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Does eBay Feedback Really Matter Any More ?

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Nottingham United Kingdom
Bigian13
Kudos: 2,825
Joined: Feb 21, 2014
Does eBay Feedback Really Matter Any More ?
10 Jan 2017
On a recent test (from July 2016) we created multiple eBay accounts selling the same products with the same description and titles with no listing templates. At the end of the test (Dec 2016) we found that despite one account having feedback of only 96%, it was getting more sales than ones at over 99% due to a lower price. While not showing higher in search results for the default 'Best Match' it was generating more sales. The high deviation in feedback was caused by a buyer claiming INR despite Royal Mails 2D barcode system showing the item was delivered on time. Something that eBays customer service could not get their head around and would not remove.

Is that proof that the eBay default of 'Best Match' is not what customers want, or is it proof that customers really do want the best price for items and are prepared to take a punt with sellers with lower feedback ?

Does it also show that eBays customer service and systems leave a lot to be desired ?
E-commerce , love it or hate it, that's why we are here
csr
United States United States
csr
Kudos: 15
Joined: Jun 15, 2015
Re: Does eBay Feedback Really Matter Any More ?
10 Jan 2017
I agree that eBay feedback seems to matter less now than it did 10 years ago and some of that is because of customers seeking the lowest price, but it's also due to higher confidence in eBay. Customers feel like no matter what the feedback says, if they have a problem with a purchase, they can count on eBay to make it right. And eBay does, often at the expense of the seller as you pointed out with the bad feedback for an item showing delivered. I suggest calling eBay on the phone if you have a situation like that. They will remove the feedback if it shows as delivered in tracking. Then you can have the best of both worlds =)
UK United Kingdom
webacc001
Kudos: 70
Joined: Sep 17, 2016
Re: Does eBay Feedback Really Matter Any More ?
10 Jan 2017
@csr
No they won't. You can argue with them for as long as you like but if ebay decide they won't remove it, they won't remove it. I have experienced this several times.

Ebay will simply side with the buyer almost every time no matter what. It's actually a very clever strategy from their point of view because it means, as you said, the buyer is happy that ebay will resolve any issues and will come back for more, while it is the seller who loses out - but that's not eBay's problem. The other important thing is it doesn't really cost ebay anything - if it was ebay that was out of pocket or receiving bad feedback their attitude would be completely different.

As a matter of interest Amazon are no better, in fact probably worse. It's no coincidence that you can't leave feedback on Amazon for an item sold by them directly (rather than one sold by a marketplace seller). There's a reason for that. Based on customer reviews of one of their top selling products a couple of years ago, the Kindle Fire, we did a survey and counted all positive comments rating the item at 4 or 5 stars as positive, and all the 1 and 2 stars as negative over a 12 month period. If you had converted that to a feedback percentage Amazon would have 83% feedback for that item, one of their best products. That score would have probably lost them sales, and remember, Amazon have the ability to remove some of the worst reviews and probably did.

[Last edited: 11 Jan 2017]
UK United Kingdom
webacc001
Kudos: 70
Joined: Sep 17, 2016
Re: Does eBay Feedback Really Matter Any More ?
10 Jan 2017
I experienced this when I noted that a relatively new seller with a feedback score under 90% was selling an item at £7.99 and selling around 80 a month. I had sold 5 of the exact same item at the same price in 3 months. He had NO description while I had a professional template and lengthy description with encouraging terms (guarantee, returns policy etc.)

As I said, his feedback was under 90%, I had 99.8% from over 6,000 ratings. There was absolutely not one single reason why a buyer would choose his listing over mine, even Customer Services at ebay agreed. Even the titles were almost identical.

The only possible reason for his item selling over mine was that he got a few quick sales, established a sales history and eBay's algorhythms placed his listing at the top and mine nowhere to be seen. I have seen this sort of thing time and time again.

I had a similar business on ebay a few years ago and closed that down due to illness, but I remember when Best Match was introduced our sales dropped 80% almost overnight and although we tried absolutely everything you can think of, and probably a few things you can't, we never ever got it back again. Meanwhile there were plenty of sellers coming along just like the one above and making a killing.

Best Match was a complete disaster. Ending Soonest was always the fairest system because with that, at least everybody had one chance for their listings to be top of the pile if only for a few seconds, and most of our sales came when the listings were nearing their end as the listing made it's way to the top.

I now operate virtually part time on ebay but no matter what I do I now find it incredibly difficult to get anything moving and selling regularly, and I only say "part time" because although I spend the same amount of time and even more effort than I used to (pre-Best Match), I generate a lot less income and it's simply because eBay's system doesn't work.

You only have to try it - search for just about anything you want and it's almost guaranteed that the item you search for won't reach the top of the listings, but there will be dozens, even hundreds, of totally unrelated items on your screen. I recently had to search through 5 pages for something I was looking for, most people won't do that.

It's wrong. If I search for "red 3 inch bolts" then red 3 inch bolts should be the top result. What chance do sellers have when the results don't even give any sort of priority to the search term and people can't find the item they are looking for, or a decent seller?

A couple of other points. Priority should be given to sellers in the same country as the site, i.e. UK sellers should get priority on the UK site, and the adverts touting similar, often cheaper, items are unfair as well. You're paying for a listing, you should not have to compete with sponsored ads.
Nottingham United Kingdom
Bigian13
Kudos: 2,825
Joined: Feb 21, 2014
Re: Does eBay Feedback Really Matter Any More ?
14 Jan 2017
@csr

In the UK at least, I do not think it is 'buyers confidence' in eBay more the 'I can scam eBay' attitude.

If on Google UK you enter 'how to scam on ebay' the first result comes up with the second most prolific scam in our experience, after INR claims (which have been reduced since 2D barcodes by RM), and is the empty box return.

I also know sellers that are part of the eBay GSP program that have lost PayPal claims due to non / late delivery of goods. PayPal refund the buyer, and eBay 'wash their hands' of the problem depite the goods being delivered to their distribution centre. No refund / compensation for the seller.

I do agree that eBay do give the customer confidence that they should / will receive the correct goods (guaranteed), but the level of customer service for the seller is awful.

We gave up long ago appealing against eBay decisions due to the time taken and also the very poor service, with the CS representatives actually admitting that they could not understand what we were saying as English was a second language and they were not fully conversant in English. ( I am from Nottingham, we don't consider we have broad accents, and I do not talk in TXT SPK). I do feel sorry for the CS representatives at times, as they do appear to work to a script and have no ability / allowance to use common sense, unless you are really lucky.

However on this occasion we did try to appeal, and were told it could not be appealed as a decision had been made. When does that make sense ?

This is not sour grapes regarding eBay, but maybe the post should have been 'Does eBay Really Matter Any More ?'
E-commerce , love it or hate it, that's why we are here
Nottingham United Kingdom
Bigian13
Kudos: 2,825
Joined: Feb 21, 2014
Re: Does eBay Feedback Really Matter Any More ?
14 Jan 2017
@webacc001

eBay will always have sellers although the quality may decline.

We used to pride ourselves on 100% feedback, and now we really do not care as it does not seem to make a difference. Why spend extra time (and money) trying to appease obvious scammers ? Yes, there are good honest buyers on eBay. You can usually spot a legitimate problem / complaint by the tone of the message and we do our very best to sort these out, but when you know people are trying to get their goods for free, how far do you go ?

With regard to Amazon and their feedback, you will find that eBay have been 'looking after' certain sellers for quite a while. For example the Argos eBay store shows no feedback on any of their products although the feedback count (at the time of writing) was 2024469.

Despite eBay claims that all sellers and buyers are created equally (or similar) we have all known for many years that this is not the case.
E-commerce , love it or hate it, that's why we are here
Nottingham United Kingdom
Bigian13
Kudos: 2,825
Joined: Feb 21, 2014
Re: Does eBay Feedback Really Matter Any More ?
14 Jan 2017
@webacc001

Getting your search results to match 'Best Match' was one of those conundrums that many sellers met when it was first introduced.

I know many sellers like you who suddenly had a dramatic drop in sales due to a low return in search results.

The problem is not necessarily with the search algorithm used but the words we use to search. For example go to eBay.co.uk and type 'red cars for sale' have a look at the results on the first page and then search for 'red cars 4 sale'. Totally different results under the best match default, but to many the same search query (albeit with the change of 'for' by '4').

When desktops were king, most of us typed the way we were supposed to speak. As mobile devices are becoming more predominate in online shopping, text speak is becoming king. Search terms / keywords need to be adjusted drastically to have any success.

It could be the fact that a single word substituted for another word, a letter, or number could make a difference to your online business (and maybe your life).

I totally agree that there are too many irrelevant results on eBay search, as well as the annoying sponsored results at the bottom of most listings that promote off eBay purchases. If you and I did that we would get banned !!

(Please be aware that results were correct at the time of posting.)
E-commerce , love it or hate it, that's why we are here
Herts, England United Kingdom
Andy
Kudos: 11,998
Joined: Jan 1, 2001
Re: Does eBay Feedback Really Matter Any More ?
14 Jan 2017

Bigian13 wrote:

I am from Nottingham, we don't consider we have broad accents, and I do not talk in TXT SPK.
Ayup Ian. Brr its code aht. Wen we goin dahn tahn furra curreh?

Couldn't resist.
Andy Geldman, Web Retailer
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Nottingham United Kingdom
Bigian13
Kudos: 2,825
Joined: Feb 21, 2014
Re: Does eBay Feedback Really Matter Any More ?
15 Jan 2017
@Andy

Ey up me duck !

[Last edited: 15 Jan 2017]
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