Magento.

Some of our courses on UnderstandingE are quite long, the reason for this is there is a lot to cover, especially if we need to keep things in simple step-by-step stages.

However when it came to showing you how to set up Magento & M2EPro to sell internationally on eBay, we covered the lot in under 3 hours. And that included a 36 minute tutorial on why you should “Go Simple, Go English”.

When we get to the tutorial where we put everything together, myself and Dave felt embarrassed.

Ignoring the basic steps to setup Magento for maximum control, the actual listing process is exactly the same for eBay, regardless if it’s a different eBay site where you’re listing locally to. So…. really easy to do.

If you would like to see how easy it is to sell internationally on eBay using Magento & M2EPro, you can either take the course on the UnderstandingE site here OR we also published this course on YouTube and you can watch the PlayList here.

And if you skip the 2nd tutorial, you can have the whole course completed and be up and running internationally on eBay with in a cup of coffee or two. It’s that quick!

The Simple Way

Selling internationally doesn’t need to be complicated.

Yes, later on once you’ve exhausted the potential in the English speaking sites such as,,, and of course the Amazon sites too, then think about going into Europe.

But for now, I dare you to exhaust these first :)


The Responsive eBay Template Builder in Minutes


The full-house webinar we held for the launch of the Responsive eBay Listing Template builder was really good fun and we were at the limit of what GoToWebinar could handle, if you were able to make the live event, thank you!

However if you were unable to make it live, instead of you watching the full hour long webinar, I’ve created you a 12 minute overview where you’ll see us:

  • Start from no template at all
  • Create a unique listing template where you’re in control
  • Download the template code
  • Revise a live eBay listing using M2EPro & Magento ( this could be any 3rd party software )
  • And then… go back and make changes to the layout, design, widgets and colour scheme remotely

Remember, eBay say that over 40% of transactions are now touched by mobile devices.

You can still get an edge before Christmas!

The 12 Minute Overview

The shorter version is below for you:

Where to Get Started

All the major software tools are supported ChannelAdvisor, Linnnworks, eSellerPro, M2ePro, ChannelGrabber, BrightPearl, TurboLister, Selling Manager, Ad-Lister, SellerExpress, Inkfrog, InkFrog Open, StoreFeeder etc…

You can started with your very own fully responsive eBay listing template here:

If you would like to know more about pricing this can be found here as you can get started for just £9.99 a month and there are 2 months free for annual subscriptions too.

You can try the unique responsive listing template builder out for 30 days with a no-questions-asked refund policy.

We both need happy customers right?!


Amazon to Use Pass My Parcel for SAME DAY Deliveries in the UK


You’ll have no doubt seen the news by now that Amazon have just scored a massive “one up” with same day deliveries.

Basically they’re hijacking the transport system that is used to deliver newspapers to newsagents.

This means that your customers will soon be able to order by 11:45 in the morning and have it in their hands by 4pm the same day.

That’s just sick.

However where is eBay in all of this?

We recently saw the pilot of the Argos Click & Collect “go large” to most business sellers on eBay UK in preparation for Christmas. Then in spring of 2015 this will be available to all. Which is great news.

I can see why lockers are well used, they’re convenient. Even Amazon have now said that they’ve seen the use of them double in the past year.

How does Amazon know that customers want same-day availability?
Deliveries made to Amazon Lockers nationally have more than doubled in the last year, it revealed.

Source: Ina, eCommerceBytes

Coming back to eBay, it is almost exactly one year to the day that eBay purchased Shutl (see here) and since then we’ve seen ni-on nothing as business owners that use eBay in the UK.

The Writing is on the wall

3 years ago in an article titled “Foretelling The Future of Commerce In 10 Years Time” one of the predictions was for “Same day delivery will be available for £1.00”.

While it might not be costing £1.00 as same day delivery is only open to Amazon Prime subscribers that costs £79 per year, to be fair I wasn’t far off :)

*puts trumpet down*

Convenience always wins.

As a consumer I’m extremely unlikely to use an Argos locker, my nearest Argos store is miles away and for now, I’m moderately happy with next day deliveries (and just for the record, if it’s not here next day, as far as I’m concerned it’s late).

But what I really want and what your customers really want, is their order in their hands for gratification as soon as possible after making the purchase.

This is one of the major negatives of buying online, you don’t get your product instantly, same day is going to be amazing. Dare I say it… “a game changer”?

And the thing is customers are going to be receiving same day deliveries very shortly from Amazon and eBay is no where to be seen.

If you were your customer, where would you shop?

Makes you think doesn’t it.