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Online Sellers Guide to eBay Spring Seller Update 2020 – Part 2

Online Sellers Guide to eBay Spring Seller Update 2020 - Part 2

Like death and taxes, change on eBay is a certainty – and almost as dreaded by sellers.

In Part 1 of today’s Online Sellers Guide, we introduced the eBay Spring Seller Update and covered four of the seven changes eBay announced on February 26th:

  • Seller Protection
  • “Seller Help” Issue Resolution Portal
  • Managed Payments
  • User Agreement

Here in Part 2, we cover the remaining three topics:
1) Seller Tools
2) Shipping
3) Category and Item Specifics Changes

Note that eBay is making some Item Specifics required, which could impact visibility, so be sure you understand how the changes might effect your listings.

1) Seller Tools

From price-research to image-enhancement tools, eBay announced a number of improvements to seller tools. Pay special attention to the changes to the Offer to Buyers feature.

New Multi-User Account Access permission: read-only access to orders
“Multi-User Account Access enables you to grant permissions to other eBay users to access your account and perform specific functions on your behalf, without exposing your password and other personal details.

“Starting in April 2020, we’ll extend permissions capabilities to the Orders tab in Seller Hub, which will enable you to provide authorized users, such as warehouse employees, with read-only access to orders that need to be shipped.”

Reminder: Volume pricing for all sellers
“All eBay sellers, including eBay Store subscribers and non-eBay Store subscribers, can now use the Advanced listing tool to incentivize buyers to purchase two or more identical items at once.

“With Volume Pricing, buyers can easily add more items to their carts and you can increase your sales by setting meaningful discounts for multi-quantity purchases (e.g., 5% off when you buy 2 or more, 10% off when you buy 3 or more, etc.).”

Remove backgrounds from your item photos instantly
“Our new photo-editing feature allows you to change any photo background to white. When you upload or select photos for your listings, you can now tap on the background removal feature to automatically add a white background or apply your own touch-ups.

“Access the feature in the eBay mobile app on your iOS or Android mobile device. You can add and edit photos in the mobile app and finish your listings on the desktop. Our recommended best practice is to use a white background on your main photo because it will improve your listing’s visibility in Google and eBay.”

New Terapeak features in Seller Hub, and Terapeak.com deactivation
“We continue to integrate Terapeak.com features and research into the Terapeak Research insights tool in Seller Hub, and we will deactivate Terapeak.com on March 31, 2020.

“Terapeak uses recent eBay supply, demand, and pricing data to help you determine what to sell, when to sell it, and at what price. Terapeak is available under the “Research” tab in Seller Hub and is free to Basic, Premium, Anchor, and Enterprise eBay Store subscribers. You can also use Terapeak to see how specific products and categories are performing across all eBay marketplaces.”

(See eBay’s help file to learn more about Terapeak.)

New “Offer to Buyers” Enhancements
“The Offer to Buyers feature in Seller Hub enables you to initiate a negotiation process with buyers who show interest in your items but haven’t yet completed their transactions. A counteroffer option lets you and a buyer negotiate an offer by exchanging up to five offers and counteroffers for each negotiation.”

  • Reaching More Buyers with the Offer to Buyers Feature: eBay had let sellers reach up to 10 buyers with an offer; now they can reach up to 40 buyers.
  • Lower minimum discounts: Currently, the lowest discount you can offer your potential buyers is 5%. eBay is reducing the minimum discount for items over $200 to a variable amount. “The discount will change according to the item price so you’ll still be able to offer significant discounts for your high-value items.”
  • Allow counter offers on your mobile device: Starting in March 2020, you’ll be able to allow counter offers from buyers on your mobile device (previously only available through the Seller Hub Active Listings page on desktop).

eBay said it was also working to improve conversion rates for Offer to Buyers, “including extending offers to browsers who have shown interest in your items.” eBay executives shared information about this feature in a recent Town Hall webcast, which you can read about on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

See more information on this page of the eBay website.

2) Shipping

eBay announced three changes related to shipping (that’s in addition to the requirement to use shipping carriers that integrated with eBay in order to be protected from Item Not Received claims noted in the section titled, “Changes to eBay Seller Protection.”

Widespread availability of eBay international standard delivery
eBay stated: “eBay international standard delivery, our new international shipping service, is now available to all US sellers using eBay Labels. eBay international standard delivery ships to over 210 countries and territories around the globe and is an economical alternative to other international shipping services.”

FedEx Home Delivery rate reduction
This part of the Spring Update was a reminder of lower FedEx rates eBay had announced in December.

Item Location: New notification of missing ZIP codes in listings
eBay will now show in the Active Listings tab when listings are missing item location ZIP codes. It explained why it’s important to include item location in listings:

“Item location ZIP codes play a critical role in search visibility and sales conversion. They’re used in location filters to help buyers understand where inventory is located and make purchase decisions. ZIP codes also provide more accurate estimated delivery dates (EDD) and are used in best match ranking.”

3) Category and Item Specifics Changes

New Category Changes
In May 2020, eBay will roll out changes in the following categories: Business & Industrial; Watches; Home & Garden; and Sporting Goods, though you’ll have to wait until April to see the details, which will be posted on this page of the eBay website.

eBay made a point of saying, “We encourage you to review your listings to make sure they are located in “best fit” categories.”

New Item Specifics Changes
eBay has been making certain Item Specifics (product attribute fields) required in some categories. “For the past year, we’ve rolled required item specifics in a number of categories. You will need to add required item specifics to new and revised listings or you will not be able to successfully publish them.”

In the spring, eBay will introduce “required” Item Specifics in the Electronics and Home and Garden categories.

The following eBay FAQs explain more:

How will the required and recommended item specifics help my items sell?
We evaluated item specifics that buyers frequently use to find and purchase items (i.e., the item specifics buyers are using as search terms or as filters to narrow their search results down to the products they’re looking for). Based on our evaluation, we now require and recommend item specifics that matter most to buyers.

What if I don’t use the new and recommended item specifics in my listings?
If you do not provide required or recommended item specifics, your new or revised listing will not publish and it may not show up in buyers’ filtered search results. For example, if your listing has the word “blue” in the title or description and a buyer searches for listings using the keyword “blue,” your listing can appear in the search results. However, if the buyer uses the left-hand navigation filters and selects “blue” your listing may not appear in their search results. We prioritize item specifics that are most often used by buyers and present the most-filtered values to help you sell your items.

You can learn more on this page of the eBay website.

Links to eBay Announcement and Resources

February 26, 2020 eBay Spring Seller Update Announcement

Main eBay Spring Seller Update Landing Page

eBay Spring Seller Update Discussion Board

Be sure to review Part 1 of this 2-part series on the eBay Spring Seller Update found on this page of EcommerceBytes.

Have thoughts about the changes eBay announced? Comment on the February 26th EcommerceBytes Blog.

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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). 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/.