And they’re now also on eBay Australia as well! Sadly there’s no sign of product reviews on eBay.co.uk just yet but really that’s nothing to worry about. It’s very common for eBay to test out new features or rules on certain regional sites and then slowly expand them worldwide. In fact that’s exactly what I predicted they would do last year.
So it’s more a matter of when we’re going to get product reviews on eBay.co.uk, rather than if. And I’m actually quite confident that we’ll see this introduced rather soon, most likely in the first half of 2016, provided nothing goes wrong with the whole concept on eBay.com or eBay.com.au
There are a number of reason why I think they’ll move quickly with product reviews (by eBay’s usual standards, I mean) – the main one being the fact that eBay and PayPal split last year, so eBay as a company can no longer hide behind PayPal’s results – it’s make or break for them now.
And so far they’re struggling a bit, with the share price down over 20% since the split:
To me, that’s the main reason for the number of big changes eBay are putting in place recently.
But why am I so excited about this particular change? After all we already have feedback on eBay, so what is this going to add?
Well I think that product reviews could be the golden ticket for separating the good sellers from the bad, using the most important metric – product quality. At the moment there is simply no way to know how good or bad a certain product on eBay is, as there are no reviews!
Yes of course we do have feedback but that’s all to do with the seller and not the product itself. And even then, overall feedback can be based on years of selling and hundreds upon hundreds of different products and listings. That really doesn’t help me when I want to know how good this particular product is.
And I’ve said for years that this is one of the biggest problems on eBay, if not the biggest, if looking at things from a buyer’s perspective. People love detailed reviews and ratings as it helps them to make informed decisions. Amazon’s whole business model was based on this fact, and really it’s what made Amazon the ecommerce giant it is today. So many people use Amazon as their first port of call when buying anything online… yes in part that’s due to its low prices and terrific service, but it’s also due to the reviews!
And please don’t say anything along the lines of “well that’s great Andrew but eBay should be fixing problems for us sellers, not the buyers…” because really that’s a lot of rubbish. It’s common sense that what’s good for buyers is generally good for sellers and this is a perfect example.
Just think about all those low quality, super cheap products that take all the prime search results on eBay. I’m sure you know exactly what I mean – the £0.99 – £2.99 listings for products sent directly from China with free shipping that invariably get all the sales purely because they’re the lowest price.
Many of these products are simply dreadful in terms of quality. In my opinion they’re so bad that they shouldn’t even be offered for sale. But – buyers don’t know this until AFTER they’re received the product.
This could all change with product reviews!
If these sub-standard products get 2-3 star reviews, other buyers will be put off from buying and slowly but surely such listings will drop out from the top spot in eBay’s search results.
That means that sellers who go the extra mile in their product sourcing, in order to find the best suppliers, materials, and version of their product, will be rewarded.
I’ve always hated the low price – low quality model on eBay (as anyone who has ever bought one of my courses will know!) and always advise taking the opposite approach. Previously this meant a lot of work on our part (beautiful listings, service to match the product, amazing product pictures etc.) to even make buyers aware of the difference in quality BUT this could all change with product reviews.
As excited and happy as I am with this development, it wouldn’t be a post about eBay without going over some of the negatives and unfortunately, from what I’ve seen on eBay.com, there are some.
What I don’t like about the current product reviews set-up
- Reviews aren’t visible enough
At the moment you only see reviews for a product once you click on its listing. In my opinion, at least the star rating should be included in the search page itself as it’s one of the most important factors for buyers to consider.
- Buyers should have the ability to sort by reviews!
Once again this is something to add more importance to product reviews. At the moment you can sort by price, so why not also sort by reviews for those who are looking for a quality product.
- Review parameters should be removed!
To understand what I mean here, please take a look at this page of reviews for an iPad on eBay.com:
As you can see, there are three specific sub-criteria that buyers are asked to agree or disagree with:
- Long battery life
- Good value
- Good quality screen
But who decided that these were the most important factors for buyers?
Why not build quality, or speed, or design etc. etc.
I just don’t think it’s necessary to tell buyers what to review – they know better than anyone! And also – the agree/disagree overall percentage rating is also outdated in my opinion… eBay should follow Amazon’s lead here and keep things simple with a classic 1-5 stars rating and written review.
Thankfully that is the main system being used, but these sub-categories don’t add anything at all and should really just be removed.
- Reviews should be for ALL products!
For me this is the most important point. At the moment reviews are only offered in a select number of categories:
- DVDs and Movies
- Video games
And even then, not all products within these categories are covered. For example, if you do a search for iPad Air there are reviews, but search for “Kids tablet” and you’re once again left to guess for yourself.
It’s easy to see what’s going on here just by looking at the categories and products that haven reviews – books, DVDs, video games, high end electronics etc., these are all well known products!
The whole point of reviews is to help buyers make an informed decision, and let’s face it – nobody really needs eBay to find reviews of an iPhone… what I want is for a buyer to search for “kids tablet”, get a page of results with similar but ultimately slightly different products and be able to gauge their quality from the reviews of real buyers!
That is the whole point and benefit of product reviews in the first place. Yes of course it will be harder to implement than for well known products from major brands due to the slight differences and variations, and really that’s where product identifiers come into play – I hope you’re now starting to see how all the changes are connected?
Overall I am incredibly happy with this (upcoming) change and can’t wait to see it implemented. I just hope that eBay don’t play it too safe and instead really go all in with making products reviews an integral part of buying and selling on eBay.
If they do that, then I can see this being a MAJOR turning point in eBay’s history.
One thing that’s for sure – I am really looking forward to finally having a way for us good sellers to show the bad sellers how it’s done!
I’ll be watching this closely and will keep you updated.
Until next time!
All the best,