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Survey Reveals eBay Seller Hub Portal Needs Some Work

eBay Seller Hub

eBay Seller HubEcommerceBytes’ recent survey of sellers indicates eBay’s Seller Hub portal remains a work in progress with some advantages but also missing some features and including some annoyances. For example, one reader said the one-page summary of selling/account status with links to commonly used functions was “definitely helpful,” but another called traffic reports inadequate, hindering sellers’ ability to run their business efficiently.

eBay announced Seller Hub in 2015 and made it available to all US sellers in the late summer of 2016. eBay explained, “Seller Hub incorporates the functionality of all our previous listing tools – including Selling Manager, Selling Manager Pro, and the bulk edit and relist tool – to help you manage your business more efficiently. (Selling Manager Pro functionality is only available within Seller Hub to eBay Premium or Anchor Stores subscribers and sellers with an active Selling Manager Pro subscription.)”

On August 2, we opened the survey to readers asking about their experiences using the tool. It’s worth noting that almost immediately after opening the survey, eBay made Seller Hub mandatory for business sellers who weren’t already using the portal, so some readers had not yet been forced into using it before taking the survey.

Well over two-thirds of readers who took the survey (72%) said they currently use Seller Hub, and 40% of *all* respondents who currently use or have used it in the past said they were satisfied with Seller Hub. Of those who *currently* use it, 53% said they were satisfied with Seller Hub.

The purpose of the EcommerceBytes survey was to find out what readers thought were the main benefits and challenges of using Seller Hub; accordingly, we asked many open-ended questions. Some of the features sellers liked: the ability to customize Seller Hub and have all the information and links in one place. “Easy access to label printing, seller account, questions asked and tasks pending,” wrote one seller.

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“It’s actually quite a convenient interface. Once I got used to where everything was, I found I could be quite productive in bulk editing and searching for info,” said another.

“I use the Performance area a lot. By looking at your Impressions over time you can tell when eBay is going to throttle your growth,” said yet another (and somewhat cynical) seller.

On the downside, not all of the information is configurable. “Many of the tools associated with the Seller Hub are of limited functionality or value, at best,” wrote one seller. “Take “SALES” for instance. A seller ought to be able to configure this window for the dates they desire,…not one date that eBay determines.”

A seller explained: “I want to be able to see the current month, not the past 30 days. I’d also like to see more than the last 10 days or so of sold items. We used to be able to see 60 days of sold items. We need that, especially if we offer 30 or 60 day returns.”

Another major complaint: eBay adds shipping charges to selling price in sales charts. “Sales totals include shipping amounts which is useless since many orders feature combined shipping,” explained one respondent,

“I wish they wouldn’t include shipping in their sales charts,” wrote another seller. “eBay might make money on shipping, but it’s an expense for me, so it confuses the appearance of my chart. I know eBay has info/pie charts better showing the info as I want it, but that isn’t available on the main Seller Hub page and remains a couple of clicks away so it goes unused/forgotten.”

“The math doesn’t match with any sales reports. I would like to see my sales reflect sales without the inflated number from shipping costs,” said another.

Some sellers said they didn’t find eBay’s suggestions or “guidance” helpful. “Useless information and suggestions. I’m a Seller with 13 years experience. I don’t need suggestions that must be geared toward new sellers,” wrote one seller.

Another said, “The tips and supposed seller analysis is about 25% useful and then that is even questionable.”

One reader said there were too many screens and too much eBay promotional information.

As we expected, sellers provided some thoughtful, detailed feedback. For example, while some respondents said they liked reviewing performance data such as impressions, others thought analytics (traffic data) was inadequate. One seller wrote:

“WE NEED DETAILED TRAFFIC REPORTS. eBay pulled Omniture over 2 years ago and we still do not have robust traffic reports. Omniture told me what sites buyers came from, sales by hour, etc. I could look at previous year to date and previous same day year before and compare. I could plan listing volume, auctions and sales based on my Omniture data. I can’t do sh*t with the replacement traffic reports eBay has now. What is eBay afraid of telling me? You cannot run a business with the inadequate traffic reports we have now.”

Another seller delved into limitations of the Seller Hub reports: “It doesn’t do what I want. Web page links to sold items don’t have a return path. The format of the tabular data and graphs difficult seems difficult to read. Today, I was trying to compare Top Rated seller final value fee discounts with additional postage costs for tracking on all mailings. I did not see the sales and percentages saved in one place and did not see a way to build a report or export to a spreadsheet. Fee data was not aggregated, and lacked sale amounts. Either eBay should provide a way to export data or a way to generate useful reports. I guess I will have to go back to the SixBit database and write some Transact SQL queries or a stored procedure to get the information. (I have the necessary skills, but I don’t imagine that many eBay users are SQL experts.)”

Another seller reported some usability issues: “One of the big issues for me is the lag time between adding or changing a listing and having it show up in the seller hub data. Also there are little twitchy things about the interface that should have been caught in testing (ie resetting the Filter does not clear the parameter boxes, etc.). Also pages load really slow on iPad/safari.”

In reviewing the comments, it became clear that a number of sellers felt that while the interface was different, there wasn’t any new functionality.

“No improvements over Selling Manager Pro,” one said. “It’s a functional upgrade of pretty much the same features they always had,” said another.

Sellers used different tools prior to being moved to Seller Hub, which could account for the different reactions to the new portal.

One seller said they believed eBay was continuing to invest in Seller Hub because eBay will need it when it takes over payment processing.

Here are some additional comments from readers who took the survey:

Dear God I wish I could stop using it, I tried it in the past and quit because it is a terrible time sucker. For instance, I can no longer leave customer feedback, if I want to be able to search for paid and shipped listings. I cannot find a link anywhere that I can search a prior sale by name, buyer ID, or email, only by item ID number or title.

***

I cannot tell how many auctions/ fixed price listings I have left for my monthly allotment or for specials. The older screen shows this information. Seller hub does not.

***

Mostly, I like the Hub. There are a few tweaks I would like to see. It used to be that I could see my account balance from the Overview page, but now I can’t. I have to find it somewhere else. Also, I used to be able to more quickly relist items with a few edits from a small pop-up window, but that is gone, too.

***

Needs to simplified.

***

I HATE it! I don’t think we should be forced to use it. You can’t even combine shipping on multiple purchases. You can’t click on multiple auctions to print the label. It sucks!

***

No customer service to help.

***

I would love to go back to Selling Manager Pro.

***

I much prefer Seller Hub to the other eBay screens available to manage my sales and listings.

***

It’s not at all user friendly. Sections of information I couldn’t care less about. Hard to find where things are. It’s a train wreck.

***

Seems like they added more steps to things we were already doing. It is nice to have most usable links in the same place though.

***

I also sell (other products) on Amazon and it’s amazing how much the “new” seller hub imitates Amazon’s layout and set-up.

***

One of the few things eBay has come up with that is fairly user friendly.

***

Literally hate how we have to pick the categories desired on the Active Selling List. Was so much easier before they “improved” it.

***

I like it very much. It has a couple of annoying issues, but they are minor and overall I find it a good tool.

***

What I like most is that most of the useful/most-used links are on one page.

***

There is a lot of info, don’t know if you need it all the time but is it nice it is there – still miss my category totals.

***

I don’t really have many complaints about it. Most of my issues are with the listing area, which has been buggy, esp bulk listing where listings can turn blank after editing. I’ve taken to editing/relisting one at a time due to that and also due to discovering eBay now changes the item url every time you relist, which really screws up marketing on social media.

***

Some of their reports could be structured a LOT better … I would like to see a WORKING all-in-one form with Solds, Actives, Questions, etc… Just like the old My eBay: All Selling page …

***

Selling Manager Pro is a much better cleaner tool. Please give it back!!!

***

One feature that would be great is to have more user-defined fields available, like the custom label field. Really could use a few more of those.

***

Documentation of the Seller Hub is lacking. I would like to see a description of what it is supposed to do, not how to use it. I am not sure the numbers stated are accurate or if the time periods are accurate without an exact definition of when they start and end. I would prefer to see fixed period comparisons based on the calendar, not trailing 30 or 90 day periods. I would also like to have available at least twelve months of complete data and rollups of data going back a few years to be able to make useful historical comparisons. The sales numbers look wrong to me… I guess I don’t see the point of fancy graphs and metrics in the Seller Hub unless they are fortified with good data.

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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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