Which mistakes do you see sellers making the most?

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Herts, England United Kingdom
Andy
Kudos: 11,626
Joined: Jan 1, 2001
Which mistakes do you see sellers making the most?
18 Jun 2015
There's a lot to learn when it comes to selling on online marketplaces, and plenty to make a mess of: overstocking, bad photography, policy violations, bad customer service... the list goes on and on unfortunately

But which mistakes do you see other sellers making the most?
Andy Geldman, Web Retailer
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United States United States
nschneider
Kudos: 99
Joined: Apr 13, 2015
Re: Which mistakes do you see sellers making the most?
18 Jun 2015
@Andy Only speaking from personal experience, stocking issues are the most detrimental and harmful that we have experienced. Results in multiple Amazon suspensions.
Midlothian, VA United States
Jax Music Supply
Kudos: 2,372
Joined: May 25, 2009
Re: Which mistakes do you see sellers making the most?
18 Jun 2015
One of the biggest mistakes I see is pricing issues. I see sellers price their items with basically zero margin - forgetting that they have overhead that needs to be covered. There are times I see sellers selling items for less than the cost+shipping. Either these folks are buying inventory at a much reduced price (not likely) or they really do not know how much their shipping cost per item. They are looking at revenue, versus profit.
Supplier
New York, NY United States
SureDone
Kudos: 123
Joined: Feb 18, 2014
Re: Which mistakes do you see sellers making the most?
18 Jun 2015

Andy wrote:

...which mistakes do you see other sellers making the most?
Being on the multi-channel software side, we look at tons of accounts every day. I would say that lack of knowledge with each channel (and what each channel allows) is the biggest mistake we see people making. People who list variations send their listings to Etsy but if you have limited amounts, Etsy counts all variation quantities as a whole so you could oversell. (ex: 3 red, 4 blue - shows you have 7 total, so you could sell 7 red).
Other things include Amazon's requirement of a white background on new products and then eBay not allowing multiple accounts to sell the same items.
San Francisco, Phoenix, LA United States
lisamarieblaskie
Kudos: 76
Joined: Apr 15, 2015
Re: Which mistakes do you see sellers making the most?
18 Jun 2015
@Andy I'm thinking of new sellers with this one...chasing the top BSR sales when competition is tight and price is an issue. With Amazon you might have them as a competitor and that can be a problem I like to be in the 1000 to 12,000 ranking area far from Amazon.com and the price war but in an area where you can get 10 plus sales a week
London United Kingdom
Matt Thorpe
Kudos: 204
Joined: Oct 15, 2014
Re: Which mistakes do you see sellers making the most?
21 Jun 2015
Hi @andy,

The main thing that I come up against with my clients is the fact that they concentrate so hard on getting products loaded up with a low price and then they wonder why they don't sell. Sales don't roll in so they just drop the price.

When buyers land on a product page they are looking for a lot more than just a low price. They want:

- Large, clear product images
- Inviting descriptions that are unique to your brand
- Detailed Tech specs
- Videos (Explainer or Demo)
- Credit card and security symbols (this gives confidence)
- Customer Reviews (more confidence)
- Delivery Information (When will they get it?, How much?)
- Returns (What is your policy?)
- PR logo endorsements
- Clear buy buttons

Customers need clear and obvious information that helps them make their purchasing decision. The more relevant information you can provide them, the better. It's also important how you present it. Don't flood you page with content but structure it so it is easily digestible.
Supplier
Israel Israel
Valigara
Kudos: 123
Joined: Aug 28, 2014
Re: Which mistakes do you see sellers making the most?
21 Jun 2015
Great topic and lots of good answers!..

Just to add one small but important point: No understanding of the importance of quick response . We see it especially by sellers coming from the traditional selling channels (b&m stores, boutiques, websites). Potential buyers get answered in 1 day, 2 days, a week...

Everyone knows selling on the marketplaces requires top service... With that, unfortunately, many of our sellers relate to the quick response to clients as to an option. Which it is not. Marketplaces are different - when client contacts 1 seller, he contacts another 5-10 seller at the same time. At least in expensive items such as jewelry, which we specialize in. And time of response matters a lot in this case.

Hope it helps!

[Last edited: 21 Jun 2015]
Igor Nusinovich, Co-Founder & CEO

Valigara Online Jewelry Manager
Multi-channel eCommerce for Jewelry and Diamonds
Supplier
Manila Philippines
2nd Office
Kudos: 550
Joined: Aug 19, 2012
Re: Which mistakes do you see sellers making the most?
22 Jun 2015
One mistake I see a lot is sellers not optimizing listings properly for each marketplace.

These are the three most common mistakes I see when it comes to listing optimization.

1. Titles - Most sellers will take the same title from Amazon or their Web site and use that for all the other marketplaces.
2. Pricing - They also fail to optimize pricing on each marketplace. Each marketplace has different set of fee's depending on your account, you also have a different set of buyers and sellers, meaning different prices across to board.
3. Images - Sellers only have one image when they should have a minimum of at least 4 images per product for better conversion rates. Or worst, they have images that have bad resolution!

[Last edited: 22 Jun 2015]
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Midlothian, VA United States
Jax Music Supply
Kudos: 2,372
Joined: May 25, 2009
Re: Which mistakes do you see sellers making the most?
22 Jun 2015
@2nd Office

I wonder how you optimize on price on eBay? It is almost impossible (without making huge mistakes) to determine the market price on eBay in an automated fashion as there is no single listing - everyone has there own, and there could be many differences between them. I think eBay is heading in the direction of a single listing for new items though (like Amazon). I suppose you could have a system that drops the price until it sells (a la PriceFalls.com) but that could really backfire if you have long tail items. Another snag is that even though Amazon has the highest fees, in the US their user agreement requires them to have the same price as all other market places. I get 5 points more on Ebay but I cannot use this to lower the price without lowering Amazon's price too.
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Manila Philippines
2nd Office
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Joined: Aug 19, 2012
Re: Which mistakes do you see sellers making the most?
23 Jun 2015
@Jax Music Supply

I wonder how you optimize on price on eBay? It is almost impossible (without making huge mistakes) to determine the market price on eBay in an automated fashion as there is no single listing - everyone has there own, and there could be many differences between them.
Have you tried Price Spectre? I highly recommend this program for eBay. It can re-price based on keywords, titles, conditions, item specifics, even against Amazon listings. You can also restrict re-pricing against competitors eBay ID's. They have an import/export function as well as a web admin to help setup the re-pricing easily. You can choose between Manual or automated re-pricing. Manual is good if you're using another listing software to manage your re-pricing or if you want to approve prices before they go live.

Another snag is that even though Amazon has the highest fees, in the US their user agreement requires them to have the same price as all other market places. I get 5 points more on Ebay but I cannot use this to lower the price without lowering Amazon's price too.
It's a snag, but there are ways around this without breaking the agreement =)
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ESH
NJ United States
ESH
Kudos: 63
Joined: Jun 5, 2015
Re: Which mistakes do you see sellers making the most?
23 Jun 2015
1) About Us section - Not writing anything about them on their website / online store. I think it's an important consideration given the competitiveness of marketplaces and also if you think about Gen Y, who are and will be growing as the top most eCommerce contributors from purchase perspective by 2017, they like everything personalized. Having sellers information on the website is crucial to increasing sales and more so to build a community of loyal buyers.

2) Product descriptions - compelling product descriptions are important but so are general terms used for the products which make the website naturally SEO friendly. Rather than a very fancy home grown term, at times it makes more sense to go with a generic title and then describe the product to suit the sellers taste.
United States United States
ronmauldin
Kudos: 23
Joined: Jun 22, 2015
Re: Which mistakes do you see sellers making the most?
25 Jun 2015
Competing for the "Buy Box".
When you compete for the buy box, there is always someone willing to do it for less... or even some newbie that is actually loosing money one each sale.

Instead, make your own branded product that is Better/Faster/Cheaper than the competition.
Coal Township, Pa United States
info
Kudos: 33
Joined: Jun 13, 2015
Re: Which mistakes do you see sellers making the most?
25 Jun 2015
I can really relate to you. because when I go to post say Ebay or Amazon it's like how are you making any money because their price is less than price I pay for my products and that doesn't even include the shipping. So why even sell than? @Jax Music Supply
You have come to the right place to shop for [Candles | Candleholders] and Gift Ideas for any Occasion. Though we specialize in [Candles | Candleholders], our wide range of products ensures that you c
Midlothian, VA United States
Jax Music Supply
Kudos: 2,372
Joined: May 25, 2009
Re: Which mistakes do you see sellers making the most?
26 Jun 2015
@info

It is tough to compete. I have to have my own bundles and some products that are branded for me. That said, one of the biggest ways for me to compete on Amazon and Ebay (as well as any other marketplace) is long tail business. These are the 80% of items that do not sell on an everyday basis. I like to pick a product line and then make sure I carry all the SKUs for that line, or as many as I can get. I do not carry a large number of the slower selling skus, but enough to keep availability for people. Many of these products are not even available in the purchaser's area, so in addition to having an item that is not everywhere online, it often is not available in a brick and mortar, giving yet another advantage. Of course, it takes a lot of long tail items to make the same cash flow as a hot seller, although the profits are usually better.
Nottingham United Kingdom
Bigian13
Kudos: 2,254
Joined: Feb 21, 2014
Re: Which mistakes do you see sellers making the most?
30 Jun 2015
@Andy

Too low a price is the major problem that we see a large number of smaller sellers make.

We sell to a large number of shops and market traders, many of which have tried to sell on-line and undercut us in price. Eventually they realise that when they take into account the fact that they pay more for postage, have higher fees, and do not realise their legal obligations with regards to refunds and returns, they are losing money on each sale. They soon come back with their tail between their legs asking for a credit for unsold stock.

Another problem with sellers is dispatch / delivery speed. It appears that many sellers do not realise that when a customer orders a product, they really want it NOW (or as good as). 'Dispatch within 48 hours' is usually not good enough for the customer (obviously some items are exceptions). Customers are increasingly requiring a fast dispatch with fast delivery options, something that some sellers are either not prepared to offer or do not realise their customers want.
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