Seller Blog

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3 – trying new things to boost your sales

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When it comes to selling on a marketplace, things can change often. Whether it’s new features like Afterpay or new competition entering your category, it pays to keep on your toes and try new things to boost sales and stay ahead. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again!

Here at Trade Me we run tests when it comes to new functionality or design. One of the common methods we use is A/B testing, which is a great way for us to measure the success of a feature by having a test group who see the changes, and a control group who see things as usual. As a seller on the site, you can run your own tests either by trying something new on all listings, or splitting them into groups for an A/B test.

Here are some things we recommend tinkering with to revitalise your sales:

Promotional extras

Premium products or promotional extras are a great place to start when it comes to getting your listings in front of buyers, as your listings will be placed higher than basic listings in the ‘featured first’ category view.

Put aside a marketing budget to try Gallery and Feature on different products and see how it changes their performance. You could focus on a product line or a particular sub-category to promote and compare sales for the listings before and after adding Gallery or Feature.

If you use a listing tool like My Products you’ll also have access to Gallery Plus, which costs $0.65 and gives you Gallery on the first listing and two relists, unless the goods sell.

Shipping

Why not try free shipping to see if this garners more buyer interest? If you need to put your purchase prices up slightly to offer this, that’s fine, but remember buyers are savvy and they will notice if you simply add the full shipping cost to your Buy Now price. This isn’t really free shipping, and it likely won’t work, so try to absorb as much of the shipping cost as you can to make it appealing to your buyers. If it results in more sales, this will offset the cost to you.  

You can also try different shipping costs or services for your buyers to choose from. Is offering them one or two simple options the best way to go, or do you get more purchases when you offer a range of options?

Buyers appreciate fast shipping too. See if you can speed up your shipping times, and advertise this in your listing descriptions. Is there any difference in the amount of sales as a result?

Pricing and payment methods

There are a bunch of things you can try when it comes to your pricing and payment options. If you’re not offering Pay Now, you can register for free and give it a go! The ability to accept credit and debit card payments makes purchasing much easier for your buyers, and should increase your sales. Once you’re registered for Pay Now, you can also offer Afterpay – a buy now, pay later service which can enable you to tap into a new market of buyers. You can try Pay Now and Afterpay on particular products according to your margins, or on everything.

If you’re a Trade Me Store, you’ll have access to ‘was/now’ pricing and the ability to advertise discounted prices on your products. With was/now pricing you can test storewide, category, or individual product discounts to see which is the most effective way to increase sales for a limited period of time.

Checking your pricing against the market and your competitors is also important. Avoid a pricing war as there’s never any winners there, but ensuring your products are priced sharply is a good way to go. You might try tinkering with your prices or lowering them within reason to see the effect.

Trialling $1 reserve listings can be a great way to generate renewed buyer interest. If you have stock that hasn’t been moving for some time, why not pop them up for $1 and attract new buyers to your listings.

Listing titles

The placement of your listings within the category and keyword searches is exceptionally important, because this is how buyers find you. Look at popular searches using our keyword suggester to find out what you should be including in your listing titles. E.g. if you sell desks, pop ‘desk’ into the site search box to bring up popular search terms buyers are using.

When you do a keyword search on site, have a look for your products in the search results and see how they compare to listings at the top of the results. What changes can you make to your listing titles to push them higher up the results? Make sure to do various keyword searches for one product to try and best fit popular terms buyers will use. Remember, different people will use different terms.

As Einstein said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results”. While we wouldn’t go as far as insanity, we definitely reckon it’s important to keep trying new things. E-commerce is an ever growing beast, so get amongst and do some trial and error to optimise your sales.

Don’t forget to share your thoughts and ideas about this post on the Seller Blog Message Board.

In trade on Trade Me - what it doesn't mean

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Establishing yourself as ‘in trade’ can be a daunting thing, especially if there’s some trepidation about what obligations you have once the label goes on. There’s often a bit of confusion about what being ‘in trade’ means with regard to tax requirements, or registering your Trade Me account as a business, meaning the prospect of turning your badge on can seem like mammoth responsibility.

The truth, however, is that for many people being ‘in trade’ doesn’t change much about the way that they operate. From a Trade Me perspective, being ‘in trade’ really just establishes that the representations you make while selling are covered by the Fair Trading Act, and that your buyers are covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act. If you meet the threshold for being ‘in trade,’ you’ll have these obligations whether you add the label or not. Also, most members actually abide by their obligations without even realising it!

Being ‘in trade’ is entirely separate to your tax obligations.

It doesn’t mean that you automatically have to pay more in tax, nor does it mean you become a target for IRD to investigate. If you didn’t have any extra tax requirements before you turn on your ‘in trade’ badge, it’s highly unlikely that anything will change afterwards.

In the same way, being ‘in trade’ also doesn’t automatically mean that you’re a business, and therefore doesn’t require you to register as one.

There are a large number of factors that influence the determination of a business, and it’s not just as simple as being ‘in trade’. Factors like the nature of your activity, how much you make, how you operate compared to similar businesses (to name a few), all contribute to the definition of a business.

You’re already likely to know whether you’re a business or not, so turning on ‘in trade’ doesn’t need to change a thing. If you do want to get some further clarification on this, all you need to do is to have a chat with IRD.

Being ‘in trade’ primarily comes down to whether or not you make, buy or obtain goods with the intention of selling them. If this is you, then it’s likely you’re ‘in trade’.

For a bit more detail about what ‘in trade’ means, check out this more extensive Seller Blog post.

You can also discuss this blog post on our dedicated Message Board thread

How customer service affects your bottom line

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We all know the adage that a customer is much more likely to remember a poor experience than a positive one, so it stands to reason that businesses should ensure their customers walk away happy. But how does customer service affect your bottom line?

It reflects your business

Providing great customer service is an investment. Like it or not, it’s a reflection of your business. Customer service is the front line after purchase, and how the customer is treated will affect the value they place on your business and your product.

Not only do poor experiences stick with buyers, they are also more likely to be shared than positive ones. Allowing a customer to walk away unhappy means that you’ve likely lost future business from that buyer, and additionally, any potential customers who’ve heard about the trade from their friends or family.

Great customer service can change this, and if you build a reputation as a seller who provides awesome service it's only logical that you’ll attract new buyers.

Happy buyers will come back

Retain business by having happy buyers who will keep coming back. If you can provide someone with a great interaction, chances are they’ll choose you over a competitor the next time they need something you offer – and be willing to spend more with you for the experience.

There will always be a competitor that is investing in customer service, and not doing the same risks losing your customers.

It makes for great marketing

Providing amazing customer service can also be a marketing tool to build trust and attract new buyers.

If you reply to emails within two hours or if you offer free returns, let your potential customers know by promoting this in your listing descriptions, or on your Trade Me Store. Shout your readiness, differences, and flexibility from the rooftops. Market it on social media. Direct people to your stellar feedback. It shows you’re providing awesome customer service to your buyers, and at the end of the day, that’s what carries weight.

How do you invest in customer service for your business? Share your experiences on the Seller Blog message board.

New photo and video policy coming for all 'in trade' sellers

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On 14 August we announced our new marketplace photo and video policy, which will affect all ‘in trade’ sellers. The new policy aims to help sellers increase engagement with buyers and ultimately sell more.

The new policy will not take effect until Monday 30 October, however we wanted to give our sellers an early heads up so they could update their images if need be.

What is the policy?

This policy applies to all ‘in trade’ sellers on Trade Me, and is as follows:

Photo specifications:

Photo file format: .gif, .bmp, .png, .jpeg or .jpg format
Photo size limit: under 5MB tile size
Photo quality: at least 500 pixels or more on the longest side

Acceptable:

Large, clear images of the item for sale.

Small, transparent watermarks used to show ownership or attribution only. As a guide, watermarks should be smaller than 5% of your photo, and more transparent than 50%.

Photos clearly showing any product flaws or defects.

Other items in the photo are only there to help the buyer (e.g. to show scale/sizing).

Videos comply with the Marketplace video terms and conditions (video available to Top Sellers only).

Correct Image

Unacceptable:

The main listing photo does not show the item for sale.

Photos that don't accurately represent the product for sale (e.g. using stock images* for second-hand, damaged or faulty items).

Photos that use watermarks, logos, artwork, photo borders or text to convey messages, e.g. that there’s no image available, low stock availability or any other marketing messages.

Photos that include contact details, website addresses or any other branded marketing.

Watermark or logos that obscure or interfere with the item in the photo. As a guide, watermarks should be smaller than 5% of your photo, and more transparent than 50%.

Photo Policy Images No X5

Non-compliance may result in:

Bullet

Immediate removal of offending photos/videos by Trade Me.

Bullet

Adjustment of listings in search results until listings are acceptable.

*Stock images may be used with the rights holder’s express permission for brand new goods and "as new" refurbished products, if the product has no visible flaws or defects and the image accurately reflects the product's quality. 

Why the change?

A good, clear photo or video of a product is important for attracting buyers and increasing sales – it’s what engages your customer and draws them into the listing. We want to ensure all our professional sellers are making the most of their ‘shop window’ on Trade Me.

We also reckon it’s important for sellers to keep up with industry standard, which means quality images are essential.

Why is it for ‘in trade’ sellers only?

Our buyers have come to expect a higher standard of trading from “in trade” sellers and want a professional online shopping experience. Therefore, ‘in trade’ retailers need to be adhering to best practice when it comes to online retail standards and setting a site wide example of what makes an awesome listing and great buyer experience.

We know that clean, professional images can lead to higher sales conversion, and we want to help our biggest and best sellers to sell more. In trade sellers with polished photos and videos are also more likely to be picked up for promotional campaigns by our in-house marketing team.

Please note that this policy only applies to Marketplace listings, not Motors, Property, Jobs or Services listings.

What is the current photo policy and when is it changing?

Our current marketplace photo policy lives here. We’ve always recommended sellers have quality images on their listings via our photo guidelines, but now we’re taking the next step by making it policy for our ‘in trade’ professional sellers.

The new policy comes into effect on Monday 30 October.

What happens if I don’t stick to the policy?

Please make sure all your listings adhere to the policy. If they don’t, your photos and/or videos could be removed or adjusted in search results.

Video on listings

All Top Sellers have the ability to add video to their listings in general marketplace categories. Details of how to add video to listings can be found on our video help page. Remember, you must disable ads and annotations on your video before you add it to your listing. 

All images and videos you submit must comply with New Zealand law and you also agree to our marketplace video terms and conditions.

Do you have any tips for taking photos?

Sure do! Check out this handy blog post for some top tips for taking professional photos.

And finally...

We’re here to work with our sellers to help them succeed. If you have any questions about the photo policy or how to upload quality images to Trade Me, then please feel free to get in touch with the team.

Reach new buyers and increase sales with Afterpay

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We’ve teamed up with Afterpay to help you sell more, faster, and with no credit risk. With Afterpay, buyers can purchase items and pay them off in four fortnightly interest-free payments. You get paid up front, and Afterpay will handle the payments with the buyer.

How does Afterpay work?

Afterpay is simple to use and attractive to buyers.

  1. Listing – choose Afterpay as a payment option when listing.
  2. Sale – you’ll receive full payment up front (less fees), and the buyer will arrange payments with Afterpay.
  3. Shipment – send your item right away, just like normal.
  4. After the sale – it’s business as usual!

Afterpay can be offered on transactions valued between $20 and $800, and Afterpay listings will be searchable using the Afterpay filter in search results.

You can choose which listings have Afterpay, though some categories are restricted. Afterpay is not supported via the Shopping Cart at this stage.

Why should I offer Afterpay?

In Australia, Afterpay have found that sellers typically receive a 10–30% increase in conversion rate and in repeat business from buyers*. Why not try it?

  • Attract new buyers – convert buyers who prefer to buy now and pay later.
  • Payment up front – no chasing buyers or waiting for payments.
  • No credit risk – Afterpay wear the risk of any buyer payment defaults.
  • Point of difference – give buyers a reason to choose you over your competitors.

How do I add it to my listings?

If you’re registered for Pay Now, you can add Afterpay as a payment method for your listings.

Afterpay is available when listing via the desktop sell process, or listing tools like Tradevine and My Products. Other integrators like ChannelAdvisor and OMINS are also set up with Afterpay.

For My Products and Tradevine, we offer a one-click solution to add Afterpay to all of your listings. Alternatively, add Afterpay to your products via bulk edit options or individually within your product templates.

Desktop sell process:

One-click solution in My Products and Tradevine:

My Products bulk editing:

Tradevine:

When you add Afterpay to all your listings via a listing tool, it will automatically be applied to listings that meet the price threshold ($20 – $800) and are in eligible categories.

Before you add Afterpay to any listings, make sure you read the Afterpay terms for Trade Me sellers.

Are there any costs involved with using Afterpay on Trade Me?

There are no setup costs and you’ll only pay a fee when buyers choose to pay with Afterpay. The fee to use Afterpay on Trade Me is 5.95% of the total value of the purchase, including shipping costs. This fee is additional to any success fees you incur on a sale.

The fee to use Afterpay covers the following:

  1. Processing costs – covers the processing of four fortnightly payments for each purchase.
  2. Risk​ factor – there’s no credit risk to you and you’re protected against fraudulent payments.
  3. Financing ​the order – Afterpay pays you straight away, but doesn’t get paid in full for up to eight weeks.

You’re paying for a secure and proven service which is designed to increase your overall number of sales and bring new buyers to your door.

Give it a go

Remember with Afterpay you have the complete freedom to choose which listings you offer it on. Don't miss out on new buyers – apply Afterpay to your listings today and give it a go!

   

*Retailer results stats = Afterpay Holdings Limited ASX Announcement 17th February 2017 Half Year Results Investor Presentation.

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