How to Communicate with Customers on eBay: Secure the Sale

Communicating with your customers on eBay can be the difference between making profit, or an item staying on your shelves for a number of months. I know I mention this often, but you need to treat your eBay store like a professional business, or you’ll simply not reach your potential.

In this article, I’ll be explaining exactly how you should be communicating with potential customers on Ebay. This includes the good and the bad. That’s right, there are potential customers that you will want to avoid selling items to, and I have a secret tip that will help you to weed these out.

I know it sounds weird, who doesn’t want a sale? Well, you don’t want to sell something and a buyer open up a claim. Believe me!

The Importance of Communication

Without sounding too much like a Therapist, it’s important to understand the role that communication plays between buyer and seller.

If a buyer sends you a message and you don’t respond until the next day, you can bet they’ve already spent their money elsewhere. With the modern age, patience is low and nobody wants to wait for anything. That’s why Amazon Prime is so popular.

You can set up automated eBay messages, but these are more useful for when an order has been placed. It’s a bit spammy to send them as general replies, and the customer probably isn’t going to enjoy them. They have enough junk emails to delete, you’ve just added to that pile.

You have a phone, so you should have the eBay app. This means that you should be able to check-in every few hours at least, so you have time to communicate with your customers.

Your Target Customers

Quite often, your customers will be a hard one to crack. Remember, as you’re a flipper you’re not only selling an item that they want, but you’re the reason that they couldn’t purchase the item from the retailer.

Now they have to pay you an added fee, and they struggle to understand why. Which is fairly acceptable. We are scalpers!

Some messaging from A to B can be quite awkward. It’s important to keep professional at all times. If you reply in a bad manner, you’re going to get reported and eBay will restrict your account. They don’t take kindly to messaging abuse.

I try to be extra nice to potential customers. At the end of the day, I’m selling every single item for more than I paid a retailer for it… so it’s my way to kill them with kindness when I am met with abuse such as being called a Scalper, or much much worse!

Create a Fantastic Listing

A great listing won’t need any questions! Which saves time all around. If you can create a listing which shows the exact item image that you’re sending out, include all item specifics so that the end user will see all the data that they need. This will reduce questions that they might ask such as, is this sealed, what’s the condition like etc.

The same goes for Postage. I noticed that one of the most frequent questions I received was:

“Can you ship this with 24 Hour Tracked?”. I could. So what I did, was add a postage option to my listings. I would provide free delivery 2-3 day delivery, or user could upgrade for £1.99 and receive 24 hour tracked.

This increased my click through rate, and also addressed the customers queries as my messages reduced.

Respond Frequently & On Time

Responding to customer queries is critical. Quite often, it’s the first time that a customer is messaging you, and like always, first impressions are important.

If you receive a message, always reply as soon as possible. This will help the customer to build trust with you, and they’ll think if you reply quick, you can ship quick!

I sometimes have questions asking for more pictures, but I’m not always home. What I do, is return an open-ended question to the customer such as “Is there any specific angle you’d like a picture of” which then does two things.

  1. It filters out the non-serious buyers. You don’t want to waste your time finding an item, taking time to photograph items that your customer isn’t set on purchasing.
  2. It puts the ball in your court. You’ve responded, now you wait for the customer to respond. It adds a little bit of time on and allows you to get home. Also looping back to point 1, they’ll respond if they’re a serious buyer.

Provide Helpful Information if Requested

If a customer has a reasonable question, definitely help them out. However, there a certain things that you should not be disclosing.

If you’re selling a sealed product, for example Sports Trading Cards, there are things that you should not disclose.

If you’re asked to get an exact weight of a box, never do this. This is a non-serious customer, attempting to find the weight of your box to see if it contains a ‘chase’ item. They don’t want to purchase your item, unless it’s got a super-special item inside.

Avoid these buyers.

If they want extra pictures, have shipping queries or anything else, you can help them with that.

Don’t Force the Sale

A mistake that many sellers make, is to attempt to force the sale via the eBay messaging system. This doesn’t work in most cases, as I don’t think buyers really like to purchase from desperate sellers.

It does seem a bit odd. Think of it. If you enquire about a Car at a Dealership, asking if it’s automatic or manual.

They reply Manual… I can knock £2,500 off if you buy it now.

You’re going to immediately feel pressured, wonder why they want to get rid of an item so fast and most likely won’t make the purchase. Always make the customer feel comfortable.

Mention Your Despatch Availability

Although I have said don’t force the sale, you have plenty of room to be able to convince the buyer to purchase your items. A favourite of mine? To mention that I’m due to go to the Post Office once I’ve finished packing up my current packages, and I can add this on if eBay clear the payment in time.

This will be Despatched today if payment is made

This is my Top Tip for Securing a Sale, without even having to say ‘Do you want the item’?

It doesn’t always work, but customers do tend to like this one. A lot.

How to Work out a Bad Customer

There are many examples of bad customers. People that browse listings and send messages just to be rude, others try and waste your time in some internet-troll way.

I had my own bad customer just this week. I was selling a box of trading cards, and the customer enquired about the weight of the item. My experience knows that a heavier box means a potential foil card inside, which means the customer was only searching for boxes with a heavier weight.

I declined to provide the weight of the item, advising that I wouldn’t take part in this. It’s not ethical in the trading card community. The buyer adivsed that they would not purchase the item without knowing the weight.

I still refused, advising ‘No Problem!’. Thank you. Next!

I advise you do the same too if you ever get this. If you were to weigh and say it’s 750g, but it’s not exactly 750g when it’s weighed by the customer…. Item not as Described. You lose money!

Many people do think that a Bad Customer is a customer with zero feedback. I understand that this would raise some red flags, but quite often it’s perfectly normal for a customer to create an account to purchase a one-off item.

I’ve got this article to help you find a potential scammer on eBay, which you can use for performing some double checks before you continue. However, be

Low Feedback doesn’t always mean bad customer.

Summary: eBay Communication Tips for Sellers

Hopefully, the tips in this article will help you when communicating with buyers. Most buyers are ‘good eggs’, but you need to be wary of some buyers. Normally, your gut feeling will help you with some of your concerns.

Remember, communicating with buyers is key, and you should act professionally at all times. Responding on time and provider potential buyers with information about your item is the way that you can secure your sale.

Remember to read our other eBay articles which will help you when selling on the eBay marketplace.

Tom P
Hi, I'm Tom Paddock! An Amazon & eBay seller, who has helped over 10,000 people start their own online business. I provide cutting-edge techniques to help sellers with Online Arbitrage, Retail Arbitrage & Wholesale on Amazon.
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