Tuesday, 23 February 2010

trading away

I've been using Trade Me (NZ's equivalent of eBay) for a whole lot of buying and selling since we've been back - got a lot of furniture from there cheaper than the 2nd hand stores. Being a seasoned eBay'er in the UK, I'm missing a lot of the eBay functionality that I think Trade Me could definitely use...
  • PayPal integration - in eBay, once your auction is done, all the payments are taken care of in PayPal, and it's all kept linked up with the auction status in eBay, so very easy to see what's going on. Trade Me doesn't allow credit card processing until you've got 50 feedback, which takes a while (see my feedback gripe below), and bank processing is a bit frustrating to work out when there are lots of payments coming in.
  • Buyers here aren't great at providing feedback - of the 8 auctions I've just finished as a seller, none of the buyers have placed any feedback. Annoyingly, this puts me further and further away from being able to use the credit card payment system... a 'default' feedback of 'good' after say 10 days of the auction closing would be great.
  • No third party apps for creating and managing auctions - instead everything is lumped into a single 'selling' or 'sold' page on their website. I used GarageSale when trading on eBay to create and manage auctions, which of course integrated with eBay and PayPal so everything moved through a nice workflow and was easy to see what's going on at any time
  • No HTML or markup in auctions! Again, on eBay I used GarageSale a lot, which had some nice templates for auctions, making it easy to provide lots of info, but in a tidy readable manner, and also host images on other sites.
Apart from those gripes, Trade Me is great for buying and selling. It's driven most of the second hand stores in the Wellington region out of business, but makes for some great bargains for buyers, if you're willing to sit out an auction. I picked up a lovely (slightly infested with borer, but hey!) antique Oak Dresser for a teeny NZ$30 last week, just needed some no-borer spray, and needs a bit of a sand and revarnish.

My tips for sellers:
  • Photos photos photos! Spend 5 to 10 minutes getting a GOOD photo of your item - move furniture to somewhere uncluttered (against a wall, or outside if there is nowhere else), put small items on a table or on the floor with nothing around them, and get some good light on whatever you are selling, so buyers can actually see it. Get LOTS of photos, and spend the few extra cents to post multiple photos where needed, and a gallery display so the photo shows up in searches. Rotate your images up the right way - I've gotten a sore neck from looking at sideways photos :)
  • Details... buyers want detail, no matter how boring it is to type in, get as much info as possible in the listing. Has it had borer or treatment for borer? What condition is your item? Links to specifications if you don't want to type 'em in.
  • Reserves - be realistic on reserves. If you bought it for $1000 new a year ago, it's probably already lost 50% of it's value. Don't moan about what YOU paid for it, as buyers will only pay what it's worth if it's second hand, and not vintage or a premium item.
  • Answer your email! Be on the computer when your auction ends, and get quickly onto the buyer to finalise payment and delivery/pickup. I've had auctions where it's been DAYS after the scheduled end before a seller emails re pickups etc, and it's almost made me want to cancel the auction. Also answer any questions in a timely manner - it could be the answer that prompts a sale or Buy it Now.
So, happy trading! I'll be posting some more books up over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for my listings :).

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