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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1737 - February 28, 2008 - ISSN 1539-5065    0 of 6

eBay Prods Sellers to Lower Shipping Charges

By Ina Steiner
February 28, 2008

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eBay has been using a carrot and stick approach since last year to prod sellers into certain behaviors as it concentrates on "improving the buyer experience." The latest "stick" is a message that pops up when sellers are listing their items that warns them to consider lowering shipping charges:

Attention Seller!

We noticed your shipping cost looks high compared to other listings in your category with similar shipping services.

We've found that buyers are sensitive to shipping costs. Items with high shipping costs may be less likely to sell and may get less visibility in search results. Listings that violate the eBay Excessive Shipping Charges policy may be removed from the site.

Please review your shipping costs and make changes if necessary. For help, click the Research rates link in the shipping section.

eBay has said that buyers are turned off by high shipping costs, and it has a long-standing policy against excessive shipping that allows it to remove listings it deems violates the policy. But it's also true that eBay makes no commission on Shipping & Handling charges. Said one seller of the new warning message, "Ebay only gets FVF on the sales price, not shipping. It's in Ebay's best interest financially, to have sellers raise the list price and offer lower or free shipping."

In another move to motivate sellers to lower shipping prices, eBay replaced its "sort by price" option with "sort by price plus shipping" last year, a move that was not received well by all users, many of whom wanted a choice in sorting by price or by price plus shipping (http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y07/m10/i24/s01).

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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