Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Making the BEST of Online Auctions ~ Part One: Buyers

Here at OLA, we are all gearing up for a new and exciting online presence, which is coming SOON!  I thought it might be in keeping to write my next couple of blogs about how to make the best of your OLA experience.  I will dedicate the first blog to the OLA buyers--because without you buyers, this site would not be here.  You make it possible for we OLA  sellers to survive in these tough economic times, and we are all grateful for your purchases.

Buying something from an OLA seller is pretty easy.  If you have never visited OLA before, you may want to familiarize yourself with the OLA Site Map.  On this page, you will see many links leading you to lots of How-To information.  For the purposes of this blog, I am going to refer you to two sections:  Buyers Hub, and Buyers Help.  

Under Buyers Hub, you will find links to YOUR Personal OLA Bookmarks, Current Bids, Completed Auctions, Feedback, and Wish List.  

Under Buyers Help, you will find links to Buyers Info and Tips, Using Search,  Bidding Explained, and Buyers Facts & Answers.

By following these links you can probably learn all that you really need to know about buying online on OLA, but as a long time seller (and buyer) on this site, I have a few more tips:

1.  If you find something you like, the pictures and description of the item look good, and you want to make sure that what you are bidding upon is what you really want, always ASK the Seller any specific questions that you may have about that item before placing your bid.  Here on OLA, most sellers are friendly, and happy to answer any questions that potential buyers may have, and would appreciate the opportunity to answer your questions, so you can feel good about your purchase.

2.  Read the Seller's Terms of Sale.  Each OLA seller is unique, and may have different Terms of Sale.  

3.  If you are unsure about a seller, then check their feedback rating.  Look at the comments made by previous customers.  This is the best way to find out about a seller's integrity.

4.  If you live outside of the U.S., let the seller know as soon as possible.  Some OLA sellers do not ship worldwide.  I do, but I like to know in advance, so I can properly estimate the shipping cost for that item.  Do not wait until after you have received your invoice to tell the seller that you live in Japan, England, Mexico, etc.  Shipping costs via the U.S. Post Office vary as to the destination of the package.

4.  Know that your bid is a contract to buy the item upon which you bid.  If you decide after bidding that you do not want the item, please do the right thing:  Contact the seller, and let them know.  As a long time seller, I can say that bidders who do not follow through on their sales probably represent the biggest problems we sellers have.  Why?  The answer is simple:  when an item receives a bid, then that item is considered sold--and off the market.  After someone bids on an item that I am selling, I immediately pull it from my inventory and prepare it for shipping.  If a buyer knows that he/she is not going to follow that transaction through, letting the seller know will allow the seller to make the appropriate changes so that item can stay listed on auction, so someone else can have the opportunity to buy it.  It is frustrating for me, as a seller, when I set aside merchandise for a non-paying bidder, especially if I have wrapped it for shipping.  It is a waste of our time, supplies, and energy and because it removes merchandise that could potentially sell to someone who will pay for it from the public eye.

5.  Pay promptly when you receive your invoice.  If there will be any delay, please communicate with your seller, so they are aware of your intentions.  Do not hesitate to ask any OLA seller to work with you if you see something that's way expensive.  I have had great experiences with open & communicative buyers.  

Note:  the picture above does not reflect all of the online payment options offered by OLA sellers.  If there are any questions about what the seller accepts as payments, ASK.

6.  Please leave feedback for the seller after you receive your item.  We want to know that the merchandise we shipped arrived safely.  The feedback rating is a good way to support your online seller.

I hope you have found this info to be helpful in your online buying experiences.  I know as an OLA seller, I aim to please my customers.  I try to accommodate all requests, if possible.  Know the answer to online buying is as easy as asking:  communication is the key to good relationships.

Next time, a blog for OLA Sellers.

Happy online Shopping until then,