One third of online sellers are dissatisfied with how marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon, and Etsy are handling seller issues during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey of EcommerceBytes readers that ran from March 29 - April 2, 2020.
When asked, "Overall, are you satisfied with how ecommerce marketplaces and service providers are handling seller issues during the COVID-19 pandemic," 40% of respondents said yes, 31% said no, and 29% said they didn't know.
Sellers elaborated in the comments, revealing some key areas of dissatisfaction: fees, customer service, and marketing to attract buyers to their sites.
"No customer service. Have eBay / PayPal issue, can't talk to either," wrote one seller; "No telephone contact for eBay customer support," wrote another.
eBay specifically was criticized by some for only *deferring* fees instead of waiving them. Wrote one seller: "eBay's "we're here to help" deferring of fees for ONE MONTH is a complete joke. If sellers can't pay THIS month, they're somehow going to be able to pay 150% each of the next two months? It's like a pay-day loan... Unless they think there WILL be an Easter miracle, it was a hollow gesture. Showing - AGAIN - they have no clue. At all."
Another seller also criticized eBay's handling of fees, writing: "Despite whatever sales are missed this month are gone forever, eBay still wants an anchor store fee despite providing even less service than normal. They are not willing to suffer at all but it is okay for me to pay up. No other site charges me anything substantial so there is no comparison. Amazon and PayPal have suspended loan payments for the month and are not (to my understanding) making a balloon note for me to pay next month with dwindling sales and unknown future sales."
On the other hand, some praised eBay.
"eBay has brilliant from the get-go. It is unfortunate when some people or groups criticize them. I have been selling with them since 1997 and completely feel supported by them at this time. On the other hand, I feel like Etsy has little vested interest in protecting us sellers and it's more about how the lack of sales affect Etsy."
"eBay has been great. They offered thousands of free BIN listings," another seller wrote.
That same seller was less pleased with Etsy's handling of fees: "Many sellers on Etsy have said in the forums that would love to have free listings or a generous extension on the usual 120-day listing duration, but Etsy so far has not offered that to anybody. What's worse, Etsy still intends to move forward with the controversial new offsite ad program (the one that charges 12 or 15% in extra fees on any sales they can attribute to an offsite ad for up to 30 days after an ad click). All Etsy has done was push back the start date by about two weeks so sellers have a little more time to prepare. One person in the forum sarcastically called it "a stay of execution." On the bright side, some Etsy sellers who are upset about the upcoming offsite ad program are using this two-week stay of execution to start building their own Shopify sites or move their existing inventory over to eBay and other websites."
One seller said, "Amazon FBA sellers are getting a hard dose of reality right now as Amazon freezes their inventory."
Another said they felt Amazon should step up on behalf of their sellers by offering low-cost loans: "I can only speak for Amazon. They need to acknowledge the great responsibility for small 3rd party sellers they have. Amazon should launch a program to make working capital available to sellers at no to small interest rates."
Some respondents also felt marketplaces should be doing more to attract buyers to their sites.
One seller wrote about marketplaces that aren't doing enough to help the small businesses: "You can't make any money later if most of sellers are gone!!"
One seller described a stellar experience with a web-hosting service: "We only sell on our own website, NOT through venues. HOWEVER, the sales manager of our website hosting service provider personally called to see if we needed anything and if they could help in any way. That's a first! "
Offering promotions exclusively to new sellers can also sting. "I have my site on Shopify and am very disappointed that they are only offering free fees to new sellers only; no loyalty to their existing customers."
Additional Survey Results
The survey also included questions about on whether readers had changed their selling practices and their 6-month outlook - stay tuned for more survey results to come.