28 Aug 2018
One of the biggest reasons that sellers succeed or fail is down to their ability to get positive feedback. When your customers are consistently leaving rave reviews, you’ll see that your sales start going up...fast! But why is that? In this post we’ll show you why positive feedback gets you more sales, along with our best tactics to get more positive feedback (including our tried and tested message templates).
Prefer to watch the video version of this blog post?
Building trust with eBay is like getting a credit card.
When you get your first credit card, you’ll likely get a low credit limit because you’re unproven and the provider needs to see how you handle your account first. They have no way of knowing if you’re trustworthy, or if you’ll pay your bills on time.
But after a few months of seeing positive activity (such as making your repayments on time) they build more trust in you and might offer to increase your credit limit.
On eBay, feedback is the way they measure when transactions are completed successfully and how trustworthy you are.
The more feedback you have, the higher your sales ranking on eBay will be, and the more potential buyers will visit your store.
Let’s think about it from eBay’s perspective.
eBay want to make sure that people are buying from great sellers that deliver a good, problem-free service.
Why? Well for a start it means that eBay spend less money dealing with cases, support and buyer/seller protection claims. And of course when buyers have a good experience it also means that they’re more likely to buy from eBay again.
So once you’ve proven you’re a great seller to deal with, it’s in their interest to help you get more sales and become a success.
The bottom line is; the more positive feedback you get, the more eBay trusts you, the higher your sales ranking, the more visitors your pages will get and the more sales you make.
Have you ever gone to a site like Skyscanner to find the cheapest flight -- and then been taken to a travel website you’ve never heard of to complete your booking?
Chances are, you probably then went to Google to search for online reviews of the website before deciding if you should trust the website and buy the flight ticket.
On eBay, your feedback rating is a huge sign of trust and credibility to your buyers - and is your form of a review.
And these days, a staggering 92% of online consumers now read online reviews before completing their purchase.
When you’re selling over the internet, buyers need to feel they can trust you. Without reviews, how do they know you won’t just take their payment, send them a brick in a box and do a runner?
That’s why the success of your eBay business can rest on your ability to generate high quality feedback FAST and give buyers a positive first impression of your store.
When you master the skill of getting positive feedback from your buyers, every single time, you’re on the road to 2x, 3x or even 10x more eBay sales.
Everytime you message one of your buyers, your aim should be to “kill them with kindness”. Yes, it might feel satisfying for a few minutes to send a hate-filled message when a buyer tells you they want to return an item, but taking a deep breath and stopping yourself will do your store wonders in the long-run.
So what tricks can you use to craft messages that always get your buyers on your side and wanting to give you positive feedback?
Yes, humans. If robots were buying your eBay items then it might be fine to answer robotically but selling to people requires a personal touch.
Why: People are tired of big faceless corporations sending generic responses that make no sense and take no responsibility when things go wrong.
Ways you can give a personal touch: Use the person’s name in your message (Hi David). Use personal pronouns like “I am” instead of “we are”. Use extra phrases like “I hope you enjoy your day”. Use your full name in the response.
When most people explain their reasons for something, they say what they’re doing it, followed by how they’re doing it and lastly why they’re doing it.
“I’m cancelling your order by refunding your money via PayPal because the item is defective”
The problem is, the way your brain makes decisions and creates impressions is by understanding the “why” first. Therefore by explaining in the reverse order of “Why, How, What” you’ll instantly become more persuasive.
Here’s how we could change the example in this way:
“I noticed the item was defective and I wanted you to have the best product possible so I’ve refunded your payment via PayPal and cancelled your order.”
You can check out Simon Sinek’s TED Talk on this subject with the video below:
When you give more, you have a higher value to others. And when you provide a higher value to others, you’ll automatically get more back.
So if you can overdeliver in your messages and service to your buyers, you can expect to get more positive feedback back.
How: Create value in your offering and messages - give more than the buyer expected to get. It could be better pricing, amazing service, a surprise gift, a future discount that they didn’t expect. An added benefit is that when your value seems higher, people will be willing to pay more in future.
People form opinions based on how they feel, rather than just the facts. In any business, it’s normal for things to go wrong, like when selling on eBay you could incur delays when shipping items. But if you show real empathy and use emotions in your messages then it helps buyers to form a much more positive opinion of you and your store.
Ways you can add emotion to your messages: Thanking them sincerely for their business, explaining you understand how they feel, their frustration and are doing everything you can to put things right - even using emojis like smilies.
Hi [buyer name]
I’m really thankful that you visited my store and made a purchase.
I created my store because I want to help online buyers get the best possible buying experience and because I’m passionate about [item niche]
If there’s anything I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to let me know!
Your satisfaction is very important to me.
I hope you enjoy your day :-)
You can easily steal some sentences from this, or download all our best message templates in our handy PDF here.
Imagine you wake up to receive the following message from a buyer in your inbox:
Hi [Your name]
I’ve just bought this item and really need it for my wedding. Are you able to ship it with 1 day delivery for me?
Now let’s add a twist and say you aren’t able to deliver the item in 1 day. How would you respond?
A very common mistake that sellers make is to instantly say “no” to requests (mostly without even explaining why they’ve even said “no”!). It’s natural to try to answer people with very short, direct answers when you can’t find solutions but it doesn’t help the situation.
Here’s an example of a bad way to reply to the message:
No, we can’t ship it in 1 day. You can pay extra and we’ll ship it in 3 days instead.
A better way to answer could be...
“Hi [Buyer], Congratulations on your wedding - I hope you’re excited. The manufacturer of the item is based abroad so I’m not sure it’ll be possible to ship it in 1 day, however, I’ll try my best for you, please allow me to check and I’ll get back to you. Thanks, [Your name]”
It’s very important that even if the answer in the end will be “I’m really sorry, I can’t do it”, you still show the customer you are really trying and working for them as well as buying you some time. Notice how in the example answer, we also explained why it might not be possible and started to manage their expectation of this too.
Whilst 99% of your transactions will go without a hitch, there will always be 1% where there’s you run into a snag like needing to process a return, exchange or cancel an item.
The key is working with the buyer, understanding what their ideal resolution is and being flexible in your approach.
Could you offer a different but similar item in exchange?
Would the buyer simply like a quick refund?
Can you offer them an extra discount on a future order as an apology?
Learn to think outside the box and every situation will become solvable.
There’ll always be someone that orders a gift from your store for someone else, and then ends up wanting to return the item because the person didn’t like it.
When handling returns, always use eBay’s resolution centre to handle returns - never do it through eBay messages. Simply tell the buyer to open a case, and that you’ll handle the rest. Once you have it open as a case, eBay have a set procedure and you’ll be protected as a seller.
The great thing about this is that even if the buyer gives you a negative feedback - if the case closes in your favour, you can ask to have the negative feedback removed!
Turns out that it’s not just having lots of feedback that helps to drive your sales ranking on eBay. One of the ways eBay sees how dedicated you are is by tracking your activity.
To eBay, sending fast replies means great customer service and indicates a high levels of activity.
And high activity levels = a higher eBay ranking - not to mention as a customer wouldn’t you prefer a speedy response to your queries?
Bottom line: Always react fast to cases, messages, returns and cancellations.
Even getting 1 negative feedback for every 99 people that leave you positive feedback is damaging to your feedback score - so mastering the art of avoiding negative feedback is just as important as getting positive feedback. Here are the best ways to do it.
You buy an iPhone on eBay, and were never told that the shipping time is 3 weeks.
You buy a fur coat on eBay, and weren’t told the fur is fake.
You buy an MP4 player from eBay and aren’t told you’ll need to pay customs duty from China.
What’s the common problem?
You haven’t been properly informed, or in other words, you haven’t had your expectations properly. When buyers expectations don’t match the item or service they receive, then it’s a major cause of negative feedback.
As a seller, it’s your job to ensure buyers know what’s going on at every part of the process. Luckily we have some message templates that will help you do just that.
Message 1 - Send immediately after a purchase has been made
What’s the aim of this message?
Hi [Buyer name],
Thank you very much for your purchase! I appreciate your quick payment. I’ve left positive feedback for you. We are preparing your item for shipping and I will update you as soon as possible with the tracking number. We estimate it will take around X days before your item ships.
Thanks for shopping at [your store name], I appreciate your business and look forward to seeing you again soon. Have a nice day (:
Message 2 - Send just after the item has shipped
What’s the aim of this message?
Good news, [Buyer name]. Your order shipped on [Date].
Your shipment is on the way and it will get to you in [X] business days.
I've included tracking information, so you can easily follow its progress.
Please note that it may take up to 24 hours for your tracking data to appear on the carrier's website.
We hope you enjoy your purchase and thank you again for shopping at [your store name].
Please leave us a 5 star rating and positive feedback on eBay if you enjoy the item or let us know if there’s an issue so we can quickly resolve it for you.
If you’re in a zombie apocalypse, it probably wouldn’t be advisable to walk around a bunch of graveyards, knocking on the tombstones.
Similarly on eBay, you’re ill-advised to go around “waking the dead”.
What do we mean by this? Well, a lot of eBay sellers send a message after the customer has received their item, but by this time it’s too late.
You don’t want to “wake up” someone that isn’t happy with the item, and asking them for positive feedback at this stage will only make the situation worse.
Whilst sending reminders for feedback can increase the amount of positive feedback, it also increases the amount of negative feedback too - and eBay cares about the percentage of positive to negative feedback as an indicator of satisfaction.
Your best bet is to stick to sending a message after the buyer makes an order, and immediately after the item ships to avoid this potential trap.
If there’s something that eBay really hates, it’s when you sell an item that you don’t actually have. Unfortunately though, it happens. With hundreds of items being sold at a time, sellers lose track of their inventory. And dropshippers often list items that later become unavailable.
Handle the situation correctly, and you’ll face no problems from the buyer or from eBay.
But handle the situation wrongly, and you could lose your sales ranking pretty quickly.
So here’s our advice on how to handle everything as a seller when you sell an out of stock item.
On eBay you have 3 options when cancelling an order:
You might be thinking, ah simple, I’ll just click the “I don’t have this item in stock anymore”.
Don’t do this! Don’t do this! Don’t do this!
Even if your item is out of stock, you should never cancel an order by choosing the option “I don’t have this item in stock anymore” because it’ll result in you getting a defect.
Getting defects can cause eBay to lower your ranking in the search results which means less sales for you.
So how should you handle it?
The trick is to contact the buyer and ask them to cancel the order themselves or make them aware that you’re cancelling the order for a different reason.
Let’s see an example of how this can be done:
Thank you for purchasing from my store.
I’m sorry to let you know but when we were processing your order we found a defect in your product and we didn’t want to send you a defective item.
This is why I had to refund your payment. In the meantime, please don’t order this item again until I have all the answers from the manufacturer as it was sent for further inspection.
If you decide not to repurchase then I understand.
Again, I’m very sorry about this situation and I hope you accept my apology. As I consider your satisfaction as my top priority, the feedback you provide means a lot to me.
Please let me know if there are any other issues I can help you with.
Always remember that people make decisions based on emotions so if you can share a story with the buyer about yourself and the business then you’ll be more persuasive and buyers are likely to be a bit more forgiving.
Here’s an example in action:
I am truly sorry for the inconvenience.
This is our family business and the main source of income to myself, my wife and our newborn son.
We did our best to deliver the item on time but due to some issues with the carrier, there will be a delay of 3 days.
Again, I’m very sorry about this issue and I hope you accept my apology. As I consider your satisfaction as my top priority, the feedback you provide means a lot to me. I hope you understand the situation.
Please let me know if there are any other issues I can help you with.
Thanks for reading the article. Download all our message templates to help get you more feedback and increase your eBay ranking by clicking here to get our free PDF