EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2044 - May 19, 2009     1 of 3

eBay Conducts Seller Satisfaction Survey

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eBay has been conducting a survey of sellers to gauge their satisfaction with the selling process. eBay asked sellers how satisfied they were specific features and processes grouped into six main areas: Selling in General; Listing Items; Managing Communications; Packaging and Shipping Items; Managing Their Business and Selling on eBay; and Problem Resolution and Returns. They were also asked which areas related to selling on eBay they would most like to see improved.

Survey recipients were asked on which sales channels they had previously used or were currently using to sell products. The venues included were eBay; Yahoo Shopping;;; Google Base; Craigslist; Personal e-commerce enabled Web site; Other online method(s); Retail store; and Other retail method(s) (such as swap meets, flea markets, garage sales, and so on).

eBay did not include its own Kijiji classifieds service, nor did it include small eBay alternative sites such as eBid and Bonanzle, as possible channels.

One question asked sellers, "When you are listing an item on eBay, what information do you typically include in your description of the item?" The survey offered sellers the following choices:

  • Other rules or policies;
  • Navigation from my eBay Store;
  • Explanation of why you are selling the item;
  • Model/serial number;
  • Details about the item;
  • Product reviews about the item;
  • Original cost (MSRP) of the item;
  • Condition;
  • Return policy;
  • Payment terms & policies;
  • Merchandising (or links to your other items);
  • Explanation of condition;
  • Shipping details & policies;
  • Policies about who you are or aren't willing to sell to;
  • Self-hosted photos;
  • Brand;
  • Other.

eBay then asked where on the item details page certain information should appear, including Condition (e.g., new, used, refurbished, etc.), Return policy (e.g., accept returns, don't accept returns, exceptions, etc.), Shipping details and policies (e.g., shipping costs, combined shipping instructions, domestic or international shipping details, etc.), and Payment methods accepted, terms and policies. The survey gave sellers the option to choose: Should appear in eBay's pre-specified fields only; Should appear in your own description of the item only; Should appear in both areas.

The survey then asked sellers why they wanted Condition, Return policy, Shipping details and policy and Payment methods accepted to appear in their own description of the item. (eBay has been moving toward standardized fields, and its new Item page presents certain key information about the item in a new format with tabbed sections.)

eBay also wanted to know which formats sellers had used and how satisfied or dissatisfied they were with the formats, which included Classified Ad; Fixed Price; Auction-style; and Best Offer.

The survey asked sellers which problems they had experienced in the last 6 months, including low exposure in search results, buyer disputes, technical problems on eBay, having listings removed from the site, receiving low DSRs on a transaction, unfair negatives, and non-payments, chargebacks and returns.

eBay then presented respondents with a search results page and asked them how much they believed certain factors influenced where an item would appear in search results when sorted by Best Match. The four factors were:

  • Relevance of the item to the keywords entered/categories selected;
  • Buyer feedback ratings (including DSRs) for the seller of that item;
  • Competitive pricing on the item;
  • Competitive (low cost or free) shipping on the item.

The survey asked sellers how well they felt the current feedback system on eBay accomplished certain tasks, and included choices such as, helping to resolve problems, allowing buyers to be honest in leaving feedback, and improving the trustworthiness of eBay.

eBay went on to ask sellers about the Seller Dashboard, and about their experiences using eBay products, much of it focused on its Turbo Lister listing tool.

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About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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