|Sat July 18 2009 13:31:42|
eBay Eyeing Seller Responsibilities Policy for September
By: Ina Steiner
eBay is slated to make an announcement the last week in July that will reveal major changes coming to the site in September. eBay will give sellers more analytical tools and will impose restrictions to ensure users are following best practices when selling on the platform. The changes reflect CEO John Donahoe's focus on improving the buyer experience and transforming eBay into a more mainstream retail marketplace since he took the reins from Meg Whitman last year.
New Seller Responsibilities Policy
eBay will introduce a Seller Responsibilities policy that combines existing policies with new policies and best practices. Sources say the policy sets out some common-sense guidelines for sellers to follow when conducting all aspects of business on eBay, although some aspects of the policy are subjective.
Shifting Insurance Costs to the Seller
As part of the Seller Responsibilities policy, eBay will prohibit sellers from offering shipping insurance as an optional fee, but it will require sellers to make sure their item arrives as described. Sellers will be able to tack the cost of shipping insurance on to the item price, or they may incorporate any insurance fees into the handling charge.
Sellers will be required to charge actual shipping cost and actual handling cost, which can include the cost of packing material and insurance, but may not include any other costs.
Best Match Tool - More Data for eBay Sellers
Until fairly recently in eBay's history, shoppers conducting a search on eBay would see results sorted by "items ending soonest" as the default. They also had several ways to sort results, such as by item price. In recent years, as fixed-price listings have become more prevalent, eBay introduced a sort-order called "Best Match" that sorts results by relevancy, now the default order.
The Best Match algorithm has left many sellers scrambling to try to optimize their listings so they will appear at the top of the results pages. This is similar to webmasters who conduct search engine optimization (SEO) to get their websites to appear high on Google and Yahoo search results.
eBay is readying a tool for sellers to show them their product rankings and help them compare their results with competing listings by category and by keyword. But eBay will not expose details about how much weight is given to Best Match factors (such as free shipping and item cost), which vary by category and listing format.
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