Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Feb 16 2014 21:33:37

Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay is still trying to roll out its Business Policies feature two years after first announcing the functionality. In February 2012, eBay said the feature would be available in May of that year, but in July it wrote, "Availability of the new business policies functionality, originally announced in the 2012 Spring Seller Update, has been postponed."

Last summer, eBay said sellers would be automatically opted in to business policies beginning in mid-July 2013, but it was again pushed off until this year - last week, eBay wrote, "for some sellers, eBay is now beginning to automatically turn on business policies, the functionality that allows you to quickly and easily create, edit, and manage shipping, payment, and return policies for all your listings from one convenient location."

Now, some sellers are giving eBay a thumb's down for how it is implementing the new feature. Over a week ago, I wrote about the chaos that some sellers were experiencing when encountering the feature for the first time with no warning about what it was they were seeing. And after eBay announced the availability of the feature on Friday, some sellers complained that it was cumbersome to set up the policies - see Monday's Newsflash newsletter for more information.



The feature itself is designed to make sellers' lives easier, but according to seller emails and reports on eBay's boards, the usability is poor.

What struck me most about eBay's Business Policies, however, is this May 2012 blog post written by Julia Wilkinson about eBay's Business Policies. An eBay seller wrote in the comments, "Hopefully, this system has been fully tested and will be released glitch free unlike most eBay releases. Imagine setting up policies to be applied to hundreds of listings only to find the typical eBay "glitch" that will cause sellers to have to repair their listings one at a time. It will take minutes to set policies for hundreds or thousands of listings, then take days to fix them if eBay's process has any bugs. Sellers would be wise to wait for a couple of months before attempting to make use of this new eBay process solely based on eBay's history of rolling out programs that have not been fully debugged."

Two years later, it would seem that seller's advice is worth mulling. See eBay's latest announcement about Business Policies.




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Perminate Link for Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later   Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 16 23:54:07 2014

Are the lunatics ALWAYS running the asylum that is ebay?

Do they ever learn---anything?

Are their MBA profs---proud?  

Perminate Link for Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later   Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 17 00:01:52 2014

What exactly is the point of it all?

It does nothing more then what already exists - besides making things MORE complicated.

eBay makes my brain hurt .....

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Feb 17 03:14:57 2014

The concept is solid and would benefit most sellers.  Especially sellers that sell across multiple categories.

But historically Ebay just doesn't take the time to think things through.  Or they have people writing the policy / programs that have never sold a think in their lives.  I don't know what the reason really is, but they mess it up every time.

EVERY TIME, no matter what the major change is.  It never rolls out on time [or even close to on time] and even after delays, it is never functional.  But what is ALWAYS does is cost sellers valuable time.  But Ebay does love to just create more work for us.

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by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 17 07:38:11 2014

Question ebay ask itself: "What is it for ebay?"  Revenue is Priority #1 to ebay.

Over many years, a lot of things ebay implemented were clearly neither for the benefit of small US sellers nor for the benefit of buyers or ebay community.

Perminate Link for Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later   Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later

by: Small Guy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 17 09:26:18 2014

I have not looked into it closely, but I wonder if this couldn't be final blow to small sellers.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Puck

Mon Feb 17 09:27:00 2014

"In fact, eBay has struggled to launch Business Policies. It was originally announced in 2012, was delayed until 2013, and every seller was supposed to be able to opt in to Business Policies last summer."

All the eBay tech people were tied up on really important work like designing the new corporate logo and rolling out that irritating floating blue 'how many people are viewing this listing in the last hour' box.

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by: RichieC This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 17 09:48:41 2014


 I have to say I hear a lot of complaints! Yet, I really think that goes back to our human nature ''I HATE CHANGE!'' It is what has pretty much delayed our growth as human beings into the future. But don't worry we'll get there! Time always moves forward.
 As for the new policy writer, they are great! I will admit when I first saw it, I was like eBay is at it again. But the truth is, if you check them out and work through it, it is really helpful for those of use that do use multi-type policies for whatever reason. But of coarse if you don't then it may seem just another worthless eBay attempt at messing up there system!
 It would have been a lot better if eBay had sent out a email, explaining how it worked. Maybe a video showing how to work through it, that would have been helpful to some! But again, I agree that is how eBay works and they do need to work on that! Also, teaching some of their REPS, that they do not actually own the company would be a plus!
 But the simplest advice I can give is, get rid of those nonsense long number title name policy names! Simply give them names like,

PAYMENT
PayPal Only - meaning as noted
Pay on Pickup - meaning as noted

SHIPPING
1st Class - Free, Priority - $3.50  -- meaning free 1st class and $3.50 Priority
Parcel - Free, Priority - $5.00  -- meaning free parcel and $5.00 Priority
Pickup Only - meaning as noted

RETURNS
14 Day Return, Buyer Pays - meaning as noted
No Returns - meaning as noted

 These are just some examples of new titles names you can use to replace those long numbers. Once you understand how it all works, it really is a useful function for using different policies. Drop down menus makes it easy to copy, delete and changes policies on the fly!
 But again, for some seller that really does not need the added feature, it can seem a waste of time! For those I would simply say, make one policy for each, say something like

PAYMENT              PayPal
SHIPPING          Free & $3.99
RETURNS        14 Day, Buyer Pays

 Then you can simply delete all the other policies. So don't be afraid of CHANGE!!!  :)

Perminate Link for Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later   Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Mon Feb 17 10:08:55 2014

Weird!

One account I have I can't find the Business Policies, another account it appears right above the Seller Dashboard entry in My eBay Views.

Very consistent programming, about par with the eBay-(ass)-sylum.

Perminate Link for Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later   Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later

by: RichieC This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 17 10:51:30 2014

For, Al G

 That is the same with me, my smaller account received it at the end of last year. My major account still hasn't been updated. As noted by eBay, they are rolling it out to selected seller and eventually all will have it. As I use multi-policies, I wish they would get a move on! Works get within my first account and can't wait to get it into my second one. The best part of it is really the shipping, as postal rates increase, it is easy to change costs with alternative shipping options!

Perminate Link for Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later   Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Mon Feb 17 12:35:59 2014

I have to say I’ve looked forward to these or at least the idea of these!
 
I was “opted in” briefly a little over a year ago. The drop down boxes with what looked like a zillion different named policies was really intimidating. I had to call customer service to figure how to opt out because it was not easily found.

 
At the time there was a video on eBay you could watch to learn the process. I guess it is no longer there. Although I did not have time set aside at that time to work on applying the policies to my listings, I still liked the idea. I guess it is time to look at it again- hopefully this week!


If I run into any obstacles I’ll come back here. Someone who has actually applied this is probably more helpful than calling eBay.

Don’t wander too far away RitchieC & thanks for the info you’ve posted so far!

Perminate Link for Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later   Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Feb 17 13:04:08 2014

@AIG

It is still being rolled out as the article states.  Not everyone has it yet.  I don't.  So one of your accounts has it available and the other doesn't.  Just give it time.  

Perminate Link for Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later   Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later

This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Mon Feb 17 16:07:37 2014

@PowerSeller2007:  I agree with your sentiment, but I can't actually fault Ebay for putting revenue first. They are a business, after all, and the whole point of running a business is to make money. Isn't that what all of us are trying to do?

I do agree that Ebay really needs to focus more on helping the sellers, especially since it would bring them more revenue. They need to align their priorities with those of their customers (sellers!) a bit better than they do now. If they did things right, it would benefit them and us, but they seem to lose focus on the forest in favor of the few trees in front that they keep heaping with fertilizer while the rest of the forest withers.

Perminate Link for Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later   Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Feb 17 16:16:20 2014

If Ebay gets these programs functioning properly, they WILL help sellers.  They can be a big step in saving sellers some serious time.  

For sellers that don't sell across multiple categories you may not have as much of a need for this, but that doesn't make it any less valuable for many others.

If you sell in one category and only have a need for one type of policy, whether it is payment terms, returns, or whatever, then this isn't as important.  You'd just set up one to me used for all your listings.

But for sellers that have multiple types of things they sell, they may have the need for different selling terms which is where these things would be so darn valuable and save us a bunch of time.  There is great value for many once they get them working right.

The Business Policy program will do no harm to small sellers as some have suggested.  The only thing it may do that some don't like is encourage them to write their polices.  For some reason some sellers don't want to state anything.  

Perminate Link for Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later   Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later

by: gutspiller This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 17 16:17:18 2014

Definately something I'm looking forward to, if Ebay makes sure it works.

Don't see how this can be so difficult. I use OpenCart for my owwn website. If fill out the weight of each item. The customer pays postage accordingly to the total weight.

If postal charges change it takes 2 minutes to update in the website. I never understood you still have to do this manually on a multi billion dollar company as Ebay.

Currently they are playing with visibility again. A few months ago from out of nowhere I suddenly got a shitload of international buyers. Back all gone now.

In the years I've sold I've had 1 or 2 orders from the UK. A few days ago I had 2 orders for the UK in 1 day.

Perminate Link for Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later   Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Mon Feb 17 18:54:05 2014

@ Marie

Perhaps the reason that as you say in your statement that some sellers don't like to write policies down is because no one -- most of all ebay -- neither reads nor cares what a seller's policies are.

The idea business policies is basically sound.

However, just like EVERYTHING else ebay rolls out it has so many coding and clarity problems that it's difficult or impossible for most to use.

Ebay tech has been the laughingstock of Silicon Valley since long before Negged Meg moved on. Nothing much has changed except that their incompetence broadens in scale every year.

Much of the stilted and sometimes incomprehensible language we encounter daily on ebay because much of is written in India.

Perminate Link for Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later   Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Feb 17 19:44:31 2014

@ Ming

That simply is't true.  If the seller pays attention to what they are doing and make sure they write their policies to work with the Ebay rules.  Now that is not to say you or I or anyone else has to like them.  That is a completely separate issue.  But for the exercise of writing your policies, they need to be within Ebay current rules.

What I've seen on occasion is buyers writing a policy that they HOPE to be able to enforce.  It conflicts with Ebay policies currently in place.  But the seller doesn't like them so they may write their policy the way they want it to be.  That isn't going to work.  It won't work on Ebay and it won't work on any other sites.  When you don't like a rule, that is fine, but it is a completely separate issue and until it is resolved, you have to work within the current rules.

I'm unsure as to why you feel that Ebay is suppose to "read" your policies.  Do you mean read and approve or disapprove them?  Or do you mean if there is a claim?

Yes I firmly agree with you about how Ebay rolls things out.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Mon Feb 17 22:53:40 2014

@ Marie

Good on you if you think it's worthwhile to state any policy that's different than ebay's policies for TRS.

It's been my experience over many more years of selling on ebay than suspect you have under your belt that most buyers could care less what you store policies are. They want what they want and are far too important to have to abide by any silly story policy if it's not to their liking.

Many of them are exceptionally special people -- many of them divas and princesses -- who've been annointed and entitled by ebay to do whatever their little hearts desire.

They don't need no stinkin' policies.

Ebay CSRs are supposed to read a store's policies if there's a claim. IF they do -- and in many cases that's doubtful -- it doesn't mater what your policy is. It's what the buyer wants is the the only thing ebay cares about.

Marie, don't nitpick. You'll lose. Read the horror stories posted here and in the letters section frequently about ebay ignoring store policies.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Tue Feb 18 00:39:26 2014

RichieC writes: I have to say I hear a lot of complaints! Yet, I really think that goes back to our human nature ''I HATE CHANGE!'

---

Perhaps there's some truth to RichieC's observations, but I think the greater truth is that most experienced sellers simply DISTRUST eBay more than they ''hate-change''.

Perminate Link for Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later   Here Come eBay Business Policies Two Years Later

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Feb 18 02:40:00 2014

@MING

"Good on you if you think it's worthwhile to state any policy that's different than ebay's policies for TRS."  I didn't say that.  You may want to re-read what I wrote or at the very least my opening statement.

"It's been my experience over many more years of selling on ebay than suspect you have under your belt ..."  That is an assumption on your part only when we disagree on something or you mis-read what I wrote and you think we have disagreed on something.  

"They don't need no stinkin' policies."  Yes we certainly disagree on this one.  I think buyers do want to know what a sellers payment terms are.  I do think think that buyers want to know what their return policy is.  I do think that buyers want to know if a seller combines shipping.  Etc.  

Part of the problem is as I previously stated and the seller just doesn't like what Ebay's current rules are for a given subject the seller wants to write a policy for, so they word it in such a way that it is not supported by Ebay policy.  We have to work within the rules.  Trying to get rules chances is a completely separate issue.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Tue Feb 18 08:35:17 2014

@Marie

To clarify my original post and that could have affected your response: On one of my IDs which didn't have Business Policies implemented - there was no way to find that out. It just didn't exist - no "not implemented" "opted out" "coming soon to a fallout shelter near you" designation. So I spent a few futile minutes looking for it. I even brought up eBay's help dialogue which was helpless since where they say to look didn't exist.

Once I got on my other ID, sho'nuf, it was right there.

THAT's why I'm tinkled-off. Another exercise in futility.

The actual policies I use are OK, but in my niche, not as useful.



Yeder morgen brengt zikh zorgen.

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