EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 384 - November 08, 2015 - ISSN 1528-6703     1 of 6

From the Editor - November 8, 2015

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The USPS filed for a rate increase for January, and some sellers will see an increase of as much as 23 percent, depending on which services they use. Some of the specifics can be found in this October 19th Newsflash article.

We've heard from sellers who have done the math and are quite concerned about the impact on their business models. I'll be sharing their stories along with tips from experts in this week's Newsflash - be sure to check it out if you use any of the USPS shipping services.

News of the Postal Service's plans to raise some rates comes after FedEx and UPS announced rate increases for 2016 rates along with a rise in fuel surcharges that go into effect this month - despite the fact that fuel costs have fallen.

The higher cost of shipping impacts another area that sellers find challenging: returns - and the higher cost of return shipping isn't good no matter if it's the customer or the merchant who pays.

Further complicating things is the fact that both eBay and Amazon are making changes to returns policies and practices.

eBay announced some major changes as part of its Fall Seller Update, and last week, we described how sellers are encountering an unannounced aspect of the changes - see this EcommerceBytes Blog post, "eBay Sellers Stung by Returns Abuse with Recent Change."

Meanwhile Amazon just introduced new seller performance metrics (unannounced), including one called the "Return Dissatisfaction Rate" that started showing up in seller dashboards. The Return Dissatisfaction Rate measures customer satisfaction with how their returns are processed. It consists of three individual components, including the Negative Return Feedback Rate.

Amazon gets the data through a survey it sends customers asking if their return request was resolved. If they indicate that the return was not resolved, the return request is considered to have a negative feedback. Look for more on this on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

In today's issue, Contributing Editor Greg Holden takes at Reverb, which is showing that a niche marketplace can find success, and an inventory management tool called FillZ. Michele Alice looks at collectible inkwells, and we also take a look at a brand new service called Whitebox that offers to take over all of the ecommerce tasks for brands and merchants, from product photography to fulfillment and customer service. Too good to be true? You be the judge.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and David and I would like to give our sincere thanks to you for supporting our efforts, including the many readers who take the time to pass along news tips and write letters to the editor sharing the joys and pitfalls of online selling.

Happy Thanksgiving, and thanks for reading.

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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