Saturday, April 19, 2014

ASK THE EBAY QUEEN: What should I do about insulting requests for deals?

By SUZIE EADS, Ask the eBay Queen | 4/19/2013

Dear eBay Queen: Mostly I am just venting, but I have never understood buyers who expect to get a price break for buying more than one or two of something I am selling. I often have several of my handmade items listed in my store under the same listing, but I am not a wholesaler, nor do I wish to be. I base the selling price on what it costs me to make an item and each one costs me the same. Twice this week, and several times in the past, buyers have asked me to give them a “deal” if they buy more than one. Could you give me an example of a nice, to-the-point email I could send them? Guess I should just tell them that price is based on cost and let it go at that, huh? — TS, Belton, Mo.

Dear TS: Congratulations on your successful handmade items business! I have lots of friends who would love to be in your shoes! Here’s what I would say:

“Thank you for your interest and your offer. Since these items are handmade — designed by myself and not mass produced — I am not able to give a discount if you buy more than one. However, I would be super excited and it would do my heart good if you did buy more than one. Thank you so much for liking my items enough to ask this question. I hope that you will consider these a good buy even without the discount.”

Dear eBay Queen: I took an eBay class from you several years ago in Olathe. You were generous enough to speak to me during the lunch break and after the class was over. We talked at length about using “Best Offer” with “Buy It Now.” The advice you gave me was awesome! I opened a store, and started using “Best Offer.” I really think my business has taken off because of the advice I received at your class. I just have one little problem. Why do some people make ridiculous, insulting offers?

I received an offer of $50. This particular item sells at department stores for $500. I have it listed for $350 or “Best Offer.” I get offers all the time on this particular item, but never for the amount I will accept. Today I received the $50 offer and I counter offered with $325. They sent me the following email outside of eBay:

“Would you be willing to end the auction early for $250? I really want this, but I don’t want to pay that much for it. I’ve been reading about how to buy items on eBay and I was told that I would pique your interest as a seller by including a specific offer in my first email to you.

“About half the sellers I’ve contacted with offers like these end up agreeing and taking the offer, the other half have preferred to wait. In nearly all cases where a seller has declined to sell early to me, though, I end up buying the item for less than my original offer. So, are you going to take it?”

On the same day I received another offer from a different buyer for $150. This buyer included the following in their offer:

“I’m not trying to insult you, but this is not my favorite Fitz and Floyd piece. I know it sells for a lot of money, but the colors are not the best, and the overall look doesn’t fit with the collection. I guess it would be safe to say it’s not my favorite. I hope you are not insulted, I just wouldn’t use it that much so my offer is low.”

How should I respond? My husband says that I should just ignore them. — Debbie, Overland Park

Dear Debbie: Whoa! The pluck of some people! After 15 years, I’m still amazed at what a person will say or offer to get a deal on something! You always have the option of not responding, and sometimes that’s the best thing to do if it’s hard to be civil when you’ve been insulted. Most of the time when I receive a low offer I just counter with the lowest offer I would be willing to take, and not leave a comment.

For the first guy I would respond with this:

“Thank you so much for your offer, unfortunately the lowest I can go is (fill in the blank), and if you agree to this offer, you’ll need to make it through eBay, as I am not allowed to sell it outside eBay. Thank you so much for checking out the items I have for sale!”

I wouldn’t even honor the second guy’s comment with a response. Seriously! If you don’t really like the item, what’s the point of making an offer?

I’ve had similar things happen to me this past week. A buyer sent me an email telling me she could buy my item cheaper at another store. I wanted to get mad and tell her off, but I thought about it and told her this instead: “WOW! That’s a great deal on those candles! If I were you I would go buy all they have, and then turn around and sell them on eBay! That is definitely a better deal than I buy them at wholesale.”

Dear eBay Queen: I hope you can help me with a conundrum I am having with eBay. I’m trying to figure out what I should do with the items I have listed after they are done with their first week’s listing. Should I relist or sell similar? I never know which is the better method of listing. I’m asking for your input on this issue.

Here are the two groups of scenarios. (Free shipping is assumed for all in this group):

• 30 Day listing — Single item for sale. Item sells. Then I discover another exact item after said listing ended, so will sell this one as well. Should I relist or sell similar?

• 30 Day listing — Single item for sale. Item does not sell. Want to try again. Should I relist or sell similar?

• Auction item — Item gets bids and sells. Should I relist or sell similar?

• Auction item — Item gets no bids and does not sell. Should I relist or sell similar?

• Auction item with a BIN — Item sells with the BIN feature. Should I relist or sell similar?

• Auction item with a BIN Item gets no bids — Should I relist or sell similar?

Do different features make a difference when listing re-listing an item? — Shawn K; Broken Arrow, OK

Dear Shawn: I need to tell you that I use a listing program (Sixbit Software) to list and keep track of my items. By doing this, the program decides which way it should be listed. (Here’s a little info on it: http://www.sixbitsoftware.com/docs/webhelp_prosb/Submitting_Listings_to_eBay.htm )

My listings are always created in my listing program, and not directly on eBay, so I don’t use the sell similar button. I know that there are different schools of thought on how and why to list things in order to get the maximum exposure for Best Match.

After doing a little research, I figured out that you should relist if the item sells and sell similar if it doesn’t. I was told that history and search placement carries over to the newly relisted item. When it comes to “Buy it Now,” the rule of thumb is to relist as 30 day or GTC for the first 90 days or so. Then sell similar. Repeat until the item sells, or you get rid of it another way.

Here are some helpful links on the subject:

• http://ssc.channeladvisor.com/howto/relisting-items-ebay

• http://www.vasyapupkin.com/ebay-good-till-cancelled-gtc-vs-fixed-price-30-days-fp30/

I know I should apply some of this strategy to my listing practices, I just think the best thing I can do for my business is to list the best product with the right keywords at a good price and my items should sell.

Strange eBay items of the week

• eBay item No. 321103285074. Do you remember the rock band Kiss? Have you looked at your underwear drawer and thought it was missing something? Check out this pair of “Kiss Underwear from the Australian tour.” It sold for $798 at http://www.ebay.com/itm/KISS-SUPER-RARE-1980-UNDERWEAR-FROM-AUSTRALIA-UNMASKED-TOUR-OFFICIAL-/321103285074

• eBay item No. 300850843431. Spring is here! The weather is finally starting to warm up, and things are turning green again. Are you a gardener? How about putting these in your garden or courtyard? “Very Rare Chinese Qing Dynasty Famille Rose Imperial Yellow Vase Garden Seats.” It sold for $4,550 at http://www.ebay.com/itm/VERY-RARE-CHINESE-QING-DYNASTY-FAMILLE-ROSE-IMPERIAL-YELLOW-VASE-GARDEN-SEATS-/300850843431?pt=Asian_Antiques&hash=item460c1b8f27&nma=true&si=LVE4IIS73kCMC39tFKleTNTx9z8%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

Suzie Eads is a nationally known eBay marketer and eBay trained education specialist. She lives in Rantoul. Have a question for the eBay Queen? Email the eBay Queen

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