eBay is holding a Town Hall meeting, which we are live blogging. The topic is eBay's spring Seller Release in which eBay made a variety of announcements about upcoming changes including new fees and policies.
Stay tuned as we live blog it and find out what questions sellers have for eBay!
The broadcast went dead for us for a few minutes, not sure if it was global or just on my end, as it picked up with moderator Griff in mid-sentence.
Griff says they will answer all questions regarding Spring Release, not all softball questions.
Michael Jones, VP of Bus Dev
Chris Payne, Senior VP No America
Jay Janssen, VP of Managed Markets
Brian Hsu, Senior Director, Pricing & Monetization Pricing
Chris Payne: Reduced friction - making it free to sell on eBay. This completes this evolution. Second goal: make it less complicated, easier to understand fees.
Also - mobile selling flow.
MJ, Jay and Brian talk about what the spring seller release means (MJ: sellers are heart and soul of eBay).
Jay said eBay SR1 helps with UPI (Unpaid Items, aka deadbeat buyers). He said expect more changes with regard to UPI
Caller named Jason: Who does the new fee change benefit? He sees a 55% increase in FVF fees. He doesn't care if he has to spend $2 to list items if he can sell it, he cares about the commission fees going up. What's the point of having a Store, he asks.
eBay's Brian Hsu: Not everyone will see a fee decrease. Especially higher ASP (Average Selling Price) items. Advice: be in the right Store tier, duration discount. (Those are upfront costs, seller is asking about backend costs.)
eBay's Griff: Likes the fee simplification. "At least I know" what my fees will be. (Really? Sellers prefer higher fees to a bit of complexity?)
Next caller also calls this a 55% fee increase for him. "I sell items where I make $15, you guys make $30."
"I don't have pricing power on some of this stuff," he said.
Caller said he will be able to keep listing fees the same by bumping up store level, but FVFs is 50% price increase.
Brian Hsu: Seller has to see for themselves how the fees impact them, offers to help the seller offline.
Caller named Daniel: Base is pretty agitated, seasoned sellers not newbies. Those people are the backbone of eBay, you don't want to lose those people. People who are professional sellers, listings fees aren't a big deal, they know how to market their stuff. For newbies, it's a benefit to them.
Daniel's questions: Why is this not revenue neutral? Maybe eBay needs a lot more money? Some categories pay higher fees than others? Shouldn't everybody who sells on eBay be the same?
Brian Hsu: We realize sellers make different amounts on different items. We've brought down pricing in electronics where margins are razor thin.
I think this is Jay Jenssen speaking: We don't want sellers to leave the platform,... Also, don't forget eTRS discounts (Top Rated Sellers)
Chris Payne: Most sellers are winners or neutral. Unfortunately we're hearing from some sellers today who believe they're losers. Simplification of fees will help in the aggregate.
(Please keep in mind these are rough notes, not a transcript.)
Question from the eBay boards: New Business Policy - will you be opted in automatically?
Paula from eBay: It is available to small amount of sellers in U.S. while they work out the kinks. Opening up in int'l sites in the next month or so. Right now that is not the case that you are opted in, you can opt in right now, and opt out again. We're working on functionality.
Caller named Ken: If buyer hits Buy It Now, is the item still for sale? That will be a problem.
eBay's Jarrod Jodoin, Product Manager of Checkout and another eBayer named Frederick: Sellers should encourage buyers to use the eBay Shopping Cart. Add all items to cart at once and checkout.
Ken: I have to custom combine the shipping every time due to types of items we sell.
Jarrod: With shipping discount, you can set up profiles - one for heavy items. He acknowledges they do not overlap.
Ken: I weigh them - that's how it is w/ everyone on eBay Motors Parts and Accessories. And some people take a few days. They regularly take 2 - 3 days to pay? Did you guys think this through.
Jarrod: We did think this through. If you offer items difficult to combine, you can instruct your buyers to use request total from seller in shopping cart. The item is committed (even Griff didn't know that).
Ken: Regarding updates,.... You're swimming in a bunch of problems right now.
Griff asks for clarification...
Jarrod: Request total from seller is always for one seller, we're working on making that more visible.
Technical difficulties at eBay Town Hall broadcast, stay tuned,..
They're back after about a 5-minute outage, the meeting continued even though no one could hear it - someone is talking, no context since they came in midstream.
Someone from eBay is speaking: eBay should let sellers choose the format.
New caller: Wife and I grew on eBay from one-offs to commodities. Thank the team for making it easier and better - the simplification. It was very difficult to figure out fees, he said. He appreciates simplified fees.
I'm a little surprised about all the animosity from other sellers toward the changes. I'd like to grow our business to an Anchor Store level. I'm excited about the challenge from Premium to Anchor. But I'm confused about the math, he said. What is the magic number to having active listings to get to the Anchore Store.
Brian Hsu: Your comments are why we are making the change. We have a handy tool help you figure out - fee illustrator.
Griff: I had made some assumptions - he sells full time on eBay. I need street cred, he joked. I thought I should move to a premium store - he said he realized he's not ready for a premium store.
A lot of chatter among eBay panelists right now about how eBay employees sell on eBay,....
Caller named Travis: Hearing you guys get beat up on pricing. for us it's okay. We do $2 million, 13,000 listings.
Re seller protection - who do we contact to appeal those we feel that are unfair.
Rich Matsuura, Director, Seller Protections: Go through customer service organization. He walks him through it. You can find phone number to appeal.
MJ: Get customer info and he'll take care of Travis.
Seller named Ed: are you concerned w/ all free listings it will flood eBay w/ so many listings it will hurt sales.
Chris Payne: my former job was working on search, we've worked on bringing right inventory to the top. One thing gives us confidence is that we've been running mini-promos ovre the last 2 years. That has the effect of flooding the site with inventory, some converts/some doesn't. We're getting better at it. W/ tools we're providing sellers, inclduing mobile, helping sellers put inventory on that will convert.
NOTE: If eBay Town Hall staff are reading this, are you aware of a glitch on the site? See Ecommerce EKG report.
Caller named John: Thanks for taking care of UPI. I liste 1300 items a month, it will be a bit of a fee increase, but where else can I market to the world 24/7. Good job to everyone at eBay.
eBay Radio's Lee: Thanks, and do you have a question?
Seller violations re dupe listings are killing me, but I'll work it out.
MJ: 42% of GMV was provided by Top Rated Sellers, year over year sales was up 20% for TRS sellers.
Caller named Martin: 600 listings/month, wishes there was an eBay Store tier between Premium and Anchor.
Some back and forth about selling strategy, using eBay fee illustrator
Another question from Martin: UPI - I'm glad you're changing it. If I have one item and buyer buys it but don't pay for it - will it be gone if someone else comes along and buys it and pays for it?
Frederick: First buyer - never actually buys it - we're removing the commit step.
Mike: More questions about the new process of buying commitment.
Christopher: We're removing the commit to buy button, so the first person who clicks on buy, they actually have to buy it. If they choose not to buy it, there's no order, item remains in inventory. There will be no limbo state.
Mike: I think this will help alot, as long as it doesn't hurt the impulse buyer.
Griff: There are enough buyers who will pay today.
Email question from Karen: question about immediate payment for best offers
Louis Olsen: Immediate payment does not apply to best offers. Because the buyer isn't there when the seller accepts the best offer. Right now, the seller accepting the offer makes the transaction. However, eBay is testing a new kind of best offer in the effort to reduce Unpaid Items.
The test is: when the seller accepts a Best Offer,the item does not come off the site and remains for sale. We're testing in 3 categories in the spring (jewelry and watches; art; computers and tablets), and will expand to all categories in the fall.
Closing remarks from panel (Chris Payne, Michael Jones, Jay Janssen).
MJ brought up enforcement of previously announced picture standards. He wants to remind everyone we sold a lot of product last year via mobile - images are very important to the mobile experience.
And, the Town Hall Meeting is over.