The Amazon Return Policy-Raising ??? Buyer Expectations Internet Wide

An odd thing happened this holiday season on Ebay. I had an buyer that decided the Amazon return policy was much better than my return policy. I have to admit that having 30 days (Amazon’s policy) to return an item is much better than 7 days (my policy), and I did refund my customers money when the item arrived 30 days after we agreed she would return the item. But the incident got me thinking.

Is Amazon setting the standard now for internet buying customer service? Other Ebay sellers have reported that buyers are asking to return items up to 60 days after a sale. Some Amazon sellers are reporting packages being returned from Amazon buyers more than 30 days after the buyer received it.

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IMA Recognized as Reviewer in Internet Retailers Magazine

written by Lanae

Internet Retailers
Internet Retailer Magazine recognizes the Internet Merchants Association (IMA) to give reviews in their ‘9th Annual Recognition of Leading Retail Web Sites – Hot 100 Best Retail Web Sites.’

Alongside various retail and e-commerce consulting firms, IMA gave its reviews on a number of the Hot 100 websites. These ranged from technology to gift baskets, and hardware to housewares. Among the Hot 100 are Amazon and CafePress, both of which are quite familiar to many of our members.

Not only was it an honor for the IMA to contribute, but it can also be a learning tool for our members…each one of us could learn something from those that make up the Hot 100. As noted in the magazine it is about knowing your customers, utilizing new concepts, and creating great shopping experiences. Perhaps one day we will see some of our own members there.

The list can be found here… Internet Retailers

In the Beginning, ………Starting New Again

One day my curiousity got the better of my common sense. I decided to find out if running only Ebay auctions with low shipping would put me higher in the ebay search, and increase my sales. So I started a brand new Ebay selling account, and tweaked some things.

The new account has core auction listings only. I lowered my shipping from $4.00 to $2.75, and offered free shipping with the purchase of two items. I ship items the day after they are paid for instead of my normal two days a week. Otherwise, the level of communication is the same, and the auction format is the same. In other words, I made sure I was doing everything in the recommended Ebay 5 star way of thinking.

I found out that my placement in search is not better. My Detailed Sellers Ratings (DSRs) are lower on the new selling ID even though I am offering better service and lower shipping. And Ebay needs to work on the tools available to new sellers.

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The Walmart / Ebay Connection

PricesI recently discovered that the Walmart employee who developed the statistical analysis packages that put Walmart at the top of the discount retailer heap, is working on the same type of statistical analysis for Ebay. This started me thinking about comparisons that can be made between Walmart business policy and Ebay business policy. What is the same about both corporations, and what is not?

For starters, both corporations are concerned with profit above all else, and bringing products to the consumer at the cheapest possible price. Both have a reputation for offering products at rock bottom prices. Walmart is known for taking advantage of manufacturers to get the best deal.

I got that far, and an interesting comparision came to mind. Suppose Ebay saw all the sellers on their platform as manufacturers? Say we Ebay sellers were considered the same commodity to corporate Ebay as the manufacturers of goods are to Walmart? Walmart is known to have broken many a manufacturer by refusing to sell their product until they lowered their price. Walmart can get away with this because they have gained control over so many small town retail markets. It hurts not to have your product sold at Walmart.

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Discrimination & Anonymity in Internet Selling

Ebay Amazon LogoOne of the most interesting aspects of internet selling is anonymity.  The mild mannered insurance salesman sells hardline harley motorcycle gear on the internet.  The shy Ohio housewife sells racy red silk lingerie as Mimi an immigrant from Paris France.  Because the buyer on the internet can’t see a balding head, or mousy dress, and make any assumptions.  This type of anonymity has positive and negative consequences to an internet business.

The positive consequence of anonymity is that discrimination, or generalization due to a sellers appearance is all but eliminated, but it also creates a problem.  It is difficult to create buyer trust for an internet product, or seller.  In a typical brick and mortar store a wary customer can converse freely, and develop a bond with a seller leading to a purchase.  On the internet, there are very few opportunities for conversation and/or communication of any kind before purchasing.  So, for an internet seller, the buyer will trust you as much as they trust the venue you sell in.  In other words, we internet sellers are at the mercy of the reputation of the venue we sell in.

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IMA Conference Registration Now Open!

IMA announces their second annual seller’s conference

The Internet Merchants Association (IMA) is hosting its second annual conference for internet merchants in Las Vegas March 2008. The conference begins March 03, 2008 and runs through March 05, 2008. This leading industry conference is presented in conjunction with the ASD/AMD Trade Shows.

Philip Justiss, ebayThe opening keynote speaker for this year’s IMA conference is Philipp Justus, Senior Vice President Auctions, eBay Inc.

This industry-leading event will include the who’s who in internet commerce! Google will be presenting effective Adwords campaigns. Ebay and Amazon representatives will be there. Scott Wingo, CEO of Channel Advisor will talk about making comparison shopping engines (CSE) work for you. IMA will have educational sessions on SEO, Branding, Keywords, Front End systems, Back End Systems, Proper Advertising, building customer loyalty and other ways to capture and help grow your internet business.

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Finding eBay 2.0, Have you played in the playground?

Written by Steve Grossberg, IMA President

If you listened to the BSC/IMA conference call on eBay you would have heard us talk about finding 2.0 on ebay. This will be a huge change for buyers and sellers on eBay. Ebay is still doing a lot of A-B testing and now is the time for us to do our own testing and make some noise on the good and the bad we see so far.

If you have not tested this find 2.0 for your own items, I encourage you to do so as soon as possible. You can get to the ebay playground by clicking here.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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Looking at eBays DSR (Detailed Seller Ratings) – I am concerned

written by Steve Grossberg, IMA President

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I was looking at eBays DSR’s this morning. I pulled up the top 100 active ebay sellers in the USA and compiled a list of their respective DSR’s

Here are my findings

Item as described – average score 4.79
Communication – average score 4.66
Shipping Time- average score 4.58
Shipping Fee- average score 4.41

Below is percentage of top 100 scoring 4.5 or better in the respective category

Item as described – 99% scoring 4.5 or better
Communication – 93% scoring 4.5 or better
Shipping Time- 81% scoring 4.5 or better
Shipping Fee- 44% scoring 4.5 or better

What is really disturbing here is looking at the shipping and handling. When eBay announced the DSR strategy, sellers were voicing concern that eBay was going to use shipping and handling as a rating category.

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The “e” in eBay

written by the Lively Prognosticator

When I got suckered in, I mean asked to write a blog, the first thing I had to do was select a subject. Initially, I thought to myself that I would keep it positive, and pick a topic where maybe I could give some great suggestions on how to increase effectiveness as an internet marketer. But a couple of mojitos later, I said naaahhh, what fun is that? So I decided to go for the gusto, pick a topic, and share my thoughts in a manner reminiscent of Bill Maher, with a little Geraldo Rivera thrown in. Not that I’m as witty or talented as either of them, but I gotta aim high, ya know?

Just a few more things about me before we get started. I choose to remain anonymous. I’ve been told by many naysayers that eBay doesn’t get mad, they get even. But many of you know me. I have been selling items in my category for over 25 years, using many different methods, including mail order, face to face sales, and ecommerce. For many of those years, I was also a senior manager for a Fortune 500 company. I’ve been selling on ebay for almost 10 years, and became a PowerSeller almost immediately. I’ve got a wealth of knowledge, and people often seek out my opinions on a variety of subjects. OK, enough said. Let’s get into it.

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