eBay is pretty quirky in lots of ways - after all, it started as a person-to-person online auction site in 1995. Nevertheless, it's baffling why in all this time, eBay has never assigned unique numbers to individual orders.
Last year, a seller expressed his incredulity in a letter to EcommerceBytes: "Why does eBay not provide order numbers? This is something so basic, yet it does not exist. The item number is shown, but that same number is for all sales of that item. There is a PayPal transaction ID, but that is not from eBay.
"The only number that is unique to a sale is the record number, but it's not a real order #, it's not unique. They don't even provide it to the buyer."
This year as part of the Spring Seller Update, eBay announced
it would begin assigning unique numbers to orders this summer - though it was easy to overlook among all of the other changes announced.
It would be nice to think eBay made the decision in response to sellers' requests (especially since eBay executives demand sellers offer retail-standard policies in their listings). But the more likely reason is eBay's rollout of managed payments. Sellers somehow made do for two decades, but it's hard to imagine eBay's payments partner Adyen would operate without unique transaction identifiers.
In its April announcement, eBay said: "The updated order numbers will appear in the "order details" section of your View Order Details page, Seller Hub, reports, emails, APIs, post-transaction records, and other locations over time, so you can efficiently track and manage your orders."
A seller reported
seeing the new numbers on his orders on Sunday - we're not sure if eBay will first test the new numbers among a sample of users, gradually roll them out, or introduce the new practice all at once.
Let us know if you're seeing them yet, and share your thoughts on how they're working out - do they make your life easier?