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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2025 - April 22, 2009 - ISSN 1539-5065    1 of 3

eBay: Nothing More to Say on Third Party Checkout

By Ina Steiner
EcommerceBytes.com
April 22, 2009




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eBay confirmed it is requiring vendors to make changes to their third party checkout systems in June, but it passed on an opportunity to explain how those changes would or could impact sellers. Merchants who want more information about required changes in functionality must speak directly to their service providers, according to eBay spokesperson Usher Lieberman. eBay communicated forthcoming changes with vendors, he said, adding, "we've said all we want to say."

Third-party vendors have said eBay is eliminating the ability for merchants to cross-sell and up-sell items from the checkout flow, something Lieberman would not confirm. When asked what functionality vendors would be allowed to offer sellers in their checkout features, Lieberman said a lot would depend on the third party providers. "They know what they have to do and what to do to get that in place," he said.

Asked why eBay was not communicating to sellers about the changes to functionality, Lieberman said eBay did communicate through an Announcement Board post. The rather cryptic post states in part, "These guidelines do not involve any changes to functionality that is consistent with eBay listing policies and existing legal agreements."

When asked for specifics about what functionality would be allowed - for example, whether eBay was going to allow third party checkout systems to offer tax calculations, whether it would be UPS exclusive or whether eBay would allow sellers to offer promotions, Lieberman said, "I'm going to refer you back to the eBay post."

Vendors who have gone on the record have said eBay is forcing them to strip out functionality from their third party checkout systems that they had built to help sellers be more efficient. Infopia is one company that has chosen not to continue offering third party checkout. (It told its sellers they could switch to eBay Checkout instead).

Infopia's Vice President of Marketing Jay Shaffer said that, "in terms of why we chose not to participate in the certification process - when asked if we would turn our shopping cart into a wagon we simply said no." In a letter to sellers, Infopia had told customers it believed its resources would be better used in further developing innovative tools and technologies that directly result in incremental sales and success for their clients.

ChannelAdvisor's CEO Scot Wingo wrote on his blog last week that while eBay would like it to implement changes to Checkout by mid-June, he has "not committed to any changes at all, much less a time-frame." He wrote, "we strongly feel that our resources would be better spent on revenue-generating features such as support for the new resolution process and multi-sku/variations that were announced yesterday."

While Auctiva is choosing to continue offering eBay's third party checkout, its CEO Jeff Schlict wrote that it was to support its several thousand customers who have their own merchant accounts and referred to the update as, "all pain, no gain."

Eric Best, CEO of Mercent, said his company's implementation passes completed (paid) orders from eBay to the seller, so changes to Checkout would not affect Mercent's integration or merchants in any way. "For clarification, this is similar to Amazon's cart-based approach, but different from the "click referral model" comparison shopping engines we support." Mercent offers high-volume eBay sellers and Diamond PowerSellers a catalog-merchandising and order-integration software that is integrated with the eBay Large Merchant Services API.

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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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