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From the Editor – March 10, 2019

EcommerceBytes Editor Ina Steiner
EcommerceBytes Editor Ina Steiner

eBay is giving sellers less than 3 weeks to prepare for a major structural change to how they will do business, failing to live up to previous promises to give sellers a minimum 60-day notice of major changes. As announced on February 26 as part of the Early Seller Update, all fixed-price listings must be in the Good Til Cancelled (GTC) format beginning in mid-March, which we’re calling the GTC mandate.

eBay itself failed to adequately prepare for the announcement. Vice President of Seller Experience at eBay Harry Temkin, who joined eBay in October, issued an update on March 1st stating eBay was looking into the double-billing issue that sellers immediately pointed out as a result of the GTC mandate (he has yet to announce the results of the policy review).

Meanwhile, the Senior Manager of Seller Operations had to backtrack on incorrect information she provided in a video and on the chat board set up to answer sellers questions about the changes. And we were unable to find adequate information in eBay’s help files about one of the features touted as a major advantage to GTC – the out-of-stock feature.

eBay management is clearly distracted by the pressure the company faces from activist investors, including the resulting layoffs and the departure of the head of eBay Marketplaces Scott Culter and the head of Seller and Marketplace Operations Bob Kupbens, leaving the inexperienced Temkin man-on-the-spot.

That’s why it’s even more important than ever for sellers to understand what’s changing and to fully prepare as quickly as possible. Even the date of the changes is unknown – “mid-March” is as specific as eBay will get. (It will take effect in Canada in early April.)

Meanwhile Amazon is making some major strategic changes. It’s pulling back on pop-ups and store-within-stores in the physical world. And it’s changing the way it handles vendors, apparently moving smaller brands into the third-party seller model (Seller Central). We’ll continue to report on these moves in Newsflash, looking for how they impact smaller businesses that are reliant on the Amazon marketplace.

In today’s issue, you can find the results of the survey we conducted to find out what sellers think of eBay’s GTC mandate. Some sellers don’t think the move to all-GTC is a big deal, while others wrote specifically about why they want to stick with the current fixed-price listing duration options and avoid recurring billing.

Also look for “The Sellers Guide to eBay’s Early 2019 Seller Update” to see what other changes eBay is rolling out in the coming weeks – with some hints from eBay about additional changes coming down the pike, including changes to Promoted Listings and Managed Payments.

In today’s Collectors Corner, Michele Alice takes a look at the computer mouse – they’ve come a long way from the early models! And we end with the ever popular Letters to the Editor.

Don’t forget to reset your clocks if you’re springing ahead to Daylight Savings.
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/.

4 thoughts on “From the Editor – March 10, 2019”

  1. Sellers still have’t learned to never trust a snake. It will bite you everytime.

  2. I care. I have been with eBay almost from the start.

    If you list a lot of items, sometimes you may forget to remove listings before the 30 days expire. You should not be dinged for this.

    The biggest problem goes unaddressed. That is sellers listing a seemingly infinite number of items, eternally. These STORE OWNERS do not pay extra. They list undesired items at ridiculous prices. These listings inundate a category. Potential buyers are put off searching the EBay Category. They do not want to waste their time wading through scads of repetitive overpriced items.

    It would be far better if EBay forced lazy greedy sellers off EBay after 30 days. In order to renew these sellers would be compelled to alter prices of unsold items. Sellers are allowed to relist the same listings for decades, by doing nothing.

    EBay seems content at being the biggest listing service while the competition is out for sales. EBay should reward SELLERS and penalize LISTERS. Sellers should be required to sell 2 or 3 % of their monthly listings (exceptions could be made for cars, real estate…etc.) or pay an additional fee. A sizable % of those fees should go to sellers who are SELLING. The site would improve. I believe the improvement would be significant.

  3. So last year, at Ebay Open I believe, Ebay stated that they were going to have an option for employee access to our ebay accounts so employees can do listings etc and not see other parts of an account like billing, sales, etc. They said It will be out no later then first quarter 2019. Does ebay know how many months are in a quarter? Way to over promise and under deliver. Something we see time and time again with ebay and then they wonder why the sellers hate them so much.

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