It’s time to review the eBay reviews!

Before we get cracking with eBay reviews, I hope you’re enjoying the video guides that go live in my eTail Hub YouTube channel every Friday. I highly recommend subscribing to it – then you’ll be the first to know when a new video drops. Recently uploaded videos cover branding and how to bundle your products to make them stand out in a crowded online marketplace. So please do subscribe, comment on the videos and share through social media, as they say! And if you didn’t know already, you can follow me on Twitter at @powerselleraob and add eTail Hub on Facebook here.

So, in other news this week, you may have noticed eBay finally rolled out their ‘reviews’ system a few weeks ago. I’ve waited until now to talk about this for the simple reason that I wanted to see just how quickly reviews started to be posted onto listings to give me a general idea of how well received this new system is.

To be honest, my thoughts initially were that that there may be a total lack of interest in buyers to actually leave eBay reviews – because what’s the motivation for buyers to do so? Not all eBay buyers leave feedback, so why would they leave a review instead? And it seems that my worry was not entirely unfounded as I’ve seen very few reviews on the site so far.

Granted, reviews can only currently be left for products in certain categories… Actually, why is this? Surely reviews should be implemented across the whole of the site, not just certain categories? But eBay buyers aren’t really accustomed to leaving reviews, only a ‘feedback’ comment, so it all might seem like a bit of a hassle.

In theory, eBay reviews of products should work well

Rewarding the sellers who offer high quality goods (you and me!) and not assisting those that offer poor quality items can only be a good thing. In the past, some sellers have been able to offer cheap, shoddy goods but still make loads of sales simply because their prices were ridiculously low and buyers had no idea that the product was rubbish until they actually received it!

Reviews should in effect counteract this because the standard feedback system doesn’t force buyers to comment on the quality of the goods. Feedback can say anything, and invariably it’s centred around fast dispatch or delivery – so about the seller as a ‘whole’, not the ‘product’. That’s where reviews differ – reviews are about the actual product.

So the review system potentially brings a whole new dimension to eBay. This dimension is first and foremost helpful in the ‘research’ part of a customers’ buying process. If you think about buying on Amazon, you can go and search for an item and then research exactly how good that item is immediately – also on Amazon – due to the reviews. There’s no need to leave the site. And this is exactly what eBay want to introduce.

eBay don’t want buyers to leave the site, do a Google search on the product to get an idea of what it’s like and then come back to the site – or potentially not come back at all – so this should prevent this from happening. And this should mean more sales…

But reviews are only coming in at a snail’s pace. They will be of benefit to both the buyer and seller only if the review system is used regularly.

Here’s an example:

Despite this seller shifting on average four of these per day – that’s 28 per week -­ they have just one rating.

Did you know that eBay reviews are ‘shared’?

Reviews are not listing based. In other words, the reviews you see at the top of a listing don’t apply to that individual seller or listing – only the product. And this is linked up through EAN codes. This means that a poor eBay review of a product could end up applying to your listing even if you didn’t actually make that sale, which is a little unfair.

This is the one change I feel that eBay should implement immediately. Reviews should apply only to the listing/seller that the purchase was made from.

eBay is still only testing this, so hopefully there will be some positive tweaks because overall this functionality could be great – particularly for good sellers – and even more so for good sellers who private label with a fantastic product. I think we need to wait and see how it moves forward.

In the meantime, if you have reviews activated on your listings I’d love to hear how they are doing for you and whether they are picking up momentum. Send me your feedback on Twitter at @powerselleraob or via email.

If you feel you need to generate more eBay reviews and don’t want to rely on eBay prompting buyers, make sure you add a note to your orders reminding buyers to leave a positive review of your product. eBay do send out automatic reminders but there’s no harm in helping them along a little!