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From the Editor – July 16, 2017

EcommerceBytes

EcommerceBytesAmazon has changed the way we look at summer shopping thanks to Prime Day, held on July 11th this year. While relying heavily on third-party merchants to offer Prime Day deals, Amazon itself was the biggest beneficiary. Wall Street analyst John Blackledge of Cowen and Company said that the event’s role in driving further adoption of Prime membership was as important (or possibly more important) than the financial benefit of Prime Day sales.

Amazon doesn’t release the number of customers enrolled in Prime, but Blackledge said he expects Amazon Prime to surpass 50% of US household penetration by year end. That gives Amazon a big advantage over other rivals.

eBay got cheeky in response to Prime Day – rather than ignoring it, eBay launched a marketing campaign planting the idea that shoppers should check eBay to see if its sellers offered better deals than “prime deals.”

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Meanwhile, eBay continues to make changes impacting sellers outside of the two major seller updates announced so far this year. eBay doesn’t always communicate these changes to sellers, such as its decision to hide item descriptions inside listings and making immediate payment standard across many BIN listings.

Several recent blog posts drove this point home:

eBay Hides Item Descriptions from Shoppers” – Shoppers viewing a listing must now often click on a link in order to read the seller’s description.

eBay Furtively Changes Payments Policy” – Immediate Payment Required is no longer optional for sellers if listings meet certain conditions.

Sellers Confused after eBay Changed Best Offer Flow” – Sellers were confused about how to accept or counter a Best Offer after eBay changed the flow.

eBay Launches Stricter Rules with No Warning” – eBay penalized sellers for Item Not Received claims automatically after 24 hours in some cases, instead of the 3 days in its stated policy.

Sellers are also dealing with the fallout from a crackdown on messages sent through the eBay messaging system.

eBay VP of Seller Experience Bob Kupbens addressed some of the unannounced changes eBay has been making in a post on Tuesday, although sellers expecting an apology were disappointed. “We are a company of continuous innovation,” he explained. EcommerceBytes readers are weighing in on this EcommerceBytes Blog post.

eBay also is keeping quiet about its decision to close Half.com. It sent Half.com sellers an email, but you really have to dig around to find information about the closure on its website.

Etsy sellers are also facing disruption, and it announced this month it is closing its French marketplace (ALittleMarket.com). It also made a controversial change of its own without posting an announcement – see, “Etsy Conducts Sweep of Black Memorabilia.”

With all the changes, perhaps it’s no wonder this recent Letter to the Editor asking for viable options to the big-3 marketplaces received so much attention on Facebook.

This month we have some news of our own – we’ve moved to a new publishing platform for Newsflash and Update stories (the blogs and letters remain on the same blogging platform). The stories load faster and they’re now easier to read on mobile devices.

The new platform also allows readers to comment on articles, in addition to the blog posts – a feature many readers had asked us to add. Note that it requires separate registration, but you can continue to comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog, AuctionBytes Blog, and Letters to the Editor blog using your existing credentials. You can read more about the changes on this recent blog post.

In today’s issue, we take a look at eBay’s crackdown and some key things sellers need to know. Algopix explains its solution that helps sellers understand better where to sell and source their products. We also talk to two online storefront solutions. Jimmy Duvall of BigCommerce (and formerly of Magento and Yahoo Stores) explains why online sellers should focus on their brands not only on their own webstore, but on marketplaces as well.

And Volusion founder and returning CEO Kevin Sproles agrees that marketplaces are good channels for his customers and explains a store-hosting solution helps merchant manage inventory across multiple channels, from marketplace like eBay and Amazon to social networking sites like Facebook and Pinterest.

Today’s Collectors Corner looks at the 100th anniversary of Nikon, and we wrap up with Letters to the Editor.

Be sure to stay tuned to EcommerceBytes as eBay and Amazon publish quarterly results this week and next.

Thanks for reading.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. Send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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