Tuesday, October 1, 2013

When is Recycled Packaging Inappropriate on eBay?

Last week we had an interesting discussion on my Facebook group about packaging and the importance of the customer's perception and the customer's satisfaction. I had received an eBay item shipped in a UPS mailer turned inside out. It looked like this:

The discussion has 121 comments so I thought I would repost here and see what other eBay sellers and customers think about packaging, and when recycled packaging is or is not appropriate. I posted the picture because as soon as I opened the package and saw that it was a UPS mailer turned inside out, I immediately thought, "Oh, boy, I'm glad I got this and it didn't go to some other sellers I know, because they would have left this seller a negative feedback immediately."

Now, there is nothing wrong with recycling. I am all about reduce, reuse, and recycle - in my home we have a recycling bin in just about every room and we reuse packaging quite often. However, running a business is different than what you might do in your own personal household. For example, here is a photo of an eBay item another person received packed in a cereal box. This was a vintage item that cost a bit of money, and she felt the recycled packaging was not appropriate based on the item she purchased because the box wasn't sturdy at all.

Some sellers shared stories of items they received in what they considered inappropriate packaging such as frozen food boxes, flat rate mailers stuffed way too full, and even a Target bag with duct tape around it.  As for the flat rate mailers, the USPS says, "If it fits, it ships." But really, is your customer going to be happy receiving this item - is this really a good idea?

Just because you can do it, does it mean you SHOULD do it? Regardless of your views on recycling and loving the earth, the bottom line here is that the customer has the last word about your packaging. Even though DSRs don't have a rating for packaging, the customer may be turned off by something inappropriate and leave a bad rating for something else, or leave a negative or neutral feedback. The customer may not share your vision for recycling, and on eBay, the customer is always right. When is taking recycling too far? Should we even consider it on eBay?

On another note, this blog is moving! I'll be posting most often on my ecommerce blog. This blog will still be around for a while, but be sure to subscribe to the new blog as well so you can receive the latest news about eBay, Amazon, alternative income streams, and general home business tips.

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