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From the Editor – January 12, 2020

EcommerceBytes Editor Ina Steiner
EcommerceBytes Editor Ina Steiner

Online sellers are under constant pressure to lower prices and offer free shipping, while at the same time their own costs are rising. New USPS rates go into effect at the end of the month – Stamps.com dug into the changes in this guide. And, of course, higher shipping costs mean higher marketplace fees at sites like eBay and Etsy, which charge commissions on the item price plus shipping. (We liken it to their annual fee increase without having to announce one.)

Some marketplaces are also adjusting their fees. Right before Christmas, Amazon announced rate changes going into effect next month. Some referral fees are changing, and it’s also raising FBA fulfillment service fees by what it said was an average of 3%. You can read more on this AuctionBytes Blog post.

Ruby Lane, a shopping site for high-end antiques and vintage goods, also announced fee changes. While part of the fee increase is to help fund marketing to drive shoppers to the site, the company said the fee increase was also necessitated by the burdensome requirement imposed by states on marketplaces to collect sales tax from their residents.

Implementing software systems to collect sales tax is not like waving a magic wand. Even eBay, a company with enormous resources, is having difficulties with implementation. We continue to see reports of errors in collection, and sellers also say eBay is failing to provide them with the information necessary to complete their taxes.

Marketplace facilitator laws seemed like a dream come true for state lawmakers, but their sales tax legislation is disproportionately impacting small sellers.

In other news, eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore has moved on, 3 months after the departure of his boss Steve Wymer – the same month that CEO Devin Wenig abruptly exited the company.

Also moving on this month is David Doctorow, Head of Global Growth for eBay Marketplaces, who took credit for helping eBay through “a successful turnaround in recent years.”

And on Friday, we noticed eBay removed its Chief Strategy Officer from its list of leaders on its corporate website. Kris Miller is off the list (we have not confirmed whether she remains at the company), and eBay added four executives to the list – you can read the details of the game of musical chairs on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

(And on Saturday, we published a Newsflash article about more changes in “eBay Foundation Removes Two Members from Its Board.”)

Jordan Sweetnam is one executive who just made it onto the list of eBay’s leaders. He returned to eBay from Walmart in July, and last month, he answered some questions in an “Ask Me Anything” style feature on the eBay discussion boards.

In his answers, Sweetnam signaled a willingness to consider changes to some of eBay’s more controversial policies, including being more flexible on returns. He also weighed in the company’s stance on Managed Payments, the Good Til Cancelled mandate, and Promoted Listing Ads. Read more in today’s issue.

Sellers Choice 2020 voting is now open – this is your chance to make your voice heard by rating the marketplaces on which you sell. You can leave detailed comments, which the marketplaces take to heart.

Take the survey via SurveyMonkey, and look for the results in next month’s newsletter.

Today’s issue also includes our annual look at online selling trends, which includes some advice for sellers from three experts. Collectors Corner looks at Mobo Toys, and we end with today’s issue with letters to the editor.

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/.

One thought on “From the Editor – January 12, 2020”

  1. Raising fees to cover the new sales tax requirements for marketplace sites is baloney.
    This is the COST OF DOING BUSINESS and is a tax write-off for these companies.

    Shame on them. Especially with the fees and requirements they already impose upon their sellers. And the push to offer free shipping.

    Shame. Shame. Shame.

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