Writing the best description you can and get that item SOLD. A guide for sellers from a buyer's point of view.
You know, I've been with eBay for a long time. I have several guides and have been blown away by how well they have been received. Up to now, most have been about dolls. Dolls are my personal passion, but as I look around for good deals on more and more products, I realize that there is a need for some advice for sellers who may not be able to translate my doll guides to selling other products, DUH. When I get a DUH moment, and this blonde has them often LOL, I have to fix it, or at least try. There isn't a thing in this for me.
I am a buyer and rarely a seller. As you read, you are not going to find me begging for a better deal, in fact you may find the contrary to be true. Surprise yourself. This is a guide for sellers from a buyer's point of view. I want you to sell your products because, well, believe it or not, I care.
I'm not sure what has happened here. In the past, maybe I just wasn't paying attention to other things as much OR maybe with the down-turn in the economy, more and more are selling. Since I believe it to be the latter, I would love to reach out and lend a hand. We all have special talents to bring to the table. I know about sales and marketing. So I want to share. If we can't help each other during these really hard times, who will? I want to help the sellers. I want to help them because I know how hard they work and how little reward there really is. I also know that in many cases lately their hands are tied by some new regulations. I need say no more about that. I think by trying to help the sellers, I am also helping the buyers. Read on please. I think you will get it quickly.
I have a couple of degrees, in business/marketing, so maybe I can be of service. Do I know everything? (well if you promise not to tell my husband, no). I do know a thing or two about how to get a product sold. So why the heck aren't I raking in the cash myself? Actually, I haven't been well for the past few years, so the shipping and the listing and all that goes into actually being a seller myself is a bit more than I am up for at the moment, but why not try to give a little boost to someone else who may be struggling and not even realize why?
Personally, I think the problem is that the seller knows what the product is all about, including the features and benefits, but perhaps does not fully realize that the buyer may not. I notice more and more as I shop on line, (unable to actually get out there and shop in stores), that my questions aren't answered in the descriptions of products offered for sale. Often, the auction is close to ending by the time I find it, and I have no time to even get those questions answered. I hate it when an auction or even a buy-it-now ends unsold. I know how difficult and expensive it is to go through the process of selling just to be left with a perfectly good item that didn't sell. Worse, sometimes, you know that people have visited your product page or have watched it. Why didn't it sell? What the heck went wrong? Let's see if we can find out together. Are you with me?
When you write a description, it is your only chance to make a first impression. IT IS YOUR SALES PITCH! Let's say 100 people are selling a blue pencil. Now let's say that Martha is one of those 100 people. Why should people buy HER blue pencil out of the 100 blue pencils to choose from? HUM.
Martha says in her description she is selling a blue pencil for 99 cents with free shipping. Her feedback is fine. People have said nice things about her. She uses a pretty background for her page and even uses a bold outlined listing.
The auctions end. 99 of the 100 pencils sold. Only 1 lonely blue pencil did not sell. YEP, you guessed it, poor Martha's. The sweet little lady from the mid west with the good feedback, the fair price, the attractive page and the free shipping did not sell hers. You notice that some of the others sold for more and some even paid a little shipping. So why didn't Martha sell that doggone pencil? Anybody's hand up? No?
Well, here's what I think. Martha made a couple big mistakes on a small item. First, she was selling a blue pencil. BUT, was the pencil blue or did the pencil write in blue? AH HA! Was it a NEW pencil? Was it a number 2 pencil? Did it have an eraser? Did it come in wrapper? Was it a mechanical pencil? How long was the pencil? OK OK, enough already about the pencil, but are you starting to see where I'm going with this? Yeah, I see more hands up now. I even see a few light bulbs over a few heads. (I'm a mom, grandma, and even a great grandma. I have eyes in the back of my head and I can even see through computer screens so don't give me that look Susan!).
Now let's pick on Paul. Paul has a pair of jeans for sale. Everyone knows what jeans are. No need to even put a picture up for jeans, right? A jean by any other name is still as comfy and practical right? Here is Paul's listing nestled among literally hundreds and hundreds of jeans for sale or auction. "One pair mens' Wrangler jeans 38/32 worn once. No rips, stains or defects. Will ship within two days of payment clearing, paypal preferred. Biddiing starts at 5.00. Three day auction." There was even a stock photo of Wrangler jeans.
Like Martha, Paul has a good feedback record. He has not been on eBay long, but there have been enough sales to make you feel comfortable that Paul is a good guy. You put these jeans on your watch list. Probably, so did a lot of other people. When the auctions end, you notice that Paul's went unsold. You didn't buy them and neither did anyone else. Puzzling. Lots of other Wranglers, same size and higher prices were sold. Some of the seller were even newer than Paul. Some had less positive feedback than Paul did and some a bit better, but what went wrong? He gave all the information you need to make an informed decision didn't he? Whoo Hoo, I see lots of hands up now!!
RIGHT YOU ARE! Paul made a couple critical mistakes. Anyone care to share their take on this one? Ok Mildred in California (this is a lot more fun than I thougt it would be). Mildred says, "Well, what color are they?" Well done Mildred! A stock picture would not necessarily tell you that would it? Randy in New Mexico says, "Are they boot cut, flare leg, straight leg, I mean what is the cut?" Way to go Randy my boy! OK, now we will hear from Jennifer in Florida. "My husband was going to bid, but he wanted to know if they were low rise." So once again, good question. All that said, we're going to leave Paul to ponder his mistakes but only after I tell you that there is no mention of shipping cost, pockets or wash (by which I mean acid wash etc.) and no return policy/satisfaction noted.
Since we're on a roll here, let's try one more. This is Linda in New York. Linda is selling a "designer" purse. What woman doesn't want a great bargain on a designer purse? OK OK, I know there are a few who would not gets their knickers in knots about it, but most of us love shoes and bags. I think it is a gene yet to be discovered. Some women have it, others don't or choose to ignore it. Fair enough? OK, then back to Linda. She writes this description, "Prada(tm) handbag. Brown leather hobo, ten inches deep, by five inches wide. Double handles, nine inch drop, brass hardware, silk lining, Prada(tm) insignia on front. Never used. New with tags. Free shipping within the lower 48 US states" There is a photo of the bag, photos of the inside, and the starting bid is $100. The description goes on to say, "All sales final, no returns or refunds." Holy Moly! You salivate. You watch this thing for DAYS. You plan your attack. You read up on sniping. Is it possible you will soon be carrying the coveted Prada(tm) for only $100! The big day arrives. NO BIDS. OH MY STARS only 5 minutes left. Your hands begin to tremble, beads of perspiration form on your forhead. You check Linda's feedback one more time, all seems to be in order. You're down to that critical 1minute mark. You know instinctively there are at least 10 or more others going through the same thing. You make your decision. You enter your higest bid just to make sure you win. You have to enter it twice, your hands are shaking. You can't watch as the seconds tick down. You finally get the courage to look and YOU WON!!!!!!!! You don't know whether to cry or to laugh, to dance or make a dash for the bathroom. You can't decide to call your best friend or wait to casually toss it on her sofa when you visit her the day it arrives. You pay so fast that you get your paypal receipt before the invoice arrives. Now you wait at your front door every day for a week ready to knock down the mail carrier if he or she is carrying a box and heading toward your house.
After what seems to be an eternity, the big day arrives. You throw the other mail on the floor, and ruin a perfectly good manicure ripping through the endless tape on the box. You hear a chorus of angels as the packing peanuts start flying and the grail is revealed. You remove it from the box as though it were plastic explosives, savoring each and every moment. This is every holiday you can think of all wrapped into one. You shall never want for anything again. You gingerly remove the purse from the packaging, the tag flutters against your skin. You breakout in goose bumps. And suddenly, a bucket of ice water is thrown in your face. The tag says, MADE IN CHINA. Ladies, Prada(tm) isn't made in China. You are face to face with the dreaded knock off.
Now what? No returns or refunds, all sales final. The description did not say guaranteed authentic. You write to Linda, you are angry. She swears she didn't know it was fake. You took the risk. Buyer beware? Maybe Linda is a sweetheart and an honest one at that and agrees to let you return it. Maybe she knew it all along. Maybe you're just stuck. You could have written her and asked if it were authentic. I guess hind sight really is 20/20. No matter, you're crushed. Come on, did you honestly think that you were getting the real deal, brand new, for a hundred dollars? Really? And no one else bid??? Here's a tissue love, but you made a mistake, and in all fairness, so did Linda. She should have written a better description. She should have come clean and told you what the tags said. She told you they were there so she should have told you what they said or photographed them. Honesty people, honesty! Be very honest and very careful. I guess I'm leaning toward if she really didn't know it wasn't the real deal, why not tell what was on those tags. Or as I said before, show them in the photo.
Folks, PLEASE, be very specific about every detail of your item. Pretend you are explaining it to someone who can't see. Leave NOTHING out. The smallest detail to you may make or break it for a buyer. Lets get these descriptions right and get these items sold! We're all in this economy together. The sellers need to make some money and the buyer needs to save a little. Be specific and be very careful to explain every feature and every benefit and every single detail.
I hope I buy my next blue pencil, my next pair of jeans or my next designer purse from YOU. If you tell me all the details, explain all the features, give me the sizes, tell me the condition, give me a reason to buy from YOU instead of another seller, being that you stood out from the pack with a great description, I am sure I will. Heck, I might pay a bit more because it tells me that you cared enough about my satisfaction to give me the information I needed to make an informed decision and that you took pride in what you had to sell. If any of this made sense to you, and if you had a little fun thinking of your description in a different way, I consider this guide a success.
No way are we going to get back on our feet alone. We need one another more right now than probably ever before in our life times. Lets do what we've always done when the chips are down. Roll up our sleeves, take a deep breath, get serious, help each other in any way we can and make a difference. If you see a fellow seller with a mistake on a listing, drop a friendly little note. Buyers, I challenge you to do it too. I've done it, no one has ever been angry, they have always been so nice and seemed so grateful. eBay is a huge community. Can you imagine what could happen if it all started here, and fanned out to other large communities across the country and around the world? Just reaching out to make things as good as we can by sharing our talents, our experience and ourselves to make the lives of others better? Best of all, it doesn't cost one red cent to make a difference like this. My sermon is over, but we've just started. Have fun, and laugh every day. No one can stay angry when laughing.
Happy selling and best of luck with your auctions and remember, Details guys, details!!!