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Sellers Seek Answers from eBay Executive Bob Kupbens

eBay sellers

eBay sellerseBay executive Bob Kupbens answered 7 prescreened questions during a video presentation on Wednesday. Sellers were asked to submit their questions 2 weeks prior to the broadcast.

The section where sellers had submitted the questions is no longer accessible (the URLs below now go to a page showing a “question Not Found” error message), so we’re printing the fulltext of the questions Kupbens chose to address in his presentation below:

1) Visibility of Promotions. eBay sometimes suppresses the banners that show sellers’ promotion (for example, “buy one, get one at 50% off”).

The seller had asked, “I am wondering if we could have some sort of banner or advertising on our listing page (most important) and on our store page when we create a promotion. For example, if I run a buy-1-get-1-free promotion, buyers currently are not seeing that until they add the first item to their cart. And they are not putting the first item in the cart because they have no idea it is basically half price. We used to have a banner highlighting the promotion on the listing page. Would love to either have it back or understand the logic behind not advertising a seller’s promotions on their listing pages and store page.”

Submitted by tink012 on ‎June 15, 2018

2) Tech problems. eBay has been having a lot of major technical problems and glitches lately.

The seller had asked, “Want to ask if eBay management is upset about the myriad of problems with rollouts of new features, things that don’t work, promotions that are misstated? While not all are as distasteful as the “refurbished condoms and diapers” debacle that took 6 months to fix, they are costing sellers time in trying to figure out what’s going on almost every week, and sometimes every day.

“When we finally get a blue to confirm a problem, we are told the developers are working on it, but frankly, that’s gotten old to us………to you? Is it too much for us (you?) to expect that things will be “right” when they go live?….

“And beyond the technical implementation, that whatever team develops a new way of doing things, that they actually consider the ramifications to other parts of the site?

“Also, does Ebay have ANYONE that can proof read promos before they go live?…..so we don’t get 8% AND 10% figures (see bucks promotion) for the same thing……..or receive the promotions AFTER the end date? I can think of at least 4 with big mistakes in the last 6 wks. Of course, nothing will ever beat the one in April (?) that had to be pulled as it gave everyone, with the usual exceptions, 25% off fvf for a month…….

“Are these errors we (and ebay) should just expect and deal with or is there any hope that something really is being done to stop such careless foolishness in a billion dollar company?

“You rightly expect sellers to behave in a business like manner, to avoid mistakes, quickly admit and correct mistakes if they happen……. Do you expect the same from your developers and employees? Can we expect to see any improvements from ebay on implementation?”

Submitted by dhbookds on ‎June 13, 2018

3) Inconsistencies between eBay policies and how customer service reps enforce the policies.

The seller had asked, “There is a much higher level of seller stress with almost every new eBay policy. Right now, the returns are of paramount concern.

“This example is just one of several confusions: Unable to resolve the buyer’s issue? Ask eBay to step in Appeal eBay’s decision on a case “If you disagree with our decision after we’ve been asked to step in, you can ask us to take another look. In order to request an appeal, you’ll have to provide additional details for us to take into consideration, such as photographs showing there’s nothing wrong with the item. We’ll review your new information, and get back to you with our final decision, usually within 48 hours.”

“This policy does not say photographs will be considered if there IS something wrong with the item. And most posts say that the CS reps will not consider photos as proof of a defected returned item. Why would a faulty return have to come so far as an appeal? If photographs are considered as proof on an appeal, why not sooner?

“Additionally, you can call eBay 6x about the same issue and get maybe 3 different answers. So which answer is the correct one? If a CS rep sides with a seller and another CS rep sides with the buyer, shouldn’t eBay take the hit and satisfy both because of not having properly trained staff? It seems eBay will default to satisfy the Buyer at the Seller’s expense in most situations. Are we (sellers) imagining the cards are stacked against us?”

Submitted by stuff4divas on June 14, 2018

4) Needless work and anxiety for sellers by eBay refusing to announce changes.

The seller had asked, “I like selling on eBay. I’ve been doing it for more than 20 years, just a small seller selling mostly old odds and ends. I love sourcing for those old odds and ends, and 99% of my buyer interactions are anywhere from smooth to great. I even enjoy packing stuff up and shipping it out (same day or one business day).

“Change is a constant in the business world, and I’ve rolled with the changes for years, always managing to adapt. And whatever changes are thrown at me in the future, I figure I’ll be able to adapt to them as well. So, while it’s not always easy, I can deal with the changes and even the site glitches.

“There’s just one thing , Bob, that really, really drives me up a wall. For years, sellers have pleaded with eBay to announce changes and tests, so we don’t have to play the almost constant eBay guessing game of : Glitch, Test, or Unannounced Change?

“This is not a fun game, Bob. It is a game that creates needless anxiety for sellers, and wastes our valuable time. And it is almost completely avoidable. For as long as sellers have complained about this, eBay has promised to do “better.” And yes, this year we’ll have three, not two, seller releases.

“But that’s not the problem. The problem is all the stuff you guys do that we don’t hear about until AFTER the fact, usually after a lot of misinformation and speculation has transformed a simple thing into a complete mess.

“A recent example: eBay is apparently now testing a repricing tool of sorts within the listing flow. That in itself is no real surprise to me, you guys have been hinting that you were working on repricing solutions for a little while now. But here’s the thing: one day, it’s not there. The next day, it is. No explanation, no announcement, just: Boom—-and, if you look at the thread about it on the Selling Board, and the article about it in an ecommerce online publication, you’ll see the confusion and anxiety caused by this unannounced test.

“WHY wasn’t this announced? This is not some super secret test. AFTER sellers began asking about it, we were FINALLY informed that ebay is testing it. If we could be told after the test had begun, why not before it had begun? Something along these lines: ” Sellers, next week some of you may notice a new option called “easy pricing” in your listing flow. We are testing a repricing tool, which will be optional and…” WHY, Bob, WHY can’t ebay do this? And how is it possible that you guys can think it is a good idea to NOT do it, when all the evidence is that your failure to do it just causes unnecessary stress and confusion within the seller community?

“Let me give you another example: eBay has been saying since at least the first seller release of the year that various modules and new tools are coming to stores. I have asked repeatedly to see some sort of mock ups of these changes, realizing these would be works in progress, but at least we’d have some idea of what you guys are working on.

“I’ve been told that recently another marketplace site actually posted an Instagram video showing just such a work in progress and asking for feedback from the seller community as they worked on it. The sellers I’ve talked to loved that idea. But on eBay, either the Stores team is so far behind schedule on their modules that they have literally nothing to show us, or….or, what?

“WHY can’t eBay provide this sort of information (and gain insights from the community) BEFORE you launch it? eBay could reduce seller anxiety, misinformation, and confusion by doing a better job of communicating with us in a timely fashion. I think you’d find a far happier seller community if you did that. So, come on, Bob…..the fact that you are here, answering questions, shows a desire to communicate. You and I both know eBay can do better. Please, from now on, keep us informed.”

Submitted by my-cottage-books-and-antiques on June 13, 2018

5) A request for additional benefits for long-time sellers.

The seller had asked, “Many sellers I know, myself included, have been selling here since the 1990’s. We are absolute professionals, with many of us selling online on other channels. We have ecommerce figured out and provide excellence in every package. Sellers like us not only create happy customers, but we bring buyers to the site and keep them coming back. Why not have a reward system? A badge to hightlight us? Better CS help? More seller protection from scammers?”

Submitted by softersilk on ‎June 14, 2018

Questions 6 and 7
We weren’t able to view the fulltext of the last two questions since the section where sellers had submitted the questions is no longer accessible, the moderator Audrey Tracy summarized them as follows:

Why isn’t it possible to see the original listed item that has ended?

Questions about eBay return policies and not permitting restocking fees for 14-day returns.

Link to Video Presentation
You can view the video presentation where Bob Kupbens answered those questions on June 27 by following this link on the eBay boards. Tracy said Bob Kupbens would return in 5 months to answer more questions from sellers.

With regard to the first question, Kupbens revealed that if sales offers aren’t good enough, eBay will “suppress” them, and he blamed sellers who were gaming the system. We report on his response in this EcommerceBytes Blog post.

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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.

2 thoughts on “Sellers Seek Answers from eBay Executive Bob Kupbens”

  1. So this Ebay mouthpiece had two weeks to come up with answer to questions that were prescreened and this is the best he can do. HOW FUNNY IS THAT………..I’ll bet the mouthpiece never lost a second sleep trying to figure such and intelligent answer.

  2. Great questions; they cover most of what most sellers are complaining about. I’m just surprised Bobby had the courage to provide responses.

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