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  1. #1
    Senior Member webtrekker's Avatar
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    Cracked it! Selling Customised items on ebay ...

    My daughter sells a lot of stuff on ebay, but one of the bugbears has been how difficult it is to sell customised, or personalised products. Ebay is really TERRIBLE at this! They don't allow buyers to upload files, other than as attachments to ebay messages, which is useless because ebay compress any images sent in a message, making them unusable for any quality customisation.

    I've noticed other sellers get around this by sending the customer an email after purchase, asking them to send a return email with their image(s) attached.

    That's fine I suppose, but I wanted a better way. So, instead of asking for attachments to an email, I send the customer a URL to our website, where they can view their own image files in a mockup and then, once satisfied, they can upload their file to our server for us to print. The REALLY clever bit is that the URL I send them has a UNIQUE REFERENCE NUMBER in the URL, unique to that customer. I've written a small PHP routine to attach a Unix Timestamp to the end of the URL and I just need to copy this into the customer's email. Here's my routine working ...


    url_timestamp.jpg


    Once uploaded, this is how the uploaded images appear in my 'uploads' folder. I can then cross-reference them with the ebay customer who uploaded the image by using the Timestamp prefix in each image filename ...


    custom_uploads.jpg


    Another obvious advantage to this method is that, once the customer is on my website, I can direct them to the main storefront where they can place any follow-up orders at a discount (no ebay fees here!) or browse all of the other stuff we sell.

    Winner, winner!
    Last edited by webtrekker; 10-07-2020 at 04:18 PM.


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    UK Printed Mugs (10-07-2020)

  3. #2
    Premium Member UK Printed Mugs's Avatar
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    Winner winner chicken dinner indeed!

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    webtrekker (10-07-2020)

  5. #3
    Senior Member webtrekker's Avatar
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    A little update ...

    Although the above method works very well, there's actually no need to generate a unique code using a Unix timestamp as ALL ebay order numbers are UNIQUE in themselves (across the WHOLE of ebay, apparently), so I've updated my routine to enable me to paste an ebay order number into a text box and the program will generate a full, unique url that I can email to the customer in a pre-formatted email template.

    All of their uploaded images are now prefixed with the correct ebay order number so cross-referncing image with order is easy and accurate.

    now I'm just sitting back waiting for orders to flood in.







    ..... waiting,





    ..... still waiting .....


  6. #4
    Premium Member Quinsfan's Avatar
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    ..........waiting for the first update.........


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Many thanks
    Iain

    Equipment used A4 Ricoh printer, HP3085 Heat Press Graphtec cutter, Jarin mug press, CJV 30-60 solvent printer and lots of help from DSF.

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    webtrekker (4 Weeks Ago)

  8. #5
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    I thought ebay banned email and url links in messages. How do you contact them after the sale?

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    webtrekker (4 Weeks Ago)

  10. #6
    Senior Member webtrekker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoonerGary View Post
    I thought ebay banned email and url links in messages. How do you contact them after the sale?
    The buyer's email address is in the order details.

    I simply email them at that address and I can put anything I like in the email, I'm not restricted by ebay. This is the way most personalised items that require an uploaded image are handled by ebay sellers. The way I'm doing it though achieves three things -


    1. It allows the buyer to try as many of their images as they like in our mockup to see how they will look when printed.
    2. It saves them having to attach files to emails (image files can be quite large).
    3. It fetches them from ebay to our site, where they can browse all of our products at reduced rates (no ebay fees!) so helps increase our web presence.


    Thinking about it, there may be a business opportunity here for someone prepared to take it on. Because of the poor-to-non-existent way in which ebay handles customised products (no upload feature, degradation of image quality when sent by ebay message, no way to post an email or web address etc) there may be an opening to develop a site, like ebay, but mainly a site geared exclusively towards personalised/customised products. I'm sure many sellers of these products would like such a site.


  11. #7
    Member Mrteajunkie's Avatar
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    I got warned for sending links to customers after one reported me.
    i tried to explain it was for customisations and eBay didnít give a s**t just said one more and Im out.

    so now I have to use messages which is rubbish but I have more eBay business than any other platform. :(

    Side note: have you tried onbuy they told me all products need to be barcoded so I need to purchase such before I can sell.

  12. #8
    Senior Member webtrekker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrteajunkie View Post
    I got warned for sending links to customers after one reported me.
    Did you send the link in a message or an email? I've not had any problems with email, seeing as the customer has already paid for their item and simply wants a way to upload their image.

    There are stacks of customised items on ebay, photo-canvases being a popular one, for example, so how else would a seller obtain a quality image from the customer if they didn't use email?

    Side note: have you tried onbuy they told me all products need to be barcoded so I need to purchase such before I can sell.
    Onbuy? To be honest, I've never heard of it. Just had a quick look though and personally I'd stick with ebay, for all its faults!
    Last edited by webtrekker; 4 Weeks Ago at 01:35 AM.


  13. #9
    Member Mrteajunkie's Avatar
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    Sorry it’s been crazy busy.
    yeah I’ve ditched the onbuy idea, they want barcodes for every item.
    As for eBay I sent a pm to buyer With a link to the image to check a proof for a car window decal With all the business details.

    Customer contacted eBay and reported me saying I was trying to complete sale outside eBay but sale had already taken place and this was just to clear the final design.
    ebay didn’t care I even called to explain the situation but I got a warning and was told on the phone I’m on my last strike apparently.

    what the f**k? eBay take £200 pm from me.

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    webtrekker (3 Weeks Ago)

  15. #10
    Senior Member webtrekker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrteajunkie View Post
    Sorry it’s been crazy busy.
    yeah I’ve ditched the onbuy idea, they want barcodes for every item.
    As for eBay I sent a pm to buyer With a link to the image to check a proof for a car window decal With all the business details.

    Customer contacted eBay and reported me saying I was trying to complete sale outside eBay but sale had already taken place and this was just to clear the final design.
    ebay didn’t care I even called to explain the situation but I got a warning and was told on the phone I’m on my last strike apparently.

    what the f**k? eBay take £200 pm from me.
    I wouldn't put any links or business details in an ebay message. I haven't had any problems so far with sending emails though.

    With regard to the personalised magnetic invitations I sell, all I need to send the customer is an image proof and an ebay message is good enough for that, as I don't want them getting a high quality image, just a rough one to check over the personalisation details. However, for my daughter's products we need to send a link in an email to take the buyer to a unique page on our site where they can upload their own image as ebay does not allow uploads.

    I agree, it's not ideal, but ebay put everything they can in the way of sellers. It would be so much easier if they just accepted that many sellers wish to sell personalised items and offered them a means of collecting the buyer's images at full resolution. I'd even pay them a bit extra for such a system.


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    Mrteajunkie (3 Weeks Ago)

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