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Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sat Sept 24 2016 21:18:48

Check Your PayPal Settings on eBay - Right Now

By: Ina Steiner
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It's practically mandatory for sellers to accept PayPal payments on eBay, but some sellers are discovering that their settings have been changed not to accept PayPal payments.

A video began making the rounds today describing the problem and showing how sellers can check their settings - you can find it on YouTube under the name ThriftSchool.

Some sellers commenting on the YouTube video and on industry boards say that when they check, they discover their settings are also set to no, meaning they don't accept PayPal on eBay. But others sellers say their settings are fine.

On Wednesday, a seller described an issue that sounds like ... Read More
Reading EcommerceBytes Blog: Check Your PayPal Settings on eBay - Right Now
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Tue Sept 20 2016 19:20:33

Study Finds Fault with Amazon Search Algorithm

By: Ina Steiner
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Investigative news site ProPublica did some shopping on Amazon and discovered something with which sellers are very familiar: algorithms that influence the order in which a search engine sorts results - and in Amazon's case, determine which sellers' items show up in the all-important Buy Box.

The publication looked at 250 frequently purchased products over several weeks and found that three-quarters of the time, Amazon placed its own products and those of companies that pay for its services in that position even when there were substantially cheaper offers available from others.

And, it said, "We found that the practice earned Amazon-linked ... Read More
Reading EcommerceBytes Blog: Study Finds Fault with Amazon Search Algorithm
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Mon Sept 19 2016 16:22:57

Here Is eBay CEO Devin Wenig's Amazon Strategy

By: Ina Steiner
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eBay CEO Devin Wenig is on a mission to "take on Amazon," according to Bloomberg. The news outlet provides some background on Wenig's career and experiences at eBay - it was he who insisted the company reset all user passwords after the infamous data breach, for example.

According to Bloomberg, the centerpiece of Wenig's strategy is to differentiate eBay from Amazon:

"Crucially, he has stopped competing in the area where the Seattle leviathan arguably has the biggest advantage: the speedy delivery of everyday merchandise. Instead, Wenig wants shoppers to come to eBay when they are planning vacations and need supplies, refreshing a wardrobe ... Read More
Reading EcommerceBytes Blog: Here Is eBay CEO Devin Wenig's Amazon Strategy
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Thu Sept 15 2016 09:29:15

Will eBay Benefit from an Amazon Seller Crackdown?

By: Ina Steiner
 
Amazon has third-party sellers on the run, but are they running to eBay - and if so, does eBay want them?

There are varied viewpoints as to whether eBay will be a beneficiary of any crackdown by Amazon. (Sellers are worried about brand-gating - Amazon now charges sellers a fee in order to sell certain brands - and are concerned about reports that Amazon is being pickier about accepting retail store receipts as proof of authenticity.)

If sellers who grew reliant on the Amazon FBA fulfillment model can't sell some or much of their inventory on Amazon, they could turn to ... Read More
Reading EcommerceBytes Blog: Will eBay Benefit from an Amazon Seller Crackdown?
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Tue Sept 13 2016 11:59:20

Testing Claims about eBay Search - the Results Are In

By: Ina Steiner
 
If 125 people go to eBay and enter the same search term, will they see the same results? 

Over the years, we've heard claims that eBay search brings back inconsistent results - a concern for sellers who expect their listings to be visible to shoppers. We set out to test those claims, launching an experiment to try and better understand marketplace search engines.

Over a 24-hour period, 125 readers volunteered to go to eBay.com and enter five specified search terms and report back their results in a blind survey. They searched using Best Match with no filtering. The survey was active for 24 ... Read More
Reading EcommerceBytes Blog: Testing Claims about eBay Search - the Results Are In
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Mon Sept 12 2016 22:10:57

Sellers Appeal to PRC Chairman over Shipping Cost Inequities

By: Ina Steiner
 
Two online sellers appealed directly to the chairperson of the Postal Regulatory Commission on Monday over rising shipping costs that they say are due in part to Chinese sellers, and what they say is the unfair system that allows Chinese merchants to ship certain items to the US for less than what it costs a domestic seller.

"The expense of the ever growing burden of Chinese packages in the USPS system also drives up the future fees I must pay for shipping," wrote Marjorie Alexander to Chairman Taub.

Alexander explained that her shipping costs rose 175% since starting her small home business 9 ... Read More
Reading EcommerceBytes Blog: Sellers Appeal to PRC Chairman over Shipping Cost Inequities
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Thu Sept 8 2016 15:08:39

Play the Marketplace Search Game

By: Ina Steiner
 
One issue that frequently comes up in the EcommerceBytes blogs is the consistency of search results on the major online marketplaces - eBay especially. This discussion has sparked an idea for a regular feature where we ask you, the contestant to:

REPORT YOUR SEARCH RESULTS

Here's how it works. Periodically, we will post five search terms in a survey that we will ask you to copy and paste into a marketplace's search box. For each search term, you provide us with the number of results that came back.

We'll report back the results so you can see if the ... Read More
Reading EcommerceBytes Blog: Play the Marketplace Search Game
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Thu Sept 8 2016 12:03:51

Big Glitches Hit PayPal and eBay

By: Ina Steiner
 
PayPal has a major problem that began yesterday - transactions are disappearing, and not only are sellers unable to see payments made by buyers in their accounts, some are actually seeing a decrease in their balance.

"I received three payments in pretty large amounts today, and my PayPal balance has decreased rather than increased," wrote one seller.

"PayPal has a glitch. $32.XX from a transaction disappeared. No withdrawal. No hold. Just gone," wrote another.

Reports began coming in to Ecommerce EKG yesterday. 

Adding to sellers' concerns - they're getting different answers from customer service reps about the estimated time of a fix to the problem, according to ... Read More
Reading EcommerceBytes Blog: Big Glitches Hit PayPal and eBay
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Wed Sept 7 2016 21:35:36

eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search

By: Ina Steiner
 
eBay and Etsy are both using machine learning to influence search results. eBay's VP of Engineering Dan Fain told InformationWeek that a shoppers' past history and behavior on eBay determines what they will see in search results. 

And Etsy uses machine learning to take unstructured data and makes it structured - the exploratory search Etsy launched last year takes unstructured data from listings and provides a hybrid between search and browse.

Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson said it helps guide a buyer through the search process - and it has increased engagement on Etsy by 10% in terms of clicks. (See Thursday's Newsflash ... Read More
Reading EcommerceBytes Blog: eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search
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Mon Sept 5 2016 21:10:21

Would You Use a Flat Rate Service from UPS?

By: Ina Steiner
 
Many small sellers find USPS Priority Mail and Media Mail to be viable options, especially since UPS and FedEx moved to dim-weight (dimensional weight) pricing - and since UPS and FedEx impose fuel surcharges and surcharges for Residential delivery. (Larger sellers can negotiate better prices with the two carriers than lower-volume sellers.)

But now, UPS is testing a flat-rate service in stealth mode. 

Packages weighing up to 70lbs and measuring under 900 cubic inches can be shipped for $11.35 for 3-day delivery with no surcharges, and there's a rate for Ground service at under $10. One caveat: your package must not exceed 900 ... Read More
Reading EcommerceBytes Blog: Would You Use a Flat Rate Service from UPS?
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