Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Fri Mar 23 2018 22:55:21

eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay is opening up its currently gated Guaranteed Delivery program beginning in May, as we reported this evening. It sent the following email to sellers on Friday:

Dear (User Name redacted),
We're contacting you today to share the exciting news that you have earned a spot in eBay Guaranteed Delivery because of your consistent on-time handling performance. Between May 1 and May 31, your listings that already meet Guaranteed Delivery requirements will feature a guaranteed delivery date backed by eBay. We'll contact you again in May once this change takes place.

As you may know, eBay Guaranteed Delivery is the program that lifts listing visibility and sales potential by allowing buyers to filter for listings guaranteed to arrive in three days or less.

To learn more about eBay Guaranteed Delivery and how it benefits all eBay customers, visit Seller Center and register for the live eBay Guaranteed Delivery webinar, March 28.

No Action Required
You don't need to do anything to take advantage of your new status. With eBay Guaranteed Delivery, eBay guarantees the delivery dates and makes it right if a buyer ever experiences a late delivery - no matter the reason. Simply keep meeting same- and 1-day handling time on the listings you've set those times for.

Opt Out Any Time
We want you to know you're always in control of how you sell. To remove yourself from the program at any time, visit Site Preferences, select eBay Guaranteed Delivery Setting, and click "I want to opt out of eBay Guaranteed Delivery."

Thank you for your consistent on-time handling and thank you, as always, for selling on eBay.

One of the readers who forwarded the email said they thought it was interesting but wasn't sure if they wanted to participate. "I have 99.75% on time mailing record. When an eBay lady called me last week to opt into this I said no simply because of the added pressure and the fact eBay does not often take weather problems into consideration such as the storm last week we had. So not they just go ahead an opt me in anyways? I wonder if it will help me with on-site visibility? My items are most often one of a kind with no others listed so not really needing any help with competition."

The eBay website states that the program provides participating sellers increased visibility for their listings; it offers shoppers the ability to filter out listings from search that don't offer a guaranteed delivery date, and it presumably provides greater exposure to listings offering Guaranteed Delivery in search results. 

And that's exactly why some sellers have been impatiently waiting to get into the program.

But others were irked that Friday's letter implied they would be opted in to the program and would have to opt out if they chose not to participate. "I thought GD was supposed to be an opt IN program anyway? Maybe as per eBay SOP when they can't get enough takers they just shove sellers into it anyway? (remember when they first started GSP?)"

That's a reference to the Global Shipping Program, which for a long time eBay repeatedly opted some sellers into without their permission.

Meanwhile some sellers think the Guaranteed Delivery program has the potential to harm them. "eBay guarantees it, but what about the PO? I'm not going to guarantee anything I don't have complete control of." For the handling-time option, sellers are "financially responsible for any late delivery if you fail to meet your handing time commitment and if you do not upload tracking information."

Another seller asked what the downside was: "They are the ones guaranteeing it, not us. We're just guaranteeing the handling time. To be honest, I don't believe any of my items are "time sensitive". Therefore, I doubt if sales will increase."

One seller was concerned that the program requires "immediate payment," which would create a problem for their customers who buy multiple items and want a combined invoice. 

Note: These are the requirements for a listing to be eligible for Guaranteed Delivery's handling time option:

- Be an item physically located in the United States.
- Be listed on eBay.com.
- Not be in a restricted category.
- Offer same- or 1-day handling.
- Require immediate payment.
- Be a listing for which returns are accepted.
- Include the item location postal code.
- Use an eligible carrier service.

(eBay also offers a door-to-door option with different requirements.) 

We'd like to know what you think of the concept of the program and how you feel it benefits sellers. And how well do you think eBay is implementing the program?



Comments (58) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery   eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery

by: 1st Armored Div. 1971-1973 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 23 23:48:08 2018

I got the email today and was furious since I do not want to be in the program.

I have customers who want me to hold the item often for a considerable amount of time. I had a customer pay separately for 3 items and wanted me to hold it for 3 weeks. I checked my stats and I would be OK doing this. If I had guaranteed delivery I would probably been penalized for 3 separate shipping charges.

If ebay wants to guarantee it with "their money" I got no problem with it. But with mine, no way.

Perminate Link for eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery   eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery

by: lessthanthreerecords This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Sat Mar 24 00:12:01 2018

I did not get the e-mail, but if I do, I will be opting out.  When USPS estimates a delivery date, they take into account ONLY the method of shipping (first class, priority, etc.) NOT the type of packaging it's in.  If I ship a box or padded envelope via first class mail, the estimated delivery date will typically be 2 or 3 business days, depending on the destination zip code, and most of the time, it's on time (or at least no more than 1 day late).  However, if I package something in a tube, and ship it first class (the same method described above), it will estimate the same 2 or 3 business day delivery date, but 99.9% of the time, will be late (it is not unusual for domestic tubes shipped first class to take THREE TIMES as long as estimated, and sometimes longer).  Of course, eBay takes what USPS says without question, and figures their estimated (or now guaranteed) delivery dates on a deeply flawed system!

Perminate Link for eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery   eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 24 01:52:52 2018

Luckily I did not get the forced opt in email as i would be opting out ASAP.  I do usually get my items out in one day but enjoy the fact that if I am not feeling great one day i don't have to jump out of bed to get this purchase that happened at 11:58 pm Pacific Time out for the carrier to pick up by 9:30 am.  This is another one of those ideas that has been a flop so once again Wenig has decided to FORCE sellers to do what he wants.  Supposedly a seller can opt out if they wish, but I wonder if that button will suddenly have a glitch that does not work either and Ebay can't seem to figure out how to fix it.

Its funny that Ebay cannot see that when it was in its prime and doing so great it was because they allowed sellers to run their own businesses instead of micro managing every aspect of it.  All they seem to do is chase off sellers, many of whom are also larger buyers on Ebay and then wonder why their overstated growth numbers still are so far behind the competition.  I doubt that i will be opted in because I am on the West Coast and am in an area where almost all packages sit at the sorting hub for at least 2 days so almost nothing is delivered in 3 days and i am sure their records show it.

But I did notice the post by a seller who has 2-3 day handling time on all items but who usually does get things out in one day, also got the email informing them they were being opted in to the program.  So much for Ebay saying that the sellers must have 1 day handling time on their listings.  I know that buyers have the option of returning an item for any reason if I offer 30 day returns (buyer pays for remorse returns),  but I don't like the idea that if the package arrives late that I have to allow the buyer to return the package for that reason (Ebay of course lets the buyer know they have that option due to something that is totally out of my control)  and pay for the return shipping cost (Ebay supplies the free return label but does not say that they will pay for it).  I also notice that these guarantees are only through the end of 2018 at which time they can once again use their weasel speak to leave the sellers holding the bag and would not be surprised to see the opt out option suddenly removed.  

All these sudden sales and other moves tend to make me think that sales must not be doing so great since Ebay made the change to product listing pages.  I wonder if buyers are just going to the real thing if they are going to have to deal with product pages instead of the Amazon wannabe??

Perminate Link for eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery   eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery

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

Sat Mar 24 02:03:47 2018

Sellers who can't opt out might want to consider adding an Item Specific telling customers that shipment MUST BE immediate due to ebay policy and ask buyers who want delayed shipment to either add an alternate address to their PayPal accounts or ask the Post Office to hold all packages.

Perminate Link for eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery   eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sat Mar 24 08:16:03 2018

At least once per week, and sometimes more, this company gives me another reason to hate them.   And they give me a reason to LOVE the other venues that I sell on.

"Guaranteed" shipping is as big of a myth as "free" shipping is.

When eBay can't get sellers to participate in their schemes they force them into them.

Perminate Link for eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery   eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 24 09:15:28 2018

eBay either doesn't see, or doesn't care that - even though they've 'generously',..uh...guaranteed to absorb and administer the cost of this latest desperate buyer snare - that cost doesn't include the transfer of blame that will snare the source.  

Said source being the seller they additionally claim will 'benefit' from better visibility.  On a schizophrenic search engine.

Which, even if 'accurate' only as measured by the broken clock rule (twice a day), would return results for said seller now rendered less 'trustworthy' by failure to meet eBay's guarantee.

That eBay has no control over achieving in the first place.

What could possibly go wrong with that?

Perminate Link for eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery   eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery

by: WhatsUp2656 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 24 09:21:59 2018

I received this email too. Amazing! I do not have an area to opt out. When reading some of the forums others state they do not have the opt out as well. Interestingly, I have a notice for late shipments that I did not opt into. I also read where some sellers clicked on the link and they were automatically opted in, but NO easy click to opt out.  

Perminate Link for eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery   eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery

by: DingDong This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 24 10:32:53 2018

I received the email too.
I have 3 day handling time even if I ship the items out in 1 day.

All my listings have 3 day delivery dates on my listings instead of will be shipping out before (3 days out).

I check my listings and they have 3 day handling in the "editing" listing.  eBay has changed my listings.
For the heck of it, I did a bulk edit and changed the handling time to 3 days.  The listings are still showing as if I ship same day and you WILL receive the item in 3 days.

More monkey business.

Perminate Link for eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery   eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery

by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 24 10:41:06 2018

Yep here is ebay dealing out another dose of stupid!

Guaranteed on time delivery was such an epic failure ebay almost has no choice but to opt us in. In my category a popular search term yields about 100,000 results. Filtering by guaranteed delivery yields just 200 results.

For us this is a monumental problem! We have 100% on time shipping and are now getting slapped HARD for it. Why ebay would punish me for great service is beyond me! In a very high number of cases our packages when shipped on time do NOT arrive in 3 days. If ebay simply wanted to give them a $5 voucher that would be cool with me......However since the program encourages returns as a remedy we want NO part of this. Our returns are already abused enough.....the postoffice taking an extra day to deliver an item should not be reason enough to justify a return from some buzzer beating buyer.

BUT THE BIGGEST PROBLEM! Opting into on time shipping with lower your visibility in best match!!!!!!!!!!! What no one realizes and seemed to be largely ignored

Quoted from 2018 Spring Seller update page > Growth Tools > All the way at the bottom of the page under overview "new seller metrics" last 2 sentences.... "The metrics will also show how often you receive these requests compared to sellers of similar items and circumstances. Low rates of after-sale requests can help improve your listings visibility."

Ontime shipments late through no fault of the seller > increase in buyers choosing a return option that is thrown in their face> sellers see reduced visibility for higher number of "after-sale requests"

Let the nightmare begin.

Perminate Link for eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery   eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sat Mar 24 12:29:04 2018

I was opted in on my smaller selling ID

I'll give this a chance and see if it costs me any money out of pocket.

Perminate Link for eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery   eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sat Mar 24 12:40:28 2018

For Sellers that are holding shipment for a week or better due to customer requests and have received payment. You should be aware that if you are paid with PP, after seven days with no shipment, you lose Seller Protection with PP.  

I'm looking forward to testing out this program.  For the month of May there is very little risk involved for any seller that is using the handling time option on this program.  Here is a link to an article on this site from February that may make some of you feel a little better.

https://www.ecommercebytes.com/C/abblog/blog.pl?/pl/201
8/2/1518055241.html

And
if you decide that it isn't working for you, just opt out of the program.  I do however understand that it is annoying that Ebay has chosen to auto opt some seller into the program.  While I had always intended to give this program a whirl, I don't agree with Ebay's decision to handle it this way.

Perminate Link for eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery   eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery

by: I Must be Crazy This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 24 13:42:15 2018

I guess sellers aren't signing up at the rate eBay would like. Or worse, they were in it and opted out. That is me.

Ebay padded the delivery times and it caused my sales to be less competitive than those offered by my competitors who were not in the program. There was a noticeable drop in my sales, by region, and it was not a coincidence. The program is flawed and is nothing more than a shell game to give the illusion that eBay is competitive against Amazon.

I have no intentions of participating in this program at this time.

Perminate Link for eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery   eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery

by: nsc This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 24 18:52:58 2018

Has anyone found out how to opt out of eBay Guaranteed Delivery? I've looked on Site Preferences. It isn't there.

Perminate Link for eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery   eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 24 19:33:06 2018

@nsc

I believe that Ebay has not developed that option yet, another one of their problems that they just do not understand. They continue to make announcements of changes they are making when they are no where near ready to implement them,let alone have tested these options.  So at some point in May, which Ebay will still not announce, sellers will wake up one morning to suddenly having been opted into this GD program and then have to find the opt out button and hope and pray that it works.  Most normal companies would have this all designed and BETA TESTED by the company, not its customers prior to making the announcement.  But Ebay is so desperate to force changes because their growth rate is stagnant compared to the other companies that they throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.  Then they wonder why they have become the laughing stock of the internet and cannot understand why their sellers loathe their Great News for Sellers Announcements.

Perminate Link for eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery   eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sat Mar 24 20:15:15 2018

@NSC

It won't appear until you are eligible for the program.  So if you received the email that some of us did that stated sometime in May you are eligible, then after that date it should be in your site preferences.  So just set up a reminder to do that on the 1st.

@Silver Ice King

Ebay has said this program is being phased in. They do that a lot with new programs.  Therefore everyone is not seeing the same things just yet.  

I'm unsure if this invitation for the program was site wide or just selected members.  For me, I had signed up for their waiting list for the program.

******************************************************
****

This
is a great program for some and not so much for others.  Some are scared of it and some look forward to giving it a try.  It all depends on your outlook and needs as a seller.  For me, the risk is very low since my delivery times show my items are typically delivered within the stated ETA.  There is no reason to believe that is going to change just because I decide to participate in this program.

Perminate Link for eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery   eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery

This user has validated their user name. by: Shane

Sat Mar 24 20:40:26 2018

What happens to a seller if an item isn't delivered on time?

Perminate Link for eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery   eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 24 20:50:49 2018

@Marie

I did not opt into the program or ask to be added to it or the waiting list but received the email informing me that I have been chosen to be included in this program even though more than half of my items are delivered later than 3 days due to the USPS being slow in sorting the items and getting them on the road.  I am on the West Coast and I use Stamps.com for my shipping and it is easy to see the number of days it took for the item to be delivered on their search page.

Ebay also included my other account (which got its own email notice) even though I have 2 day handling time listed on it and I never use tracking on that account. I never show anything as having been shipped sooner than 2 days so that cannot be the reason for that account being added either.   I guess because one of my accounts qualifies, Ebay's bots determined that all of my accounts should be included in this program.

My biggest complaint about the program is that Ebay gives the buyers another reason to return an item, just because the USPS delivers it late.  I realize that the buyer can do this now anyway if i accept returns, but this program seems to encourage this action and I don't believe that Ebay should be encouraging buyers to return items that are exactly as described except for the fact that Ebay has guaranteed something that even the USPS will not do, delivery in 3 days !!

There was also another Seller in the PS thread on this subject that said they have 2-3 day handling listed on all of their listings but usually ship next day and they were also opted into this program.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Perminate Link for eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery   eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery

by: nsc This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 24 21:46:34 2018

Thanks, @Silver Ice King, @Marie.

If I know eBay, they will make the seller pay some or most of the cost to "make it right" when the item is delivered late through no fault of the seller, or when s/he sends it late, even if it is to oblige a buyer request.

As for their promises of greater exposure, I simply do not believe them. The eBay tea leaves (what few technical reports have hit the Internet) say they use their own heuristics designed to maximize sales throughput per server hour, with no regard to individual sellers, save those to whom they have made contractual guarantees -- which ain't us.

So I will opt out as soon as possible. Just as I did for Global Delivery.

Perminate Link for eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery   eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 24 22:08:21 2018

What I DONT hear answers to:

1) who asked eBay to opt anyone into anything? aka what gives them the (legal) right to do so?

2) eBay likes to claim that 2/3 of all its items are ALREADY being received in 3 days - so why is this push needed? are they lieing (again)? are they stupid (well yes duh)? why and what are they hiding?

Except for GSP, every other eBay program always magically ends up costing sellers money ... this one will too (as soon as the post office in your small town doesnt empty the bin, or keeps the mail in its truck for a day or so) .... so thanks but NO thanks to eBay hair brained scheme.

Its amazing how 1 company could be so WRONG all the time.

If they want sellers to ship like Amazon does (to compete with PRIME) - create a program FOR BUYERS .... (to pony up funds) not force sellers to do their dirty work!

Perminate Link for eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery   eBay Opts Sellers into Guaranteed Delivery

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sat Mar 24 22:15:33 2018

@Silver Ice King

Like I said previously, I too do not like it when ebay just opts people into stuff.  I just don't think they should ever do that.

I'm on the West Coast, I don't have problems very often with USPS and I'm very happy about that.  I sure hope it continues.  I use Ebay labels.  

The program is qualified listings.  So while Ebay may have sent you the email on your other account, since you have 2 day handling, those listings will not qualify for the program.  No need to be concerned about them.

A seller can be opt'd into the program, but unless they have listings that qualify for the program, they will not be in the Guaranteed Delivery program.  So if that seller on the PS thread does not want to be part of the program, they have nothing to be concerned about even if their account is opt'd into the program.  If the listing does not meet the requirements, it is NOT in the program.

@nsc & Shane

I think you would benefit by looking at the perimeters of the program so that you can make an informed decision without a bunch of assumptions and unnecessary concerns.  

I posted a link to another Ecommercebyte thread just last month on this subject.  That would be a good place to start.  And here is more information that you should take the time to review so you can decide for yourself if you could benefit from this program or not.

http://pages.ebay.com/seller-center/shipping/ebay-guarante
ed-delivery.html

One
excerpt from the link above.

Through the end of 2018, if a guaranteed item arrives late, eBay will always make it right for your buyer with one of these options:

Shipping cost reimbursement
Voucher for a future eBay purchase
Free return label if the seller accepts returns

After the end of the year, eBay will continue to make it right when items arrive late and buyers make a claim, as long as the seller met their handling time commitment.

There is more valuable info in that link.  A video too.  I hope this helps.

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