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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2092 - July 31, 2009 - ISSN 1539-5065    1 of 3

eBay Answers Questions on View Item Changes, UPI and Shipping

By Ina Steiner
EcommerceBytes.com
July 31, 2009




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AuctionBytes has been covering the changes that eBay announced on Monday that are scheduled to roll out the weeks of September 22 and October 1, 2009. Included was news that eBay would revamp its PowerSeller program and add a Top Rated seller status (link); change the way it looks at DSR scores (link); and change Best Match search, with a Search Visibility tool for greater transparency (link).

eBay also plans to automate the Unpaid Item process. Senior Director of Seller Development Todd Lutwak told AuctionBytes in an interview, "We're going to be rolling out a test in the next few weeks to a group of sellers of all sizes, just to make sure that it works the way we want it to work, and the hope is that we'll roll it out to all sellers by the holidays." Because the communication about non-payment will flow from eBay, rather than the seller initiating the UPI process, he said the new process would protect sellers from possible buyer retaliation.

eBay had been offering free-shipping discounts to sellers in a promotion that expired recently, and Lutwak said there was no mention of free shipping discounts in Monday's announcement.

Is eBay concerned that the insurance change is going to lead to higher prices on eBay now that sellers cannot offer it to buyers as an optional service? Lutwak said eBay now mimics the standard in ecommerce. "It's not standard to charge buyers for insurance. So we're adding that onto eBay. And sellers still will have the option to charge for insurance, they just need to include it in their shipping price."

Two weeks ago, AuctionBytes published an article about a survey eBay was conducting that showed it was considering major changes to the View Item page, including a ban of customized templates and active content. Lutwak said eBay was conducting the surveys as part of its efforts to improve the buyer experience.

Asked whether eBay was considering doing away with customized templates and active content within listings, Lutwak said eBay has been conducting some surveys in the field about listing templates and content in View Item. "We're looking at trying to make the buying experience on eBay as easy as possible for the buyer and provide as much clarity and information to the buyer up front, in order to help them with their purchase process, as well as reduce the number of questions they would ask to the seller. So we're looking into various options and have nothing to announce at this time."

When asked whether sellers should think twice before spending a lot of money on customized templates and designs, he said, "Again, we have nothing to announce at this time on this. We're doing a survey that involves buyers and sellers and their impressions of eBay's View Item page and how to improve it. What I can say is, if eBay - if we do make changes in this area, we will be providing the community with a significant amount of time to make any changes that are required in that area. The surveys that we have in field testing this are out talking to existing buyers and sellers and their perception of the View Item page and how to improve it, and provide greater clarity about the item and the seller in order to make the buying process easier as well as the selling process in terms of getting fewer questions."

AuctionBytes is conducting a survey on eBay's announcement, learn more on the AuctionBytes Blog

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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