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From the Editor – October 11, 2020

EcommerceBytes Editor Ina Steiner
From the Editor - October 11, 2020

In 2 weeks, we’ll learn what kind of sales sellers generated on marketplaces during July, August, and September. For the first time ever, two marketplaces are holding their earnings conference calls on the same day, at the same time. eBay and Etsy will report third-quarter financials on October 28 and will hold their conference call with Wall Street analysts at 5 pm Eastern. Inconvenient (to say the least) for analysts and reporters who want to hear executives from both companies discuss the quarter and answer questions (will they hint about holiday sales expectations?).

UPS is also reporting on October 28, but at 6 am Eastern. Amazon has yet to announce the date of its Q3 earnings call, but it generally likes to report after other marketplaces.

eBay sellers were unable to access their funds after a Payments glitch hit last week. We observed similar problems when Etsy began the transition to managing payments in 2016. These are big deals – and October is a particularly difficult time for sellers to experience cash flow issues. While technical issues may be inevitable, if you are unable to release sellers’ funds, you better communicate with them.

eBay indicated in a recent survey that it is considering making some major changes to its Store offering, including moving to an “a la carte” subscription service or offering discounts for meeting quarterly performance targets. You can read more about it on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

Some readers said they wanted eBay to fix glitches before introducing new changes, and a few days later, eBay’s Chief Product Officer Pete Thompson published a post in which he said he was working to fix essential customer needs.

Thompson pointed to eBay’s new vacation-setting tool that aims to solve many of the previous solution’s shortcomings, and he said eBay had completed hundreds of essential fixes this year. “Each one is small, but taken together, our community will begin to notice the flywheel between buyers and sellers accelerating.”

Meanwhile Amazon faced charges of holding “monopoly power” by a Congressional antitrust subcommittee in a report looking at online platforms (Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple). Amazon countered the charge in a blog post the same day where it wrote, “fringe notions on antitrust would destroy small businesses and hurt consumers.” Take a look and let us know what you think of the Amazon practices that drew scrutiny, including what some sellers called bullying and strong-arm tactics.

Last month, Amazon also found itself at the center of a scandal – see “Amazon Takedown: Bribes, a Suitcase of Cash, Cyber Vandalism” (September 18), as did another ecommerce platform – see “Yet Another Scandal Rocks the Ecommerce Industry” (September 22).

Columbus Day weekend is replacing Thanksgiving as the kick-off to holiday shopping, as we noted in Thursday’s Newsflash newsletter – the 10.10 Shopping Festival, Amazon Prime Day, and even a “Black Friday” sale from Best Buy are happening this week!

In today’s issue, we publish our seller’s holiday shipping survival guide – it’s not too late to look at ways to save money and get more efficient where shipping is concerned.

We also take a look at whether shoppers who came online in the spring because of the pandemic will be sticking around for their holiday shopping needs. Collectors Corner takes a look at a trend that will influence the market for collectibles for certain brands looking to be more inclusive, and we end with Letters to the Editor.

If you’re taking advantage of all the sales this week, happy shopping, and happy selling.

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/.