eBay UK Seller Release: Feedback still matters

eBay’s Autumn Seller Release has widely been accepted as the best for many years for sellers. Dumping the relevance of the hated Detailed Seller Ratings and the knowledge that next year a red dot on your feedback will be pretty meaningless as far as your seller status goes has largely been welcomed.

Does this mean you can ignore your feedback moving forward? The answer is no.

The Good News – Defects

eBay will no longer count Buyer Feedback, DSRs, Returns requests that are successfully resolved with your buyer and Items not received requests that are successfully resolved with your buyer as defects. They’ve reduced the number of ways you can get a defect down to just two, both of which are fully under your control:

Seller-cancelled transactions

It’s hard to argue that if stock gets broken, goes missing or you over sell by mistake that it’s not your fault.

Cases that are closed without seller resolution

If something goes wrong it really is down to the seller to jump on it and put it right.

Personally I always used to drop a business card in with every sale. Business cards are different to invoices or packing slips and shout out to the buyer “Here’s a way to get in touch”. With the prevalence of mobiles in everyone’s pockets it’s so much easier for a buyer to phone you than it is to go on eBay and open a case – make it easy for buyers to contact you and you won’t have to worry about opened cases let alone escalated cases.

The Good News – Tracking

The new on-time delivery metric won’t ever count as a defect! It may count against you in so much as eBay may limit the delivery options and despatch times you offer, but you’ll have to be pretty bad for this to kick in.

Many sellers have pointed out that Royal Mail don’t promise to delivery 100% of mail on time. In their last report Royal Mail met its target delivering 93.0% of First Class mail the next working day and exceeded its Second Class mail target delivering 99.0 per cent within three working days. Sellers say that with First Class post that leaves 7% delivered late.

The reality is however in my experience that parcels tend to get through the system and are delivered on time and it’s letter post which sees more delays. It may be that I’m in a particularly well served area of the country but how many times do you buy on eBay and the item arrive late (apart from when the seller is slow to post)?

That aside it is your choice which carrier to use, although we’re well aware that for low value items Royal Mail remains the defacto choice.

eBay are doing a lot of work to grab shipping data from carriers to give you automatic credit where either an acceptance scan from the carrier is available or the carrier shows the first delivery attempt within your promised time scales.

Deliveries will generally only be considered as late when there’s no courier tracking and the buyer specifically tells eBay the delivery arrived late. This is much better than the previous subjective feedback DSR asking the buyer if you the seller despatched on time. We know buyers answered this based on if the item arrived on time. Meeting the new on-time shipping is for many miles easier than the despatch DSR so our lives have been made easier, even if it’s not perfect.

The Bad News

Feedback still matters. You can still get kicked off the site if you have atrocious feedback and drop below 98%. Your defects will still be measured under newer tougher standards, but these standards are all under your control so don’t cancel sales, resolve buyer complaints and you’ll be fine. You won’t want to see your DSRs drop below 4.6% or you could find yourself in trouble. You may still want to be a Top Rated Seller and fulfil the requirements to keep your discounts.

Your feedback rating and DSRs will still be displayed to buyers. They’ll know if you’ve a field of red dots or if your DSRs are appalling. However we’re assuming that as you’re still selling on eBay you’re used to trading in a manner that keeps your feedback in order so nothing changes – keep doing what you’re doing and your feedback will look after itself.

At the end of the day you will from next year only be measured on two metrics for defects and one (on-time shipping) which won’t give you a defect. Life is certainly about to get easier.