Not every eBay seller uses eBay to sell tangible consumer products of one kind or another. Some eBay sellers specialize instead in non-tangible goods (information, software, or data of various kinds that's delivered entirely virtually) while others still are sellers of services (their time, expertise, and/or labor.
Selling intangible goods can pose special problems for sellers and their feedback and seller performance ratings because it's often tough to keep buyers and sellers on the same page without a recognizable brand name, product, and/or photo to clarify what the listing is offering. Here are eight tips to help sellers of non-tangible goods to perform on eBay.
- Be very clear about what you're selling. This is often a big
problem for service sellers, who often fail to
title right by using ambiguous titles ("My expertise in home remodeling
at your service!" or "Professional real estate investor can help inspire
your group!") that don't tell buyers what they're purchasing or
on before compounding the problem with descriptions that don't make this
clear either. Before posting a listing for intangible goods, ask yourself
what, exactly, are you offering to deliver or to do, where
will you deliver or do this, for how long, and precisely what is included so
that you can be clear about this to your buyer ("Home Remodeling: Five hours
expert consulting by phone or Skype!" or "Real Estate Investing: Expert
one-hour onsite lecture for your group")
- Don't lead with personal hype. There is a place in your listing
for bullet lists of your personal qualifications and accolades, but it's not
at the beginning, where this can turn into a soup of superlatives that leave
your buyer wondering what's actually on offer and why they should care
whether or not you're so great. At most, include one brief and very general
statement of qualifications to start your description or listing ("I have 20
years experience in home remodeling and have won awards at dozens of
regional expos" or "Thousands of audience members have now heard me describe
my successful career in real estate investing") before spending the next
several paragraphs on the actual product you're offering (your time,
your service, etc.) rather than talking about yourself.
- Be very clear about what you're not selling. Service sellers
often get themselves into trouble by not clearly spelling out what's
excluded from the sale, leading to disputes later on when buyers expect
more than the seller was prepared to deliver. In your item description, use
disclaimers to spell out those things that might commonly be desired by
buyers but that you don't want to include in this sale ("Your purchase here
does not include additional labor time doing design work or other tasks; you
are purchasing only the telephone or Skype time, which will occur
only during normal business hours, as they are compatible with my
existing schedule" or "Note that the price you pay here does not include the
printed materials and access to my website that accompany my presentation;
your audience members will have to buy these individually").
- Be very clear about terms. There is a space in the listing form to answer this question, but it's also important to spell it out. Under what conditions will you give your buyers a refund? Under what conditions won't you give them a refund? If you offer a "satisfaction guarantee" of some kind, who gets to determine when the terms of this guarantee are met and what are you willing you do to attempt to ensure that they are met? Particularly if your labor time or other similar open-ended resources are on the hook, it's important not to open yourself to an ongoing commitment for what you thought was the price of a small, one-time job.
So far, so good. To some, these things will seem obviousbut there are some less obvious pointers that can be make-or-break as well. Read on to see them.