eBay Lowers fees for Fixed Price Listings and Lays Out More Changes in Time for the Peak Selling Season

Changes are coming in five areas: Pricing, Search, Seller Standards, Shipping and Electronic Payments

I spent all of yesterday at the eBay Campus in San Jose meeting with eBay execs and their media relations people.  Unlike a standard press briefing, eBay made several of their key executives available for in-depth two-way discussions with bloggers and newsletter writers to the eBay community. This was a great opportunity to both learn about the new policies and give eBay feedback from our readers.  I am just going to do the news here first and I will talk about what went on behind the scenes in the next issue of my newsletter, the eBay Sellers News that comes out right after Labor Day.

Pricing:  Fixed Price listing fee for all items on eBay.com will be lowered to 35-cents and the listing period will expand for 30 days.  The one listing fee will cover an unlimited number of items. This reduction represents up to a 70% reduction in listing fees in the fixed price format. Auction style listings and eBay Store fees will remain the same.  Sellers can now essentially have permanent FP listings as they will have the ability to set their FP listings up as Good Til Cancelled –much like eBay Stores listings work.

In meetings with eBay executives in San Jose on Tuesday, eBay explained the fee increase and some other changes coming to the platform over the next few months.  Although listing fees will drop dramatically, eBay will “rebalance final value fees on a category-by-category basis.” “Rebalancing” is eBay speak for raising fees.  So you will see fee increases in FV fees to make up for the cut in listing fees, however the total of the two fees will still be lower than current fees, so this is indeed a fee decrease.

Search:  eBay is rolling out major changes to the search algorithm. One problem sellers have had is that some large sellers place dozens of multiple fixed price listings of the same item and when the buyer searches these are mixed with auction listings –often dominating them.

The new finding method will treat auction and FP listings more fairly. Fixed price listings and auction listings separately for best match and then combine them in the final listing.

King who heads up the finding (search) team explained that auction-style listings will give greater preference to time ending soonest, while fixed price listings will be based on best match only as their time ending is irrelevant.

eBay will also change the algorithm to look at how successful an item is. Those fixed price listings that have a higher sales rate will rank above those that don’t.

The details of how all this works are fairly complex and I don’t have room to go into all of this in the blog, so we will be doing a lengthier article in the newsletter next week.

Shipping: Starting sometime in October eBay will set maximum shipping & handling rates for items listed in the media categories (books, DVDs, CDs, etc.). They also indicated that maximum shipping rates may be set in other categories in the future. 

Because shipping is the leading source of complaints by buyers, eBay will also roll out several shipping incentives –mostly aimed at getting sellers to offer free shipping.  These will include promotions such as fee reductions and better exposure in Best Match search results for items with free shipping.

Seller Standards:  Yesterday was also the day that eBay stopped counting neutrals in your feedback score. So if you look at your feedback today some of you may see a change.  But back to the bigger news; eBay is determined to rid the platform of the very small percentage of bad sellers –in their parlance, “those sellers who deliver a poor buyer experience.”  eBay execs made it clear yesterday that this is a top priority. So beginning November 1st, any seller with any of the four DSR scores below 4.3 will lose their ability to sell on the platform.

Electronic Payments: Starting in late October eBay will go to an all-electronic payment system. Checks and Money Orders will no longer be accepted for payment. Sellers will be allowed to accept PayPal, a merchant credit card account and other electronic payment systems like Propay. This policy will not apply to vehicles on eBay Motors and payments for large expensive items in the Business & Industrial category.

So that is a quick overview of the news, but there is much more to this. So stay tuned to the blog and my newsletter for more in-depth discussion and tips to help sellers strategize how to best take advantage of the new policies. In the meantime here is a link to some more details of the announcements and the new fee structure.

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