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Tool Helps Sellers Calculate Impact of eBay GTC Policy

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Tool Helps Sellers Calculate Impact of eBay GTC Policy

A third-party tool can help eBay sellers calculate the impact of the new Good Til Cancelled (GTC) policy. eBay is implementing the new policy in mid-March, at which time it will mandate GTC on all fixed-price listings. But because GTC listings auto-renew at 30 days, there are some months when sellers will be billed twice in one month – and a few years where they will pay 13 months’ worth of listing fees instead of 12 months’ worth.

Shipscript developed a tool to help sellers see which months they would get billed twice for GTC listings. There’s a need for such a tool because sellers post listings on different days of the month, and the 30-day renewal means a listing posted on the first of a month doesn’t mean it will renew on the first of the following month.

For example, the Shipscript tool shows that a listing posted on March 15, 2019 will renew on April 14th rather than April 15th.

In another example, the tool shows that a listing created on January 1, 2019 would get billed twice in May, and would get billed 13 times in 2019. That would also be the case for a listing created on January 1, 2021. However, because 2020 is a leap year, a listing created on January 1, 2020 would get billed twice in March rather than May, and the seller would also get billed 13 times for that listing that year. (Get the idea why the tool is so handy?)

The longtime developer of Shipscript tools, who goes by the nickname Ship, said most listings on eBay are already GTC. (eBay’s Brian Burke said 80% of eBay listings are GTC. However, we’d like to point out that doesn’t mean 80% of sellers are using GTC. The 80-20 rule likely applies where a smaller number of high-volume sellers account for the majority of those listings.)

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For those sellers who don’t currently use GTC, Ship said some will discover benefits of a format not previously tried, but acknowledged it could be problematic for certain kinds of sellers.

“Others will indeed have a problem with both cost and flexibility because the GTC format does not at all match their listing strategies, and they are the ones who will have to play with the dates and watch their renewals in order to remain under their “free insertion” allocations.

“Additionally, some of these sellers like to rotate stock, and GTC makes this a lot more difficult if the seller must end the listing before the next renewal chews up a free insertion.”

Ship also told us about a benefit of GTC for small sellers who have no Store: the out-of-stock feature:

“The GTC format has an out-of-stock control that can be applied to all listings (no picking and choosing) from within account settings. If a seller needs to be away and doesn’t have a store with its vacation mode, the seller can bulk edit all listings to a quantity of zero and the out-of-stock control will hide the listings without ending them. When the seller returns, the listings can be bulk edited to restore their quantities, and the listings will reappear on the site within 24 hours. This is a huge benefit to small sellers who have no one to “mind the store” while they are away. eBay staff posted confirmation here.”

Ship went on to explain:

“Any seller, large or small, who uses the GTC out-of-stock control for its intended purpose on multi-quantity listings, will have this feature applied to all GTC listings. So, unfortunately, if a seller has only one to sell and has out-of-stock enabled, the sold listing will hang out in limbo and incur monthly renewal fees until the seller ends the listing or until eBay retires it after 3 full cycles. The prior workaround was to create a 30-day listing (not qualified for out-of-stock), with auto-relist enabled, and that feature will no longer be available.”

The following example may help demonstrate how that would impact sellers. Let’s say you want all of the pants you sell to have the out-of-stock feature because you keep multiple quantities of them and keep them in stock. That way, if you happen to run out and your listing now shows a quantity of zero, your GTC link will remain until you adjust the quantity after receiving a new shipment of pants.

But let’s say you also have a one-of-a-kind sweater that has a quantity of one, and after it is sold, you don’t want it to remain as out-of-stock (especially since it appears eBay charges you listing fees for another three months until it retires the listing).

Because out-of-stock is all or nothing, in that case you would have to manually end the listing for the unique sweater once it sold. (Again, you could let it ride with a quantity of zero, but you would be subject to fees for an additional 3 months, though eBay says sellers may qualify for certain fee credits.)

We could not find an in-depth guide to the out-of-stock feature to point readers to, but in the meantime, Ship once again went to work and published a guide to help fill in some of the gaps. You can find it on this thread of the eBay discussion boards – it’s required reading for sellers who plan to continue running fixed-price listings on eBay.

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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.

One thought on “Tool Helps Sellers Calculate Impact of eBay GTC Policy”

  1. Inkfrog has cleverly added a new tool to their eBay lister: a rule that will cancel your GTC listings the day before they are due to renew, if you still want to run 30 day fp listings.

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