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.