Ensuring Buyers Review Item Description Issues

Ask advice and get tips from expert vintage sellers and buyers.
cokenner
Posts: 184
Joined: Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:44 pm

Ensuring Buyers Review Item Description Issues

Post by cokenner » Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:06 pm

Hello everyone!

I've had a few issues with returns due to sizing lately and it's getting annoying. Buyers, I assume mainly using the mobile app for eBay, are not reviewing any description where I have all measurements and are returning my items due to "wrong size, does not fit" bs.

Now, I do impose a 15% restocking fee on all items returned where I am not at fault (ie. measurements/buyer's remorse). Through this I'm sure I have annoyed a few buyers and have deterred a few as well (which is a good thing), but I don't feel the money should come out of my pocket because of their lack of motivation to read a short description to insure they're buying what they really want.

Do any of you have things you include in your listings to ensure your buyers are reviewing all the description before purchasing?

Here's a sample of my listing's layout: http://www.ebay.com/itm/141549733329?ss ... 1559.l2649

If there are any notable defects I would include them in writing as well as in the "Item Description Note" that displays below the item title.

Thanks for reading yall!
jimmyj
Site Admin
Posts: 2241
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:26 pm

Re: Ensuring Buyers Review Item Description Issues

Post by jimmyj » Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:23 pm

Jesus H Christ. Just noticing the "SEE FULL DESCRIPTION" link now. I'd heard about that but didn't know it had fully rolled out. Looks like they choose a snippet of text and hide the rest. What could their motivation be for this?

I guess the only full solution is to fill in the item specifics each time - which is a huge pain in the ass. I hate those fields, and they always auto fill them. Wyco has measurements in his specifics section.

Ugh. Def. increase issues.
Jimmy J
cokenner
Posts: 184
Joined: Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:44 pm

Re: Ensuring Buyers Review Item Description Issues

Post by cokenner » Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:35 pm

Ah! I like that in the Item Specifics. I guess I overlooked custom specifics. I use Auctiva so I can save the custom spec in my template, so not as big an issue.

I might also consider doing a custom invoice, so before they pay (hopefully) I can get the message across to check the damn measurements.
timetraveltees
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:47 pm

Re: Ensuring Buyers Review Item Description Issues

Post by timetraveltees » Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:54 pm

The mobile browsing experience is a nightmare so I always feel like we have to dummy-proof everything to avoid these kinds of problems. We used to put a text box on the photo of the tag warning that the original size is incorrect, but eBay claimed they would take down listings with added text on images but I don't think they ever truly followed up with that promise. Either way we just literally wrote out a proviso on a sheet of paper and add that to the photos before the tag photo so they should theoretically see it before they see the tag photo.

If it were up to me I wouldn't include the tag photo at all, but since that's the best way to prove age we have to. But including it causes way more confusion than it's worth, this is why we have to explain the context of vintage sizing multiple times in each listing and we're sure to ONLY highlight the approximate "fits like" size in the listing and title to further illustrate the reality of the size. See below for a link to a common listing where the tag is a Large but it fits like a small/medium. It feels like overkill to have to explain things in such detail but honestly it's just a template at this point and I feel like most people who are looking for vintage t-shirts and willing to pay high prices are aware of the sizing issues anyway. Way back in the day when we were selling stuff for ten bucks we'd have tons of problems, now that we're more expensive we have way less. My reasoning is that people are willing to take a risk, or not read the listing for ten bucks, but at $30 they're a little more cautious. Seems like a pretty good net benefit. We also make it a point to way undersell the condition of everything so if something is fair, we say it's poor, we take way more pictures than necessary to bombard potential buyers with the flaws. Like you said, we're probably scaring off buyers but I always feel like we're scaring off the wrong types of buyers anyway so I'm fine with it. The people that know what they're buying aren't going to be scared off by a little spot or a seam separation, but the people that assume they're buying new stuff will run for the hill which avoids problems later on when they get a 30 year old shirt and are shocked that it isn't fresh of the shelves at Target.

Anyway, that's my two cents on it. Undersell the condition. Overexplain the sizing issues. Bury the original tag size and say how irrelevant/incorrect it is in multiple places, never put it in the listing title ever - there's zero value in doing that on any level in my opinion. We sell 400-500 shirts a month and we get maybe a couple returns on average, sometimes none at all so I feel like we're doing something right.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/331492245183?ss ... 1555.l2649
jimmyj
Site Admin
Posts: 2241
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:26 pm

Re: Advice!

Post by jimmyj » Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:27 pm

Good advice! Applied some of it to my listings a while back. I try to be vague about the size - like in your example - mostly will list two potential modern day sizes M/S - think being vague makes people pay more attention to the measurements.

Few questions for you - since we're in the process of boosting up our eBay t-shirt offering.

1. What is your strategy with auctions? I see you're running 100+ right now. I avoid them like the plague these days, have found that if you're patient you can always squeeze a tad more out of items. But that mostly applies to the sought after stuff. Many of your auctions are the more generic tees - and you get lots of nibbles. I noticed you start them higher in the $30 range - but looks as though a handful don't get any nibbles. Do you auction first then put them as BIN? How do you decide what goes to auction and why that format over fixed price?

2. Selling 400 a week! Awesome. How do you store your tees so they can be retrieved quickly when ordered?

3. How come you don't use the BEST OFFER button? I've found it to increase sales. But I also have very limited space to store inventory so stuff has to move. I usually price out what a tee has sold for in the past - price it well above that - and many times people will opt to just BIN even though there's a best offer option. And many times they'll offer a price that's only a fraction of a discount - 5 bucks or so. I find it also helps with those items that sit for a while - I'm happy to sell it at 50% off if it's been in the shop for over a year. The downside is the BS offers - and having to respond - but I've managed to eliminate that recently by putting an auto decline on each listing.

Plus - I read something recently that eBay is going to start penalizing (with fees) stale shop items. Ugh.

4. Do you have any strategies for ensuring Top Rated Status? I've missed the mark by a fraction of a percentage on the defect rating coming in at just over 2%. I think a lot of it has to do with the non-tee stuff I sell - more modern patagonia and such - those customers are are less forgiving of the vintage disclaimer. I thought this month of directly contacting the buyers of the 100% pristine items a week prior to the assessment period and encouraging them to leave all fives. In hopes of boosting it up. Find the whole system really unfair - as I have no negatives - no one contacts me to complain - some two faced positives. One buyer said, "could be better" when I contacted him for clarification he said because of fade - but it was clearly photographed and described - so he obviously just didn't pay attention, but dinged me for it anyway.

5. Speaking of feedback - do you leave it automatically? Any strategy there?

6. What is the fastest animal on the planet?
Jimmy J
timetraveltees
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:47 pm

Re: Advice!

Post by timetraveltees » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:05 pm

jimmyj wrote:Good advice! Applied some of it to my listings a while back. I try to be vague about the size - like in your example - mostly will list two potential modern day sizes M/S - think being vague makes people pay more attention to the measurements.

Few questions for you - since we're in the process of boosting up our eBay t-shirt offering.

1. What is your strategy with auctions? I see you're running 100+ right now. I avoid them like the plague these days, have found that if you're patient you can always squeeze a tad more out of items. But that mostly applies to the sought after stuff. Many of your auctions are the more generic tees - and you get lots of nibbles. I noticed you start them higher in the $30 range - but looks as though a handful don't get any nibbles. Do you auction first then put them as BIN? How do you decide what goes to auction and why that format over fixed price?

2. Selling 400 a week! Awesome. How do you store your tees so they can be retrieved quickly when ordered?

3. How come you don't use the BEST OFFER button? I've found it to increase sales. But I also have very limited space to store inventory so stuff has to move. I usually price out what a tee has sold for in the past - price it well above that - and many times people will opt to just BIN even though there's a best offer option. And many times they'll offer a price that's only a fraction of a discount - 5 bucks or so. I find it also helps with those items that sit for a while - I'm happy to sell it at 50% off if it's been in the shop for over a year. The downside is the BS offers - and having to respond - but I've managed to eliminate that recently by putting an auto decline on each listing.

Plus - I read something recently that eBay is going to start penalizing (with fees) stale shop items. Ugh.

4. What is the fastest animal on the planet?
Yeah, I try to make people not understand what the true size is exactly too. Measurements are obviously front and center but very few people actually use those, but guesstimating what it fits like in modern terms helps matters. And like I said, all of this additional info hopefully confuses the people that I wouldn't want to deal with anyway.

1. My strategy is to put everything up as an auction for 7 days the first time we post it, no matter what it is. My wife does most of the work these days, I just kind of oversee it and handle the sourcing end of things. But she generally photographs and builds out listings for 20-30 shirts per weekday on average and we post auctions almost every night so we have a constant stream of things ending. Reasoning behind this is that because you get enhanced visibility from auctions, and items that are ending sooner, there's a better chance of them selling the first time out. Plus it keeps a constant stream of our listings high in the search listings so even if someone doesn't want one of those items they can see our store where we've got 2300+ shirts listed at any given time. In general a very low percentage of these auctions sell the first time out because auctions aren't what they used to be. But a lot of times we'll get a lot of action on shirts that I had no idea would be of interest. Or something will sell right away that I would have just buried as a good till cancelled back in the day. Obviously stuff that's in high demand, rock, Harley, etc, will generally do okay in auctions and for the most part will sell the first time out. But if they don't sell at auction I'll just put them in the store as good till cancelled and forget about them. Sometimes someone that was watching them at auction will buy them as soon as we relist them because they forgot to bid or didn't want to play the bidding game. The rest of them generally sell eventually, but I view it from a long tail perspective, sometimes it's a month, sometimes a year. And like I said, I price them no lower than $24.99 in general, even stuff that's in bad condition. We've had good luck at that price point and up. Keeps away the lookie loos and keeps away people making arbitrary purchases by having them at a higher point that people aren't willing to just take a flyer on.

2. I wish it was 400 tees a week, that would be nice. It's 400 a month on average, sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less. But that's around the average that we're happy with. Keeping fresh listings going up on a regular daily basis definitely helps because when we're low on stock or go out of town and aren't posting the sales definitely slow down. My wife is definitely the organizational genius of the team so that's her department. But we basically have 4 level Home Depot plastic shelves and have them stacked up two rows x six rows and lined up like library shelves so we can get at them from either side. We've got 6 of these racks right now, and could probably use another one. Everything's organized alphabetically and by color so it's easy to find. I'm sure there are other strategies that would work, no idea what other high volume dudes do, but on average we're shipping 15 shirts every morning and it doesn't take much longer than 5 minutes or so to pull everything off the shelves generally.

3. I probably should do some more best offer stuff but I'm gunshy to do it because I changed everything over to instant payment required now and it's saved me significant headaches of trying to fight people to pay. With best offer you can't use that setting and whenever I did it in the past I'd have to remind lots of people that they did actually buy it and they need to pay. Just more trouble than it's worth in some respects. Our t-shirt office is pretty big, we use the whole family room/basement which is probably 12x25 for the whole production so I definitely don't mind waiting on stuff to sell. Even really, really stale merchandise will generally get some action at some point. But a couple times a year I'll de-list stuff and trade it off to a guy locally that has a vintage store to get some of his fresh stuff. I'd much rather do that than selling stuff for $10 and giving it away and dealing with potential problems/returns on something that I'm basically giving it away for free anyway. Much better to play the waiting game and then swap it out for better stuff if it's really dead merchandise. I always have a running 10-15% off markdown going on all buy it now listings so that implores some people to buy by thinking they're getting a deal. Even without best offer options I still get lowball garbage offers that I just ignore so I definitely don't want to invite even more, even though you can set auto decline levels. I'd rather be in the jerk boutique line of thinking where it's like "Hey, we've got the good stuff, you have to pay a premium to get it." I find that it works fairly well and we're seeing really good growth year over year. Not trying to rip people off obviously but we all know how hard it is to get quality stuff on a consistent basis so I don't mind being hardline about pricing and I find that the people who really want the stuff are usually happy to pay somewhat higher prices.

Didn't hear about that penalization thing, but that's possible. I know they definitely get buried in search results occasionally if they're really old. Sometimes I just de-list them for a few days and throw them back up as auctions for another round and it seems to work okay and even the deadest of stock will sell immediately. It's weird.

4. The blue footed booby, obviously.
jimmyj
Site Admin
Posts: 2241
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:26 pm

Re: Ensuring Buyers Review Item Description Issues

Post by jimmyj » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:21 pm

Thanks sir! I edited my original post shortly after and added a few more Qs if you have time.
Jimmy J
mrs_stout
Posts: 154
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:17 pm

Re: Ensuring Buyers Review Item Description Issues

Post by mrs_stout » Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:46 am

One other thing for @cokenner: I find it helpful to list the modern size in the title vs. the tag size since buyers will often include their size in the search string. A t-shirt that is tagged XL, but measures like a medium I'll title as "Sz M" or "Fits Sz M". I provide the tag size in the description, but not in the item specifics since that has limited character space and I could see a buyer getting confused as to the true fit of the t-shirt without room for full explanation.

As a buyer, I find nothing more annoying than searching for -- say -- "ladies boots 10", seeing a pair that state size 40/10 in the title, then reading the listing only to find out that they fit like an 8.5/9 due to Euro sizing. It's a complete time-waster on my end. IMHO, "Size 40/8.5-9" would be a better title option.

I'm late to this convo, but maybe new readers will find this useful going forward.
mrs_stout
Posts: 154
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:17 pm

Re: Ensuring Buyers Review Item Description Issues

Post by mrs_stout » Wed May 27, 2015 9:21 am

@timetraveltees

With the new ebay spring update, have you made any tweaks to your listing practices? I'm asking because it used to be stores had the option of fixed price or auction listings; now we're limited to only fixed price listings with auctions costing .30 a pop.
timetraveltees
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:47 pm

Re: Ensuring Buyers Review Item Description Issues

Post by timetraveltees » Wed May 27, 2015 4:38 pm

Nope. I don't think much really changes for us, I'll have to look at the statement at the end of the month or next month to see if there's a notable difference between what we pay versus now with the new changes. But I don't think it'll be significantly different for us. We use all of our free listings for store items as it is, we keep 2500+ shirts in the store at all times so at the anchor store level that blows out all the free listings just from that so we've always been paying for the auctions essentially. We list maybe about 75-100 auctions a week and sell maybe 20 or so of those, so we get recouped the listing fees on the ones that do sell now I believe so the ones we end up paying for is going to be at most a nominal difference. I could be wrong, I haven't run the numbers lately but it seems like it may be a little bit more expensive but listing everything for a round of auctions first is a big benefit and we do sell quite a few things immediately that would otherwise sit around as good till canceled for months. I'll keep an eye on the monthly statements but as of now I don't see much reason to change anything at our level of business.
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