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Online Sellers Guide to eBay Spring Seller Update 2021

Online Sellers Guide to eBay Spring Seller Update 2021

eBay announced the Spring Seller Update on March 3, 2021. News of higher fees immediately jumped out as worthy of scrutiny, but eBay is also increasing the number of free fixed-price listings it gives sellers each month.

Expect that trend to continue, as eBay said it was a step in its “journey to reducing upfront insertion fees” for sellers enrolled in Managed Payments. By reducing the upfront listing cost, it said, it would help sellers bring all their inventory to eBay.

That sounds delightful. But if you look at the revenue eBay generates when it manages payments on behalf of sellers, you understand why the company is more than okay with a reduction in insertion fees.

eBay began rolling out Managed Payments in 2018 with a 2.7% payment-processing fee on the total transaction amount, later adding a fixed-fee of 25 cents per listing, then changing it to a 30-cent transaction fee.

Last year, eBay changed the Managed Payments fee structure. It rolled payment-processing fees into Final Value seller fees. That meant eBay began charging a commission fee to sellers on sales tax it collects from buyers.

Compare the 25-cent upfront insertion fee against the commission-plus-payment-processing fees (and 30-cent-per-transaction fee) along with the monthly Store subscription fees, and it’s less surprising to learn eBay is on a journey to reduce upfront insertion fees.

Another thing that stood out as we compiled this guide: eBay fees are complicated, even before the changes that will take effect next month.

There are different fees depending on whether you’re a regular seller versus a Store owner, and those fees vary depending if you’re enrolled in Managed Payments or not.

There are 5 levels of eBay Stores, from Starter to Enterprise, each with its own number of free listing allocations and insertion fees.

In addition, Final Value Fees vary by category.

For example, a Basic level eBay Store seller currently gets 250 free auction listings and 350 free fixed-price listings a month, with an insertion fee of 25 cents for every listing beyond that. Basic Store sellers enrolled in Managed Payments also get 10,000 free listings in select categories.

On April 1 when new fees take effect, that Basic level eBay Store seller will get 1,000 fixed-priced listings across all categories (up from 350) if they are enrolled in Managed Payments.

Needless to say, determining how the changes to fees and free-insertions will impact sellers is daunting.

Buckets of Changes

As it usually does, eBay classified the Seller Update changes into “buckets.” We’ve hyperlinked the Spring Update’s sections so you can go straight to the page where eBay describes the changes:

Listing & Promoting

Fees & Financials

Running Your Business

eBay also announced “Key User Agreement Updates” as follows:

  • eBay Canada office address update
  • Seller responsibilities regarding eBay content policies
  • Arbitration Policies update

The updated agreement takes effect on April 2, 2021.

New But Not News

Some of the changes eBay announced on March 3rd had already rolled out (but had not necessarily been announced by eBay), including the following:

  • Changes to the eBay invoicing process – selling fees and expenses will be collected from your earnings.
    “Beginning in late March, all of your eBay selling fees and expenses, including those that are currently invoiced, will be collected from your earnings. If your earnings are not sufficient to cover these amounts, we will charge your payment method on file (debit or credit card, and/or linked bank account).”
  • Unified listing experience brings more consistency to how sellers list across devices.
    “Over the next few months, unified listing will become the default way to list, although you’ll still have the option to switch back to the original listing flow until at least mid-May, 2021.” Note it also includes a Background Removal tool.
  • Terapeak Sourcing Guidance that helps you identify areas to expand your business.
    “Sourcing Insights is a new tool available to Terapeak Product Research users. Using a range of data, including item specifics, it helps you identify the top categories to sell in, and find top-selling products in those categories to help you source your inventory.”
  • Updates to the Performance tab.
    “We’ve made some significant improvements to the Performance tab to give you more resources to analyze how your business is performing.” These include a Listing Quality Report for Store subscribers, and an update to the Traffic report that “lets you see the breakdown of impressions in search versus non search, as well as what percentage of impressions are coming from the top 20 search slots. You can see the percentage change in impressions and download the breakdown.”
  • eBay is managing payments for more sellers.
    “eBay will require all sellers to register for eBay to manage their payments in 2021.”

Major Changes

In the following guide, we keyed in on 8 major changes announced in the Spring Seller Update, then followed up with other changes that you should review, from a new way of dealing with Unpaid Items (deadbeat buyers), to the ability to offer buyers partial refunds even on auto-accepted returns. And we wrap up with links to pages on eBay where you can learn more, including its dedicated spot on the discussion boards where company staff answered questions from sellers on March 3rd.

1) Fee Increase

In its Announcement Board post, eBay downplayed the fact that it is increasing certain fees as part of the Spring Seller Update. “As we move away from upfront insertion fees, starting April 1, 2021 we’ll increase final value fees 0.2% in select selling categories,” it wrote.

That translates to a 2-cent increase in fees for a transaction totaling $10, and a 20-cent increase in fees for a transaction totaling $100, in the categories where fees are increasing.

Once you find the details a few clicks away from the Seller Update announcement, it then becomes a challenge for sellers to determine the impact, as it depends on several factors:

Do you have an eBay Store?

Are you enrolled in eBay Managed Payments?

In what categories do you sell?

eBay said it was raising final value fees “in select selling categories,” but did not provide a list of which categories would have a higher commission. Nor did eBay provide a side-by-side comparison of the current commission fees and new commission fees.

When challenged on that point in a discussion board post, an eBay moderator provided four links for sellers to find the current Final Value Fees, leaving it to sellers to compare those with the new fees announced on March 3.

The moderator also confirmed that sellers with an eBay Store enrolled in Managed Payments would pay 8.7% commission in the Stamps category beginning April 1st compared to the 8.5% commission they would pay now.

Those pennies and dimes add up for sellers, and imagine how they add up for eBay. Remember that commission fees are assessed on the Selling Price plus Shipping plus Sales Tax.

Here is the page with the new fees that go into effect on April 1, 2021. There are 4 permutations, and each of them includes a link to the current fees for each:

  • Sellers with a Store enrolled in Managed Payments;
  • Sellers without a Store enrolled in Managed Payments;
  • Sellers with a Store not enrolled in Managed Payments;
  • Sellers without a Store not enrolled in Managed Payments.

We took a look at the two big fee changes for sellers who don’t have an eBay Store and are enrolled in Managed Payments and found the following:

  • The fees for books are rising from 14.35% plus 30 cents to 14.55% plus 30 cents per order.
  • The fees for eBay calls “most categories” (it spells out various exclusions) are rising from 12.35% plus 30 cents to 12.55% plus 30 cents per order.

You’ll have to do your own research to see how you’ll be impacted by the fee changes, especially if you want to compare current fees with new fees if you have an eBay Store.

eBay classified the fee changes under “Fees & Financials,” outlined on this page, with details on this page.

2) More Listings and Features for eBay Stores

As we noted in the introduction, eBay is giving a greater number of free listings to sellers with Store subscriptions, and it told sellers they might benefit from upgrading their Store subscription.

Information about the new free insertion listing allotments is available on this page.

You can find how many free insertion listings eBay currently provides on this page.

eBay also outlined changes that would be rolling out to its Stores offering later this year, including the following:

  • More merchandising options;
  • Improved Store Search;
  • Simplified eBay Store management in Seller Hub;
  • An improved newsletter feature to send targeted communications to buyers.

eBay classified the changes under “Fees & Financials,” outlined on this page.

3) Free Ad Credits Are Going Away for Stores, TRS

This change hurts, according to some sellers who had grown to rely on $25 and $30 credits to use towards Promoted Listing Ads to drive traffic to their listings. Here’s what eBay announced:

Retirement of Promoted Listings credit for select store sellers and eBay Top Rated sellers
“Starting April 1, 2021, we’ll retire our existing Promoted Listings promotional credits. To date, we’ve offered a quarterly $25 Promoted Listings credit for Anchor and Enterprise Sellers and a quarterly $30 Promoted Listings credit for eBay Top Rated Sellers.

“We offered these promotional credits when we introduced Promoted Listings to allow sellers to try out the new program. Over the years, the program has grown and provided increased visibility for millions of eBay sellers. We’ll continue to offer the promotional credits through March 31, 2021, and we encourage you to take advantage of them.”

eBay classified this change under “Fees & Financials,” you can find details on this page.

4) Expanded International Visibility – and Fees

eBay noted in the Spring Seller Update it was offering expanded support for international selling. “If you offer to ship internationally, your listings will appear in buyer searches on supported international eBay sites,” and went on to provide more information.

Pay attention to the following sentence:

“Additional fees may apply if either the buyer’s registered address or the delivery address for the item is located outside of the United States, but you will no longer pay third-party processing fees for international transactions.”

It links to this page where it states eBay will charge US sellers an International fee if the buyer’s registered address is outside the US – regardless of the delivery address for the item. (Emphasis added.) “This fee is calculated as 1.65% of the total amount of the sale and is automatically deducted from your sales,” eBay states.

EcommerceBytes has been receiving more reports from sellers that eBay is charging them an “International Fee” for some domestic shipments, so pay attention to this, you can read more on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

eBay classified this change under “Fees & Financials,” you can find details on this page.

5) Ability to Offer Coded Coupons

eBay will allow sellers to offer coded coupons, something many sellers are bound to appreciate. “The new coded coupons tool will let you create discount codes that your customers can apply at checkout. Starting in spring 2021, coded coupons will be available to eBay Store subscribers on the Seller Hub Marketing tab, and will replace the codeless coupons previously offered.”

Note that according to the eBay for Business podcast, shipping promotions are not something sellers can use in coded coupons.

One of the ways sellers can use coded coupons is to print them out and include them in orders to encourage repeat purchases.

eBay explained, “You could also send a physical coupon to your customers, such as “REPEAT5” for “$5 off your next purchase” by using the “Print a coded coupon note” option on the Seller Hub Orders tab.”

Here are other ways eBay said sellers can use the coupons:

  • Set a maximum budget for a promotional campaign – when your budget is reached, your promotion will no longer be seen by your customers
  • Choose to offer an amount off, a percentage off, or a quantity discount such as “buy one, get one free”
  • Set specific start and end dates for the discount
  • Set conditions such as minimum spend or a usage limit per customer
  • Choose whether to offer public coupons, visible to all buyers, or private coupons that you can share with your customers in other marketing channels
  • Choose what items are eligible for the promotion

eBay said it was not charging sellers to use the coded coupons.

eBay classified this change under “Listing & Promoting,” you can learn more about the feature on this page.

6) Automated Campaigns for Promoted Listings Ads

Starting in April 2021, eBay will launch Automated Campaigns for Promoted Listings. This allows sellers to set up rules that dictate how much they pay in ad rates. Excerpts of key information about the feature follow:

“This feature will save you time managing your campaigns across different segments of your inventory based on the criteria you set. For sellers listing new inventory daily that find it tedious to create new Promoted Listings campaigns manually, Automated Campaigns does the work for you.”

“If you choose to automate your ad rates, we’ll automatically keep each listing at their daily suggested rate after you launch your campaign. Suggested ad rates may change as your performance, competition, and the marketplace change. We check for updates daily.”

“Be on the lookout for this new feature to become available on the “campaign create” page. Once it’s accessible to you, you’ll be able to start automating your campaigns.”

eBay classified this change under “Listing & Promoting,” you can learn more about the feature on this page.

7) Multiple Variation Listing Errors

If you use multiple variation listings, be aware you may receive error messages when updating listings as a result of changes eBay made:

“As part of our item specifics updates, we periodically revise the available variation details for listings with multiple variations. These updates clarify what variations work best as a single listing and what items are more likely to get noticed as separate listings.”

eBay classified this change under “Listing & Promoting” in the section titled, “Item specifics updates and reminders” on this page.

8) Changes to Category and Item Specifics

eBay is making category changes starting in May 2021 – note that eBay will automatically move some listings to more relevant categories, and as a result, sellers may see different fees apply to those listings.

You can find category changes on this page.

eBay also will make new Item Specifics (product attributes) available in early May 2021 in the following categories:

  • Clothing, Shoes, & Accessories
  • Collectibles
  • Media
  • Musical Instruments
  • Parts & Accessories
  • Sporting Goods

The new item specifics are not required now, but will be available in listing flows as “Required Soon item specifics” starting in early May.

eBay also reminded sellers it added new item specifics requirements that went into effect on February 22, 2021

eBay classified these changes under “Listing & Promoting,” you can find details on this page.

Other Important Changes to Explore

The time you invest in reviewing what’s changing will pay off – no one likes surprises. Here are a few of the additional changes eBay announced:

  • New way of dealing with Unpaid Items (deadbeat buyers) – on this page.
    “You’ll no longer have to file unpaid item claims or send payment reminders. Instead, we’ll proactively remind buyers if they have a payment due, and you’ll be able to manually or automatically cancel an order if the buyer hasn’t paid after 5 calendar days.”
  • Manage post-sale requests and cases in Seller Hub – on this page.
    “With this update, you’ll be able to view and manage all returns, “item not received” requests, cancellations, payment disputes, and eBay Money Back Guarantee claims from Seller Hub or My eBay, and will no longer have to take the extra step to go to the Resolution Center.”
  • Offer partial refunds even on auto-accepted returns if eBay manages your payments – on this page.
    “In most cases, when buyers open a return request in line with your return policies we automatically accept the return. That won’t change, but starting in spring, you’ll have the option to offer a partial refund on these returns.”
  • New seller guidance features in Seller Hub – on this page.
    “We’re expanding the research tools and features available in Seller Hub. The new Terapeak Sourcing Insights tool helps you identify areas to expand your business, while updates to Terapeak Product Research let you conduct more detailed searches. We’ve also added new and more detailed reports to the Performance tab, to improve how you track and analyze your business’ performance.”
  • Option for working capital – on this page.
    “eBay Seller Capital powered by LendingPoint provides eligible business sellers with fast, flexible and transparent financing with no origination or early payback fees, and the opportunity to refinance your existing loan at a lower repayment and save.”


This is the main landing page for the eBay Spring Seller Update 2021.

eBay published a timeline of when changes would (or did) roll out.

It also opened up a special place on the Discussion Boards where it promised to answer seller questions on March 3rd, you can find the page here.

Do you have thoughts about the eBay Spring Seller Update 2021? Let us know below, or comment on this March 3rd EcommerceBytes Blog post.

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 “Online Sellers Guide to eBay Spring Seller Update 2021”

  1. Unless ebay allows those who are registered but not active in managed payments they will suffer a devastating loss of free listings.

    For example, I have been registered since last June/July of 2020 but I am not activated yet. Come April 1st I will lose all my free listings and revert back to 1000 Fixed Price and 500 Auction.

    I currently have a little over 13,000 running.

    in April I will have to reduce myself to around 1000 Fixed Price listings or upgrade to a expensive Anchor Store which still will not cover all my listings.

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