I can’t stand eBay anymore!
Maybe Amazon.com has just spoiled me but dealing with eBay is just awful. I remember a long time ago when eBay just felt like a garage sale. Seller fees were reasonable and putting up a listing didn’t take 45 minutes.
As a buyer: It was fun bidding on items. I’ve now grown tired of it. I just want what I want at a good price.
As a seller: It’s never been more annoying.
Why was eBay started in the first place?
To make it easier for people to sell the crap that they have no more use for. Simple right? How did it become a marketplace of chaos?
As a seller: It’s become too expensive and too much of a hassle.
I recently put up around 20 listings, nothing sold, I paid eBay $230. Seriously?!
If I had a yard sale and nothing sold, I’d just have wasted my time but it wouldn’t have cost me anything.
Not to mention that I could’ve set up a physical yard sale in the time it took to put up all of those eBay listings.
It makes me not even want to sell on eBay. It could wind up costing me money.
Why the hell is it so complicated? Seriously? It’s 2010…for another few weeks at least, and eBay still feels like Web 1.0.
How does it serve ANYONE to have some listings with subtitles and others without subtitles? Why are we charging for text characters?
Why does having a a bold/strong HTML tag cost so much money?
<b> </b> <—$4 for that?!?! or this–> <strong> </strong>?!?!
Why are we limiting free photos to 1?! Seriously? 1 photo? How does this serve the buyer? How does this serve the seller?
Again, eBay is nickel and dime-ing every part of the process and it’s maddening.
How to fix it:
Enter the following information.
- Condition (New, Refurbished, Used or Broken)
- Description (up to 1000 characters)
- Pictures (up to 10 pictures, eBay-hosted or externally hosted)
- Add video capability (up to 2, embed from YouTube or Vimeo)
- Category (up to 2)
- Tags (up to 20)
- Auction Price
- Reserve Price
- Buy it Now Price
- Best Offer (Y/N)
- Shipping options
- Return Policy (As-is with no returns OR returns within 14 – 30 days)
Listings should be consistant, clean and easy-to-follow. Designer themes look like crap. If anything, let people choose some fonts. That’s it.
No designs, no frills, bells or whistles. That’s what stores are for…I’ll elaborate in the next section.
At the bottom of the page, put a Disqus-like commenting system. People can ask questions and the seller could answer.
Make EVERY listing $1 for up to one year. It can stay up as long as you want. How simple is that?
Ebay charges the seller a flat rate of like 5% of the sale price for EVERYTHING from ear buds to automobiles. How simple is that?
eBay has stores but quite honestly they don’t serve people like me, the original target customer. I have stuff to sell now and again but not all the time. I don’t want to pay $15/month but I’d like to have some space to showcase my goods that are for sale. How is it that WordPress can offer free domains for blogs, Gmail can offer virtually unlimited email storage and Flickr will give 100MB per month of photo and video uploads yet eBay acts like web hosting is at an all-time premium?
How stores should work:
Let anyone sign up to have a store for no charge. Have them choose to make their stores public or private (for a small extra cost $5 / year). Give them a vanity URL. Charge people monthly rent to have a store front. Let them design it HOWEVER they want! No additional charges. Make rent based on number of items.
That now becomes MY storefront, I have incentive to share that store with others. I have a connection with eBay…my own page! If I don’t list anything it just sits there and I don’t pay a thing. If I list 5 things, charge me a fee for 5 items. Create a weighted structure so the more items you list, the cheaper it is per item. This appeals to everyone, power-sellers and the every-once-in-a-while seller.
Make it easy to embed the store into a Facebook tab. Make it easy to drop a store widget onto my blog.
EBay reviews are awful
The 80 character review snippets are worthless.
“great seller and eBayer. A++”
What does that tell you about the experience really?
Amazon has a useful and easy to follow system. You get an average rating based on a total of 5 stars and the reviews can be very detailed about the product. If you have a good experience or a bad experience you can talk about it.
With eBay, the buyer gets to leave one 80 character comment, to which the sellar can respond in 80 characters and then the buyer gets the final say. This is nonsense!
I recently had a very rude buyer who left me negative feedback in spite of the fact that I did absolutely everything I could to appease them including a full refund. Yet they get the last word which includes baseless accusations. So now I have 1 negative feedback which just annoys the crap out of me.
How to fix it:
To review a seller, use a thumbs up, thumbs down system: two thumbs up, one thumb up, thumbs down or two thumbs down.
Or use a rating out of 5 stars system…like everyone else. A seller with a 4.5 star rating means a lot more than someone with a 3200 and a purple star next to their name. A seller with 400 thumbs up and 3 thumbs down means more than all that other stuff they are currently showing me.
Then…this part is crucial, let people review and response.
Get rid of that ridiculous 80 character limit. Instead create a commenting system similar to Disqus. Let it go out into the social world and let people explain the situation. If the shipping was slow, let the buyer say that in their own words, if the seller had a reason, let them explain themselves. How does it help ANYONE to limit it to one small exchange with a really small character limit?
I know eBay needs to make money…
…but thus far it seems like their plan is to hide more fees. How about a different approach? Make it easier for sellers and buyers and they will bring in more business on their own.
Finally, a few other ideas:
- Let me see my entire buying and selling history, seriously.
- Let me integrate with my social graph by hitting “Like” for my favorite sellers and listings I’m interested in.
- Add a Tweet button too.
- Create eBay affiliates which would in turn create a micro-community of deal finders that profit from finding deals and sharing them online.
- Have eBay become a concierge for quick buying. If someone comes to the site looking for a Apple trackpad, for example, eBay could find the average final sale price from all of eBay and offer it at that price. When someone purchases at that price, eBay goes out and buys it at the lowest price available, ships directly to the seller and keeps the difference.
- If anyone reads this entire post and decides that they’d like to start their own auction site using these ideas, I’d like in on it please, I’ve got more ideas.