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eBay to Announce 2016 Fall Seller Release Today

eBay will announce the Fall Seller Release today, which is a continuation of its efforts to make the eBay site more standardized and more like Amazon, including an expansion of its Structured Data requirements. In fact, beginning in February, sellers will be able to use Amazon standard identification numbers (ASIN) and Google product identifiers. eBay will also try to become a “kinder and gentler” company when it comes to seller performance standards.

The company decided to proceed with announcing the release despite experiencing a major outage on Monday that prevented many sellers from completing buying and selling tasks on the marketplace.

The 2016 Fall Seller Release includes changes in six major buckets for US sellers. Businesses that provide services to eBay sellers should pay particular attention to the changes such as the ban on Active Content and the move to the Seller Hub.

Update: The eBay Seller Update includes changes to fees – on October 1, the optional Reserve Price fee for auction format listings will increase to the greater of $3 or 4% of the reserve price (minimum price that must be met for your item to sell), with a cap of $100.

Seller Performance Standards 
eBay is giving sellers more time to recover if their account falls below required performance standards. eBay will give sellers who fall below standard 3 months along with information that will help them improve.

In addition, sellers who show improvement may be able to extend their selling privileges on a monthly basis.

Structured Data
Sellers will able to upload their entire catalog of products by fall 2016. And by February 2017, for most categories, newly-created listings will require at least one type of product identifier.

The option of using “NA” or “Does not apply” will no longer be acceptable as a product identifier, though some categories and item types will continue to be exempt. Listings in Coins & Paper Money, Stamps, and Toys & Hobbies must including product identifiers, for example.

In another move similar to Amazon: for sellers who upload their catalog, eBay will create eBay product identifiers (ePIDs) – this will offer sellers of private label and unbranded items access to benefits of structured data on eBay, including product reviews.

Shipping and Returns
eBay is making it easier for sellers to offer replacements and exchanges for sellers who wish to return an item, which could be less costly than issuing a refund (which will also remain an option).

Beginning in October, sellers can set up rules to automate the process, or sellers can offer a replacement or exchange for any return request started even if they hadn’t set up the feature at time of listing.

Active Content
eBay had already notified sellers it would ban Active Content in lisitngs, and now it has gotten a little more specific about timing: it will begin phasing out Active Content beginning in June 2017. That includes JavaScript, Flash, plug-ins, and form actions in listings.

Businesses that make a living providing customized templates for sellers appear to be out of luck – eBay is advising new Store subscribers not to invest in any custom HTML Store experiences.

Seller Tools
eBay is moving sellers to the new Seller Hub – it will no longer support Turbo Lister after June 2017, and will no longer support Selling Manager and Selling Manager Pro after Spring 2017.

Note that Seller Hub is free to use and it includes optional features that cost $15.99 per month (free as part of Premium or Anchor–level eBay Stores subscriptions).

Category and Classification 
eBy is rolling out changes to categories and subcategories. New and revised categories will become available in October 2016.

As always, there are a lot of changes to absorb. We’ll bring you more information as it becomes available, and be sure to check the EcommerceBytes Blog.

Comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

Update: Also see the AuctionBytes Blog for information about new fees impacting eBay auctions.

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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. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.