People always ask me about how they can sell more things on eBay. Of course, there are the usual answers like buying ads for your listings and having cheaper prices. But one thing that few people talk about is the Top Rated Seller program. This program is one of the best ways to gain buyer trust. What is it, you ask? We'll, if you've ever seen this emblem on an eBay listing, then you know what it is:
If you become a Top Rated Seller, your listings will be featured with a large emblem indicating your membership in an exclusive club. Becoming a Top Rated Seller is not easy, and it distinguishes any old random Joe from the cream of the crop. When you have this emblem, you go from some guy in a garage to a legitimate business in most buyers' minds. A secondary benefit of achieving Top Rate Seller status is that you'll get a pretty large discount on your final value fees, which can drastically improve your margins.
So how do you join this exclusive club? To become a top rated seller on eBay, you'll have to keep a tight ship. Here are the things you'll need to do:
1. Sales requirements. This is arguably the easiest requirement to meet. You'll need at least 100 transactions and $1000 in sales over the last 12 months. Basically, eBay is looking for active sellers on their platform. If you put in the work and become a more active seller, you'll definitely be able to hit this requirement.
2. Cancellation and conflict resolution requirements. Now we start getting into the interesting stuff. You'll need to keep your cancellation rate very low and also make sure you resolve any conflicts that buyers may have. Ebay wants to make sure that you're a upstanding seller, so you can't just go canceling orders willy nilly. Order cancelations and conflicts without seller resolution need to stay below 2% of your transactions. However, the work here isn't where you think it is. Keeping your cancelation rate low actually starts with pricing and inventory. Most sellers cancel an order because a) they don't have the item in stock anymore or b) they've mispriced the item and stand to lose money on it. Obviously, if you sell an item that you're going to lose a lot of money on or if you don't have an item, you should cancel the order. However, you need to make sure you're careful to remove listings before this happens. Don't leave listings laying around where the prices are too low and make sure you're constantly updating your listings based on the inventory you have available. This should get you a long way towards the cancellation and conflict resolution requirements.
3. Tracking and shipping requirements. The final requirement involves prompt shipping and tracking upload. Ebay looks for sellers that are able to fulfill items quickly. You'll need to upload tracking information within your promised handling time for 90% of your orders. Also, you'll need to make sure that your late shipment rate (the percentage of time you ship an item after you've promised to do so) stays below 3%. This is a tough requirement. Not only do you need to ensure you ship items promptly, but you need to make sure you upload the tracking information in just as timely of a manner. To meet this requirement, you'll need your fulfillment in really good working order. Make sure you have a plan for fulfilling every single order in a specified time. You should also consider increasing the number of handling days you expect to give yourself more slack. This comes in handy especially during the holidays when you're handling a large number of orders.
Becoming a top rated seller is tough and you'll have to be very invested in your eBay business. But, if you do manage to become the cream of the crop and achieve Top Rated Seller status, you'll reap the benefits of higher sales and lower fees.
If you want more information about the exact requirements (down to the fine print), check out eBay's Top Rated Seller FAQ.