Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Apr 18 2021 17:18:02

What Do eBay Sellers Really Want? Shipping Features

By: Ina Steiner

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The answer is staring eBay in the face. Forget the bells and whistles - what sellers really want are improvements to shipping. eBay even acknowledged this recently when reporting on results of a survey of sellers conducted in January 2021.

According to the eBay survey results:

- 81% of respondents said shipping was an area where eBay tools were most helpful to maintain and grow their businesses.

- 74% said shipping was an area of their business that most impacted their ability to sell.

eBay doesn't have to search far for suggestions - it only needs to read its own seller discussion boards. During the latest weekly chat session on April 14, 2021, sellers offered specific suggestions when it came to shipping improvements:

Seller Feedback: Have a way for a buyer to select delay shipping. 
The seller explained in part: "I have an issue right now where a buyer has bought an item at auction and wants to wait and see if he win another so I can combine shipping."

eBay Moderator Response: "I know this has been on the suggestion list for years (along with the 'gift wrap' option at check out, my albatross). I can't make promises, but I'll make sure that your example is shared!"

Seller Feedback: In eBay Labels, allow for a SCAN sheet that would not require sellers to print all the shipping labels at the same time.

The seller explained that they wanted to print SCAN sheets only for those packages they're ready to print labels for. They asked if on the eBay Labels page, sellers could select the items they want a SCAN sheet for. "It would make many of us happy, and not get the counter staff at the PO mad at us when they have to scan each package individually."

eBay Moderator Response: "Great question! I have not heard that this is something on our roadmap to release, but I can definitely get this feedback passed to the shipping team for review."

The weekly chat transcripts should be required reading for everyone who works at eBay, from Product Managers and Customer Service Reps to the Chief Officers. 

Surveys are great, but chatting with the moderators of the weekly chat sessions could be much more valuable in understanding what sellers want. Imagine how great those moderators would feel if after saying week-after-week, "we've passed your feedback to the right team," they could come back and say, the team heard your feedback and came up with a solution.

Let us know if you have suggestions on ways eBay could improve shipping.



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Readers Comments

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 18 19:17:07 2021

Let us know if you have suggestions on ways eBay could improve shipping.

Yes - not charge us FVF for something eBay isnt involved with!

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

Sun Apr 18 20:24:19 2021

Ebay cannot even keep their platform working decently, why think they can fix something this complicated, which of course would also cost them money for wrongful penalties and not being able to keep sellers postage revenue that they should have allowed to be refunded.  Any seller who is still using Ebay for their shipping labels when all the other options are out there to make life so much easier for them have nobody to blame but themselves.

Check out Stamps.com if you want a scan sheet that is adjustable to what you ship each day and although I have never checked it out due to being happy with Stamp.com, you might also check out Pirateship.com and see how their platform stacks up against Ebays and what your individual needs are.  Remember Ebay never does anything that is going to cost it revenue, even if it is unearned revenue.  It is up to you as a Seller to use your brains and find another platform to give you what you need rather than continue to use Ebays one size fits all platform!!!!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Sun Apr 18 21:01:26 2021

SCAN forms are a life-saver for sellers. I was reviewing Stamps.com webinar on UPS via YouTube, and a seller asked Stamps to see if they could make a SCAN form for end of day for UPS also. "My poor driver has to scan each and every package."

More evidence that sellers tell venues and services providers what will make their lives easier.

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 18 22:21:42 2021

maybe its me (some here would say it is) but since I started selling online - Ive never needed a scan sheet - so "just to me" - I dont see the big deal.

Is every post office that incompetent? I know alot of them do sub par jobs (laziness) but when you put stuff in the bin or go to a PO to drop stuff off - is it that much stuff / do the items placed in the bin not get scanned / are the employees that bad?

I agree however with SIK - only relying on eBay for ANYTHING is never a smart move.

eBay is incompetent at best, thef-tastic at worst.

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by: Shanna This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 18 22:51:48 2021

How is a selling platform like Mercari, tiny in comparison to eBay,  able to offer Fedex Smartpost, up to 3 pounds, for $7.99 and eBay has no competitive shipping options? That would help buyers and sellers, but of course that would cut into eBay's profit, so it will never happen.

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by: Smallseller This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 18 23:55:53 2021

''The weekly chat transcripts should be required reading for everyone who works at eBay, from Product Managers and Customer Service Reps to the Chief Officers.''

Along with the EcommerceBytes blogs, the Facebook groups and the YouTube channels. There is no need for survey after survey after survey. The information is out there. Ebay just chooses to ignore 99.9% of it.

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by: seattlemagpies This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 19 00:14:31 2021

There are so many things, but my biggest headache is a feature they used to have and recently took away...the ability to “print labels” before a buyer has paid.  When combining shipping, this is the only way to get an accurate quote for the invoice (their estimating tool is not accurate).  And, also recently removed “print invoice for your own records”. The one place you could get every piece of information needed for an insurance claim.  

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

Mon Apr 19 03:11:24 2021

"Along with the EcommerceBytes blogs, the Facebook groups and the YouTube channels. There is no need for survey after survey after survey. The information is out there. Ebay just chooses to ignore 99.9% of it."

Just as they choose to ignore 99.9% of the information they get back from their surveys.  Ebay has always just cherry picked the one small thing they can find that they take as a positive and put all of their focus on that while ignoring all of the information that would help them become a growing company once again.  If it is not what The Powers That Be think should be done it will never even be mentioned because they still feel they know more about our businesses than we do which is why Ebay continues to change policy so they control more and more of our businesses and then cannot figure out why every other site grows and they languish with almost no growth at all.

Until Ebay cleans house on the BOD and then cleans house on their worthless executives Ebay will continue to lose marketshare to more and more upstart platforms as they become more and more synonymous with businesses failing.  I am still waiting on my refund of overcharged fees that has now been sitting in pending for almost 3 weeks.  I guess they cannot afford to actually send the refund credits through to the processor or they would have to find another reason to not pay the Sellers what they owe them.

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 19 03:55:12 2021

How is a selling platform like Mercari, tiny in comparison to eBay,  able to offer Fedex Smartpost, up to 3 pounds, for $7.99 and eBay has no competitive shipping options? That would help buyers and sellers, but of course that would cut into eBay's profit, so it will never happen.
^^ THIS!
I sell on Mercari and use Smartpost as much as I use USPS priority and it works just fine.  No lost packages, no delayed packages, no broken packages.  And like Shanna, I wonder - why not Smartpost?  All you do is take your package to Fedex and they hand it off to the USPS.

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by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 19 04:52:23 2021

Re: SMARTPOST: We’ve changed the name of the service from FedEx SmartPost to FedEx Ground Economy. FEDEX website.

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by: plcombs This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 19 06:46:27 2021

Simple solution..

On delayed shipping at the request of the buyer.

eBay could simply add a CHECK box for the Buyer letting eBay know they want the item held, it could also notify the seller at the same time.

We had a guy who bought a very rare 15th C. Chinese plate from us for $50,000 a few years ago and asked that we hold it for four months while he was away from his home in Hong Kong and in the UK.

He paid by wire transfer, we held the plate and shipped it as soon as he notified us he was home. It worked fine...eBay needs to stop doing things that only benefit their bottom line regardless of circumstance.  

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by: rickyrocket This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 19 12:28:38 2021

There are so many things in the old eBay jalopy that need fixing or tweaking; what is frustrating is that some of these ills were direcly caused by eBay themselves, suggesting they were "improving" things or making things "safer" for the community. One thing that is very annoying (and causes either more work or more money) is when someone purchases two or more items and makes two or more payments for things. When we as a Seller pack everything together to streamline things for the purchaser (and save us time too), eBay will not let the insured amount be adjusted properly upward to cover the entire contents of the order's package. In the current setup (which eBay "fixed" awhile back), we either have to print out a shipping label for the item with the highest price, insure the entire package for just that amount, and hope it does not get damaged or lost. If it did, we lose the difference between the insured amount and the value of the contents. I'm sure eBay would say that the reason is that they can't allow orders to be insured for more than the price paid for an item, yet a) shipping companies don't care...they'll take the insurance fees and make anyone filing a claim provide proper data if loss or damage occurs, and b) there must be a way for eBay's software to figure out that several items were bought by the same purchaser and allow an increase in the insurance available. It's not rocket science, yet maybe it's too much for eBay's mental giants to figure out. They figured out awhile back how to allow different purchases bought with multiple payments to have the same tracking number (though that was interrupted for awhile, which was ridiculous...), so there should be a way for Sellers to be fully protected by being able to buy proper insurance for mulitple items being shpped together. There's no liability; if something gets lost, then it would be simple to document what was in the package and a claim should't be made for anything above that amount. Oh well, another of the zillion things to vent about which seem so easy to handle and correct. Yet that would mean another strip of duct tape applied to the old jalopy to keep it running...

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by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 19 14:16:01 2021

What sellers really want, dare it be said more than a few, and for longer that this subject has been a subject, is for eBay to keep their bumbling sticky fingers out of the shipping business.

Clearly there are those less logistically experienced that may benefit from using some of eBay’s ‘tools’, or even being subject to eBay oversight for process, and, a big if, those tools and oversight ‘work’ to have effective value, and..a bigger if...that help actually took responsibility TO help when ‘issues’ arise, then a ship cost FVF might be justified.

But only for those who actually need that help. And especially not when that help, doesn’t help. Because it can’t be legislated to automated conformity. It can’t be mandated then abdicated. And the ever enigmatic “teams” receiving reams of user pleas and constructive suggestion - from too many sources and for too long to enumerate - have served well in ignoring the “noise”.

So, the seller that still want’s eBay’s ‘help’, knowing the fate to date of the “evidence that sellers tell venues”, and the ‘quality’ of said help today, it’s there. Tolerate it ‘till you can’t.

Otherwise, if they would listen, they would greatly reduce the noise by just backing off.

Ala carte’ shipping. Better a whisper in the wind.

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Apr 19 14:26:17 2021

As a 20 year full time eBay seller what do I want?

HONESTY, some eBay is clueless about. . . . . .

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This user has validated their user name. by: Lightning

Mon Apr 19 22:20:12 2021

@rickyrocket
I'm not sure why you can't combine the customer's purchases into 1 package and pay insurance on the total.  I just did it, and eBay added both values together, no problem.  Maybe people are being presented with different shipping interfaces?

I selected both items at both check boxes, selected ''Purchase shipping label'' from the box above the list, and the 2 showed up on the next screen.  There is a link at the top to combine them.  I hit that, prices total together.  Select either kind of insurance, new total value there showing the 2 combined.

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by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 20 07:24:26 2021

From my experience you are OVERTHINKING THIS ONE re. how to KNOW how much $$$ to charge for shipping combined item package.

All you NEED to know is buyer's zip code, and then place ALL the items into an appropriate package, WEIGH it accurately and then "Test Fire" as though that Larger package and Heavier package were just ONE of the combined items and VOILA... you have the right price for ALL of them in a single package.  Then ADD IN an acceptable looking BUMP of a $ or $$.  Nobody ever said YOU have to charge the BUYER exactly your own COST.... especially when eBay charges YOU full value fee on the calculated shipping cost  as they YEARS AGO caught on that far too many eBay "sharpies" were undercharging on ITEM price then citing a TOO HIGH $$$ shipping cost.  'Way back when I had a house under construction I found a SELLER of High End Appliances thru eBay who price an EXPENSIVE $2000 gas range at $299, but with $1700 fixed price shipping cost.  Tons of other eBay sellers were doing that and literally CHEATING eBay on final value fees.

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This user has validated their user name. by: cfrphoto

Tue Apr 20 23:09:52 2021

I have no use for eBay shipping. The only eBay web pages I care about are the classic "My eBay All Selling" page and the summary and detail eBay Payouts pages. I wish that eBay would total gross amounts and fees for transactions bundled into each payout. Supplying only the net amount (the payout amount) is not sufficient. Fee totals are expenses and must be tracked. The gross amount is "income" and should be the sum of the net amount and fees. The missing totals must be added manually from the list of transactions in the Payout Detail window. How dumb is this? Held amounts and other eBay charges are also problematic and can complicate tracking income, expenses, and cash flow

Desktop applications like SixBit provide a more robust and stable means of creating listings, fulfilling orders, and capturing eBay transaction data. At the end of each year, transactions captured by SixBit can be reconciled with income, cash flow, and expenses captured from the "Payout detail" window and total bank deposits. My ask is that eBay focus on more robust and easier to process reporting and less on micromanaging sellers.

I also received a message from eBay stating that I would have saved $3.19 if eBay "international standard" had been used. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even though sending merchandise by First Class Mail International was banned in 2019, no one shipping low-cost lightweight items is going to shift from First Class Mail International to some service costing five times more. The item sold for six dollars and cost $1.41 to mail to Canada for 2 ounces in a rigid package. Stamps can be purchased at a substantial discount from face from stamp dealers. If sellers are forced to switch to international flats or packages, the market for low-cost lightweight items will cease to exist. Does eBay have a clue?

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by: yellowsubmarine This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 21 02:58:47 2021

I have been printing SCAN sheets from eBay label's platform probably since forever! Great feature!

Just google - How do I print a USPS scan form? eBay - and you will get many hits on how to do that.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Lightning

Thu Apr 22 19:01:48 2021

From the above article: ''The seller explained that they wanted to print SCAN sheets only for those packages they're ready to print labels for. They asked if on the eBay Labels page, sellers could select the items they want a SCAN sheet for. ''It would make many of us happy, and not get the counter staff at the PO mad at us when they have to scan each package individually.''

eBay Moderator Response: ''Great question! I have not heard that this is something on our roadmap to release, but I can definitely get this feedback passed to the shipping team for review.''

This is the blind leading the BLINDER.  The eBay moderator, if he had a clue, should have said, ''Why in the world would you want a scan form BEFORE you make the labels?  You make the labels, you print out the form.  Done deal.  Any other way, you're doing it backwards.  You can't print a scan form until you make the labels.  The tracking numbers won't even EXIST until the label is created and paid for.  Ahead of that, what would go on the form???''

''If you are only going to ship SOME of the packages on your Awaiting Shipment page, select only those items and go to Bulk Shipping with only those loaded.  Make your labels, print your scan form.''

So basically we have an eBay Seller, who doesn't know what they are doing, making suggestions to solve a problem that doesn't even exist.  They just don't know how to do it.  And an eBay moderator responding who knows even less.  Yes, this combination will get things fixed pronto.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Lightning

Sat Apr 24 12:53:23 2021

@seattlemagpies
''And, also recently removed “print invoice for your own records”. The one place you could get every piece of information needed for an insurance claim.''

I'm not sure about printing a copy of an invoice, but if you want to print an order receipt, you can still do that.  It has pretty much the same info as the invoice.

You check off the box to the left of the item on your Awaiting Shipping page and select ''Print packing slip and more'' from the Shipping box above.  On the left is a check box called ''Order receipt''.



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