Monday, February 22, 2010

Pet Peeves of online shopping - Sellers beware!

When shopping online the size of the marketplace DOES matter when it comes to what the buyer expects from the site, just how far they will venture into the site., and what can turn them away from a marketplace.
EBay, Amazon, they are given more ‘free passes’ for the things that if found on the smaller venues, would cause a buyer to leave in a hurry.

On eBay and Amazon, you can find poor listings and or lack of description, seller policies that scream at you, pictures that, for the lack of a better word, simply suck, forum communities that are vile and toxic in spots, but yet the sales keep happening. Why? Their SIZE. They are big, and for some reason, buyers simply trust that if it is on eBay or Amazon it has to be a good product and the seller know what they are doing.

Now, when those same buyers come into eCrater, Esty, Bonanzle, or scores of the other smaller venues, the glasses that they use to look at the big boys come off, and the super magnifying pair go on. And the examine every little detail. Why? The site is smaller, and since smaller the trust factor is lower. A simple thing of the same in-you-face I will- You wont - policy from the same seller, that they have no problems with on eBay, can send them packing on Bonanzle.

Yes on the smaller site you have more freedom as well, to ‘dress up your place’ to fit your taste. Have fun playing buying selling games, and gab in the forums. Do you even realize that these things many be costing you, and the site as a whole sales?

I have had several people come to me, both  publicly and privately, to convey what turns them off as a buyer. The list is a good one, and I hope , an eye opener for Sellers and Site owners alike.

Just what are some of the Pet Peeves of online shoppers?
Shipping is a BIG factor:
  • When I put several items in my cart and shipping comes to 50 dollars. In turn I ask for combined shipping and they say I cant do that.. Well you lost a sale.
  • Sellers who seem to think that the only way to ship is with flat rate USPS priority mail boxes. Several times I have had to point out to a seller that they could ship their item for much less using a regular priority mail box, or a plain cardboard box with a priority mail sticker. Flat rate priority mail boxes can save money, but usually only for heavy items shipped longer distances, like all the way across the US.
  • Even if they offer free shipping, I would like to know HOW it is being shipped.
Listing/Shop/Site appearance:
  • Listings that are carry overs from other sites. Makes it confusing and crappy looking. If they can’t clean up a listing I hazard to guess how reliable they are.
  • When a place looks like a walking billboard, one half of the entire first page is nothing but advertisements and nonsense.
  • As a buyer I will leave a booth/shop immediately if I start clicking on the categories and nothing is there.
  • Listings with poor titles. I look for Wisconsin bottles, and some sellers don’t even put it in the description. It makes it VERY difficult to find things to buy.
  • Poor Photos - I can remember dozens of times (at eBay) having to squint at photos, or having to email the seller as to what the embossing/lettering is on a bottle.
  • When first thing they are smacked in the face with are ad banners and listing after listing for freebie promotions and information that has nothing to do with a venue that exists for sellers to sell their wares.
  • I have never seen so much junk for sale in my life. The real treasures are lost because no one can see them for all the stupid games people are playing.
  • What’s with all the bullet lists??? I don’t need every word bulleted for me to read.
  • Titles that do not say what the item is, they give the brand, and size but don’t tell what the item is.
  • Listings where the description is half a page
  • Listing where size , color , etc… have not been stated
  • Huge pictures in the description, overly long descriptions, blurry pictures, any mention of auction or eBay on sites other than eBay
  • Way too much flash and stuff for me. Took to long to load the page. If I have to wait, I am out of there.
  • Terms I don’t understand in listings. I am looking to buy a item. I don’t understand nor want to play the games you sellers enjoy. So why are the games titles and rules in the listing description?
  • Where are the sellers policies? How are they shipping, when will they ship? Do they accept returns? I don’t like digging for this information.
  • Terms of Service that are harsh, unfriendly and with lots of demands. Out of there quicker than flynn.
  • Having to ask if they ship to Canada and how much. Puleaase… either say you do or say you don’t – so that I’m not wasting my time.
  • Venturing into the forums and seeing them complain about a buyer in public. THAT Makes me think twice about shopping there.
  • The promotions forum  full of sellers offering the most desperate looking and ridiculous markdowns
  • Sellers with 100s of feedbacks for nothing but low cost junket $1 items.
  • Inflated postage. Item - $1 - shipping $20 .
And AFTER the sale:

  • I like when a seller keeps in touch such as notification of receipt of payment and notification of item sent. Communication is great customer service.
  • No communication from the seller. It takes maybe 30 seconds to send a message that says thanks for the order, I’ll be shipping tomorrow (or whenever). Isn’t my business worth that 30 seconds?
  • Shoddy packing…I have received on a few occasions items just thrown in the package. No tissue, no nothing; not even a business card or receipt. That just speaks volumes to me that they don’t care and just want it ‘out’.
  • When you pay $6.00 Priority shipping and when you receive your package, you notice that the seller sent it First Class for $1.48. They will never see me again.
  • I have received items that smell like perfume. I cannot stand any perfume, never did as a kid, and still don’t like it. I have tossed items as well so I don’t have to smell the stuff.
  • As a buyer, the biggest turn off for me is an item that I buy that smells like smoke. I have literally thrown the item out.
  • Sellers who describe an item as being mint, but it has this big crack in the back. If it’s damaged it isn’t mint.
  • when dryers sheets are packed in or a bottle of febreeze is used to attempt to mask an odor.
  • Freebies - I like getting freebies
  • What is up with them packing extra junk in? I bought a piece of vintage glass, and got a McDonalds Beanie Baby thrown in as a gift? Please, keep it unless it goes with the kind of item I just bought.
This is just SOME of the responses I have gotten and have heard, and I know everyone got their own pet peeves when buying from online sellers.

What are some of yours? Where do you find the best service from? The big boy places of eBay and Amazon? Or the smaller venues of Bonanzle, eCrater etc? Your input can help a seller give you a better experience the next time you shop.


Renagade is a dealer of music and other collectable items on eBay, Amazon, Bonanzle as well as

Thanks go out to fellow sellers on Bonanzle and to non eCommerce friends whom made this blog post possible. I myself have learned a lot!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Self proclaimed 'experts' and the need to research

There are many courses and classes, webinars and seminars and self proclaimed 'experts' in the eCommerce world today. Many are good, with great information and tips on just how to maneuver the highway of online selling. These people do research and work the platform they are teaching about. But far too many others do not.

I ran across a blog post today on Social Media and the effects on marketing A Little Class on the Internet: Leverage Matters: Social Media . Interesting title, and good point on how social media does have an important role in marketing, but the author made a crucial mistake. He failed to research and give all the facts.
He took the social media statistics of three online marketplaces. Etsy , Bonanza, and Zazzle as examples, but overlooked, or failed to fully research, all the places Bonanza and Zazzle have, clearly slanting the post to favor Etsy.

The tagline, or description of this blog is

“A blog for students of Professor Kagan's internet course to comment and highlight class topics. From the various channels for marketing on the internet, to multimedia and e-commerce business models, anything related to the class is fair game.”

I rarely call out someone like this, but I attempted to post a comment on the blog to let he or she know that Bonanza for one does have more going for them in social media than what the author stated , but found the blog was locked to only comments for the ‘students’.

So, Mbaker, I am offering my comment here:

Interesting comparisons of the sites. And yes, I feel that social media does play a very important role in success of online marketplaces.
I must point out, however, Bonanzle does have more along the lines of Social media than you reported.

Their blog, maintained by the owner himself:

They have had three different podcasts with the focus of Bonanzle, the latest being the Bonanzle Boardroom:  .

They have also been the subject of many You Tube videos and blogs.
Bonanzle does have a buzz around them, and considering its youth, the buzz is a good one.
Again, good points on the importance of social media in eCommerce!

I May I add here, people, before you jump into any webinar, seminar , or take the advice of any ‘expert’, research! Just because they say something does not make it ‘Gospel’. They are, after all human too.

Ones I found do know what they are talking about:

But don’t take my word for it…..RESEARCH for yourself…. I am not an ‘Expert’….
I am just the Renagade....

Renagade is a dealer of music on vinyl and CD, PR Consultant for Indie musicians, and blogger.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Blog Basics for Basic Blogs

Blogging. Seems like everyone is doing it. You can find blogs on every subject matter, from kids to pets, from diseases to treatments, from cooking to cleaning and more. But the question is, what makes a good blog? That is kind of like art. The beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But I have found there are simple rules that seem to work to make a blog worth reading.

The basics of blogs are simple.

  1. PICK A TOPIC- stick to something you are passionate about and the words shall come to you.
  2. CHOOSE A SITE - There are several sites to post a blog, the two most popular are Wordpress and Blogger. Blogger is the easier of the two.
  3. SELECT AN APPROPERATE LAYOUT - Let the layout be a reflection of you and more importantly, the overall subject of the blog. Don’t use a background for kids if you are writing about business.
  4. K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Stupid - Try not to ramble. Get to the point.
  5. WRITE ONLY WHEN YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY- Many people think you need to write Daily. If your are using your blog as a daily journal - yes. But if not, don’t feel like you HAVE to post everyday.
  6. READ IT - Yes people, read and re-read you post. Is it good? Did you cover the topic well? Did you spell everything correctly? Would YOU read it if it wasn't yours?
  7. JUST DO IT - Just Do It! ( What part of THAT don’t you understand?)
  1. ADVERTISE- Many brag about the items they sold or post a grocery list of items they just have listed. Sorry folks, but unless you are a dealer of collectables, art, antiques, etc and are giving some solid information about the item, this to me is pointless. Really, does anyone care if you just listed 100 sets of Fruit of the Loom Spiderman boxers? There are places and widgets to use to promote your items, use them effectively.
  2. SLAM - Sure everyone ‘rants’ from time to time….I have done so here. But do NOT personally “Call out” someone.
  3. FORGET TO GIVE CREDIT - Give credit when credit is due. Linking to others works wonders.
Personally, either amuse me or inform me or I am out of there. For examples of some of the blogs I find to be worthwhile, Look at my Blog Log on the sidebar here. They are some of the best out there.

What do you look for in a blog? What turns you off from one?


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Are those britches getting tight?

Last year I had the wonderful opportunity to attend my first ECMTA seminar in Atlanta. Among many things I took away from this was self confidence and belief in my ability and pride in what I do. I have gone from someone who sells used records online, to a dealer in vinyl. From a blogger to a reviewer of music. And my site, Renagade's Relics evolved from a site with links to where I sell, to a site showcasing some of the best Indies musicians around.

One thing that I would like to think hasn't changed is me.

Everyone strives to move up and forward. Ambition is good, for to want to better oneself is what keeps us alive. But the question is, as you move forward are you careful not to step on others along the way? Do you find yourself forming new friendships based on who they are on the inside, or because of who they are in the world? When you converse with others, are you talking with them, at them, or down to them? Basically, as my Daddy would say, are you getting too big for those britches?

Yes, it is good to present yourself with an air of professionalism. It is when the air gets oversaturated with professionalism that it becomes stale and hard to breathe in. When your desire to succeed overruns your ability to talk with people and share your wisdom as opposed to talking at people boasting your knowledge, it may be time to take a long hard look in the mirror. And make sure its a rearview mirror. Only when you remember your past is the future sweet.