This round of updates is not too bad – in fact there are some really good things for all sellers, but most of the updates only benefit Top Rated Sellers and a couple of things hurt the little guy and those who sell used goods. But lets take a look at what is in store for us starting in September. The notes in italics are my take on the policy.
New safeguards to keep a fair marketplace for sellers.
The updates coming to eBay protection programs will benefit and protect all sellers.
- Buyers must contact you first through My Messages in My eBay before opening a Buyer Protection case starting in February to make sure you have the opportunity to resolve issues before eBay gets involved. Buyers will be required to wait three business days for you to respond and resolve the issue before they have the option of opening a case.
- Open cases will no longer count. Also starting in February, having a case opened by a buyer will not be counted toward your performance rating—only those cases that are not found in your favor will be counted. It is about time – this is only fair.
- Reporting buyers who misuse the system is now faster and easier. Starting in October, a more accessible and enhanced reporting hub will make it easy for you to contact eBay directly to report buyers who violate eBay policies. About time – but will eBay really do anything to them when they are reported?
New Top Rated Plus seal highlights top services.
The percentage of all eBay purchases that are from Top Rated sellers with tracking uploaded on at least 90% of their US transactions—and include 1-day handling and a 14-day or longer money-back return policy—is growing rapidly.
To help these listings stand out even more, starting in September, they will be highlighted with a new Top Rated Plus seal.
The current Top Rated seller badge will be retired. This is one of those things that really help Top Rated Sellers and actually hurt Non-TRS and smaller sellers.
New ways to showcase your items, boost sales
eBay want to maximize the power of eBay Fast ‘N Free. eBay claims that the eBay Fast ‘N Free logo delivers a solid boost in sales. I believe them as I have seen a solid uptick in sales with free shipping.
For the logo to appear, you have to offer free shipping and the item must be estimated to arrive within 4 business days based on your item location, your buyer’s location, your track record, and your carrier’s track record for those locations. This means you will have to offer free shipping with an expedited method such as Priority Mail or UPS 3-Day Select which are expensive. Or if you keep your items in Amazon FBA as I do, you can get 2nd Day Air pretty cheap using Amazon’s rates.
Starting the week of September 24, you’ll be able to check your seller dashboard to see how many of your listings are qualifying for the eBay Fast ‘N Free logo and if it’s helping your sales.
More selling power for your listings
Here are a few more minor items that will have some effect on your business.
Photos – As of October 31, all listings will be required to include a picture. Other picture quality requirements originally announced in February will take effect in 2013 to give you more time to adopt: minimum 500 pixels on the longest side, no added text or borders, and no stock photos as the main image for used items. This could be a bit of a pain for some but overall its probably better for buyers.
Item condition notes – Starting the week of October 22, you’ll have an optional new field to put details about the condition of your used items and have them displayed near the top of the item page where buyers are more likely to read them. This will help reduce both buyer questions and issues with buyer claims that an item is not as described. I actually like this one too.
Show your item location. Seeing a valid location in a listing inspires buyer confidence. Also starting the week of October 22, when you enter your valid zip code, your city and state will be automatically added to your listing. This will be a problem for anyone who dropships.
Consumer Electronics and Computer listings. Product pages, the easy way to shop on eBay for popular Consumer Electronics, drive more interested buyers to your listings. Powered by the eBay catalog, they’re coming to more categories this fall.
- As of September 10, listing with the catalog will be required in these categories whenever there’s a product match:
PC Desktops & All-In-Ones
- A new Authorized Reseller tab for the value box will feature top deals from manufacturer-authorized resellers.
Ending Auction-style listings early. eBay feels that ending an Auction-style listing once it has a bid leads to disappointed shoppers who may be less inclined to bid on auctions the next time around. So starting October 1, eBay will charge a special fee for ending an Auction-style listing early. This one sucks. I can’t remember how many times I have discovered a problem with a listing or a product and had to cancel an auction. If the fee is 25¢ or 50¢ I can live with that, but I suspect the fee will be a lot higher to discourage ending auctions. Its probably going to be close to the final value fee the auction would have earned eBay which I think is the real issue.
Selling different variations of an item in one multi-variation Fixed Price listing can save you serious money on fees and makes listing faster and easier.
- Starting in October, you’ll have more listing options—for example, easily add pictures for different variations and add a new variation to active listings, even those with sales.
- Later this year, you’ll have a new feature to identify your existing single variation listings and convert them to one multi-variation listing.
My eBay Messages – Now you can attach up to five pictures through My Messages.
Category, item specifics, and catalog updates are now consolidated with other updates that may affect your selling. Some categories are also being eliminated.
- Use the Seller Checklist to stay on top of important dates.
- Find out how you can update your listings quickly and efficiently with bulk editing tools.