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Fri Oct 19 2007 22:19:32

FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay has replaced the feature that allows shoppers to sort by price with one that sorts by "price plus shipping." But eBay only supports UPS and USPS in its shipping calculator (and not every service from these providers). For sellers who use FedEx, DHL and other carriers and don't specify flat-rate shipping, their items will show up at the bottom of search results when sorted by price.

You can test it yourself by doing a search on eBay (try to be specific with your search terms so you only get a page or two of search results). The default sort is still Time Ending Soonest, which as of this writing appears to put all core listings on a level playing field. But if you choose to sort your results by Price + Shipping: Lowest First or Price + Shipping: Highest First, you'll see that the items in which the seller has failed to specify a shipping rate appear at the very bottom of the results, even if they put the shipping rate in the listing description.

eBay spokesperson Catherine England said the new sort feature has not rolled out to every category (no category list was available). When I suggested the sort option disadvantaged certain carriers, England said the sort does not look at which carriers sellers are using. She also said the majority of sellers select flat-rate shipping, but did not reveal the exact percentage.

On one search I conducted, I clicked on a listing at the bottom of results that did not specify shipping, and learned that the seller included a flat rate of $20 for shipping in the auction description. He or she could have easily put that rate in eBay's shipping field to get better visibility.

eBay introduced the feature in order to improve the buying experience, a valid motivation. Price plus Shipping sort is an option for those shoppers who want to sort by total price. According to eBay, sellers can always put in a flat-rate shipping rate. But the caveat in my opinion is a possible ding to the Detailed Seller Ratings that judges sellers by shipping and handling costs.

I live in Massachusetts. If I buy something from a seller in my state and see they have charged me a few bucks more than it actually cost to ship the item - even if I saw the flat-rate cost in the description - I may be annoyed and rate the seller lower on that DSR criterion. That's where stealth postage can come in handy, so be sure and ask your shipping service about it.

If you have strategies for dealing with this change, please post a comment. In the meantime, eBay will be holding a workshop on shipping on Friday, October 26.

You can also learn more on the eBay help pages on "Using Calculated Shipping Costs" and on the Shipping Tips page. And eBay Stores guru Janelle Elms has posted some tips on her site Online Success Institute.

Update 10/22/07: Apparently Best Match sort will also begin taking into account Shipping Price, therefore items with no shipping rate specified would presumably show up last on Best Match sorted search results as well. (Doesn't seem to be in effect just yet.)

In addition, Best Match will also take into account sellers' Detailed Seller Ratings. Here's what eBay told developers on October 10.  (eBay did tell users in June that Best Match would take into account seller performance, though I don't remember them ever announcing that shipping price would be a factor in Best Match sort):

"BestMatch sort option will factor in the item's shipping price and the sellers 'Detailed Seller Ratings' into it's relevance algorithm."




Comments (17) | Permalink

Readers Comments

FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches   FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches

by: jsicolts

Sat Oct 20 04:56:29 2007

Careful when using DHL when shipping eBay sales. It still still handled and process through the inept us postal disservice. eBay and Dhl have this argreement. No fault on the seller, it is eBay's fault AGAIN that a DHL package might take as long OR LONGER if you shipped it thru the rotten us postal service. eBay screws the sellers, yet again.

FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches   FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches

by: sunk818

Sat Oct 20 09:45:39 2007

I'm at a point where I'm strongly considering going flat-rate for all domestic shipping quotes. Shipping calculator is most fair, but you run into two issues:

1) Shipping calculator is not always reliable. There's been several occasion this year where shipping calculator has been broken on eBay.

2) Customers keep asking how much shipping is even though the calculator is there. So, this means eBay buyers newbie & veteran have a difficult time with the shipping calculator.

Since I already use stealth postage, charging a flat rate shipping fee is starting to make more sense on eBay. On average, I'll break even on shipping cost. Some customer will pay less than actual shipping cost, while others will pay more. But seeing how s/he will know the shipping cost in search results, I feel that will be a great benefit for everyone involved.

FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches   FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches

by: Helen

Sat Oct 20 09:46:41 2007

A good example of the, perhaps unfair, control eBay excercise over sellers listings and what is favoured and promoted more to buyers.

I believe most buyers still think an eBay keyword search brings back full and fair results. The truth is they are filtered and distorted. I wonder if you can get fvouritism in their searches in return for a financial consideration?

FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches   FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches

by: Russ Ketter

Sat Oct 20 10:19:01 2007

One thing pops up over and over again as a long time Ebay seller (5 yrs), the new sorting/shipping/feedback system serves, as do most ebay improvements (their term, not mine) to kill multiple sales, spur of the moment buys that work for sellers in retail, and the constant price obsession with ebay and their ilk, just makes selling and buying a lazer honed penny chase.  No matter what anyone does to fix this latest quirk, it will be changed again to insure that online buying is as boring as beans compared to what used to be a retail experience.  First we were admonished to have a fair shipping price, now we are penalized if our fair price doesn't fit one of ebay's partners.  What would you tell a landlord if he said, you have to fix your own electricity, and if you don't use one of my partners, I am going to make your apartment or house harder to find?  Oh by the way I am raising prices on the rent, just because I can..

FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches   FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches

by: bonni

Sun Oct 21 01:55:40 2007

eBay is doing something that will greatly disadvantage many honest sellers? Why, that's a shock!

FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches   FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches

by: Ed

Sun Oct 21 08:15:22 2007

C'mon Ina,
Stop beating around the Bush - this has nothing to do with disadvantaging users of certain shipping services within the US, this is blatant national finances PROTECTIONISM = pure and simple.

It is some time since rumours accused eBay of bowing to Federal pressure to keep US funds in the USA, and to assist in slowing the bloat of fiscal deficit (however marginally).  The trans-Atlantic visibility cuts this year were one such example frequently cited.

This new price + shipping extends that by disadvantaging any and all sellers based outside the USA, who wish to continue selling to the USA.  

It is also condoned and supported by PayPal via their Seller Protection Policy (SPP) criteria, in that only sellers shipping to/from 3 countries from/to the USA are automatically covered.

Online trackable shipping to qualify for SPP?  That'll be the likes of FedEx etc then.  And Asian sellers will have to charge at least US$75.00 carriage to cover shipping costs on a $0.99 item?  I don't think so.

Once again, eBay has used an elephant gun to shoot a mouse - but only if they are NOT in collusion with protectionism from the White House.

Otherwise, let's just say the "3 P's" again, in case you missed it - it's Parallel Protectionism by Proxy.

Ed

FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches   FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches

by: Marg

Sun Oct 21 09:08:13 2007

Why, oh why, don't they just keep the ''highest price'' and ''lowest price'' features and add ''price + shipping'' as an option???

FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches   FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches

by: Co6aka

Mon Oct 22 07:50:31 2007

Let's see... If you don't specify shipping your items appear at the bottom of a search, but the shipping calculator has been broken for a month (it only offers Express Mail International to non-US buyers) so you more or less have to use self-managed shipping for international...

Yeah, sounds just like eBay-Logic.

FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches   FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Mon Oct 22 09:29:13 2007

I updated this blog entry today, see it above.

FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches   FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches

by: Lisa

Mon Oct 22 12:28:35 2007

Check out this website for DHL users:

http://www.zfirm.com/products/shiprush_dhl.shtml

FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches   FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches

by: garry king

Tue Oct 23 09:35:05 2007

The reason for this is Ebay is taking a cut of all UPS shipments done through Ebay / Pay Pal. They want you to ship via UPS/USPS through Pay Pal, giving every advantage to those who do.

FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches   FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches

by: Peter Leeflang - CEO Leeflang Archive Corp

Wed Oct 24 09:56:03 2007

The new sort price+shipping is an attempt of Ebay to want to have its cake and eat it too.

On the one hand it has increased the cost per item for sellers, both feewise and timewise. ON the other hand, with this new sort it punishes sellers who try to make buyers pay for their extra expenses via the s/h. Those sellers become more invisible, so have less sales.

In fact, Ebay forces sellers to choose between lowering their margins and barely survive or retaining the same margins and go under.

It cannot be done.

FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches   FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches

by: Jennifer King

Wed Oct 24 10:05:15 2007

I emailed ebay about all the changes and what I thought they could do to improve the changes they are making if they insist to keep them.

On the S + P, I spent a couple hrs exploring it. They need to do a combined total in there. I do not want to have to keep a calculator handy so I know when I am getting beyond my spending limit. And I think if they did a total price paid, they should also note if the seller has set promotional shipping rates for additional purchases. This would not only make it easier on the buyer to know what they are paying, but also help promote add-on sales benefiting eBay with more FVF's and the sellers with more sales. To me, this seems like a win-win idea.

And setting the flat rate shipping is actually quicker for a seller to do than type into their listings what shipping will be.

FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches   FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches

by: Paul

Wed Oct 24 10:57:45 2007

On items where I need to use flat rate shipping, I specify the highest amount that it may be and then refund a portion for buyers nearby.  One can easily mark an envelope ''excess postage refund'' and deposit as many stamps as appropriate.

FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches   FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches

by: SilverPowerSeller

Thu Oct 25 17:15:45 2007

With all the new Ebay innovations and changes, it's going to be hard for Ebay to outdo itself year after year. How far can you tweak an auction site, before you change it's core altogether? Although I like sort options, I think the default setting needs to remain the same as it is today. With the new changes, it will be much easier for me to manipulate the listings to work to my advantage.

Ebay reminds me of Walmart. Nobody likes them, nobody wants them in thier town, but everybody still shops them. There are NO real competitors that compete fist to fist with Ebay. If there was I am sure Ebay would buy them out. I never thought I would see a monopoly on the internet.

To get back on topic, I think Ebays shipping partnerships do a huge injustice to consumers. Basically, Ebay says if you want to use their tools you need to ship with a certain carrier. With sort options and filters giving Fedex or DHL shippers a competitive disadvantage, I would think Fedex/DHL execs should look into this.




FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches   FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches

by: gettingtired

Thu Nov 15 13:42:33 2007

I am an a person who does some selling on Ebay   what i do is is simply add in my auction seller has option to us  dhl  shipping

FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches   FedEx and DHL Disadvantaged on Some eBay Searches

by: me2

Fri Feb 29 00:18:24 2008

Personally, I dont think any of eBays "enhancements" deserve serious discussion. They are all totally unfair, unwise, destructive and self serving. I for one do not intend to hire a secretary to wade thru the garbage and I dont think buyers want to either. They can make their own decisions looking at ALL the offerings. Some buyers are very angry having discovered that certain sellers they prefer are not shown. Buyers used to have fun shopping. Sellers used to have fun selling.No more.It is a grueling process with a meddling, incompetent company exhibibing no marketing smarts. Thats why I am diversifying and leaving as soon as possible. I refuse to give their jibberish brain space. The site has become a nightmare to use.This emphasis on lower shipping is sickening to me. Yes, there are some real inflated prices here and there. So? Dont buy. eBay, as stated, twisting arms for higher insertion fees. Period. Tonight I sold a 20.00 book to UK. Because it has to go at 4lbs First Class the cheapest at 27.50. No handling, no nothing. Who wants to pay that? Not my problem. Call the USPS. If I added even a dollar on that makes it worse. eBay is instigating this adversarial relationship between buyer and seller on shipping and everything else. I list on a third party so will probably be spared the ridiculous warning popups.  



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