The Spring Seller Update, the follow-up to eBay’s Fall 2017 Update, aims to meet buyers expectations with a product-based shopping experience, while also offering new options for simplified selling and supporting store growth with optional packages regarding eBay seller fees. The update includes:
- Inventory Optimization
- Shipping Enhancements
- Growth Tools
- eBay Stores
- Simplified Returns
- Seller Protection
With this release, eBay has shifted toward a “product-based shopping experience”. This means users will now find all listings for the same product grouped together. By adopting the eBay catalog when listing, items will be a part of a retail-standard experience that today’s buyers expect. The advantage of this is that buyers will be able to easily find merchandise that meets their search criteria and quickly decide which products they want to purchase. As a result, sellers will see a faster turnover of sales since buyers will now find what they are looking for quicker.
eBay will expand this catalog in phases throughout 2018 and 2019. This allows all sellers to transition their store to be in line with eBay’s new guidelines more seamlessly, with eBay providing an advance notice and helpful tools to assist sellers list their items in the catalog efficiently and effectively.
From May 1, 2018, sellers are able to list their items in more than one category. However, when sellers list an item in two or more categories and there is a difference in final fee values between categories, the highest final value fee will apply when the item sells. Therefore, it is best to list items in one “best fit” category rather than multiple categories to ensure that the most accurate and helpful search results appear on eBay.
This feature may not necessarily apply to the majority of sellers as its sole purpose is to offer a similar incentive to Amazon’s “1-click order”. With “eBay Guaranteed Delivery”, sellers increase their items’ visibility if buyers receive their purchases in 3 days or less. When this feature is enabled, eBay guarantees the delivery timeframe. Therefore, sellers commit to same-day or 1-day handling, and eBay calculates and promises the delivery date to the buyer within the shopping experience itself. Items backed by eBay Guaranteed Delivery benefit from greater exposure on eBay because buyers can filter for them in their searches.
To qualify for this feature, sellers will need to meet the following conditions:
- Starting in March 2018, the minimum number of sales required for eligibility will be 100 within the previous 12 months. Sellers will need to maintain a late shipment rate of 3% or lower to qualify. Sellers can check the on-time shipping metric in their Seller Dashboard to see if they meet the requirement. Qualified eBay sellers will be notified of their eligibility via email.
- Through June 30, eBay will cover any late deliveries to buyers if they raise a case. This means eBay will provide the buyer the option to “Make it right” as per the new program’s terms and conditions. After June 30, eBay will continue to cover late deliveries as long as sellers meet their handling time commitment.
- Starting March 2018, sellers will no longer be required to use eBay shipping labels to participate in the eBay Guaranteed Delivery handling time option. However, sellers will be required to upload on-time validated tracking for at least 95% of their transactions to remain in the program.
Furthermore, from this summer on, eBay will also add the option for sellers to take advantage of eBay’s own shipping options. New features will include estimated delivery dates based on shipping service and pricing comparisons. eBay will continue to provide sellers with substantial discounts on shipping services and automatically update tracking for their buyers.
eBay’s New Pricing Guidance and API (Application Program Interface) presents sellers with eBay’s pricing suggestions based on information similar to its current guidance for underperforming listings. The new guide will also be available through the Marketplace Insights API for third-party providers and large volume sellers.
These demand signals will be provided in the API:
- Quantity sold of a product during the previous 14 days.
- A number of times a product appeared in search queries on eBay during the previous 14 days.
These supply signals will be provided in the API:
- A number of active listings for a product currently on eBay.
This product information will also be provided:
- The minimum and maximum price on eBay during the previous 60 days.
- The minimum and maximum price from other online retailers during the previous 60 days.
- The current “trending price.”
eBay will also help sellers better decide which listings to promote. From March 2018, eBay began providing guidance on which items to promote in order to make it easier for sellers to monitor what items are sold through their campaigns. Additionally, eBay have begun increasing exposure to promoted listings by adding new placements on their homepage. eBay Top Rated Sellers and Store subscribers with fixed price listings can access the new Starter and Enterprise Store subscriptions (more on this later).
The new seller metrics will now take into account when a buyer notifies the seller that they didn’t receive the item or the item isn’t as described. The seller’s performance standard rating will be affected if the issue isn’t solved in a timely manner. Starting in June 2018, eBay will provide sellers with additional visibility into the status of their buyers’ after-sale requests in Seller Hub, which will help them identify any listings that aren’t meeting buyer expectations. The metrics will also show how often sellers receive these requests compared to sellers of similar items and circumstances. Low rates of after-sale requests can help improve a seller’s listings visibility.
Starter Store: This store is best for sellers with up to 100 items per month.
The five return policy options will be:
- No returns accepted
- 30-day buyer-paid returns
- 30-day free returns
- 60-day buyer-paid returns
- 60-day free returns
Furthermore, restocking fees will no longer be a return option.
Categories, which will still have 14-day return option are:
- Collectibles & Art
- Cameras & Photo
- Medical, Mobility & Disability Equipment
Sellers will also be able to issue a partial refund for all returns where the item is returned used or damaged in selected categories:
- Business & Industrial
- Parts & Accessories
- Collectibles & Art
- Cameras & Photo
- Medical, Mobility & Disability Equipment
- Home Improvement
- Musical Instruments & Gear
- Yard, Garden & Outdoor
Sellers will also have the flexibility to set different return policies for domestic and international returns. As a result of these changes, and in order to simplify returns for buyers, eBay will remove the “additional return policy details” field some sellers currently use.
The “Top Rated Plus” feature requires Top Rated Sellers to offer 30-day free returns to be eligible to receive Top Rated Plus benefits. This feature will go live on June 1, 2018 and will also allow eBay Top Rated Sellers to earn those benefits by offering an elevated experience to their buyers.
This is arguably one of the most anticipated additions for sellers. Starting June 1, 2018, when sellers offer free returns, they’ll have greater control to manage their business and can decide to issue partial refunds to buyers. For example, if a buyer uses or damages an item and returns it, sellers can decide to issue a partial refund. If a buyer escalates a case, eBay will take care of it allowing sellers to focus on their business. The best part about this feature is that eBay will protect a seller’s reputation from ANY negative feedback including protection from events outside sellers’ control.
Protections from events outside a seller’s control include:
- When sellers ship an item on time and provide tracking, but it arrives late.
- If sellers are impacted by carrier disruptions or severe weather.
- If a buyer retracts their bid or doesn’t pay.
- If a buyer changes their order or requests something extra.
- From buyers that have an unusual rate of complaints or returns.
- If the buyer returns an item after they opened it, used it, or sent it back in a condition other than the package it was sent in.
The Bottom Line
This is no doubt a lot of information to take in, therefore we recommend going through each of these points over the course of a week or two in order to better understand and implement these new features to your business.
In a nutshell, eBay are moving towards product-based catalogues while increasing security by more stringently implementing eBay’s very own store design. Additionally, eBay have increased seller protection with a streamlined return policy. The result will be buyers finding what they are looking for more quickly by cultivating a retail-like atmosphere within eBay, while providing sellers with greater security and faster checkouts.
If you’re still confused, check out this neat video that nicely summarizes the 2018 Spring Seller Update.
Have any questions? Then, please leave them in the comments below.
We will be happy to help you make the most of these new changes using our insider knowledge.
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