Seller Blog

Ping – what it means for you

Ping By Trade Me

This week we began rolling out our new instant payment system, Ping, to some members who applied for early access. To find out more about what Ping is and how it works, check out our help pages or tutorial video.

Below are some answers to the common questions we’ve been asked about Ping and clarification on what Ping means for you.

What’s Ping?

Ping is our new instant payment system. As a seller, you’ll receive money instantly into your Ping balance regardless of whether a buyer has paid with their bank account, credit/debit card, or Ping balance. You can then use this money in your Ping balance to pay for items on Trade Me, or transfer it out to your bank account.

For more information, please have a look at our help pages or FAQs.

Why did you create Ping?

We want to improve the Trade Me experience for all of our members, whether they’re buying or selling.

For lots of our members, the hassle of swapping bank accounts or jumping over to internet banking to pay the person they’re trading with is a pain point, and potentially a barrier to using Trade Me. Ping cures the pain and will make the process of buying and selling easier and faster.

What are the benefits?

By removing barriers to purchase and making payments faster, we expect Ping to increase transaction volumes, meaning more sales for sellers who accept Ping payments.

Ping, along with our courier booking service and Buyer Protection, are all aimed at making it easier to buy and sell on Trade Me.

A snapshot of Ping’s current benefits include:

  • It’s fast. As a seller you’ll receive bank payments instantly, just like credit card payments.
  • Ping will save you time as it will reduce the need to search for payments in your bank account.
  • Ping enables you to ship goods straight away. There’s no more waiting for funds to clear into your bank account as the money will instantly show in your Ping balance.
  • If a buyer’s bank payment defaults or doesn’t go through, we’ll take care of this with the buyer and it won’t affect sellers. You’ll be able to send the goods and will still have the money in your Ping balance (and that’s where it will stay).
  • There are improved balance withdrawal options for sellers either on an automated daily basis or manually when it suits you.
  • Every Trade Me member will be able to buy and sell with Ping – over time we’ll put it on all accounts, no signup required.
  • Ping will provide split payments for buyers, meaning they’ll be able to pay with a combination of Ping balance and either their bank account or credit/debit card.
  • The Top Seller discount applies to Ping transactions, bringing the 1.95% fee down to 1.65%

What are the future plans for Ping?

We’re still developing Ping to make it extra awesome. Over time we’ll be working on the following:

  • Refunds for Ping payments (bank account refunds will become as easy as credit card refunds). Sellers will be able to issue multiple refunds per transaction.
  • Updates to the Ping ledger including more search filters, ability to export transactions and GST receipts.
  • Ping will be integrated with listing tools.
  • Plus a bunch more stuff that will make Ping better and easier for you.

Why am I being charged 1.95% (or 1.65% for Top Sellers) to receive bank transfers?

There is a fee involved with bank transfers through Ping because this type of payment (instant payment confirmation from a bank account) is unique and not commonly offered online. Unlike a direct bank transfer, bank payments with Ping ensure sellers receive the money instantly into their Ping balance.

This allows you to easily track the payment and ship the goods faster. Like Pay Now, Ping provides safety and certainty for both the buyer and seller.

Providing a credit card-type payment experience to a larger audience comes with costs, and risks, which we are covering on your behalf to help make for a smoother buying experience on Trade Me.

You can still select bank transfer as a separate payment option, but it will be up to the buyer as to whether they use Ping or a traditional bank account transfer method.

What happens if I apply for early access to Ping?

We recommend big sellers do not sign-up as early adopters of Ping, as it doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles yet. We don’t want to create any hassles for you, and encourage you to hold fire until we have the right functionality in place.

We wanted to let all sellers know about Ping and give everyone the choice of early adoption, but there are a few things to be aware of if you do decide to apply for early access:

  • It’s currently not integrated with listing tools. We’ll be in touch with sellers who use a listing tool again when Ping is ready for them to use.
  • As Ping is not replacing Pay Now for a long time, you’d need to manage both your Ping and Pay Now ledgers. This would also mean that you would have two bank payments made to you – one from Pay Now and one from Ping.
  • Your Ping ledger will simply show payments made with Ping. There will be no breakdown or split to show you how many were made via bank transfers versus how many were made via credit card.
  • At the moment you won’t be able to process Ping refunds on your end as we’re currently building this functionality. You’ll need to get in touch with us if you need to make a Ping refund so we can do this for you.
  • For any sales made using Ping as the payment method, your buyer won’t receive the payments instructions email. This is something to be aware of if you include important information in your payments instructions, such as return policies or pick-up addresses. These will need to be emailed to the buyer separately.
  • You’ll need to have at least one other payment option on your listings in the meantime, as Ping is not yet available to all buyers. To accept card payments from all potential buyers, we recommend adding Pay Now as well as Ping until all members have access to Ping. Note that buyers will only see one of these payment options – if they have access to Ping, they won’t see the Pay Now option.

Rest assured, all of the above will be ironed out and ready to go for when Ping replaces Pay Now, and we’ll keep you in the loop on when to expect this.

I don’t offer buyers the ability to pay via their bank account. Why do I have to allow people to pay me this way with Ping?

Ping allows you to experience the benefits of Pay Now by providing access to a wider pool of buyers. It’ll work the exact same way as a credit card payment, and refunds will eventually act in the same way too.

I’ve got more questions about Ping...

Head over to our help page for sellers or drop us a line and we’ll be happy to help.

We’ve also got a Message Board thread if you’d like to chat about this post with other sellers.

Tips and tricks for competing against the big guys

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Ecommerce is a huge industry, and it’s only getting bigger. In New Zealand, more and more shoppers are going offshore for their online purchases (nearly 40%*), so as a local or small business in an ocean of ‘big guys,’ how can you compete?

Find your unique selling point

Think about what sets you apart from the big guys, whether they’re local or international. What do you offer to make someone purchase from you instead?

Is it that you can provide fast overnight shipping, or do you offer gift wrapping and personalised packaging? Maybe you offer outstanding customer service, and reply to emails within an hour. Or, do you provide great servicing, installation or repairs for products?

And exploit it!

Once you’ve pinpointed what makes you unique, tell potential buyers all about it – shout it from the rooftops! You’ll need to sell yourself by spelling out what they’re getting if they purchase from you, and why this matters to them.

The best place to do this on Trade Me is in your listing description, and you can also use the subtitle ($0.25) to add extra oomph to the title of your listing.

If you use My Products or Tradevine, you can also use the footer to easily set up this information as part of your description. This means you can edit it in bulk too. You’ll find the footer in the settings tab of My Products, or in the Trade Me settings in Tradevine.

Keep an eye on the competition

It always helps to be aware of what you’re up against. Keep an eye on your competition to see what they’re giving buyers that you can learn from. Do they have better, more eye-catching photos, or a more informative product description? Perhaps they offer a better return/refund policy that makes their buyers keep coming back.

Just take care not to copy any other sellers directly – especially when it comes to photos and descriptions as this could be a breach of their IP.

What can you do better?

Ecommerce is an ever-changing industry, and yours and your competitors’ unique selling point can shift and change with the market. Always be on the lookout for new trends, ideas, and ways you can improve your business and buyer experiences.

What are some of your own tips and tricks? Head over to the Message Board thread for this post to discuss. 

*Neilsen 2015

Business seller using book a courier? Make your couriers’ day and print your labels!

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Book a courier is our in-house courier booking service, which enables you to book competitively-priced couriers via Trade Me for your sales.

The service is quick and easy, and you can just write the booking reference number on the parcel to have your parcel picked up. When the courier grabs your parcel, they’re able to print the label on the go for you, by using the reference number.

This system is great for sellers who sell irregularly, or only have a few pickups a week. On the other hand, when it comes to business sellers who might have multiple parcels to be picked up per day, this can be a bit of a nightmare for couriers to match up.

As the couriers have to print out all the labels and match them up to the corresponding numbers (which can look very similar to each other), they can sometimes get them mixed up and have parcels go to the wrong place.

To help avoid this issue and make your couriers’ days, please ensure you print your own labels when leaving out batches of parcels. If you’re already doing this – awesome!

Using tracking is also a great way to ensure smooth sailing when it comes to couriers. Although issues can crop up, having tracking makes things much easier to resolve.

It’s also a good idea to make sure you’re familiar with what isn’t covered when sending goods by courier.

Head over to our Seller Blog Message Board thread to share your experiences with courier labels. 

Buyer Protection policy – what you need to know

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We want to make sure our members have a safe and great trading experience.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a new Buyer Protection policy. We think Buyer Protection will help drive sales on Trade Me because it’s another added measure of safety for users coming onsite.

The majority of sales go through without incident, however if something does go wrong, the Buyer Protection policy will enable customers to buy with confidence for purchases made via Pay Now.

What does this mean for sellers?

If you’re an ‘in trade’ seller, you’ll already be abiding by the Consumer Guarantees Act which protects buyers, so there shouldn’t be much change for you.

For casual sellers using Pay Now, Trade Me’s stance has always been to encourage both parties to reach a resolution when trades go south. Buyer Protection will be a last resort when an agreement is not possible.

How does it work?

As always, we encourage buyers and sellers to do their best to resolve any issues that crop up themselves.

If a buyer has been unable to reach a resolution with you, to be eligible for Buyer Protection they’ll need to file a dispute report with us within 30 days of the purchase. Trade Me will consider the situation and if appropriate, we will issue a refund if the item either:

  • hasn’t been delivered by the seller (non-delivery)
  • is materially different from what the seller described in the listing (not as described)

Only items paid for via Pay Now are eligible, and the buyer will also need to meet certain criteria in order to be qualify for a refund through Buyer Protection. 

What’s protected?

Non delivery – If items don’t arrive with the buyer at the agreed time (or, if that’s not agreed, a reasonable time), the buyer may be eligible for a refund. To reduce the chance of any issues, we recommend getting tracked and ‘signature required’ shipping, and obtaining carrier insurance.

Not as described – if goods are materially different to what was described in the listing, the buyer may be eligible for a refund. There are a few scenarios where this may be the case:

  • The buyer receives a different item, e.g. they order a large t-shirt and get sent a small.
  • The condition of the goods has been misrepresented, e.g. goods advertised as new arrive in used condition.
  • The goods arrive with missing parts or features, e.g. a buyer purchases a phone package with head phones and charger included, but only receives the phone.
  • The goods are fake, unsafe, or illegal, e.g. a buyer purchases Nike shoes, but these turn out to be counterfeit, or purchases electronics which arrive with a foreign plug.
  • The number of items is wrong, e.g. a buyer purchases three tops and receives two.
  • The goods arrive damaged, e.g. a buyer purchases some wine glasses, but these are broken when the buyer opens the packaging.

What’s not protected?

  • Where the buyer has made a mistake (like accidentally purchasing the wrong case for their phone), or simply changed their mind about a purchase.
  • If the buyer has already received a full refund from the seller, or another party, they won’t be able to receive another refund via Buyer Protection. If the buyer has only received a partial refund, we will consider the situation.
  • If the buyer damages the goods themselves during pick up (e.g., if they drop a piece of furniture when moving it to the car and break it), or they arrange for delivery to a vacant premises and the goods are taken before they pick them up, they won’t be eligible for Buyer Protection.

Some items are also excluded from Buyer Protection altogether. See our policy for more information.

What do I need to do from here?

If you’re already doing right by you buyers, Buyer Protection shouldn’t change much for you - there’s nothing you need to do other than keep providing awesome service to your buyers. We reckon Buyer Protection will result in more sales through Pay Now, so be sure to keep this option on your listings.

If a buyer does ask us to look at a dispute under Buyer Protection, we’ll touch base to notify you and get your side of the story.

Please have a good read of our Buyer Protection help pages for more information.

You can also share your thoughts on Buyer Protection on the Message Board thread for this post. 

Intellectual property, who cares right? Wrong!

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Did you know that selling fake goods is illegal in New Zealand? This may come as a shock to some sellers, but it’s the law. Any product that is a fake, copy, counterfeit, or replica of the real deal brand is a no-go, and can’t be listed on Trade Me. No exceptions.

To help police this, Trade Me has an intellectual property rights (IPR) program with a team of IPR specialists who engage with 100s of rights holders on a daily basis. When they’re contacted by a rights holder they’re obliged to act. This can result in anything from a request of information from sellers, to removal of listings from the site.

We’re pretty reasonable people here at Trade Me and we understand from time to time you may accidentally list an item that breaches IPR. This is why we usually give you a warning for a first breach. However, if you continue to abuse IPR, it can end up in restrictions on your account.

It’s not just goods that breach IPR – images or photos can also breach the Copyright Act 1994. One of the most common breaches of IPR is using photos off Google or another retailer on your listing instead of your own.

You’ll also need to be careful around using registered trademarks when describing goods – if you’re selling fibreglass insulation, you can’t call it Pink Batts or Batts unless it’s actually the Pink Batts brand! Our Trust & Safety team have written up a great blog post on this and other trademarks that Kiwis know and love but may be misusing.

If you breach IPR in anyway, we’ll send you an email letting you know the situation. Please don’t ignore these as they contain useful pieces of information for you as a seller, and if the items are relisted another warning could be issued.

For more information on IPR, and all policy and safety related matters, be sure to check out the Trust & Safety Blog

Don't forget to head over to the dedicated Message Board thread if you'd like to discuss this post.