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Discussion: As A Buyer - What Do You Look For?

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion - Ask Questions Get Answers' started by bartondoll, Jun 11, 2004.

  1. bartondoll

    bartondoll Guest

    Regardless if you sell and buy, or just buy vintage
    fashion.....I'm curious to know what YOU look for
    when shopping online - Ebay, websites, mall venue

    What impresses you, and makes you want to investigate that seller more?

    What may cause you to make an impulse purchase?

    What causes you to hit the back button?

  2. bluevelvetvintage

    bluevelvetvintage VFG Member

    Hi Sue
    Things that will encourage me to buy or bid are good pictures and lots of them! If I see just a front view or very blurry shots, I'm not willing to take a chance. Also, plenty of measurements. Clever or humorous (not overly long) descriptions are good, too. I hit the back button if the terms of sale are excessively long, with all kinds of warnings. Don't care for lots of moving graphics and definitely no music!! That's all I can think of at the moment, but I'm not fully awake yet!


    Indulge Your Passion for Timeless Fashion
  3. bartondoll

    bartondoll Guest

    Thanks Theresa...I'm with you on the music, mouse chasing
    stars, moving gifs!

  4. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    Good question Sue, too often I am guilty myself of being very picky and judgemental of ebay listings and websites, and yet don't follow what I like to see myself on my own listings and website. Last night I was browsing websites and felt very comfortable with some and uncomfortable with others. I won't name names, but I will try to remember what I was thinking when I was looking.

    Things that make be hit the back button:
    Padded set shipping fees, like $30.00 to international destination, full stop, regardless of what the item is, like a hankie.
    Bad photos, blurry or really tiny.
    Sloughed over condition reports like "some staining..." where? how large? what colour?
    On ebay, listings with LOOOOOONG terms of sales and tiny descriptions. It suggests to me they are more concerned with protecting themselves than being good sellers.
    High opening bids with reserve prices tend to scare me off, because I immeadiately think the reserve price must be OUTRAGEOUS, so why even try.
    What may cause me to make an impulse purchase?
    Buy it Now prices on ebay items - definately. If the BIN is reasonable I may BIN, even if its more than I would want to pay because then there isn't the hassle of worrying about being outbid in the last 20 seconds. I AM REALLY TIRED OF SNIPING. I don't use BIN prices on my own items often enough myself.
    Set shipping fees that are reasonable, even if somewhat padded, I am guilty myself of advertising that the buyer pays actual shipping and not providing a set shipping fee because there are so many variables, but at least a round about idea so the buyer knows what to budget for.

    WHen it comes to websites, I don't like seeing sold items mixed in with items for sale. I understand the reasoning and I do it myself, but I don't leave the stuff up as long anymore, maybe only a couple of months at most. I know its supposed to prove that you have quality items but it's distracting from the items that are for sale. At least put them in a section on your site that you have to click into if you want to see them, like a museum page, just don't leave them as the flagship piece for your button link, or have them readily seen on the buying pages. Its sort of like saying "YOU MISSED THE GOOD STUFF DUMBASS".
  5. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    One more thing, and I hope I am not offending anyone who reads this, but you may not be aware of this, and it may be a matter of personal taste, but when it comes to descriptions - GET TO THE POINT!
    I don't have time to wade through suppositions, made up stories to romanticize the sale, I don't care whether you love it or not nor why you are parting with it. I just want to know the stats - size, condition etc. If the description is a wall of words for one single item, I have to REALLY love the item to read the description. I think some unscrupulous sellers use long descriptions to hide damage reports, and others pump up the item to make it supposedly more desirable than it is.
  6. vintspiration

    vintspiration Alumni

    Great discussion! I've been buying more, so I'll tell you what I look for and what makes me run for the hills.

    I love clear, large pics. I don't necessarily need a million of them, but if you can show everything in a handful of nice and big clear photos then I'm looking.

    I don't really buy vintage clothing for myself because I am a plus size and I am one of those people who HAS to try things on just to make sure it's flattering and looks good on. However I do buy regular clothing by designers/brands that I know what size I am so I of course would need the SIZE in the description. Amazing how many people tend to leave that out?!

    What gets me bidding? Friendly prices with normal shipping rates. I'm not rich but I'm not cheap either. I'll pay more for something I must have but I get really irritated with padded shipping. I'll spend a little more than actual but don't bang me out. I like BIN's too. Especially if it's a good one, in my ballpark of what I'd be willing to pay - I'll hit the BIN rather than risk losing it by bidding.

    I'm hitting the back button with a too busy auction - mouse trailing things, music or other crap. OMG that seller with the fading circle screen makes me want to pull my hair out - WHY DO THAT? I would never buy anything from them just because that pisses me off so much. I know it must be their "signature" thing but truly - it's so irritating.

    I don't view too many websites, but I am shopping on Babylon & VC-Mall and seeing some cute stuff - gotta wait for payday tho! ;)
  7. dibs2002

    dibs2002 Registered Guest

    Seller ships worldwide! Definitely!

    And with reasonable shipping prices, although I have bought some books and paid way too much for shipping ($19 US when the actual cost was $9 Canadian), but the books still cost less than ordering them through Chapters or Amazon.

  8. ourbabyroo

    ourbabyroo Registered Guest

    Good pictures - but there don't have to be a ton of them. I am on dialup, so if there are a dozen or more pictures and it is taking forever to load, I end up hitting the back button.

    Like Jonathan, a description that gets to the point. I want the basics - the construction, the measurements, etc. I do not want to weed through paragraphs and paragraphs of synonyms for the word beautiful just to get to the <i>meat</i> of the description. Cute and/or clever work great - just keep it short. :)

    The worst, for me, is descriptions that are long <i>and</i> are also not separated by breaks or paragraphs. I will just hit the back button.

    Music, scrolling/moving gifs......AARGH!....makes me crazy!

    Customer service is a biggie for me too. We all have TOS ~ but when they are harsh (will only ship to 48 states, must receive payment in 3 days - Paypal only, If I don't hear from you within 3 days you will get negged and item will be relisted)...well, these just turn me off. (In fact, I see the "only ship to 48 states - no Alaska/Hawaii" all the time and have never figured that out - it goes in the same Priority packaging!!) And I pay right away, I contact the seller right away.....but I don't like being "threatened".

    Feedback ~ it doesn't have to be a high number, but the percentage needs to be 99% or above. And I scroll through and see how they responded to a neg or neutral - that says a lot to me. (If you can't respond politely and professionally...don't respond at all!)

    Either a reasonable set shipping or the little shipping calculator - I rarely bid on something where the shipping/handling is not disclosed until you win.
  9. bartondoll

    bartondoll Guest

    I MUST revise my mall shop...I have 3 SOLD items on there now....good point Jonathan.

    Padded shipping, yes. I don't mind paying a small handling,
    packaging fee (especially if it is from a country that does not
    have free mailing supplies, which I think is any place other than the US), but an extra $10.00? Furgit it!

    Long, windy TOS. If it is at the bottom of an auction, at least I can by pass most of it - but a TOS first in a description?
    No, personally this irks me.

    Pics first - like most people, I am visual and if the pics are
    clear, detailed and not sideways :), I will be tempted to
    read on.

    For clothing I also like to see a "S-M-L or XL" in the title.

    I enjoy a bit of humour thrown into a website or Ebay listing...I wish I had a knack of doing that myself. I don't like
    long, long run on descriptions though with no paragraph breaks....words dance and I am not about to place a ruler against my monitor to follow the lines.

    Living outside the US...definitely shipping worldwide and
    acceptance of Paypal (for both ebay and websites)

    These are just off the top of my head.

  10. cosmiccowgirl

    cosmiccowgirl Alumni

    Since I search for the very specific items I collect and am not generally a browser, there's a reason I click on an auction or item on a site. Don't make me wait too long to get to the important information.

    I'm with everyone else regarding the fading circles, mouse chasers, music, flashing/massive graphics etc. Also, while photos are imortant, if it takes forever to load even on my cable modem, to the back button I go. It's got to be something very intriquing for me to sit around and wait.

    I'm more of a bare bones kind of gal with descriptions. While I can appreciate a well written tale about a garment, all I really want to know is the details, measurements and condition. If I have to wade through too much puff to get to them, I am usually outta there.

    Oh, and a seller who doesn't answer my ASQ or is vague or seems unconcerned in their reply is not getting my bid.
  11. I agree on the too many animations, etc. esp when not everyone has a fast modem. I also agree on the too many terms. (either you accept paypal or don't, either you ship to my area or not). I read one once (not a vintage item, that had the photo of the item than a whole page of TOS and nothing about the item at all - i am NOT kidding!).

    That is a good point about the pictures though. I tend to neglect showing back views unless a dress has a dramatic back, etc. I may start taking the backs of other items as well. who knows, the exact placement of a dart could really matter to someone. (and it actually does to folks like me with mutantly small waists in proportion to the rest of me : ) darts in the back = good! Better invest in that full manni vs my half round girl hee hee.

    On websites I don't think its as big a deal to keep a couple items on "sold" especially on a new site to let people know "yes the site is active" but any more than just a couple is distracting. I have been to sites where 70% of things are "sold".

    I don't have an issue with people charging a little bit more for shipping to cover packing materials, etc. or making it easier for everyone to round off of up, etc, but I do have a problem on principle of marking up insurance on inexpensive items. For the US, it is a flat $1.30 up to$50 of value. If I have a customer that ends up over the 50 dollar value, i usually the difference (its like 50 cents more : )
    $5-6 dollars for insurance is just insulting.

    Now what makes me impulse buy? I regularly check the auctions of particular sellers with good reputations and whose merchandise tastes i like. either i have purchased from them, know them, know of them through good word of mouth or professional organization (like the VFG), or I have not bought from them, but they answered a question from me in the past and they were friendly/professional. If i see something i like/need (and i have the money)....i buy/bid.... High feedback % is a pretty good bet too if I don't know of them : )

    If I don't know who they are, their feedback is good, and it rubs off in the description that they are enthusiastic/interested about what the things they are selling and obviously love what they are doing, that is a good thing to. You know the person is selling vintage because they also personally care about it and are more likely to sell things condition wise that they would buy themselves.

    nothing is fool proof, but it has worked for me.
  12. ourbabyroo

    ourbabyroo Registered Guest

    Sue...good point!!

    I hate to see the TOS listed first! Sell me on the item first...then show me the fine print. :)
  13. Leisa

    Leisa VFG Member

    Great Discussion!

    I like sellers with "me" pages. Because I think that's where you actually find out who you may be dealing with if they have lower feedback or are on the new side.

    I.E. my pal velvetelvisvintage, who seldom sells on eBay, but has GREAT stuff when she does.

    I like Clear Pics, even tho I can't seem to get mine clear enough to suit me & I'm it hurts my sales.

    Give Me Measurements! I use the bust size in my title - like B36 - but may start going with S M L XL, etc.
    I'm really "type A" in my measurement lists in my auctions & I love it when I find all the measurement info I need to know. I'm tall, so seldom do I find a vintage dress that's long waisted enough for me.

    I have one of the Biddies me pages I refer to now & again to make sure I AM telling my customers what I WILL do for them, rather than what I WON'T.

    It's <A HREF="http://www.tblightning.com/ebay/selling_tips.html" target="new">here.</A>

    No sounds, mouse trails, bells & whistles, please.
    and, BTW, the fading circle gal is one of the evil sisters... ;)

    I know my tos is long at the bottom of the auction page, but I can't really figure out how to shorten it without losing it's "life." LOL

    And finally - while I have written short stories for a few of my things (like the Mae purse Christina bought last year), I realize most folks don't wanna read all that if they can't find the facts ma'am after 1 paragraph.

    So - I guess I want
    1. Pic of garment
    2. measuremants
    3. Accurate, Honest Description w/mo pics, including the Label, Please
    4. Condition In Detail!
    5. Realistic tos & Shipping $$

    wow - this is long.
    sorry :cool:
  14. bluevelvetvintage

    bluevelvetvintage VFG Member

    Jonathan, interesting point about the sold/show items on websites. The mall I have my site on does that and I thought, since I was really new there, that it would be good for potential customers to see I was actually selling things! But now I think I should check to see how long the items remain showing as sold and maybe remove them after a shorter period of time. I, too, have gone on websites where it seems that most of the stuff I'm looking at is sold. It's a waste of my time. Also, no fun when doing google searches for something and getting a lot of sold items.

    Something else you mentioned that I didn't post earlier. BIN's are great. I am definitely apt to use that feature if I see something I really like, instead of waiting to see if I won it.


    Indulge Your Passion for Timeless Fashion
  15. sues*stuff

    sues*stuff VFG Member


    Not totally on topic, but I thought I'd throuw a comment in on the Alaska Hawaii thing.

    If packages get over about 3-4 pounds, I generally used fedex ground. It is much cheaper at that level than priority. However, fedex ground to Alaska and Hawaii is astronomical, and USPS is considerably higher than fedex ground to the other states.

    So for heavier packages, I quote a fixed rate to the lower 48 and then say that Alaska and Hawaii might be higher, but will be actual, no handling.

    Probably some of those sellers that say 48 states only got nailed on a heavier package.

    I was very fortunate when I sold the casserole and side dish set that went to Hawaii that I had said that because it ended up being about $80 shipping, and my fixed quote was something like $22.

  16. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    REgarding leaving things up that have sold, I don't think anyone expects you to whisk the listing away once it has been paid for, but there are some websites where the items that have sold stay up for years, not months. And some sites where their promo intro piece is something they had for sale 4 years ago. Just move that stuff into a museum file, so if someone wants to browse some of the finer items you have sold over the years, then they can go there, like a virtual museum. I just don't like seeing them mixed in with the for sale item for months and years on end.
    Another thing that is good for me is a site where anything that is new can be found through a different button, or at least listed conveniently at the beginning or end, not mixed up with everything else, its really time consuming and frustrating to have to wade through clothes you have already seen 100 times to find the new stuff.
  17. crinolinegirl

    crinolinegirl Alumni

    As a buyer I hate auctions or websites where the back grounds are in really dark colors like black or burgundy or full of gifs and moving crap.

    I just like a white or light colored page. I don't mind long TOS as I like to know what is expected of me, especially with being an international buyer. As a seller my terms are long but I separate them out to make them easier to read.

    Good descriptive paragraphs are good too so I know what exactly I'm buying, I tend to write full condition reports, etc for the things I'm selling so people know exactly what they are parting with their money for. They may be long and boring but at least a bidder can't say that I didn't mention something!
    As a buyer, it has been a leap of faith sometimes when I've bought something, like my corset from Australia. The description only said "antique corset" and had a teeny tiny photo but I took the plunge anyways.

    I always look at a seller's feedback too, there was a Queen's Hotel pamphlet from the 1920's that I REALLY wanted but I refused to place a bid as the seller had bad feedback for ripping off for shipping and generally not being very helpful. When I wrote to him inquiring about shipping to England, he said that it would be shipped surface mail for $5.00 (which is alot and unnessary for a thin, light dinky pamphlet) or $20 for airmail!

    Having the shipping listed in an auction is always good, especially for international bidders. We are used to paying more for shipping but it's nice to know how much your going to be out before placing your bid.

  18. ourbabyroo

    ourbabyroo Registered Guest

    $20 for airmail!! Wow - I just sent 3 nurse uniforms to Germany and it was a total of $16.70 AIR MAIL!!

    I will not bid on anything...no matter how bad I want it...if it is obvious the seller is trying to make some money off the shipping. If they need that extra few bucks, than just raise the bid price!

    Sue ~ re: Hawaii/Alaska. I guess I have been lucky - have sent to both places and it hasn't cost me anymore than shipping to Washington (state) or California. I can understand asking Hawaii or Alaska bidders to email for shipping quote - but to just not send there all together???

    But then again I never really understood not shipping International either - these are usually my easiest transactions and my best buyers! :)
  19. I had the same problem with shipping three, glass, liquor decanters to Hawaii. I came out 'in the red,' after using all of the bid amount and shipping paid and a whole lot more to pay the insane shipping.

  20. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    Ironically, it will cost the same for me to ship to Buffalo (40 minutes away by car) and Honolulu (13 hours away by plane) although I did sell a purse to Inuviat way up north, and it was as much as the purse itself!

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