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eBay Surveys Sellers on Changes to Fees and Search

eBay is surveying sellers on a host of issues ranging from fee structure to a radical new approach to search. In its letter to sellers inviting them to take the survey, eBay said it was always trying to improve the eBay experience, “and there’s no better group of advisors than our customers.”

The survey is designed to let participants evaluate a number of different features that eBay is considering implementing. “This survey is not like the rest,” eBay wrote. “This is about giving you a say in eBay’s product development – we have worked with various teams across eBay to collect ideas – some fairly run of the mill, some a little bit zany – and we want you to tell us what you think of them.”

The most surprising question in the survey, estimated to take sellers 14 minutes to complete, had to do with how eBay presents search results: “How would you feel if a product search on eBay showed buyers only the top 5 most relevant search items? A link to see the other items would be provided.”

One of the strangest questions was, “How would you feel if you could purchase access to eBay customer service to sellers that is tailored to your needs?”

eBay also asked sellers how they would feel if they could pay eBay a flat fee for all fees up to a certain threshold and then a reduced fee over the threshold. The seller taking the survey told us, “It’s hard to answer if you don’t know what the exact numbers would be so I picked “neutral.”” eBay also asked if sellers would prefer to have the same fees for all eBay sites (domestic and international).

The survey also solicited sellers for their thoughts on the Daily Deal program and about policy violations, asking how they would feel if sellers who violated eBay policies were initially given a clear warning of what the offense was and how it could be avoided, with subsequent violations resulting in stronger sanctions.

eBay asked sellers questions pertaining to whether they wanted more information about both their competitors and their customers:

  • How important is it to you to learn about your eBay customers?
  • How would you feel if eBay provided survey and reporting tools to collect information from your customers?
  • How would you feel if you could not directly collect customer information on eBay, as is the case today?
  • How important is it to you to be able to assess your competitors’ sales metrics on eBay?
  • How would you feel if you could opt-in to a program that would allow you to see your competitors’ sales funnel data and they could in return see yours?

Here are some additional questions asked in the survey:

“How would you feel if customer disputes were decided by a panel of buyers and sellers?”

“How would you feel if you could pay to promote items that you have listed on eBay to customers when they were viewing comparable items being sold by other merchants, and similarly they could promote their items to customers who were viewing items that you were selling?”

“How would you feel if the Top Rated Seller discount was eliminated, but in return you could purchase advertising at non-eBay sites to drive traffic to your Store or listings?”

“How would you feel if you could use eBay certified drop shipping providers to expand your inventory and save on logistic costs?”

“How would you feel if Top Rated sellers continued to receive a seller discount, but no higher placement in search results, as is the case today?”

eBay explained in its introduction to the survey, “We won’t be able to make all of the changes we’re testing today, but your opinion really matters – so when it comes to the final decision about what we want to do, it’s only right that you, our customers, help make that decision.”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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.