Despite being the grandaddy of ecommerce, eBay missed the boat on a few opportunities - one example is its ban on sales of digital content
, an area where rival Etsy has succeeded.
Local selling is another area where eBay had a chance of dominating, but instead, Craigslist, Facebook, and various mobile apps are flourishing.
While eBay does technically allow local selling, it puts up barriers that make it challenging for sellers, as highlighted by this week's eBay Weekly Chat session.
A seller posted that they had lost their Top Rated Seller status due to too many sales without tracking, which eBay requires to prove the seller has shipped the item.
The longtime seller (over 23 years on the site) said they immediately contacted eBay customer service and requesting they take a closer look to see that the sales without tracking uploaded were all local pickups, but with no luck - the seller is still excluded from the Top Rated Seller program.
"My hope is that Customer Service does the right thing and corrects their error," the wrote on the chat board today
. "Local pickups do not require tracking. Also, I would hope that eBay would correct the system to allow all items to be marked as picked up."
Here's the response from an eBay moderator that shows the reason sellers are not embracing local sales on eBay:
"I'm sorry for any confusion with how local pickup affects shipping metrics. I'd be happy to clarify this for you now though, so you can better prepare going forward.
"When a listing is originally set up with a normal shipping service (like USPS), it's locked in as if it's a regular shipping listing, even if you add local pickup as an additional option. If you're adding it onto the invoice after the buyer has committed to buy, it will count against your tracking percentages; regardless of whether the buyer chooses local pickup or regular shipping. If you want to offer local pickup and not have it affect your shipping metrics, then you only want to offer local pickup in your listings.
"We know things will come up, and it's why we don't expect perfection from our sellers. If you're finding that you get enough requests for local pickup that you've lost your Top Rated status because of it, then you may want to reconsider the shipping options you're offering in your listings. I hope that makes sense and helps!"
So in a nutshell: if you want to sell locally on eBay, you should shut off shipping options. The message: you can either allow shipping or allow local pickup, but if you allow both, eBay may penalize you.