EcommerceBytes Letters to the Editor Letters to the Editor
Your emails to EcommerceBytes
For consideration, send your email to ina@auctionbytes.com with "Letters to the Editor Blog" in the subject line! Remember to include your name as you would like it to appear in the blog.
Mon Nov 6 2017 10:49:57

eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sales Ratio

By: Reader

Sponsored Link

Dear Ina,
At the risk of proposing something that sounds like a conspiracy theory, is eBay steering buyers who are prone to returning items to small sellers? Yes, it does sound far-fetched, but what I have noticed as sales have gone down drastically (especially in 2017) is that the number of returns have skyrocketed. 

The numbers do not make sense when you compare current (high number of returns with low sales) versus past (low number of returns with high sales). 

I used to sell hundreds of items per month and of the same quality that I sell today, and I got few returns. With eBay's abysmal sales as of late, I get very few sales per week but the numbers of returns recently has to be between 25 and 35% of sold items. 

This is making me feel that there has got to be a reason for this, in addition to the fact that eBay never tire of encouraging buyers to return their items. At this rate, I will be given a "pink slip" anyway, which might be a blessing because I am no longer enjoying selling on eBay - I haven't in many years. 

There are quite a few sellers who feel like eBay uses their search algorithms to give their favored enterprise sellers best placement in search, but are their algorithms steering high return buyers away from their favored sellers to small sellers? 

Nothing they do surprises me, but could they sink so low? I have been a TRS seller for years, and my metrics are great, but I am seeing an anomaly which is beyond explanation.
S.

Comments (33) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa   eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 6 11:19:21 2017

Conspiracy theories are a dime a dozen when discussing Ebay.

Every since 2010 maybe even sooner sellers have come up with all kinds of theories of why something is happening on ebay. These people need to get out in the real world.

As low level peons in the real world the same theories are always being toss out as to why some business isn't doing well, why cars aren't selling etc. Just theories that go nowhere.

People need to spend their time on running a business or hobby and not thinking up theories of why something is or isn't happening.

Just the facts. Real facts are Ebay is a business run by (although inept maybe) people who think they know what they are doing. They probably have little time or will to play the games that some sellers think that they are doing.

eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa   eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa

by: Clothing Seller This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 6 11:43:20 2017

Wow, 25% to 35% is a very high rate of returns.  According to my own dashboard my return rate is 3% and I thought that was high.  The highest return rate in my category seems to be on items between the $40 to $100 range and are usually remorse returns.  

I would suggest looking at your dashboard and really viewing the whole picture because something doesn't seem right.  Maybe diversify the price range or and I say this with no disrespect, get checked for glasses.  The economy has changed considerably since the start of eBay and when buyers fall short on the cost of basic necessities, it will usually result in a return.  That's not just eBay, that's retail in general in 2017.

eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa   eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa

by: Scotty This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 6 11:52:10 2017

At this point, I don't put the possibility of anything happening past them....never has a company worked so hard to piss off its customers (sellers) and put them out of business.  I tell people this all the time...it is so insane, many do not believe me or think I am exaggerating.  If I run into a current or former seller, I don't even have to finish the sentence before they give me the ''sympathetic'' look all ebay sellers must give off at this stage in the game.  I truly, purely hate ebay and what they have become...

eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa   eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Nov 6 12:21:02 2017

Clothing Seller says "Wow, 25% to 35% is a very high rate of returns."

I agree, but since Seller Hub was implemented, many sellers have seen their sales fall to almost no sales. Those percentages would be quite easy to achieve in light of that.  If you only sold a few items in a month's time, and you received returns during this period, it could easily happen.

eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa   eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Mon Nov 6 13:05:48 2017

This ''theory'' may have some merit, but I feel some of the increase of returns is related to new (guest, zero feedback) buyers who do not take the time to read the description.

Another problem is sellers who not put any time into their item descriptions in the first place. I see many expensive items listed with just one to three sentences describing what is offered for sale, and only 3 or 4 photos. This causes ''misunderstandings'' after the merchandise is received, and inevitably the seller has to issue a refund.

Combined with eBay enabling returns for any reason, and the increase of liar buyers, it would seem that they have skyrocketed for some sellers.

Personally, for my business, I have had a record month of sales, so Seller Hub has not affected it. But it is still obvious that eBay does hide my listings on occasion- after I get a return for any reason or have a big volume day, I can count on little to no sales for 24-48 hours. This is a pattern which cannot be denied.

eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa   eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa

by: papergoy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 6 13:24:22 2017

On my taxes, my returns (in dollars- refunds I've given)- run from 1 to 1 1/2 percent year after year on all venues.  Reasons range from returns to something not getting there to someone not having read well enough to understand the condition- but all in all, it's been steady for about fifteen years.  This year, it's the same.  I don't know if you'd call me small or medium sized- 99.9 percent positive, 33,000 or so items for sale.  But I've noticed no difference at all.

eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa   eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Nov 6 13:41:23 2017

As eXtinctbay says, I do think the hidden descriptions are a factor.  I even had a buyer recently state that he did not even look at the photo. He didn't return the item but I thought he was going to.  

I also think that eBay's constant harping on returns is a huge factor.  They are constantly pushing this message onto buyers instead of messaging them how much they will love their items.

I don't think the (further) fall of small seller sales after the implementation of Seller Hub was an accident.  To Scotty's point, it seems like everything that they have done, since Donahoe came onto the scene, and then Wenig doubling down, has been orchestrated to annihilate small sellers....any way that they can.  I will never believe otherwise.  I mean, how much proof do you need?  The numbers say it all.

eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa   eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Nov 6 15:34:36 2017

OP you certainly have something going on that isn't good and your return rate is ridiculous by any standard.

As I've said many times on various blogs here, if Ebay wanted to get rid of Small Sellers, Small sellers would not exist on Ebay.  Many posters have been saying this for well over a decade and there are many of us still here.  Plus if Ebay didn't want Small Sellers, then Ebay would not allow new members to sign up to sell on Ebay unless they could provide proof they would be a large seller.

There are just so many small sellers and it is mostly the small sellers that have time to post on blogs.  Large and mega sellers are off taking care of business and rarely appear on a blog here or on a thread on the Ebay discussion board.

With that said, your problem is an important one and as you know all to well a serious one.  I think you need to look at the reasons why you have so many returns happening recently.  Are there any common complaints or anything else that some share in common.  There has to be a reason for this and it is in your best interest to figure this out.  I'm not saying that it is your fault at all.  I'm only saying you need to find the root of the problem before you can resolve it.  Maybe it is Ebay, I certainly don't know.  But some in depth research and comparison is in order.

***********************
As to hidden descriptions.  Those are easy to resolve.  The listing either has a link or pic that isn't secure.  Fix that issue and then your listing will show the full description without having the buyer need to click on a separate button to get to the description.

Keep in mind that if you use or have used Turbo Lister, there is a link at the bottom of your description that TL places on the listings.  You need to remove that link as Ebay no longer likes it.

eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa   eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa

This user has validated their user name. by: I Am Not A Crook

Mon Nov 6 16:35:15 2017

@Marie:
I was under the impression that Ebay had intentionally, (by design or just during testing) put the descriptions behind a button.  Are you saying that descriptions will NOT BE behind the button, if all links or images on the page are https?

All my descriptions contain all the images, and also the text, within html usually.

On a pc, I have been running into a large number of hidden descriptions.   Many of them are just a sentence or two, of a crummy description.

Also, my descriptions are never hidden to me, (on a pc) including when I have cleared my caches, and am not signed in.  Is that right, or do I have to go to another Isp to see for sure?

eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa   eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Nov 6 16:53:55 2017

@I Am Not a Crook

I think there are two DIFFERENT hidden description issues.

One is as you describe and is ONLY happening with mobile devices.

Then there is another one which I've ran into with my own listings, which is when I am using my desk top.  On every listing that I've corrected as I previously described, my full description was then viewable.  If you have some, give it a try and see if it has an affect and then let us know what you see.

eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa   eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa

This user has validated their user name. by: I Am Not A Crook

Mon Nov 6 17:24:52 2017

@Marie:

I guess I never realized there were 2 different issues, but that makes sense.  I am only concerned with eBay hiding my description, on a pc device, WHEN there are no insecure links (http).  I have NOT seen eBay hide any of my descriptions yet, but was worried about it.

The following link from another seller, when loaded, and then clicked through to ORIGINAL LISTING,  will show the description behind the “button”.  I thought eBay was doing this, but possibly it is the seller's  own fault?

Looking at “View Image Info” :
The pictures (being hosted at eBay), all have https.

Looking at “View Page Source” :
The very first item is an Http link to Facebook.  Is that what the cause is, in this case?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/FOR-FRMPTS-EARL-ONLY-Unicorn-Stu
dio-Porcelain-Art-Nouveau-Style-Dish-Tray-Woman-/282624998552?hash=item41cdc33c98%3Ag%3ApzUAAOSwSzFZYuZZ&nma=true&si=GNxsVGEGJb%252BGE6Gksgwz76KmtA0%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

Is
it true that if I sign out, and clear my caches, that (on a pc) I will be shown what others on a pc will be shown?

Thanks!

eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa   eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Nov 6 18:34:30 2017

Judging from the brief that seller has, I'd be more inclined to think they have a link in their listing that they could easily fix.

eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa   eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 6 19:08:55 2017

and the cheerleaders just keep on cheering!

eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa   eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 6 22:51:05 2017

There are 2 different issues here.

A) eBays insane obsession with RETURNS
B) how eBay handles small sellers

While I respect Marie and her opinions, I cant agree with "As I've said many times on various blogs here, if Ebay wanted to get rid of Small Sellers, Small sellers would not exist on Ebay.  Many posters have been saying this for well over a decade and there are many of us still here.  Plus if Ebay didn't want Small Sellers, then Ebay would not allow new members to sign up to sell on Ebay unless they could provide proof they would be a large seller."

1) eBay has MANY deals in place with large sellers - promises/guarantees about sales & traffic. Its WELL known that they play by a different set of rules then small sellers - they can hide feedback, have horrid feedback ratings, can do as they please (aka harvest emails at will), as well as take sales off site.

They promise XXX amount of listings and co-branding and  they get to live in a world that most small sellers would call paradise.

2) wanting small sellers - but for what??? Canon Fodder.

Small sellers are used as BAIT. Its they who put up the iPhone 6s's and then get back Motorola Flip phones in return (fake SNADs) so "in that sense" yes eBay wants them - just not as a partner - a REAL partner.

eBay is NEVER going to tell a small seller not to join up - why should they? They are sitting ducks for what ever eBay wants its policies to be ATM - and they are at the mercy of eBay and its ill trained overseas CS agents.

Theres no PURGE of smaller sellers "per se" its that eBay has lead them down a path they cant escape from. They cant ever GROW their businesses they way they need to - because eBay REFUSES to spend any resources on small sellers.

Manufacturers, large retailers, distributors (pretending to be sellers), jobbers, liquidators - all THOSE people are who eBay REALLY wants.

Marie - can you say that you DONT remember smaller sellers being called NOISE by the last CEO??

This CEO or was it the last - its hard to tell them apart, said he wanted to reconnect with smaller sellers - can anyone say that after hearing what came out of eBayOPEN? Are older women in strange hats a selling strategy in ecommerce? Looking at Amazon - Id say NO.

We may agree on this, we may not - but after being here since 1998 and having PERSONALLY experiencing eBays finest (bad CS, VERO abuse, Paypal abuse) and more - I cant tell you witha straight face that eBay cares (1) iota about small sellers - in any way shape or form.

If Im wrong - tell me so please - PLEASE point out programs or methods that eBay has introduced that help small sellers. Sellerhub doesnt, VERO doesnt, enhanced returns doesnt, hidden rules (ask TRINTON about them) doesnt .... I cant find one that does.

Ill GLADLY provide a mea culpa to anyone that can prove me wrong.

And OP - go to NO RETURNS .....  

eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa   eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Nov 7 02:32:40 2017

@Pace

While we certainly don't agree on this, history rather proves what I said to be true.  As you quoted, I had said "As I've said many times on various blogs here, if Ebay wanted to get rid of Small Sellers, Small sellers would not exist on Ebay.  Many posters have been saying this for well over a decade and there are many of us still here.  Plus if Ebay didn't want Small Sellers, then Ebay would not allow new members to sign up to sell on Ebay unless they could provide proof they would be a large seller."

Many posters here and elsewhere have stated that Ebay has been trying to get rid of small sellers for over a decade.  You may not agree with this, but it is still a factual statement.

I'm not sure how anyone can disagree with my statement that if Ebay wanted to get rid of small sellers, small sellers would not exist on Ebay period.  Maybe they would allow the current ones to stay, but they certainly would not allow more small sellers to sign up to sell on Ebay.  It is within their power to do this.

I do not feel like "bait" as you put it.  

"eBay is NEVER going to tell a small seller not to join up - why should they?"  Because as you have said, they don't want small sellers.  You can't have it both ways.  Either they want them or they don't.

"Marie - can you say that you DONT remember smaller sellers being called NOISE by the last CEO??"  I have NEVER said that.  But I got past it a long time ago.

eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa   eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Nov 7 06:37:29 2017

RL15, you are correct.  eBay love their small sellers so much they they took small sellers making six figures and more down to incomes of a few hundred dollars per month, if that.

Can you feel the love?  There are none so blind as those who will not see.    And cheerleader, or eBay representative?

eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa   eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 7 09:56:42 2017

Theres no ACTIVE purge .. theres just the continuation of policy after policy, the continuation of side deals and favorites that push out small dealers.

Of course eBay wants small sellers - they are the ones that eBay gets to abuse with policies day in day out and the ones that eBay makes its extra coin with.

You cant say you want smaller sellers if:

1) you have hidden policies that hurt sellers - ask Trinton about them. In what other area of business would ANYONE be involved in that had HIDDEN policies. Would yo buy a house where the contract had HIDDEN clauses in the contract? Apparently eBay rules do - can that be justified?

2) you create returns poilcies that are ignored by your CS and abused by buyers? What does "taking losses is part of business - who cares what happened to you - take one" say about your commitment to your small sellers - the ones who cant absorb those kinds of losses (selling an iPhone 7 and getting back a Motorola flip phone). BTW - cs agents are penalized for going "off script" when sellers call in - losses are not tolerated by eBay. I know since on of the girls there that I was friendly with - told me so.

3) You harp on returns 24/7 and create ways to penalize sellers who cant/wont "go along with your scheme"? What do sellers do who sell items that CANT be returned missing pieces/switched in accordance with eBay "policy"? What do you do when the makers say REPAIR ONLY - and you put that in your listing and eBay says STFU?  (btw - are they a managed marketplace OR just a venue"?)

4) you have an over aggressive VERO policy/group that ignores state local and federal laws.... You also sell those companies tools to help them "route out" bad evil sellers .... and have different websites that have your name in it (or used to - some of them after being caught removed the sites) (verowatch.com for example) designed to hurt your sellers.

There are of course many more instances so YES you are right that theres no purge of small sellers - they are bait (list, sell, ship, get paid)   but they certainly arent "welcome equal partners"

eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa   eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 7 11:24:18 2017

if fleecebay just deleted all the small sellers that they despise, the ceo will have to tell the stockholders the the amount of sellers is way down.

no matter how much flash, mirrors and spin he puts on it, it will be obvious to the investors that the ceo is a moron.

eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa   eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Nov 7 12:48:25 2017

@rexford

I never used the word "love".  Nor would I consider using it to describe Ebay's treatment of sellers.

@Pace

Much of what you say does not just hurt Small Sellers, it hurts ALL sellers that aren't under some special agreement with Ebay.

@RL15

As long as the change was met with the same or increased sales, why would they care?  I'm certainly not advocating for such a change, I'm just saying why would they care?

eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa   eBay Seller Floats Theory about Poor Returns-to-Sa

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 7 14:29:00 2017

@Marie

the ceo as part of his quarterly pep talk (lies) to investors, one of the items he talks about is the amount of sellers fleecebay has.

if the ceo cut out all the small sellers, the investors would care that there is a drastic drop in sellers, they would look a little closer at the moron ceo.

Click to view more comments
1 2  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.