Guest post by Seetal Rihal
Whether you’re selling collectibles, old belongings and clothes, or products from your own business, it’s important to build — and maintain — a rating as an eBay seller. The higher your rating, the more trust your customers will have in your store, encouraging them to interact with your listings and buy (or bid on) your products. You’ll notice that every eBay seller has some form of star rating next to their profile name, and the score you have will depend on reviews from buyers. Here, we’ll go through why having a good rating is so important, and how you can go about improving yours.
Why your eBay rating is important
The point of having an eBay account is to sell your goods quickly. The last thing you want is products that aren’t moving, as this doesn’t generate any income for you, and takes up space wherever you keep your stock. As such, you will generally want to have a good seller rating in order to encourage customers to give you their hard-earned cash. eBay itself is also concerned with its seller ratings, as it wants customers to shop with confidence — the higher your seller rating, the higher up your product will be listed.
Shoppers can easily see the seller rating next to the username, and you can track your own rating on your profile. There are three levels that you’ll be assigned to when you start selling on eBay:
- Top Rated
This means you’re one of the highest sellers on eBay, as you provide excellent customer service and have met eBay’s seller criteria
- Above Standard
You have met at least the minimum standard eBay expects from sellers, while providing a good level of customer service
- Below Standard
You have yet to meet eBay’s minimum standard for sellers
How eBay seller ratings are calculated
How well you’re rated on eBay depends on how well your customers rate you, as well as how well you respond to eBay’s automated features. For example, if you have multiples of the same item to sell, and don’t utilise the out-of-stock feature or lose track of your inventory, you may accidentally sell an item that’s out of stock, leaving your customers disappointed. Ultimately, you want every single customer to leave positive reviews about your eBay store in order to boost your rating.
In order to become a Top Rated Seller, you need to be registered with eBay as a business, have made at least 100 sales transactions and £1,000 in the last 12 months with UK and Irish buyers, with no more than three defects from buyers, resolved cases, and on-time delivery. Of course, these are also good to aim for even if you’re not a registered business, and just want to make some extra cash by selling your old belongings.
How to boost your eBay rating
Your customers will likely want their goods as soon as possible, so it’s important that you’re organised, and have everything you need to package and deliver any stock you sell as quickly as possible. If you leave it too late, your customers could get annoyed and leave negative feedback. Many sellers choose to rely on Royal Mail, but this also means that any disruptions to the industry will have an effect on when your customer receives their items. For example, service generally slows down over the festive season, when gifts and cards are being sent around the country. The coronavirus pandemic also had a huge knock-on effect on Royal Mail, alongside increased online shopping rates. As postal workers continued working, and were exposed to the virus in the process, many had to take time off to recover, putting even more strain on the Royal Mail.
If you don’t want to risk being caught up in delays, you can choose to send your goods with a private courier instead. While this may increase the shipping costs, it’s been found that 77% of shoppers are willing to pay more for same or next-day delivery. And if you’re a registered business, you may be able to open a professional account with your chosen courier company. CitySprint, for example, offers a business account to anyone sending with its couriers, and you can start scheduling deliveries an hour after signing up to your account for speedy delivery. This priority delivery service — which includes both same day and next-day delivery — ensures your customers are kept happy.
Communicate with customers
Communication is one of the categories by which buyers can quickly rate sellers following a purchase, so it’s important to keep this in mind if you want to rank highly. If they ask any questions, even before placing an order, reply promptly and to the best of your ability. Similarly, keep them updated on dispatch and delivery times — if you have a tracking number, let your customer know so that they have a better idea of when to expect their package.
If you run into any problems, whether through faulty products or dodgy delivery times, you should be open and transparent with every customer, so they’re not kept in the dark and know exactly what to expect. Ensure that your customers feel heard and they’ll, hopefully, give you a high communication rating in return.
Offer detailed item descriptions
Make sure your customers know exactly what they’re getting by providing accurate and detailed descriptions, accompanied by high-quality photos. This is another thing buyers rate once they’ve received the items, so you don’t want to leave any opportunities for them to penalise you. You want to include any brands in your title and description, if possible, as well as ensuring that the description makes sense for customers. There are a number of product description templates available online to help you if you get stuck for ideas. Just ensure that you use plenty of keywords and that the customer knows exactly what they’re getting from the title. If you need more space than the title offers, you can expand on this in the item description.
This includes being open and honest about any defects with the product you’re selling, especially if it’s been used before. Your customer will hardly give a glowing review if there are any marks or scuffs on a purchase that was described as ‘brand new’.
Request feedback and respond to negative comments
The number of users that leave feedback on eBay has declined over the years, which is a problem many sellers have spoken out about. According to some reports, buyers will leave feedback on between 20%-30% of successful transactions, while unhappy buyers are a lot more vocal, with only 10% of disgruntled customers choosing to keep their problems quiet. Counteract this by actively requesting feedback from your buyers and, if they do raise an issue, respond to it quickly and calmly.
When responding to negative reviews, it’s important that you take the time to listen to what the customer is saying, and ask for more information if you need to. Make sure your response is personal and authentic, not just something you’ve obviously copied and pasted, and show a level of understanding at their frustrations. Find a way to resolve the issue, whether by offering a discount on a future transaction, a refund for their inconvenience or by sending out a replacement free of charge. If you’re able to resolve the issue, you may also be able to get the customer to change their negative review in your favour. In any case, new customers who can see you putting the effort in to fix any mistakes will likely be more willing to do business with you again.