Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sat June 26 2021 11:21:18

Should eBay Favor Local Sellers in Search Results?

By: Ina Steiner

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A major advantage to shopping online is that it doesn't matter where an item is located - the seller will ship it right to your front door. Small businesses in rural areas can compete with mega-merchants and retail chains.

But eBay's search engine uses item location as a factor in the sort-order of search results, one of a number of criteria it uses in its algorithm, including relevancy, price, return policies, sellers' track records, and the popularity of the item.

On its help page explaining how to optimize listings for "Best Match" search, eBay states, "Ensure your item reaches your buyer on time and use tracking where possible."

Sellers have control over which shipping carriers they offer, often leaving it up to the buyer to choose if they wish to pay more for faster service.

But once the seller places the package in the carriers' hands, delivery is out of their control. With the current challenges facing carriers, it's easy to see how seller location might advantage some sellers over others.

eBay clearly understand the importance of delivery speed and filed a patent, "Systems and methods for prioritizing local shopping options."

Are you getting more orders from local buyers (and since when), or is it still a mix from around the country?

What could eBay do better to help speed delivery while managing buyer expectations?

Any predictions about the upcoming holiday shopping season?



Comments (18) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

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This user has validated their user name. by: COVID-19

Sun Jun 27 01:29:25 2021

Delivery speed = Least important. Lowest price (w/ postage factored in) = Most important. eBay once again is emphasizing the wrong thing in its obsessive quest to EMULATE Big Bro Amazon. eBay = IDIOTS.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Sun Jun 27 09:42:42 2021

They will do this, and then announce a crackdown on sellers who are alleged to be conducting cash transactions outside of eBay to circumvent the outrageously high fees.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sun Jun 27 15:02:06 2021

Look everyone.  eBay filed a patent. (insert eyeroll)

And as for
I feel very strongly that a buyer should be able to find what they are looking for without their key words' searches being manipulated by an algorithm.

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

Sun Jun 27 18:50:22 2021

Doesn't that defeat the purpose of selling on eBay? If my buyers are going to be local, I can place items on plenty of other sites at a lower cost.

First, it is only a patent, probably filed not so much to implement, but to get ahead of the next guy who thinks they might have the same idea. The majority of patents amount to nothing. If eBay is flirting with the idea of implementing such a practice, (which I think they already can if they choose) it is a half a$$ed solution to FBA and other entities that can offer better fulfillment.

I still see clustering of sales on a regional basis. Not all of the time, but it certainly happens often enough to notice. Been going on for years.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Sun Jun 27 23:46:47 2021

eBay is trying like heel to emulate the sales that other sites are getting because they are loosing ground so the idiots in the ivory tower will try to come up with some "new" way to try to boost sales. The problem is very simple to fix but all they worry about is the price of the stock that they are gifted each year and try to figure out how to put more money in their pockets. A plan that is doomed for failure.

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by: JohnGermaine This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 28 00:17:35 2021

Nope, not getting recently and NEVER have gotten that many sales from local sellers.  My stuff sells to back east, I am in California.  It's always been like that.

Set the default results back to "Expiring Soonest" like it used to be so folks don't miss out on things. It worked well.

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by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 28 04:56:53 2021

“ My stuff sells to back east, I am in California. It's always been like that.”

Imagine that. eBay ‘favoring’ search results to maximize their FVF potential on shipping.

Then again, if it’s shipping “free”, it’s likely sellers would be fine with a local ‘favoring’, since their (shhh!) embedded carrier costs are likely factored for worse case. So that’s win-win. Well, except for the local buyer who pays the ‘excess’ actual ship cost.

Ideally, eBay should cease ‘favoring’ anybody. Let the (their!?) buyer filter that choice.

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by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 28 07:42:59 2021

This is why promoted listings is now obsolete. It is doing no good unless you are in the region where you sell. All your doing is paying more to sell in your own area.

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

Mon Jun 28 09:29:05 2021

Well they do not so far. Since eBay makes a few cents more on higher label prices, nearly all my sales are to zone 8.  I get more sales to Puerto Rico than nearby California.  

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by: Denny This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 28 09:34:31 2021

When I sold on e-bay my stuff always went out west to places like Texas and California. I live in Michigan.  

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by: VaGent This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 28 10:18:47 2021

My experience led me to believe that eBay prioritizes the most distant sellers/buyers. Remember they make full final-value-fee on S&H.....

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by: Denny This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 28 10:24:29 2021

Well there you go VaGent. Same scammers as usual.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Lightning

Mon Jun 28 16:40:15 2021

I don't care where it goes, as long as it sells.  Get that stuff the heck out of here!  But then, I have pretty much flat rate or free shipping, so the destination is not a factor as far as eBay fees.  

I do save a few bucks on shipping expense if the package is more local.  i get about equal activity from both coasts where the high population areas are, not so much from the middle.  I'm in the East.

For those who have weighty items and have to ship to high numbered zones, yeah, that's a problem.

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by: Mark4 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 28 16:56:28 2021

Facebook Marketplace for local sales, its free cash in the driveway sales, no hassle.  

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by: aris 2 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 28 19:14:21 2021

I wasn't even aware Ebay was doing that. Not that I care because I don't see much 'local' buying.
A lot depends on what you're selling too.
In other words, I can use media mail for all of my shipments. All Media mail has to go thru Warrendale Pa. for package inspection before it heads to the destination.
Unless I get someone at our main post office who's feeling generous and puts my packages in the outgoing 'Priority' basket, buyers who live more than 20 miles from my location still have to watch their package go all the way to Pennsylvania first when looking at tracking, before it makes it's way back to my state.
It's frustrating but it's the reality of the USPS.  

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by: shut1968 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 28 22:21:44 2021

Ebay can't catch up.. won't happen.

The ONLY thing they can do to fix the site is to go back to being Ebay and quit trying to be everyone else.. they had a "classifieds" section.. it didn't work..

Now that Facebook is becoming a major contender since adding shipping options I feel once they work the bugs out both Ebay and Amazon are gonna be left in the wind.

You wanna fix it?  Go back to being Ebay, quit trying to be everyone else.. stop charging listing fee's period, quit restricting how much new sellers can list (even Amazon doesn't do that) and quit treating your sellers like sh*t.

That's how you fix Ebay.

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by: GovyGirl This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 29 02:13:27 2021

I'm in Oregon and rarely sell anything to Oregonians. Most of my sales are in New York and Florida followed by Texas.

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by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 30 19:50:22 2021

I totally expect eBay to (%&()_ it up if they DID try to give a BUMP to sellers who are CLOSER to the enquiring BUYERS, but IF they did it properly I would see it as a plus vs. current situation.

I'm in SE Texas and even though TEXAS is VAST and has THREE of the TEN largest USA cities by population, (Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas/Ft.Worth).
So far in 2021 I've had THREE sales to Houston area, ONE to San Antonio, and NONE to Dallas/Ft Worth.  Same period of time I've had more than a DOZEN to West Virginia..   The other thing that IRKS me about the lack of LOCAL buyers is that I FREQUENTLY ship SAME DAY and NEVER more than ONE BUSINESS day after payment.



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