eBay Tip #10 – Be Like Nordstrom!

Customer Service

Customer Service is king! Anyone who has ever bought anything knows that! If you want to be a good online seller, your customer service will allow you to stand out above the crowd! One of my favorite retailers, Nordstrom, does this the best! Have you ever needed to return any purchase, for any reason, to Nordstrom? It is no hassle and ALWAYS a pleasant experience.

The Customer is Always Right

If you want to be successful selling online, then there will be occasions when your buyer will not be happy! My policy is to validate there concerns, thank them for letting me know and always work with them on a positive solution, often with their input. You might wonder, “Doesn’t that lose you money?” NOPE, just the opposite. I bend over backwards, like Nordstrom, to be the best-seller for my buyer. Am I always happy about it? No, but I want my reputation to speak to future customers in a positive way.


On eBay and other selling platforms, there is usually a Feedback system in place, so potential buyers can read comments from past transactions. Your online reputation is everything! I am closing in on 10,000 positive feedbacks on eBay and I am excited about it! Why? Because, anyone who looks at my feedback score can see that I’ve been a very good seller! That will attract new buyers!

The Nordstom Tire Story

I googled this phrase “Nordstrom Tire Story” just now and found 995,000 results for it. If you never heard it, back in the 1970’s a man returned a car tire to Nordstrom in Alaska and they refunded his money. Nordstrom doesn’t even sell tires! This story has become part of the Nordstrom lore and their reputation remains top-notch! Read what Snopes says about it here! As an online seller, this is the best example why you should accept returns (you won’t get as many as you may fear!). I strive to be like Nordstrom whenever I can in my online selling!

No Questions Asked

I want my customers to be happy! That is my primary goal. Happy customers return to your website. They buy more stuff! Take a return. Send a refund or partial refund. eBay will scope out the bad buyers, so leave that to them. In today’s online shopping world, customers look for peace of mind when buying! Let your customer service stand out and be known!

Sometimes They Won’t Return It

I have accepted returns for as long as I can remember on eBay. I probably only have 3 in a total of 1,000 transactions. Many times the item may not be worth returning to me because the shipping costs would not make it worth it. I will ask the buyer to kindly dispose of the item or donate to their local charity. Or a few times, I said I would accept the return and they didn’t follow through with it. I am not out any money, because I only refund money once I get the item back. Sometimes the buyer changes their mind, because you were so open to receiving it. You just never know!

Time is Money

The longer you as a seller go back and forth with your customer by messaging each other on eBay, the more time you are spending on it, rather than listing more items which can make you money. Your time is valuable. I will often use the line: “I am sorry that you are unhappy with the item’s condition”. (Validation!) And then I will write: “How can I best make this transaction a good one for you?” Both of these responses show that you are willing to work with the buyer. They often turn their attitude around and say “Thank you!” (best case scenario).

Kill Them With Kindness

When I have an unhappy customer, I try to be as nice as heavenly possible! I may feel like sending a nasty note back their way (you can write the message and NOT send to feel better). Instead, I try to remain as professional as possible. I will always sign my name. Once they feel heard, you can see the difference in their next responses. I once had a buyer say they were sorry because they were in a bad mood. Another admitted to over-reacting. Try your best to be kind and it will often work in your favor! Or sometimes you just move on!

You Might Re-Sell it For More $

I try to see a positive, even when a return does come my way. Perhaps the jacket didn’t fit properly, or they just plain changed their mind. No worries. I can re-list with a click of the mouse and re-use my old description. I often then raise the price of the item. I have sold it again for more money, many times! Seriously, this trick works! If one person was interested, why not get more dough when the next person is interested!


Tip #10

  • Goal: To achieve an excellent online reputation
  • Task: Answer customers questions, comments or complaints with polite validation
  • Task: Offer returns or refunds, no question asked
  • Task: Ask how you can make the situation a positive one for the buyer
  • Task: Be like Nordstrom!
  • Task: Be kind!

eBay Tip #7 – Items Needed to Begin Selling on eBay

Tip #7

Be sure to keep these items handy in one general selling area and away from the rest of the household! No one likes to go hunting for scissors or the scale every time you are ready to ship a package!

Basic Supply List – the Essentials

  • Computer or iPad or iPhone
  • Printer
  • Scale – up to 50 pounds is best
  • 2-up Labels
  • Digital camera or iPad or iPhone
  • Shipping Boxes
  • Paper, ink, packing tape
  • Scissors, tape measure or ruler
  • A backdrop or 3 sided Science Display Board
  • Bubble wrap

Additional Helpful Supplies

  • Fragile stickers
  • Do Not Bend Stickers
  • USPS Priority Stickers
  • Blue painter’s tape
  • Brown gummed tape-heavy duty packing
  • Tripod
  • Jewelry Easel
  • Plate Easel
  • Shirt Folding Accessory
  • Impulse Sealer
  • Polybags
  • Mannequins, styrofoam head displays
  • Additional Digital memory card for camera-more storage
  • Plastic tubs for storage
  • Banker’s storage boxes
  • Photo Studio Light tent
  • White Board for planning & dry erase pens
  • USB Scanner for scanning bar codes


Tip #7

  • Goals: Be prepared before you begin listing on eBay
  • Task: Gather or buy the essentials

Becoming eBay Summit


New eBay Hires

So honored to once again be included in this awesome eBay seller panel (Becoming eBay event at eBay Headquarters in San Jose, CA) sharing our unique seller experiences with the new quarterly hires for eBay! What a smart bunch of people eBay has working for them: enthusiastic and friendly and willing to learn what will make eBay strong and competitive!

The seller panel meets in the lobby gathering space outside of the central auditorium and catches up with hellos and what’s up in our selling domains between each other. The group consists of Northern California eBay sellers that have a wide range of selling niches. I like to share my story of as a former tennis teaching professional, I sell a ton of used “dead” tennis balls on eBay. People always chuckle when they hear that and want to know “to whom”. I sell mainly to dog owners and the lots range from five, ten, twenty-five, fifty and one hundred ball lots! I also sell the used balls to teachers for their classroom chairs and to retirement homes for the bottom of walkers, so they slide on the floor more easily.

Some of the other panelist/sellers sell things like: tickets to concerts and shows, old motorcycle parts, skateboards, ephemera (paper collectibles), designer shoes and clothing. The list goes on and on! One member of our panel received the eBay Shine Award a couple years back, which was a huge honor for how quickly she grew her eBay business. She sells electronics and has a warehouse and many employees now!

Clapping Ovation

As we get the call to enter the room of new hires, we are thrilled to be part of their celebration and the end of their three day retreat and training on all the parts of eBay. They jump to their feet and give us all a standing ovation and lots of clapping! It’s so exciting and I for one always feel a sense of pride for all that I have accomplished in my over twenty years of selling on eBay!

We take our seats in tall director chairs on stage. The microphone is passed down the line for each of us to give a short introduction of our selves. Then the audience lines up to ask questions of our group. The audience is grouped by different eBay divisions: Trust and Safety, Managed Payments, Customer Service and others sitting at large round tables.

After about an hour of questions and answers the panel again receives another ovation and we are dismissed to one panelist per table for dinner. The food is catered and has something for everyone. We line up and serve ourselves: pasta, chicken, meat and lots of assorted salads. I love getting to know the people at my table. They are a very diverse group and always interested learning all they can about their new company.

Buying and Selling Gives A Different Perspective

One of my top pieces of advice to all the new hires is for them to experience eBay as a buyer and as a seller. Once they do that, they can see what it’s really all about. They can better understand the frustrations that many of us go through when selling online in general and eBay specifically. While selling on eBay can give a person many freedoms like no boss, keeping your own hours and being flexible on what you sell, it can be challenging dealing with all sorts of buyers out in the real world. It is very eye opening “wearing the different hats” of a buyer and a seller!

As the evening winds down, we say our goodbyes. Most of them will work for eBay for a while. Many will move around to other tech companies, but each is excited to begin their new adventure on the various eBay campuses in their new positions. I drive home to Marin County after receiving my “gift” bag for my participation and always look forward to my upcoming invitation in another few months at the eBay headquarters in San Jose!