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Elfie PH

9 Online Selling Etiquette Rules to Follow


The rise of reputable online marketplaces like LookingFour has empowered millions of Filipinos to buy and sell online with confidence. Thousands of Filipinos now use online marketplaces to facilitate their own business and millions more occasionally use these platforms to sell their preloved items.

Unfortunately, online selling isn't always enjoyable. Anyone who has tried to sell items online will have doubtlessly met rude, unreasonable, or unethical buyers. But while you can't change other people's behavior, you are still responsible for your own. Observing online etiquette will not only help you get smoother transactions and more repeat business, but it will also help make online marketplaces a more pleasant place to be for all parties.

You can do your part to change Philippine online marketplaces for the better by following the 9 online selling etiquette rules below:

1.) Be Polite — Even If the Buyer Is Rude


Resist the temptation to return rude behavior in kind on your online store. Remember, the people you are dealing with through online marketplaces are real. If there's something that you could say online that you couldn't say in person, chances are you shouldn't say it at all.

It's also worth mentioning that it costs nothing to be polite. However, being rude could seriously cost you your reputation as well as your ability to earn repeat business. Stay professional and you will be eventually rewarded with a steady stream of sales.

2.) Give Measurements for Items

When relevant, be sure to include exact measurements for items. The exact sizes of shoes and clothing should always be included in the description to save customers the trouble of having to message you. Large items such as secondhand furniture pieces and big appliances should also have their exact dimensions in the description so that customers can choose the appropriate transportation when they pick up the items or book a logistics service.

3.) Don't Suddenly Raise Your Price at Scheduled Meetups

A few unscrupulous online sellers will agree to a price online but demand a higher price during meetups, hoping to pressure or intimidate inexperienced buyers into paying more. You might even see these sellers endorsing this behavior on social media, simply describing it as being wais.

However, you should refrain from doing this. Altering the deal at the last minute is not only unethical but it can seriously damage your reputation as it shows you can't be trusted. Should other buyers know that you engage in this type of behavior, chances are you will no longer be able to attract new customers, let alone earn repeat business.

4.) Include Detailed Item Descriptions

While it may be true that a lot of Filipino buyers don't read descriptions, many more do. Save yourself and your customers some time by including detailed descriptions for each of your items.

Posting complete descriptions will ensure that you receive fewer messages asking about the same details over and over again, and it will also be much appreciated by most prospective buyers. Make sure to describe any flaws or damage in the description so that buyers are fully aware of them.

5.) Use Good Quality Photos

Using better photos is not just good etiquette, it's good business sense. Blurry or badly lit images don't just turn off buyers, they can also unintentionally mislead them about the condition of your item.

In the interest of full disclosure, make sure to use recent high-quality photos. Use good lighting and to take pictures of any visible flaws or damage that may be present. Conversely, avoid using photo filters or editing out imperfections because these also could misrepresent the condition of the items you're selling.

6.) Reply to Buyers ASAP


Ideally, you should aim to reply to buyers as soon as you receive their messages. Of course, this isn't always possible so you should, at least, try to send buyers a reply within less than 24 hours.

If you don't have the answers the buyer is looking for, avoid the temptation to ghost or “seenzone” them. You can always politely tell them that you either don't know the answer or need more time to find out. Moreover, avoid providing cookie-cutter replies that could make your buyers feel like they are messaging a bot.

7.) Double-Check and Confirm Meetup Details

If you prefer to do meetups, always make sure to confirm the details the day before and the morning of the exchange. Confirming meetup details isn't just good etiquette. It will also help you ensure that the buyer isn't accidentally stood up at the meeting place.

8.) Update Your Listings on Time

After a successful exchange, be sure to take down your listing or mark your item as sold. This will help avoid confusion and disappointment in case another buyer is interested in an item you no longer have.

9.) Let the Buyer Inspect and Return the Item

Allowing returns and exchanges isn't just good etiquette, it's the law. Sellers need to accommodate returns and exchanges under Republic Act No. 7394 (RA 7394) or the “Consumer Act of the Philippines”. Refusing to let the buyer inspect the item and not allowing them the opportunity to return it can be seen as a deceptive practice and may even lead to legal issues.

Under RA 7394, sellers could refuse returns if the buyer already inspected the item and accepted it before changing their mind. This is why it's important to have customers inspect items upon meetup or to immediately follow up with them if they received the item through a courier.

Keep these rules in mind when selling items on online marketplaces to enjoy smooth transactions and enjoy repeat business. Though not all your online interactions will be fruitful or pleasant, word of how you treat your customers has a way of getting around. Sellers usually have more to lose than buyers so it's important to follow etiquette to ensure that sales stay strong and your reputation remains outstanding.

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