When processing personal orders on eBay I normally use Royal Mail to ship my sold items. Maybe once every 2 months I sell a bigger item and ship this using a courier service from Interparcel.com who offer UK and International Delivery by comparing quotes, giving you the option to choose a courier based on price, delivery time and insurance, etc. And every time i log back in to book a larger item by courier i hit my favourite eBay Faux Pas.
eBay is a money making machine run by accountants and not web usability experts. They seem to have absolutely no sense-or simply don’t care-of the sheer inefficiency of using the eBay website, especially from a merchants perspective when processing an order. The usability, efficiency and productivity is just diabolical.
Compared to a processing an order on eBay, processing an order using a premium ecommerce software or average ecommerce software for that matter, is like night and day. The words inefficient, frustrating and sh*te come to mind! They should give out free anti-anxiety tablets before you log into the backend.
For me eBay has no heartbeat, its cold and clinical like an Apple Store and its built on an antiquated platform and controlled by dictators. Don’t even try to use ‘eBay’ and ‘common sense’ in the same sentence, its not possible. And if you dare question eBay’s control… beware, 1 step out of line and your account can be suspended by the flick of a switch.
A good friend of mine who has been selling on eBay since 2004, has 30,000 plus feedback in his Anchor level Shop, spends approx £9K per month with them had his store suspended recently due to one missed invoice, and this was simply as a result of an oversight when he was away. That’s the level of empathy eBay show!
eBay has always had a knack of positioning itself to its users, not only as market leader but the one in control, the boss and if you don’t follow your Sargent’s directions then get you’ll get your ass popped with a Smith ‘n’ Wesson! Thanks to the legend Eazy-E there for the poetry 🙂 But when you get hold of support by phone or email or read the support files, its “do as i say or f**k off” positioning.
So what is the problem I have with eBay order processing. Well I could write all night about this and the various usability problems experienced, especially where they can improve the user-friendliness. But the main thing that I hit upon every time I wish to book a collection with the courier, getting a buyers contact details! How hard can it be?
With every other ecommerce system out there; phone numbers and emails addresses are highly accessible and visible from within each individual order, and rightfully so to aid you in processing an order as fast as possible.
Communication with your customer when processing an order is absolutely critical, even more so when you are at the mercy of an intensive feedback system that controls your eBay search rankings, rating and ultimately your success. P*ss one customer off who has had a bad day and your feedback score could drop!
Contacting a customer by phone is an important step for many reasons: your product, the order, etc. Maybe you want to give them a quick call to ask a Question in order to complete the order without problems arising in the future. Colour, size, quantity, ‘can you wait for a backorder or can i send you an alternative’, ‘I’m sending you frozen food, will you be in on x date to sign for the delivery?’, etc, etc. There are a myriad of things that the communication lines need to be kept open for.
From personal experience I used to sell iPod Car Kits, Parking Sensors and other in car gadgets worldwide, processing thousands of orders per month and this type of product constantly presented many a technical question. Without immediate phone communication this just adds big time, resources and costs. There are some big companies on eBay selling tens of thousands of products monthly so the labour costs for these guys must be extortionate.
Please Note: The eBay system may have been updated for business customers and you may now be able to phone your customer but for a personal account its not easy.
Collection Scenario: So I log into Interparcel.com and get a quote, i select my favoured option and complete the delivery form. This is where the problem lies as all courier companies websites’ ask for a phone number. This is so the courier can phone the recipient should they not be able to locate their address, etc. And i know its getting more stressful for couriers with the increasing time spent in traffic jams. So they need to work as efficiently as possible when they have lots of drops.
eBay do not give you this info, nor the email address in the customer order data. You have to click trough a 4 step process to get this info emailed to you. Its absolute madness. Now you may say “just put a made up number into the field to satisfy the mandatory process” but why should we have to. From initial contact with your website to final delivery drop the whole process should be seamless for customer to courier. This is basic and key information that eBay should allow to be easily accessible.
It gets worse… This 4 step process to get the required contact info by email, requires you to give the buyers user ID and your product Item number to the Find Contact Information form and only then will eBay email you the details.
And in my experience it emails this info to your email address not your eBay email account. So i now have to open 2 windows, 1 for the order processing and one for my eBay emails. However window 3 is also required. 3 windows to 1) Copy and Paste your buyers ID into the Find Contact Information page 2) Copy the Item No into the Find Contact Information page and 3) to get the email with their details on.
And to add even more frustration when you submit the Find Contact Information form, eBay automatically emails your contact details to your buyer. This may be useful in some situations but i think the majority of times your customer will simply not require it and may get perplexed when receiving this email.
Not the most efficient system I’m sure you’ll agree, and if you add the time that it takes to get eBay’s unreliable emails, often hours if it lands at all, you can see the time spent on this cr*p all for a simple phone number/email contact that should be given as standard in the individual order data for each customer.
That’s it just mentioning the word eBay, Paypal, Gumtree or any other company eBay owns increases the pulse by 30 beats. In my personal opinion… Bottomline eBay usability sucks!
What do you love or hate about eBay?