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From the Editor – January 14, 2018


EcommerceBytesCongratulations to the ten Sellers Choice 2018 finalists, including one marketplace that appears on the list for the first time, and thanks to everyone who took the time to participate in the nominations process.

This is the 9th annual Sellers Choice Marketplace awards, when sellers turn the tables and put the spotlight on marketplace performance. As a seller, you are rated on a range of metrics throughout the year, now you can rate the venues on which you sell and rank them on how likely you would be to recommend them to a friend or colleague.

Our favorite part of Sellers Choice is the free-form section where sellers describe the challenges they’ve faced over the past year and take note of the improvements they’ve seen. We call it “the good, the bad, and the ugly.” You can participate by visiting the Sellers Choice survey on Survey Monkey.

There was a significant development in the ecommerce industry on Friday – the Supreme Court announced it will revisit the state sales tax issue in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., paving the way for a possible overturn of Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, which prevents states from requiring businesses without a physical presence (nexus) to collect their sales tax from in-state customers. You can read more and weigh in on this EcommerceBytes blog post.

On a different subject, eBay is convinced that if it can direct its more than 25 million sellers on what to sell and at what price, it will help them grow sales and thereby help grow its own business. eBay even has a name for the technology it’s developing: Sherpa, which it calls its “Selling Guidance Delivery Platform”:

“This platform delivers critical insights to sellers like what kinds of inventory they should source, how they should price it to be competitive and how they improve their overall listing to improve conversion and sales. This guidance is built using the latest machine learning algorithms which we are constantly iterating upon and testing using the Sherpa platform.”

While often skeptical of the recommendations eBay has made through tools like Seller Hub, sellers have shown they are willing to pay for data to help them guide their selling decisions and were disappointed in January 2017 when eBay neutered parts of a third-party tool called Terapeak, which licensed data from eBay.

eBay ultimately acquired Terapeak last month for an undisclosed sum – whether that was its intention all along isn’t clear to us.

Be aware that Amazon is increasing fees for using its FBA fulfillment services beginning next month. The new fees will apply throughout the year, with no separate rate for October through December as is currently the case. (And remember the bi-annual Amazon FBA fees for Long Term Storage that will be assessed in February.)

In today’s issue, we look at ecommerce trends to watch in 2018, report on a test Amazon is running to enhance product reviews, and delve into the results of a shipping survey. Today’s Collectors Corner takes you out of the doldrums with a look at some “Winter” collectibles – it’s not what you think! And we wrap up with letters to the editor.

Please remember to participate in this year’s Sellers Choice, and thanks for reading.

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/.