Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Oct 6 2021 18:39:49

Why Other Sites Beat eBay at Local Selling

By: Ina Steiner

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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.



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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Why Other Sites Beat eBay at Local Selling   Why Other Sites Beat eBay at Local Selling

by: Mbrj201 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 6 21:43:06 2021

Humm...
There used to be a way for the buyer to notify eBay the item had been picked up.  The 2 times I can remember using it, I had my laptop with me & the buyer marked it as picked up while I watched.

Perminate Link for Why Other Sites Beat eBay at Local Selling   Why Other Sites Beat eBay at Local Selling

by: Mazdaman This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 7 00:12:31 2021

The reason the clueless management at eBay doesn't realize that local sales don't  NEED tracking information is because none of them have ANY experience in e-commerce or even in selling from a source that requires shipping AND has a "Will Call" desk.

For that matter, no one in eBay has even participated in their own site's use; I regularly ask the Customer Service reps (who are mostly in the Philippines these days) if they have ever sold on eBay, and the long pauses they respond with tells me what the answer is.  Seldom will one say "yes", so when they do I ask them the category(s) they've sold in.  None of them seem to be able to reply with even a category, indicating that they're not being honest at all.  Aside from them being unfamiliar with eBay, but on a different subject, I'm really tired of the reps who willingly lie to sellers, simply to get sellers to do the exact things they SHOULD NOT do - like accept a return for buyers' remorse by telling the seller that will "allow eBay to investigate" or some other rot.  Ebay's dishonesty is legendary already!

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by: Disgusted This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 7 00:47:43 2021

Think ebay is worried about a sale behind their back that they don't get a fee.  It is their way of discouraging this practice of pick up.  
Buyer comes and picks up item and seller shows the buyer other items he has for sale.

Perminate Link for Why Other Sites Beat eBay at Local Selling   Why Other Sites Beat eBay at Local Selling

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 7 01:00:04 2021

Mercari shows Ebay how local selling is done.  They have private mail services or drivers pickup the product, scan it, and deliver it to the buyer. "Selling with Mercari Local is easy. After listing an item in the Mercari app simply select Mercari Local as an extra delivery method. Delivery is handled via one of our partners — Uber or FedEx SameDay® City. A driver will pick up the item from the seller and deliver it to the buyer, contact-free."
You would think Ebay would have figured it out.  Also, didn't Ebay own a "Craigslist" site at one time where peer to peer selling happened?  

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by: Zarzuella This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 7 01:53:49 2021

Yes, eBay still owns and operates Kijiji, a Craigslist style site.

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by: Paul W This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 7 02:42:14 2021

If the price sold is high enough that you can afford to send the buyer a small packet with tracking, problem is solved.  And if it's not high enough to do that, then you've really wasted your time doing local pickup.

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Thu Oct 7 06:54:31 2021

Ebay obsoleted itself.

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This user has validated their user name. by: unsuck

Thu Oct 7 08:25:10 2021

"eBay still owns and operates Kijiji, a Craigslist style site."

FYI, EBAY sold Kijiji as part of last year's $9bn classifieds business unit sale to Adevinta

~~~~~~~~

Iannone (and many other eBay execs) have been trumpeting eBay's local-pickup QR code as some sort of local P/U revolution as a key practical example of Iannone's so-called "tech-led reimagination" (👉 https://bit.ly/3adu2Le) of eBay which would put eBay back as a contender in the local P2P pickup space for well over a year now (while complaints from both buyers and sellers continue to surface over the confusion and friction involved in the practice, particularly for the uninitiated).

Ebay's exposure here is going to get worse in a significant way next year as the IRS cracks down on consumer and occasional sellers who are going to transition to cash-only local transactions (and will be another GMV boon for FB Marketplace).

BTW, FB has (once again) extended their 5% selling fee waiver, this time through June 30th of next year(!!).

~~~~~

"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."

This is complete BS. Clearly the right thing to do here (for the new, "ethical" eBay) is to fix this so as to not additionally penalize sellers for adding local PU to their listings.

No wonder Iannone was hyping the local PU QR code scheme so much - it's a fast pathway for sellers into the extra 5% penalty fee box. CHA-CHING.

Perminate Link for Why Other Sites Beat eBay at Local Selling   Why Other Sites Beat eBay at Local Selling

by: Denny This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 7 08:49:34 2021

Top seller Status. I never bought it or worried about it. Sounds like more of Ebays you know what. They also tried to threaten me with it after I stopped selling a year or so ago after 18 years and their mangled paymet scam. Maybe one of these days I'll sell some used junk from the Garage instead of new expensve items. I'll use an account that has $1.00 in it to prevenrt being ripped off. I recently just purched on the site and they charged me extra sales tax on the cost of shipping including the cost of the item. I let the poor seller know what Ebay was doing so they knew.  Whats new.  

Perminate Link for Why Other Sites Beat eBay at Local Selling   Why Other Sites Beat eBay at Local Selling

by: spooky This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 7 09:09:11 2021

OK so if we add local after the items ends that is beats answer but what if we start the listing with both shipping and pickup options?

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

Thu Oct 7 10:05:19 2021

This is just negligence rooted in laziness on eBay's part. There is no excuse for a company that has been in business as long as eBay to not identify this and correct the issue.

They lost their leading advantage in all of the areas mentioned in the article, and much more for one single reason: inept management.

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by: comeonnow This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 7 11:25:27 2021

just fill in the tracking with another tracking number.....any other packages being shipped that aren't on ebay, just in case? Otherwise any other tracking# to fill in the blank.....I can play that game.....

Arent they doing away with top rated sellers anyhow(does anybody care anymore except a few sellers?) since they are going to be doing away with feedback?

I used to fret and worry and OH! the feedback of it all was just too much!!....so I basically just do what I can, at my pace and less stress. I dont try to jump through eBay hoops anymore get a smidgen BS discount that costs in so many other ways......and dont worry, they will be doing away with that discount in due time!

ComeOnNow

Perminate Link for Why Other Sites Beat eBay at Local Selling   Why Other Sites Beat eBay at Local Selling

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 7 12:07:41 2021

Because eBay hates/distrusts sellers, local pickup can never be a success on the platform.

eBay believes that sellers will do to buyers and eBay, what eBay does to them all the time - lie cheat and steal.

The HEAVY paranoia of eBay (who will cry if they loose a local pickup FVF) , doesnt match the reality of loosing FVF on sellers who just up n leave after experiencing THEIR particular type of abuse. Makes Zero sense.

As stated above - %99 of eBay employees (top brass included) dont understand online selling) and probably never will.

NONE of them live of selling on eBay - just ask some here who do how scary it can be - you do everything right and you "live or die" by the whim of a crazed buyer and an even more insane overseas CS agent.

Perminate Link for Why Other Sites Beat eBay at Local Selling   Why Other Sites Beat eBay at Local Selling

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Oct 7 12:36:54 2021

""We know things will come up, and it's why we don't expect perfection from our sellers."

Is that guy serious? Is that why they charge sellers penalty fees? Seems like eBay does expect perfection.

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by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 7 14:58:19 2021

“ 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……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.”

There see?  Easy fix.  Apparently, to be considered as an eBay “top rated” seller, one has to restrict the number of options to a buyer that would make it most convenient to them, which might otherwise entice them to buy with greater assurance their needs would be met with minimal ‘hassle’ - like that needed to ‘change’ a shipping option after the fact.  

And this to appease an ‘algorithm’, enforced by an unappealable and  uncaring ‘hall monitor’, and backed up by nothing more than arrogance and a condescending expression of “hope” punctuated by eBay’s ubiquitous and disingenuous exclamation point to feign sincerity.

Your only other option is to apparently “rethink” what would be a logical and beneficial menu to offer YOUR customer, rather than a take it or leave it choice,  or suffer the consequence of undeserved defrocking that conveys a knowingly inaccurate ‘trust’ status, effectively erasing all the other eBay’s dirty hairy cheek kissing the seller has done to date.

And once again, yet again, for the umpteenth time, one can only conclude such a distastefully unique to eBay process limitation is either incompetently ignorant, or deliberately designed to obfuscate while raking in ‘penalty fees’ from sellers who’d prefer serving their customers preferences rather that eBay’s ‘needs’, and thus penalized for it.

Either way, as these type of eHandcuffs continue to be applied, one can only “hope” this CS drone will soon be rethinking THEIR “options” (!)

Perminate Link for Why Other Sites Beat eBay at Local Selling   Why Other Sites Beat eBay at Local Selling

by: DTSM This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 7 16:26:48 2021

I mail a copy of invoice to the buyer and use that tracking number to upload to eBay. Problem fixed.

Perminate Link for Why Other Sites Beat eBay at Local Selling   Why Other Sites Beat eBay at Local Selling

by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 7 17:11:27 2021

There is no way I am doing any local sales and giving ebay a piece of it.

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

Thu Oct 7 21:26:50 2021

What I did when I was selling so many items using PWE (I know different topic to a point, but this can also lower your seller ratings) was to open a second account in which items sold without tracking were all listed.  Should also work for local pickup without causing any problems with main account.

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by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 8 11:37:11 2021

“… send the buyer a small packet with tracking, problem is solved.”

“… just fill in the tracking with another tracking number.....any other packages being shipped that aren't on ebay,..”

“… mail a copy of invoice to the buyer and use that tracking number to upload to eBay. Problem fixed.”

“… open a second account in which items sold without tracking were all listed.”

These are not solutions or fixes.  These - along with what are sure to be a few more yet shared - are workarounds at best.  And while many would consider that a matter of semantics, these particular semantics have a few things in common that ought not be overlooked.

They all require what should be unnecessary steps, and in some cases application of additional resources that may not be widely available.  Which at the least is unnecessary labor.  Which is unnecessary cost.  Which must either be absorbed or passed on to the buyer in the form of higher prices.  Which, while likely ‘miniscule’ in the singular event, sum up significantly across the enterprise.  Across the marketplace.  Out of your purse.  And your customer’s.  

And they all contribute to the take made by the eBay for which this particular lesion of their unethical monetization cancer is being ‘treated’ by tolerant workaround, instead of cured by simple surgical correction.  That’s not a judgement.  But it is a reality of what being a nursemaid must choose to endure.

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by: mjr55 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 12 00:28:27 2021

I mean, how many sellers does this probably happen to?

I would never do a local pickup on an Ebay sale....and for it to be a common thing is odd. Curious what the seller sells....



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