How to become an eBay PowerSeller

Everything you need to know about running your business on eBay, as well as getting (and keeping) PowerSeller status.

What is an eBay PowerSeller?

PowerSellers are eBay sellers who offer excellent service and professionalism. According to eBay, it’s designed to help sellers grow their eBay business, rewarding those upholding the highest service standards.

Why should I become a PowerSeller?

If you become a PowerSeller, eBay will reward you with:

  • Priority customer support
  • Advanced selling education
  • Promotional offers
  • The chance to take part in research
  • eBay promotional merchandise

Top-rated sellers get higher discounts and benefits, including greater visiblilty in Best Match search results and a badge on their item pages. 

eBay will also give you a 15% discount on the final value fee for individual listings that meet certain requirements.

How can I become an eBay PowerSeller?

It’s free to become a PowerSeller – you just need to meet some conditions set by eBay. These include:

  • At least 100 transactions to buyers in the UK and Ireland over the last 12 months
  • A gross turnover of £2,000 (basically, you need to have sold £2,000 worth of things – this doesn’t take into account the deduction of income tax)
  • 98% positive feedback
  • An average score of 4.60 or more on detailed seller ratings (DSR)
  • No more than a set number of 1 or 2 star ratings in the DSR

How long does PowerSeller status last?

You’re only as good as your last month's performance. eBay revaluates every month – so you need to keep your sales up and provide exceptional service to maintain your rating.

Put the customer first Customers look for:

  • Goods that match the description
  • Reassurance
  • Information about their delivery
  • Quality service
  • Safe arrival of their goods

Think about what you can do to meet and exceed these expectations. Put yourself in your customer’s place - what would you like to happen when you buy an item online?

What should I do when I get an order? If a customer hasn't bought from you before, do what you can to build their trust.

  1. Confirm their order – give a simple statement letting the customer know exactly what they’ve bought, including colour, model, size, etc.
  2. Confirm that you’ve received payment.
  3. Give an estimated delivery date. Make sure it’s a safe estimate – people will be happier if your parcel arrives earlier than expected, but unhappy if it’s late.
  4. Give your contact details. Then your customer knows they can get in touch if there’s a problem or they need to ask a question.
  5. Remind your customer how they’ve paid – but never include the full details of a customer's card number in an email.
  6. Mention your returns policy in the order confirmation email to make it clear. This can also help avoid disagreements further down the line.

By doing this, you’ll cut down on those ‘Where's my parcel?’ emails as well as disputes over incomplete orders. 

Keep customers updated Order confirmation

When a customer places an order, send them an order confirmation. 

Let them know the following:

  • The item they ordered
  • The delivery address
  • The expected delivery date
  • The amount they paid
  • How they paid for it (though don’t include their full card details)

This will do a lot to minimise disputes and problems later on.

Be organised If you’re a PowerSeller, you’ll be dealing with a lot of orders.

That means being organised and systematic – making sure all orders aren’t mislaid or forgotten.

If you’re a sole trader, you need to work out what to do when you go on holiday and can’t dispatch goods for a couple of weeks. This is especially critical for ‘buy it now’ sales.

Pack the goods carefully and safely Customers want their goods arrive promptly and safely – that means putting time and effort into packing.

  • Don't sit on the floor to pack your parcels – find somewhere clean and comfortable to work. Otherwise, your customers will soon discover you have a green carpet and a curious cat.
  • Think about how heavy and fragile your item is. Books may be fine in a Jiffy bag but a china teapot will need extra time and care.
  • Pick perfect packaging. If your parcel is left in a downpour, will the contents survive?
  • Make sure your parcel is secure. This’ll stop it from being damaged in transit, and keep anyone from pinching what’s inside. 

Be careful about addressing the package The most likely cause of negative feedback is people not receiving their goods on time, or at all.

Whether you print or write the address on your parcel, make sure that it’s accurate, readable and won’t get smudged by rain.

Writing by hand can make things more personal and give you the chance to double check that the address makes sense – a surprising number of customers make a mistake when they enter their address.

Add a personal touch There are loads of things you can do to make receiving a parcel a delight.

  • Think about presentation. Have you re-used a scruffy bit of bubble wrap? Could you add in some coloured tissue paper to make things more sophisticated?
  • Add a handwritten note to make the order feel more personal, thanking them for their custom, and maybe let them know who packed the order. 

Postage Think about the size and weight of the final package.

You’ll need:

  • A set of accurate scales
  • A ruler or tape measure
  • A way to check parcel sizes – like a homemade cardboard template

This will help you make the most of Royal Mail's pricing in proportion, which bases prices on size and weight. 

For example – small parcels which have a 2kg maximum weight there are two maximum sizes:

  • Wide option – 45cm long x 35cm wide x 8cm deep
  • Deep option – 35cm long x 25cm wide x 16cm deep.

It’ll save you and your customers money if you try to keep your parcels a small as possible.

Don't guess postage costs Make sure you pay the full postage on your package. Don't guess if you’re not sure – go to the Post Office and get it properly weighed and measured.

If your buyer has to collect their item and pay an extra charge because you haven’t paid the right postage, they won’t be ordering from you again.

How to charge for P&P If you overcharge customers when it comes to postage and packaging, they’re likely to give you bad feedback, or just never order from you in the first place.

If you charge £2.99 for postage, and your customers receive their item in a re-used Jiffy bag, with a 50p second-class stamp – they won’t be happy.

Go green There are ways to make your packaging greener – like cutting down on the amount of paper you use, or using recycled cardboard. You can use shredded paper as packing filler or even plain popcorn instead of polystyrene chips.

Some customers will really appreciate this – just pop in a small note letting them know you’ve cut down on packaging to help the environment. 

Choose the right postage options There are loads of postage options available – some offer a certificate of posting, so you can prove that you sent your item.

You can also have your packages tracked and get a signature on delivery. For last-minute orders, you could even offer next working day delivery guaranteed. Some Special Delivery services are also insured up to £500 for extra peace of mind.

Saving money on postage Spend over £20 a week on postage?

You’ll save a lot of time with the Post Office Drop & Go branch service. 

Just sign up at your nearest participating branch and top up your account. 

Next time you need to send any post, go to the fast-track counter and drop it off. The Post Office will do a few checks to make sure everything looks fine and you’re all done.

Have a clear returns policy Make customers aware of the rules.

You need a clear returns policy that at least matches eBay's returns rules for business sellers

Set this out in your eBay store and include it in your order confirmation. You need to make sure you follow your returns policy as it appears in your terms and conditions.

Distance Selling Regulations These help protect customers when buying goods online or over the phone. They set out the information that a seller must give about the goods or service that they are selling.

Customers have the right to cancel their order from the moment it’s placed until seven working days after they’ve received their goods. 

However, the customer can’t return some goods if they’ve changed their mind. These include:

  • CDs, DVDs or software if they have broken the seal or wrapping
  • Perishable items like food and flowers
  • Tailor-made and personalised goods
  • Underwear and earrings

The regulations also cover faulty goods or items that don't match the description given.

If goods are faulty, the customer doesn’t have to cover the cost of returning an item, even if the terms and conditions usually ask customers to cover the cost of returns.

Download the Office of Fair Trading's Short guide for business on Distance Selling

Ask for positive feedback Good service doesn't end with the dispatch of the parcel.

Follow up, check the parcel arrived safely and ask for positive feedback from the customer. This will help improve your ratings and keep your PowerSeller status.

When you contact your buyer, think about ways you can encourage them to come back to your site and buy something else. Customer loyalty is valuable.

How to handle problems If a customer complains, do your best to fix the problem as quickly as possible – those 1 or 2 star reviews can affect your PowerSeller status.

This is why parcel tracking services are so useful – they can quickly resolve any delivery issues.

Remember, customers will tell nearly twice as many people about bad customer service as they will good service.

Customers love great service Customer service is one area where small businesses can win hands-down over bigger companies.

By including your own personal touch, expertise and thorough knowledge of your business, you can beat the big boys when it comes to customer service. 

Always do more than is required of you. If you can't compete on price...

...then remember companies with great service can afford to charge a premium.