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From the Editor – September 10, 2017


EcommerceByteseBay is going to roll out a new simplified search function in the next 60 days, according to a research note published Wednesday by Mark May of Citi, who hosted eBay CEO Devin Wenig for a fireside chat that morning at Citi’s Global Technology Conference.

That’s huge news, and it’s notable that eBay informed Wall Street but has yet to make an announcement to sellers, who will be impacted by the changes. (Just ask Google SEO experts how impactful a change to search is for webmasters and merchants – there’s a whole industry devoted to tracking Google search changes.)

We covered the session, and you can find exactly what Wenig said about the changes to search in this blog post. Unfortunately, it raises a lot of unanswered questions. Some readers are hopeful that it will mean more relevant search results than “Cassini,” others only see cause for concern. Be sure to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments of the post, and hopefully eBay will be informing sellers soon as to what changes are coming to search.

Meanwhile eBay is prepping for a change that Google is rolling out to its Chrome web browser, and sellers may be impacted. If your listings contain links to HTTP rather than HTTPS compliant pages, eBay will make visitors click another link in order to view the description. (You’ve seen our coverage of the problem of “hidden descriptions.”)

eBay believes Google Chrome warning message to users who visit pages with HTTP links will deter shoppers- that’s why it is taking steps to try and minimize the impact. You can read more and leave a comment on this blog post.

In the last issue, we wrote about the new USPS Automated Package Verification System (known as APV), which verifies shippers have paid the correct amount for postage purchased online for packages through Click-N-Ship or PC Postage label providers. If it finds shippers didn’t pay the correct amount, the USPS will make a “payment adjustment” facilitated through the PC Postage platform the seller used.

It’s obvious that any disputes that arise could be time-consuming, but one seller raised an interesting point – this could prove to be an accounting hassle for sellers. The seller routinely rounds up when paying for online shipping labels to ensure customers have no issues, so she wondered, “Does USPS have a minimum they will refund? I really don’t want to mess with accounting on refunds of 5 cents.”

Sellers should speak to their accountants about how best to track the credits and debits to their online postage accounts for adjustments the USPS makes for incorrect postage.

Another issue we uncovered – online marketplace Bonanza, which calls the USPS adjustment a “postage chargeback,” will charge sellers a $10 postage adjustment fee in addition to the extra postage charges if the “chargeback” is more than $3 in case where sellers have insufficient funds in their accounts to cover the “chargeback.”

These stories are just a taste of some of the issues online sellers are facing – be sure to subscribe to our Newsflash email newsletter and follow our blogs and social feeds to get all the news and keep up to date.

In today’s issue, we fill you in on what eBay’s CEO told attendees during his chat with Wall Street on Wednesday, including what he had to say about the departure of Marketplaces executive Hal Lawton, who left for Macy’s this month. We get some tips on email marketing for online sellers from Constant Contact and MailChimp. And David Utter sits down with Brandboom’s COO Amy Zhou to learn about how retailers are expanding beyond marketplaces to reach retail stores with a wholesale strategy, and how her company’s services can help.

Collectors Corner schools us on textbooks and primers, and we wrap up with letters to the editor.

Thanks for reading, and good luck to those facing challenges such as the ones presented by Mother Nature this month – stay safe!

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.