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home | Free Articles | Seven things Ive done to improve my . . .

Seven things I've done to improve my eBay Detailed Seller Ratings
Cindy Shebley
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Seven things I've done to improve my eBay Detailed Seller Ratings (DSR)

I'm not a high volume eBay seller. In the past I've focused on higher priced/new items that would take a minimum in listing time. I choose that business model because it would free up my time for teaching and writing. However, it put me at a disadvantage when it comes to the the eBay Detailed Seller Ratings (DSR) because of the way eBay uses percentages, as well as total score, to award the sellers with the Top Rated Seller status.

To find out more about the eBay Requirements See information here

Since I sell many items drop shipped from the manufacture the mark-up is brutally low, and I rely on the extra 20% seller fee rebate for being a Top Rated Seller (TRS) to make a profit.

So, last year when faced with the loss of TRS status, I had to revamp and re-look at my selling mode. I've changed my inventory mix (which I'll write about in another article) and implemented a few new listing strategies that may help you as well.

Websellers' Circle Members are free to use this graphic for their listing. You'll find a high resolution copy in the download library.
Websellers' Circle Members are free to use this graphic for their listing. You'll find a high resolution copy in the download library.

Here's what I've been doing:

  • I started selling a very low price item -- under $2.00. In the past I wouldn't have considered a $2.00 sale worth my time. If I had something that sold for under $5 or $10 I would have bundled the item with another to bring the total up. But I've changed my mind. To build my feedback I purchased a lot of microfiber cloths, parted them out and sell them individually as lens cleaning clothes for $1.97 each with free shipping. The desired result of doing this: More sales and feedback volume. I offer free shipping so I automatically receive a 5 star DSR for shipping. This helps dilute the low DSR scores with more volume.

  • I've started listing my location as the actual location of the drop shipping warehouse (not my location)*. The desired result: Fewer misunderstandings about length of time to receive due to cross country shipping. Because I've had several 'dings' to my DSR's for slow shipping that may have come from buyers that specifically purchased from my listing because they saw my business was near in location to them. The buyers assumed that they would receive the item quickly. I've concluded that if they understand the item is farther than expected they will understand the shipping lag. (or move on and purchase from another seller).

  • I offer FREE Shipping whenever it is possible. Desired results: eBay gives automatic 5 star DSR ratings on shipping and handling when you offer free shipping. Those automatic 5 stars will help offset the grumpy buyer who leaves low DSR scores because they felt they paid too much in shipping on those big, heavy and bulky items that go cross country.

  • No USPS Parcel Post shipping. In the past I've sent the items with free shipping via USPS parcel post (which is still the least expensive way in many cases) -- but because of non-tracking and super slow shipments -- I will only use the more expensive, quicker, alternatives. Desired results: fewer low DSR scores from buyers who don't see tracking and have waited longer than they anticipated because of USPS parcel posts super slow delivery.

  • No International sales. Yes, that's correct -- I don't ship international on most all my items. Desired results: fewer low ratings for items not received or slow/lost shipments due to customs, as well as fewer buyers giving retaliatory low scores because I won't fib on the custom forms. Will I lose sales? A few, yes, however there is a new whole cottage industry on eBay. They're buying on behalf of International buyers. They then have the items shipped to a USA address and once received and inspected forward it onto the end customer. I'm more than happy to sell to this way -- these forwarding services can deal with the customs and shipping logistics.

  • Adding an image to the gallery with an arrow that states "scroll down for a complete description" Desired results: Fewer Not As Described dings from users who don't understand there's more information below the fold. I've received low scores for 'not as described' and as nearly as I could tell (because the scores are anonymous) the buyer didn't make it completely down the page, past the eBay stuff, to actually read the dimensions, condition, etc on the items. My hope is that by putting in the little graphic it tells the newbie buyers that there is more information farther down the page.

  • I'm a lot quicker to use the 'block buyer' feature. If I don't like the tone of the buyer question I instantly block them. Desired results: Fewer hostage feedback and low DSR scores from potentially unhappy customers. In the past I may have tried to engage with a customer who asks why my shipping is too high, or other questions that signaled a not so smooth transaction - but anymore, I won't take the risk. Ask me a question before the end of action, most likely you'll end up on my blocked list. Yes, fewer sales - but if I can't make a profit on existing sales I won't be in business very long.

Those are a few things I've changed and tried to regain my TRS status. Over the last few months I've regained it, then lost it, then regained it, then lost it. It's frustrating, but more to the point, it hurts the profit margins. On the 21th, the day after I've lost my TRS status -- I see a marked decrease (20 -40%) in sales as well as the loss of the rebated fees. The buyers don't come back until I've regained TRS status and eBay elevates my listings in search algorithm.

I keep tweaking my listings and offerings to make sure I'm doing the best I can to describe the item accurately, ship quickly and remain fair and friendly. With the changes above, I believe the TRS score will stick within the next few cycles.
What have you changed or are doing to keep your DSR scores high? Would love to hear it -- please join us in the discussion forum with your tips and techniques.

*nexus is an issue here, if a seller is using a warehouse in another state to house their inventory and ship, then that state may consider the activity as doing business within their state and you may need to get a business license and remit sales tax for that state. See your business lawyer and accountant for clarification.

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