It was back in June 2015 that I first wrote about product reviews on eBay and how it was a huge missing feature that made it very hard to use eBay as a buyer.
Thankfully just a few short months after that post, eBay did begin testing product reviews – though as I predicted they did so on eBay.com and not eBay.co.uk
But as I mentioned in my recent update to this whole issue, posted earlier this year, that meant it was just a matter of time before we finally got product reviews on eBay.co.uk as well (better late than never!).
And I am delighted to say that product reviews are now here, and in fact this has happened much sooner than I had anticipated!
I already talked a lot about why I am so happy to finally get product reviews on eBay, but in case you missed my earlier post, the main reason is that it will punish sellers of low quality products and reward sellers of high quality products.
So bad news for all those sellers offering the lowest quality products possible but still getting a huge amount of sales, due to the fact that they’re the lowest price and because buyers simply don’t know how bad the product is until after they’ve received it – because there are no reviews to tell them beforehand!
eBay themselves actually highlight two more important benefits of having product reviews:
“The introduction of product reviews allows buyers to complete their entire shopping journey on our marketplace – from initial research right through to purchase.”
Basically this means that buyers won’t need to leave eBay in order to research the product they’re looking to buy – theoretically meaning a higher conversion rate and therefore more purchases! Think of Amazon as the perfect example – I can go and search for any item and I’ll be presented with hundreds of different options at multiple price points and be able to research all of those options by reading the reviews right on Amazon.co.uk itself.
By contrast, if I search for an item on eBay, which I don’t already know a lot about, I’ll then have to head back to Google and search for it, find another site with reviews etc. etc. At that point it’s fairly unlikely that I’ll go through with the purchase, at least not then and there.
“Buyers will also have a clearer separation of product and seller feedback, so your Feedback score may more accurately represent you as a seller, over buyers’ opinions about the products you sell.”
This is something else I’ve been saying for years – product and seller reviews should be separate!
Think about it – let’s look at a seller who sells high end smartphones and one day sells two iPhones, both of which are shipped immediately via next day delivery. One of the buyers is pleased with their phone and leaves positive feedback but the second buyer is coming from Android and is disappointed by the lack of customisation possible in IOS and therefore leaves negative feedback.
From the seller’s point of view, this is quite unfair as they’ve done their job in both instances – but at the same time the buyer is also entitled to review the product… so the best solution is to make product and seller reviews separate (once again like it is on Amazon).
Overall I am incredibly pleased that eBay have finally introduced product reviews and if implemented correctly, I can see it having a big positive impact for us sellers.
BUT, while we’re on the topic of implementation, there are still some issues that I would like to see sorted out.
Limited range of products that have reviews.
This is still my biggest concern when it comes to product reviews. Because of the system that eBay uses (separate listings for all different sellers) it is a lot harder to match up the same products, and this also means it’s a lot harder to match up the product reviews! As a result reviews are currently only offered in certain categories, such as:
- DVDs and Movies
- Video games
I.e. the categories dominated by major brand products that are easy to identify! But if eBay really want to make product reviews an important feature on their site, they need to implement it to ALL products – which is why they are pushing product identifiers so much recently.
I personally just wish they would introduce a barcode requirement for all products (if you don’t know what they are, you can read all about EAN barcodes here) but that may just be too difficult at this point.
So for now, please make sure that you don’t just select “Does Not Apply” for product identifiers when you’re creating your listings. From what I’ve seen, listings without product identifier information are extremely unlikely to have any reviews.
Even within the select categories, some products have the review feature while others don’t:
Again, I really think that eBay need to go “all-in” with their reviews if they want them to be truly worthwhile for buyers. It can’t be there for some products but not others – that’s such an amateurish way to do things and not what I’d expect from a thirty billion dollar company!
I’ve noticed that on a few products there are some reviews from years ago – certainly well before eBay introduced product reviews…
I have no idea if this is some sort of glitch but it’s slightly worrying to see random reviews from 2011.
This actually leads me perfectly to my next point, which is also extremely important.
Lack of overall interest in reviews
It goes without saying that any new feature will need some time to catch on, but reviews have been live for a few weeks now and the level of activity/interest is alarmingly low.
The fact of the matter is that eBay buyers just aren’t used to leaving product reviews, in the same way that Amazon buyers generally don’t bother leaving seller feedback. To counter this eBay really need to heavily publicise and promote this feature better than they are at the moment – something more than sending out an email reminder that 99% of people won’t even read.
Here is the perfect example to illustrate what I mean:
If you check the sales history for this listing you’ll see that hundreds were sold in the last 24 or so hours… that means thousands per month!
And how many reviews does it have?
5 reviews and 7 ratings (you can “rate” a product without leaving a review).
That’s never going to give a buyer added confidence and simply put – there is no point at all in this review feature unless it is accepted and used frequently by buyers.
Reviews are new to eBay UK though so let’s give it a few months to really pick up and see how it all develops.
All in all this is great news and something I’m really excited about, for all the reasons I discussed earlier on in this post – I just hope eBay follow through to make sure product reviews are the saviour we’re hoping for!
What about you – what are your thoughts on this development? Do you think it will help with the huge number of low quality, cheap items for sale on eBay?
Whatever your thoughts, or if you have any questions, feel free to post below in the comments section and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.
Otherwise, until next time!
All the best,