Securing and maintaining eBay’s Top-Rated Seller status should be high on any seller’s to do list. eBay education specialist Mark Buckingham offers a few top tips to help you bolster the fortunes of your eBay Empire …


Introduced in October, the Top-rated Seller programme distinguishes the cream of eBay sellers. There’s little proof thus far that not having it will significantly hurt your eBay sales, but it’s well worth going the extra mile to attain such hallowed status. Arguably, eBay have raised the bar a little too high for certain sellers – there are mixed feelings in the Powerseller community, especially amongst those selling large, heavy, or fragile items more prone to delivery complications – but TRS is here to stay and it is achievable for the majority:

  • Strive for 5 stars: Avoiding low 1 and 2 stars is key to the Top-Rated programme, so communicate to your buyers the importance of Detailed Seller Ratings and feedback. Use your custom emails in Selling Manager Pro to keep your customers apprised, add compliment slips to remind your buyers where they bought the item from and highlight other special offers, and don’t hesitate to pick up the phone if a buyer isn’t happy.
  • Get to grips with Best Match: From meeting eBay’s basic seller standards, to understanding recent sales score and impressions it’s well worth doing a little homework to get to grips with exactly how Best Match sorts matching listings. I’d go as far as to say this is the single main area most sellers I’ve talked to continue to neglect, to their disadvantage. Get Best Match savvy, and you’ll reap the rewards.

  • Pick your ‘carrots’:  Top-Rated Seller is partly calculated by number of transactions, so consider adding cheaper cost-neutral lines that will sell in volume and could help pad out your feedback, and help absorb any low scores. It will also help generate extra footfall into your shop. Don’t forget to use Good-til-Cancelled multi-quantity listings to save you re-listing the item and jeopardising your sales-score.
  • Manage buyer expectations: setting and exceeding expectations is all-important. In my experience, a buyer won’t mind waiting a week if they know in advance. If you’re shipping an item that will be pre-booked by the couriers using a 2-man delivery, ensure your buyer doesn’t expect it yesterday. It’s best to lower expectations and exceed, than promise a turnaround time you can’t realistically fulfil.
  • Anticipate problems: LLook at your Detailed Seller Rating and feedback history and see where low scores and non-positive comments have been left, and look for trends. Perhaps particular lines in your shop catergory are more problematic than others? If so, take time to give those buyers extra-special customer service.
  • Offer free P&P: this is part of the Best Match algorithm – eBay have announced that they give a boost to listings offering free P&P. Of course, there’s rarely such a thing as free carriage, but it pays to build it into your unit cost, or subsidise it as best you can. It simplifies the buyer experience and means less risk of buyers leaving low feedback for perceived high carriage cost. And anything that can help raise your sales can’t be a bad thing.
  • Beat thy competition: Frooition customer’s already have an advantage over most sellers who don’t have a professional setup. But it still pays to know your competition and to be creative. Get into the habit of scouring eBay’s Completed Items searches and other research products like Terapeak, to see what your competitors are fairing. Look carefully to see what value other sellers are offering and see how you can add more value and stand out from the crowd. Be creative. Consider embellishing your gallery thumbnails and consider adding a subtitle if you haven’t already. Even stating the RRP and amount saved might mean the difference between a winning a loyal buyer or giving your competitors the upper hand. And we don’t want that.

Here’s wishing you every success!

Mark Buckingham

eBay business consultant

Categories: E-commerce, eBayTags: ,

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