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Thu Mar 2 2017 22:18:56

What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?

By: Marie
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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.



Comments (48) | Permalink
Readers Comments

What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?   What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?
This user has validated their user name. by: Ric
       
Thu Mar 2 23:45:16 2017


Logical, well thought out and full of common sense....

BUT....

eBay is supposed to operate in such a way as to attract traffic - that is the part and parcel to being a marketplace.  Wrong headed decisions made by corporate suits, many of whom do not have the least inkling about how to be a successful seller let alone a TRS+ seller on their platform have failed sellers time and again.

The decisions made by these suits over the years always claim to be for the betterment of the marketplace, yet, the marketplace stagnates while eBay reaps billions in profits revealing the true nature of the many money grabs over the past 15 or so years.

Buyer procurement should be coming out of the billions eBay reaps in profits, not from profits taken from the sellers who are  delivering outstanding performance.

The lack of buyer traffic on eBay is a direct result of decades of mismanagement, poor decisions, unannounced system changes, fee increases, benefit reduction etc... devised and implemented by executives who are massively over compensated given their proven lack of success at building and growing the marketplace.  

eBay has burned a lot of bridges with sellers over the past decade and a half. Those sellers leave eBay with nothing good to say about the company or the marketplace.  These alienated sellers continue to have a negative impact on the marketplace.

Growth rates on eBay are virtually zero when you figure the massive number of sellers who offer free shipping and help eBay inflate their GMV figures.

Now, eBay wants to monetarily penalize sellers yet again to finance a buyer yet another acquisition program.  This is wrong headed and will have the exact opposite effect executives are claiming as it will prolong the negativity with yet another round of sellers alienated by corporate greed.

The history of eBay is one of unfulfilled promises made to sellers in the form of multi year plans that fail to produce one iota of improvement, advertising that drives buyers away instead of drawing them in.  A couple of years ago, eBay spent millions on the Mom jeans advertising campaign which drove away more buyers with it's quirkiness that it attracted.

Given that kind of history, one would be foolish to believe this mistreatment of their best sellers will be any different or have any better outcome.

Sellers need to make a profit or else what is the point of being in business on eBay? It makes no sense to force sellers to raise prices to compensate for this latest corporate money grab as higher prices will once again destroy the value proposition for buyers as it has in the past and will result in downward pressure on Gross Sales.

Bottom line, eBay should be investing a portion of their billions into buyer acquisition without further eroding the profitability of their sellers with yet another round of fee increases and discount devaluation.

Time to walk away from this abusive relationship once and for all.


What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?   What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?
This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay
       
Thu Mar 2 23:51:12 2017
Ebay is essentially raising seller fees by cutting TRS+ discounts in half. By a great deal of money.

Now, Mr. Lawton states that the extra fees are for the Promote Listings campaign. How many folks are going to pay extra to highlight listings of items they may have just once to sell? Or otherwise? And how many of these will $30 get you?

If eBay wants to be an organization that will last, they simply need to HAVE ALL LISTINGS AVAILABLE FOR ALL BUYERS ANYWHERE TO ALWAYS SEE.

No more rolling blackouts, selling limits, or other games. This increase in revenue must be spent to improve the infrastructure and functionality of the site. Soon.

Longtime sellers (those of us who have been around since it was an auction-only site), are fed up. There has to be some investment in the equipment and software needed to run a first-class organization.

Sellers will make more money, eBay's profits will increase, and everybody, including Wall Street, will be happy.


What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?   What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?
by: comments This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri Mar 3 00:54:16 2017
I can only assume that they want to continue the destructive path of previous management. In the short time since DW took over we:

Had 2 Shipping rate increases

Lost our paypal merchant rate discounts.

lost our minds trying to fight for daily package scans which continues to be an ongoing issue.

Now the icing on the cake is slash our discount.

To do that you could only have malice in mind. Especially when all of the above got compounded by big ticket priced item fees restructuring.

If you want more money invite back some of the 10's of thousands that got banned for virtually no reason.

Remove selling limits on people why MIGHT do something.

Sell your own in house shipping insurance.

Sell return protection. find ways to generate and stimulate new buyers.

Set goals and give incentives for sellers to sell more even if it means lowering the price to meet a quota.

Give sellers more power over their own business decisions. Meet with sellers who have actually sold stuff and ask advice.

Get rid of clutter from amazon/walmart/samsclub resellers.

Promote sellers in search that use auto accept and auto decline best offer while taking search placement from those that was to waste buyer time with counter offers and long waits for replies. The counter offer sellers are a huge cause for dissatisfaction of buyers.

And that is all from 2 minutes of thinking. I am sure all the ivy league wiz kids you got working there at ebay came come up with more.

All I can say here is that at some point raising fees even more is going to start hurting your bottom line faster then will help.
What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?   What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?
by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri Mar 3 01:31:58 2017
''Buyer procurement should be coming out of the billions eBay reaps in profits, not from profits taken from the sellers who are  delivering outstanding performance.''

Precisely.

Let THEM 'fund' their latest brain-fart dujour themselves - IF they believe in it's merits so much.  

Regarding 'rash reactions', that certainly always holds true for any business decision.   In fact, given the proclivity of eBay to periodically and regularly shaft their paying customers similarly, one might do well to plan (any potential) reaction to the next one now - before it's released for spin and havoc.  However, given just such past behavior, and the length of time it's been going on - and that isn't limited to just fund-sucking noodle tosses as there is so much more eBay does to regularly hammer chunks off their own foundation - one certainly can't fault any 'final straw' decision made at this point.

Because despite any advertised or potential for increased (ahem) 'success' this most recent change may eventually (any day now, just hang on, trust us) evolve, the one thing sellers can be certain of on eBay....

Any 'benefit' to be gained will cost more than it profits, any 'success' achieved will be incidental...and eBay is nothing if not a 'straw' belching entity.  

And it's best not to wait until one's back IS actually broken to refuse before refusing to carry another ounce of the master's cargo across the ever expanding eCommerce 'paradise' they continue to dessicate to desert.

What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?   What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?
by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri Mar 3 01:44:07 2017
Let's see. They began us to sign a petition to lower shipping fees..all the while raising their fees.

They remove outside ads but raise our fees.

They want us to pay for views now since their search engine is designed only to benefit china and their pet companies

They whine about no buyers


Ebay are hypocrits
What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?   What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?
by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri Mar 3 06:43:33 2017
In this day and age its tough to be a carrot jumper and so much easier to be just an average joe.....

What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?   What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?
This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford
       
Fri Mar 3 07:27:53 2017
"Mr. Lawton states that the extra fees are for the Promote Listings campaign."

Lord have mercy, how many schemes have we seen over the years?

Spin baby spin.
What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?   What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?
by: find other channels This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri Mar 3 09:57:42 2017
This will cost me over $1,000 per month.  I am more motivated than ever to find other sales channels.  I put my Volusion store on fast track and set an appointment up with my bank this morning to set up the payment gateway.

I WILL get my $1,000 a month back.  Ebay and paypal have been a great help in developing a customer list.  It's time to put it to use.
What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?   What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?
by: rhawk This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri Mar 3 11:45:33 2017
So glad I no longer sell on ebay....

It is such a great drain on the mind, body and soul to sell on ebay.

I also no longer buy on ebay....

I encourage others to do the same.....life without ebay just has a "clean" feeling to it.
What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?   What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?
by: mamie14425 This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri Mar 3 12:01:04 2017
No matter what eBay does they come up short, very short. They should just fix the problems...Get rid of the Chinese sellers.  They sell their wares for $1.00 with free shipping and their feedback is atrocious. Don't penalize the great sellers. Ebay has no vision or innovation.  They are forever sticking their finger in the dike in hopes fixing the leak.  It's not going to work folks.  After 14 years on ebay we are migrating more of our inventory to Amazon. We have been selling on Amazon for 2 years. No battle for TRS, more exposure to buyers, they are number one in their field and they are very, very innovative.  
What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?   What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?
by: comments This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri Mar 3 13:09:49 2017
Sorry but many people including Ina have been fooled here.

Ebay removing 3rd party ads is just spin. They don't need to charge us more....the move to promoted listings will be more profitable then the 3rd party ads. That is the ONLY reason ebay is doing it.

Ebay has a choice 3rd party ad revenue commission that takes buyers away from ebay OR Keep buyers on the site, collect FVF, and charge the seller an additional premium over the normal FVF. The choice now and always was a no brainer.

We are being punished to pay a premium for a new service they are offering to boost revenue? Really?
What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?   What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?
by: steveylang This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri Mar 3 13:31:42 2017
They can justify it any way they want by tying it to some other factor, but reducing TRS Plus discount increases their revenue. Just like they 'improved' the EBay Bucks program by cutting the earning rate to 1%.

I think cutting the TSR Plus discount is a bad thing for EBay if they are trying to improve the buyer experience, it provides much less (50%) motivation for sellers to fulfill the TSR Plus criteria.

At the very least, maybe have 2 discount tiers, with a more stringent list for the full 20% discount.
What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?   What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?
This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Fri Mar 3 14:21:17 2017
@find other channels

You are the type of seller I was taking about.  The larger the seller the harder the impact of the TRS discount reduction.  For this to impact you $1000 in the FVF increase and the TRS discount reduction, your sales would be upwards of $8,700 per month.

That is a HUGE additional cost for you and other sellers you and larger.


@stevelang

We use to have a tiered discount on FVFs, it was originally part of the Power Seller program.  Then they treated it much like they have the TRS discount.  They started reducing it until it no longer existed.

I actually really liked the tiered program of the PS program.    The better the seller did with their stats, the better the discount.  There were 3 levels originally.  In time they went poof and then the TRS Program was introduced to us.  It is likely the TRS Plus program will meet the same end eventually.
What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?   What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?
This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow
       
Fri Mar 3 16:52:00 2017
Question: Where's my TRS Plus discount going?

Answer: Most likely in Mr. Wenig's pocket.

If eBay was an ethical company and truly wanted to increase visibility for the site, they would use the billions they are supposedly making each quarter to pay for their own advertising. Instead, they force their sellers fund the marketing efforts. I don't know how this is any different that what other marketplaces such as Etsy expect from their sellers. With all the money sellers already pay to eBay, you'd think eBay could fund their own commercials, billboards, or whatever.
What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?   What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?
This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless
       
Fri Mar 3 21:27:01 2017
I'm with Ric and steveylang on this one.
What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?   What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?
by: find other channels This user has validated their user name.
       
Sat Mar 4 10:05:21 2017
Marie

I do $110,000/month in sales.  EBay's standard rate is 9.2% in the sector, or $10,120 before discount.  By changing their discount by 10%, I lose about $1,000.

I'm a one man show operating out of my home, in a high dollar, low volume, very low margin market. I'm giving up close to 10% of my profit due to this changes.  It's huge.

I've always been very nervous about losing my 20% discount.  As a low volume seller, I would lose the discount by having only one stock out per month.  Today I jump through hoops and will do anything to prevent that from happening including giving a customer a hundred bucks for a free alternative to a stock out. EBay's stock out policy has also held me back from selling across channels since it increases my likelihood of a inventory error.  No Longer, the gloves are off now and I've gone full speed ahead on selling across channels.

We can't run businesses with an executive team, EBay, that just makes wild changes to our cost structure every year. There is enough volatility in markets and global economies without these Zeros at Ebay adding to it.  I need to spread my sales across other channels just to reduce a hit like this to, say 3%, instead of a whopping 10%!

Did you also see PayPal's announcement this year?  Something about cutting you off if you direct customers to other Payment methods.  
What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?   What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?
by: Frank F This user has validated their user name.
       
Sat Mar 4 10:55:57 2017
@findotherchannels..

Are you sure about your math?! You say the TRS discount change is costing you $1,000 a month.. That would mean your sales are $100,000 a month (ie $100K in sales is $10K in FVFs and 20% of that is $2K and losing 1/2 of that is $1000)..

I highly doubt you would be complaining about $1,000 a month if you are generating $100,000 a month in sales LOL! Remember that the discount is on FVF, so its really a rebate on sales of 2% and they dropped it to 1%

Oh, and btw, this change is just like what ebay did with ebay bucks in January on the buyer side with the ebay bucks reward program getting reduced from 2% to 1%..
What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?   What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?
This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy
       
Sat Mar 4 12:47:51 2017
@ Frank F

With sales of $100,000 a month we can assume he's making $5-10k in profits.

You take $1000 away and he's losing 10-20% of is income.

I WOULD BE COMPLAINING

I'm losing $60-$100 a month and I'm LIVID about it!

What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?   What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?
This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Sat Mar 4 13:17:06 2017
@find other channels

As Frank stated, it does appear there is an extra zero in your sales numbers, but I certainly get your point.  I'm not aware of any category with a store that has a 9.2% FVF.  What category do you sell in?  Since they are raising the FVFs too, in May is your rate going up to 9.35%?  

You won't have much of a choice, you will need to ease your pricing up to cover the new costs since you have a small profit margin.  I have always told sellers that they should NEVER depend on the TRS Plus discount.  Once you start doing that, you open yourself to real issues as there is not guarantee it will not be take away at some point.  IMHO discounts should be just seen as a bonus for your hard work.  It should not factor into the pricing of your product.  When you do that, you run in to problems such as you are faced with now.

I encourage you to start easing your pricing upwards right away so that by May you will be on target.  I know that is easier said than done, but if you are going to continue on Ebay you really don't have much of a choice.  

I further encourage you to change your policy and never consider a discount given to your by whatever site you are selling on in your pricing.  As you are finding out the hard way, it can go poof with just a little notice and then you are in a bad place as you are now.

You won't be the only seller having to do this, so watch your competitors closely as they will all need to ease pricing upwards.

I wish you only good things.  If you still have questions or concerns, just ask.  I and others will try to assist you.  You are NOT alone in this.
What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?   What the Heck eBay, Where's My TRS Plus Discount Going?
This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Sat Mar 4 13:22:29 2017
@find other chanels

WHOOPS, I need to check my own math.  Sorry I was incorrect in what I said about your math with your sales volume.  My apologies!!!!

Now I will go back and have more coffee before opening my mouth again.  Again, I'm sorry for my incorrect statements.
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