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eBay Announces Spring 2018 Seller Update

eBay Spring Seller Update 2018

There are big changes ahead for eBay sellers as the marketplace unveils its 2018 Spring Seller Update today. Changes include stricter return policies, raising the bar for achieving TRS discounts, and additional Store tiers. And as we reported on Sunday, eBay will begin the transition to a “product-based shopping experience.”

Here’s a summary of some of the changes eBay is announcing.

eBay is reducing the number of returns policies options. The five return policy options will be:

No returns accepted
30-day buyer-paid returns
30-day free returns
60-day buyer-paid returns
60-day free returns
Restocking fees will no longer be a return option.

However, a limited number of categories will continue to have the option of offering 14-day returns including: Collectibles & Art, Cameras & Photo and Medical, Mobility & Disability Equipment.

Another change: in order to receive the 10% Top Rated Plus discount and badge for listings, Top Rated sellers will be required to offer 30-day free returns.

Seller Metrics: Peer Benchmarks
eBay is introducing a new concept: seller metrics based on peer benchmarks – in other words, it will take into consideration your performance compared to other sellers in similar circumstances.

“A peer seller benchmark represents the performance of sellers who offer similar products and have circumstances. You can use this information to make comparisons and identify opportunities to improve your business practices. When determining peer benchmarks, we will consider factors that we believe impact the published metrics, including the listing site, location of the buyer, product category, sale price, item condition, and more.”

How it affects sellers:

“The new seller metrics and benchmarks will not affect your seller performance standards evaluation or rating. However, sellers with high rates of requests for “item not received” and returns for “item not as described” are at risk of having those cases closed without resolution.”

New Store Tiers, Moving Store Pages to HTTPS
eBay is introducing new tiers to its Stores subscriptions, which at first glance appears to be welcome news. “We currently offer three eBay Store subscriptions: Basic, Premium, and Anchor. Starting May 1, 2018, we will introduce two new eBay Stores subscriptions – Starter and Enterprise. The expanded spectrum of Store subscriptions will provide you with a Store subscription option that meets your specific business needs and goals.”

What may be much more challenging: eBay’s move to transition Store pages to HTTPS. Last year, eBay moved listings to HTTPS, and will do the same to Store pages this year: “Starting in May 2018, we will begin updating eBay Stores to provide a secure shopping experience featuring a new look that’s consistent with the eBay home page design. The newly-designed experience will be free of active content and will comply with the highest browser security standard. It will also improve search engine optimization (SEO), enhance the mobile web experience, and provide new merchandising opportunities for eBay Store subscribers.”

Promoted Listing Ads on the eBay Home Page
Something that will likely get mixed reviews: eBay will begin placing Promoted Listings ads on the home page.

eBay will also begin providing guidance on which items to promote and provide enhanced reports on the campaign management dashboard to “make it easier for you to monitor what items sold through your campaigns.”

New Shipping Label Feature
eBay is launching a new Shipping Label feature that will be optional. One thing that jumped out: “See the buyer’s expected delivery date to help you select your shipping method.”

Guaranteed Delivery
Starting in March 2018, eBay Guaranteed Delivery’s handling time guarantee will be available to more sellers.

Payments Intermediation
eBay addressed the news that it had previously announced: It will transition to become a payments intermediary. eBay said sellers do not need to take any action at this time and wrote:

“Most sellers can expect their payments costs to be reduced after they transition to the eBay intermediated payments model. Sellers will also benefit from a simplified pricing structure and more predictable access to their funds. We will be engaging sellers to understand what they are looking for in this new experience.”

Catalog Listing Requirements for the New Product Shopping Experience
eBay is transitioning to a new “product-based shopping experience” and provided details about the first phase, which includes a small number of product lines. Rather than showing listings in search results, eBay will group them into products – as it explained: “Search results grouped together by product to help buyers quickly find the specific product they are seeking.”

By May, “when you attempt to modify existing listings, relist existing listings (including Good ‘til Cancelled), or create a new listing for an item in any condition within the Phase 1 product lines, and you do not associate it with a product from the eBay catalog, you will be unable to complete the listing.”

After we wrote on Sunday about eBay’s plan to begin rolling out the new product-based shopping experience (one that’s more similar to Amazon than the traditional “listing” based experience of eBay), many sellers worried about what it would mean for vintage and one-of-a-kind items. At first glance, we don’t see eBay address this in today’s news – here are two FAQs worth pointing out:

Will this requirement apply for listings with all item conditions, aftermarket customization, bundles, and lots?
Yes. This requirement applies to all item conditions (i.e., new, used, refurbished), as well as customized items, bundles, and lots.

How do I get the top product slot on the new product page?
On a product page, when multiple listings of the same item have been associated with products from product lines in the eBay catalog, your items will compete with other sellers’ listings for the chance to be featured in the top pick or the primary position on the product page. You must be at above standard, ensure your items remain in stock, and offer competitive shipping and pricing to improve your chances of winning the top pick.

Visit the EcommerceBytes Blog to let us know what you think of eBay’s Spring Seller Update.

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). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

7 thoughts on “eBay Announces Spring 2018 Seller Update”

  1. Weird that they would add new store options to both ends of the spectrum. Sellers have been asking for something in between Premium and Anchor for a long time.

  2. Are you kidding me. 14 day returns are fine for clothes, its more than enough time to check fit. 30 days lets them use the clothes once or twice and return them.
    as for the other nonsense, ebay is not amazon don’t try to be amazon.

  3. I am confused. This part: Another change: in order to receive the 10% Top Rated Plus discount and badge for listings, Top Rated sellers will be required to offer 30-day free returns.

    Are they saying being a top rated seller I will be required to give a 30-day FREE return to customers?
    I cannot offer free return shipping. I may only have a few throughout the year that return something and it’s usually they change their minds and they pay to return it. I make very little anymore and I cannot afford to pay for their returns. Did I understand that correctly?

    Thanks in advance.

  4. When are they going to ‘update’ the bug that lets buyers ask me questions when I have selected the option not to allow any questions in my seller preferences?

    Also how can my ‘”Tracking uploaded on time and validated” be 99.79% and my “Late Shipment Rate” be 1.5%? Why evaluate the USPS on my Seller Hub page?

  5. Color me confused. Right now I have my listings with Buyer paying all shipping including returns and a restocking fee on new saddles. I lose the restocking fee with the new changes but if I opt in for Free Returns I can offer a partial refund. Then I read the following –

    –If I offer free returns, how will eBay protect me in these situations?
    —A buyer uses or damages an item and returns it.
    –Starting June 1, 2018, if you offered free returns and an item is returned damaged or missing parts, you –can issue a partial refund and we will protect you from any buyer claims and remove any negative or –neutral feedback.
    —A buyer tries to force me to pay for return shipping by claiming my item was “significantly -not as described.”
    –We have developed ways to detect if a buyer is misusing the “significantly not as described” reason for a –return early in a returns process, and have the ability to prevent them starting a return.

    I don’t understand how a Buyer can force me to pay return shipping if I’m required to offer Free Returns in order to receive the eBay Protection? Am I totally misunderstanding the concept of Free Returns?

  6. Another comment regarding the Free Returns with Partial Refunds. I fail to see how surprising a Buyer with a partial return is better than an upfront statement that you’ll incur a restocking fee if you purchase and then return a new saddle from me. As a Buyer, I’d rather know before I purchase what the return policy is going to be, how much will it cost me to demo this saddle if I’m not sure I’m going to keep it. It leads me to believe that the partial refund option is one that will quickly fall to the wayside or won’t be as easy to implement once you’re in that situation.

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