PeSA / ECMTA Best Practices "Improving Your eBay DSRs"
By: Richard Brewer-Hay
I realize I run the risk of turning this blog into a Marketplaces-only forum rather than an all-encompassing discussion hub for all things “Inc”, but I am joining Lorrie Norrington and the team down at the 2008 Spring eCommerce Summit in New Orleans later this month so I thought it would be a good idea for me to sit in on the PeSA / ECMTA Best Practices conference call yesterday afternoon. The topic of discussion was “Improving Your eBay DSR” and the call was hosted by Brandon Dupsky, managing director of eCommerce Markets for the E-Commerce Merchants Trade Association (ECMTA).
The call was interesting in that it didn’t focus on the perceived benefits or drawbacks to the Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) system, rather it focused on the challenges sellers face with DSRs and how to implement some best practices around that. It seemed to go beyond DSR 101 (one participant at the end of the call indicated that she found it one of the more worthwhile roundtable calls she had attended).
After Brandon provided a brief overview of what DSRs are and why they’re important he jumped into the meat of the presentation. He cited three key challenges that sellers face with DSRs:
1. Mixed messages from eBay. There is a message to buyers that states that 4.0 should be applied to an experience in which there was an “accurate” description; they were “satisfied” with communication; shipping was “quick” and S&H was “reasonable”. However, the message to the seller is that 4.0 means you can’t qualify for PowerSeller status; you don’t get good seller status; you could drop down into the bottom 1% in your category and receive seller restrictions.
2. A mixed usage of whole numbers and fractions with regard to scores. In other words, a buyer can only leave a 1, 2,3 4, or 5 feedback score and as a result, sellers are “being punished” with fractional scores of 4.0, 4.4, 4.6, 4.8.
3. Good DSR scores have less of an impact on sellers than bad DSR scores. A single 5-star DSR will not help the overall average as much as a single 1-star DSR will hurt the overall average.
The proceeding ways in which it was suggested sellers could ensure that they get the best DSRs possible all had an underlying theme. Educating the buyer with impeccable messaging and setting their expectations from the beginning seemed to be the biggest call to action to sellers (which echoed a Chatter Blog post back in February). Based on presentations and discussions I’ve seen and heard internally, that seems to be the call to action for the Marketplaces team too. Yes, the changes we’ve seen come out over the past few months are focused on providing the best overall experience for the buyer on eBay but it is the education and the ability to meet and beat the expectations of the buyer that will result in optimal DSRs.
There were a number of simple tricks and tools discussed on the call. For example, emphasizing 5-Star service in every step of communication to the buyer or potential buyer. Another was setting expectations and then beating them (whether it be regarding shipping cost, time or description of item).
The number one question that seemed to be asked throughout the presentation was “What are you doing to keep your customer happy?”
For those of you still on the fence about attending the conference later this month, the ECMTA has put together this handy-dandy Top 10 Reasons to attend. If you are heading down there, feel free to email me because I’d love to take the opportunity to meet as many people as I can in person.