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From the Editor – November 11, 2018


EcommerceByteseBay hired a new head of Seller Experience last month but surprisingly made no announcement of the fact. Harry Temkin has a background in financial information and technology and is a former colleague of eBay CEO Devin Wenig from his years at Thomson Reuters.

How will it impact sellers? Temkin is tasked with making eBay Seller Hub a more data-rich resource where sellers can make better pricing and advertising decisions. (Read more here.) Giving sellers a powerful dashboard where they can more knowledgably manage their sales and measure performance is a great concept. But implementation is where eBay generally falls short.

Pricing recommendations are only helpful if sellers are confident that eBay is matching their listings to the right product in its catalog. That’s especially challenging on eBay where sellers can list seemingly identical products but in varying condition. Another concern is the impact on seller margins, with sellers fearing it will lead to a “race to the bottom” in pricing, all the while being urged to pay more for Promoted Listings for greater visibility in search results.

We don’t hear a lot of sellers asking for help pricing their products, but we do hear a lot about the buyer-seller dynamic, of which feedback is a major component.

In today’s issue, we present the results of a reader survey we conducted this month on eBay’s feedback system – the results are fascinating. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Another crucial issue with which online sellers must deal: shipping. We spoke with ShipStation’s Robert Gilbreath to pick his brain about free shipping and return policies – and we’ve also got a roundup of ShipStation’s holiday shipping resources as a bonus.

And speaking of shipping, the annual rate increase from shipping carriers are coming in January. Last week, FedEx announced its 2019 rates, which take effect on January 7, 2019, and in last month’s issue we published a guide to proposed USPS shipping rates that would take effect on January 27, 2019. Up next: UPS.

I’m excited to announce we’ve made some changes to our Ratings & Reviews feature on EcommerceBytes and we’re bringing more attention to the charts that include online marketplaces, storefronts, payment services, inventory management and listing tools, shipping services, email hosting, sniping services, and consignment and wholesale services.

Please take some time to rate and review the ecommerce services you use – the more you use the feature, the more robust it becomes.

Our intrepid editor of Collectors Corner Michele Alice is off doing research (whether she’s exploring the flea markets of Paris or prowling New York City auction houses, we’ll never tell). In her absence, I’m delighted to bring you an interview with renowned expert and publisher Terry Kovel about what’s different in the world of antiques and collectibles since eBay’s peak in the mid-2000s and what’s popular with collectors these days and why. And as always, we wrap up with Letters to the Editor.

Today the country remembers those who have served in the military, and their families deserve our gratitude as well. Honor the day however you deem appropriate. (And remember there’s no US mail on Monday in observance of Veterans Day.)

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/.