eBay is reducing the incentive to attain Top Rated Seller Plus status as part of the Spring Seller Update. Longtime eBay seller and AuctionBytes Blog columnist Marie discusses how to think about the changes and their impact on your business.
As we know, eBay released their 2017 Spring Seller Update earlier this week. It did contain some things that are very good for their members in the area of third party advertising and shipping options. But what they are doing to Top Rated sellers sings a whole different tune.
All too often when eBay makes changes that affect sellers, many believe that they targeted small sellers. The same can't be said for the reduction of the TRS Plus discount. eBay's move to reduce the TRS Plus discount from 20% to 10% will certainly have a negative effect on any and all TRS Plus sellers, but the larger the seller the deeper the impact.
There is plenty of anger over this change both here and on eBay threads. Many are saying this is it for them and they will be leaving eBay right away. Others say they will be phasing out eBay. I encourage everyone metabolize this information for a bit before making any kind of change to your business. It really may not be in your best interest and that is what matters. What is best for you!
eBay may end up regretting this move as it may not have the net effect on the site that eBay intended. eBay wants the buying experience to be top notch. They want sellers to speed up delivery times and give more liberal return policies. This change in the discount does the exact opposite of what eBay says they want.
So why do it? Well you aren't going to like the answer. Hal Lawton in yesterday's webinar on eBay regarding the Spring Seller Update stated that this move was made to FUND the efforts to bring in more traffic and/or velocity to eBay for the sellers. He went on to say it was to help fund the $30 credit for the Promote Listings campaign to be given Top Rated Sellers. In other words, we aren't getting a credit as the Update states because we are self funding the credits. With that said, there are a whole lot of sellers losing far more than $30 a month due to the reduction in the discount.
For some sellers, especially small sellers, due to this change it makes perfect sense to just say goodbye to the TRS Plus status and discount. It just may not be worth all the effort any longer to maintain this status with very little return. Each seller needs to evaluate this for themselves. Run the numbers. Really know what a major change like this will do to your business. Don't make the change lightly. Make it only after you have a full understanding of the impact and not in anger over eBay's new policy.
If you decide that removing the terms of sale (TOS) that enable you currently to get the TRS Plus discount, you will of course lose the discount completely and possibly a small boost in search returns. Beyond that there aren't any additional perks of TRS Plus. The main perks are for having TRS status. That you can maintain without being TRS Plus. You do not have to lose both.
One of the TRS benefits is the discounted shipping rates for USPS and other carriers that are vital to some sellers and a very important perk. You will still get a boost in searches and other perks.
So if you decide that letting go of the TRS Plus discount is the right thing for you to do, you can change your return policy to 14 days if you want, and you can increase your handling time instead from the 0-1 days that is require for the discount. You will still be TRS, but you won't be under the strict rules for the discount. You may choose to still ship fast, which really is a good idea, but it gives your stats a little breathing room and enables you to maintain TRS status more easily.
There is no right or wrong answer on this. You need to evaluate your position and business, run the numbers, and decide what is best for you. For some this may be a blessing in disguise as you can get out from under the restrictive rules of TRS Plus.
Another thing I noticed is that some sellers are saying they are going to close their eBay Stores because of this. I'm unsure of what benefit that is to a seller. Having a store or not having a store has no affect on the reduced TRS Plus discount. There wasn't anything in the Spring Seller's Update that would make this beneficial to any seller. The increase in the FVFs for store owners is well below what the FVF is for sellers without stores.
So is eBay really trying to SPEED UP delivery times, or make MORE money? I'll let you guess which is really the case.
About the Columnist
Marie left her corporate accounting job over a decade ago to begin selling on eBay in order to spend more time with her children. She is a frequent commentor on the EcommerceBytes blogs, where she shares her advice and opinions about how to succeed on eBay.