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From the Editor – May 13, 2018

EcommerceBytes

It’s always interesting to compare the sales growth rates of the major marketplaces when they release them each quarter.

eBay announced first-quarter earnings on April 25th – it grew Gross Merchandise Volume (the value of goods sold on its Marketplaces) by 13% in the first three months of 2018, or by 7% on an FX neutral basis.

Amazon reported its earnings the following day: it grew net sales 43%, or 39% FX-neutral. Excluding AWS, Amazon grew sales 42% in the first quarter.

Etsy announced earnings on May 8th: it grew Gross Merchandise Sales (GMS) by 19.8%, or 17.6% on a currency-neutral basis in the first quarter.

eBay and Etsy have been transitioning into different types of venues, one where the marketplaces take over more control from the seller. Payments is one stark example – buyers pay Etsy rather than paying the seller, and eBay will be moving to this model too.

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Etsy stepped up its pace of change last year when Josh Silverman took over as CEO from Chad Dickerson – in today’s issue, we take a look at the one-year anniversary of the New Etsy.

Meanwhile, nearly everything about selling on eBay is changing: how you list, how your items are shown to buyers, and how you get paid. Sellers must also keep up with all of the changes announced in official seller updates, as well as those changes that crop up unannounced.

Here are three of the broader changes impacting sellers:

1) eBay is moving to a Product Based Search Experience, which it refers to as PBSE. eBay had already rolled out a product-catalog approach to traffic coming from external sources like Google, and it has begun rolling out the product experience to internal traffic, though for limited products thusfar.

2) eBay has begun offering buyers guaranteed delivery dates of 3 days and less on certain listings from certain sellers, and this month it will begin opening up Guaranteed Delivery to additional sellers who meet the requirements.

3) eBay is transitioning to becoming a payments intermediary, and CEO Devin Wenig told Wall Street analysts that his employees would begin beta testing the new payment process this summer.

Welcome to the “Amazonification” of eBay.

Whether you think this is a good strategic move or not, it’s important to prepare for New eBay especially during this time of transition. In today’s issue, we take a closer look at Guaranteed Delivery (GD), including a feature called Working Days calendar that eBay launched last year but hasn’t talked much about.

Since Guaranteed Delivery will increasingly impact visibility in eBay Search, it’s important for sellers to examine the risks and rewards, the opportunities and pitfalls, of participating in the program.

Unfortunately, eBay doesn’t make it easy for sellers to test it. In writing today’s article, I was struck by a major shortcoming of the GD tool. There’s no optimal way to participate for *some* but not *all* of your listings. Once eBay puts you in the program, you can stay in or opt out. But if you stay in, all eligible listings will show as guaranteed delivery when conditions are met.

eBay staff are advising sellers to remove key information from those listings they wish to exclude from Guaranteed Delivery – but following their advice would put those listings at a disadvantage.

It’s a bit like General Motors asking drivers to disable their speedometer if they wish to use their directional signals! It seems remarkable eBay is not providing sellers with tools to manage Guaranteed Delivery on a listing-by-listing basis, but unfortunately this approach is standard operating procedure at eBay where sellers are expected to cope as best they can while its engineers catch up.

Also in today’s issue, Collectors Corner takes a look at some hidden gems to look for now that yard sale season is upon us, and we close with Letters to the Editor.

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

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