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Will you qualify for TRS discount in August?

By Chris Dawson May 31, 2013 - 11:01 am

There are only a couple of months left until eBay’s Seller Release discount changes come into effect. Currently Top Rated Sellers enjoy discounts of 10%, 15% or 20% (dependant on PowerSeller level), but in the Autumn this will change to 15% discount on final value fees for listings which qualify as Top Rated.

The big question is are you reliant on the discounts for the profitability of your business? I hear many complaints that eBay are taking away the discounts or that sellers simply can’t qualify for them, for example if they’re not based in the UK so can’t offer a one day delivery service.

Whilst discounts are definitely valued, sellers shouldn’t rely on them to run their businesses however. eBay have offered discounts over the past years purely as a means to influence seller behaviour. Once enough sellers are performing as eBay desire they’ve no need to continue the discount and stop offering them.

It’s not obvious that eBay end discounts as they generally announce them as a change. It’s similar to if you have excess stock which you need to clear and your competitors are offering a lower price. You may decide to run a promotion or hold a sale, but once your competitors run out of stock you’ll almost certainly put your prices back up.

eBay are acting similarly – they’ll offer discounts when it suits their business and withdraw them when they consider them no longer necessary.

Will you qualify for the Top Rated discounts from Autumn? eBay are already offering an additional 5% discount if you adjust your listings to meet the new requirements. The discount runs until the end of July. Have you edited your listings or do you intend to, or will you wait until the Autumn when you’ll lose your discount before you act?

  • paddy
    4 years ago

    I can’t and won’t offer Free P+P so its unlikely any of my listings will ever meet TRS standards! The discounts are one of those things that are great if you can get them but should never be relied on.

  • Gemma
    4 years ago

    We have been TRS rated ever since we started on eBay. Until two years ago, we offered a free postage service on everything, but Royal Mail then put their prices up and we couldn’t absorb the cost any longer as our margins are tiny. We moved to a subsidised model, offering a below cost option with free postage if someone bought three items or more.

    We still can’t afford to offer free postage – and in our industry the majority of our competitors won’t be able to either as we all pay the same price for our products, but the net result is that we will lose our TRS status. Ironically that will mean that our postage prices will need to increase slightly – the exact opposite of what eBay want to achieve, but it will still be below cost and because we will charge postage it is likely that our item prices will remain lower than many of our competitors who try to move to a freepost model in order to retain TRS and we expect to see an increase in multiple purchases. We will also have the flexibility to use tracked services on a larger number of items adding greater certainty for the buyer.

    We will still provide the same level of service to our customers, and although it feels like we’ve been kicked in the stomach by eBay, in real terms we don’t expect losing TRS to make an awful lot of difference.

    • JD
      4 years ago

      I’ll not be going ‘free’ postage to get the discount.

      On low value stuff normally bought in combination with other items, so multiple item orders, I don’t want the headline price a single penny more than it has to be.

      The headline price simply has to stand comparison with those offered by all sources open to the buyer, off as well as on eBay. And with sales of over 50% going overseas that is not just UK prices.

      A no brainer for me.

      eBay may well have trouble with price comparisons as postage prices continue to rise.

  • 4 years ago

    ‘Whilst discounts are definitely valued, sellers shouldn’t rely on them’ – I’m surprised at that comment Chris, marketplaces are so competitive that every kind of income (discount is a kind of income) needs to be taken into the P&L model for the majority of sellers selling commodity products.

    The trick is to use a system which can quickly and dynamically change pricing to reflect current available discounts at SKU level.

    We will increase the selling price of those products which don’t/can’t attract the forthcoming TRS discount.

    It’s going to be fascinating to see the difference that the changes overall will make.

    Changes in picture standards will probably cause the greatest surprises (if eBay polices them) with those sellers using catalogue images being most affected. Without eye catching marketing in the gallery image there is little else to differentiate sellers (in the eyes of the majority of buyers) except pricing. I sincerely hope eBay doesn’t mimic Amazon even more.

    Next will come the difference to sellers who don’t keep stock and therefore can no longer attract discount or Best Match boost as they won’t be able to offer 1 day or same day dispatch.

    Like it or not eBay have managed this well and it will benefit them first and foremost (it is their business after all).

    It will of course also benefit the best sellers as buyers trust the platform more and more.

    John

  • superhans
    4 years ago

    I won’t change the way I do anything,

    I will still have listings set to 2 days handling, and I won’t offer a 1st class upgrade option on any of my listing as how do you know the customer has opted for the upgrade on PayPal transaction details without copy & paste item number and click postage tab to check,

    I will only change my pictures if they end my listings, other than this I won’t jump through any more hoops,

    I never relied on the discount it was nice while it lasted but I am not bothered that I will lose it,

    I use the charge for postage model so I save around £100.00 in fees each and every month, without the need to jump through numerous hoops.

  • Weeze
    4 years ago

    Sadly not, I currently have TRS but won’t be able to qualify for it in the future, as a sole trader with a disability I just can’t meet the one day dispatch.

    The worst thing about it is that I normally do dispatch the next day, but as a safeguard I have my dispatch set to 3, just in case…even with it set to this and even with using 2nd class my customers always comment on my super fast shipping. But sadly I guess that’s just not fast enough for Ebay, even though my customers are pleased.

    it’s sad to lose something when it’s down to something you just can’t help.

    :-(

  • Andy
    4 years ago

    I think a lot depends on the item, how can eBay implement whether you ship same day or not, I think everyone should if they can but they should not be punished for not doing so if that is in there listing.

    TRS meant loss of visability, is that the same still or is it just discount now, All I care about is visability, our fees are £1k a month they used to be £2.5k a month until featured listings were stopped – so to lose £50 is not a major issue for me, id rather lose £50 and ship in my own time and keep my visability.

  • Gary
    4 years ago

    A reminder that it is the listing that has TRS status and not the seller. It may be cost effective to offer free shipping on items in excess of say £25 in value. 15% discount on £2.80 fees for a £28 “free shipping” item is 42p. If shipping is £3 then you only save 30p in fees by separating the shipping out.

  • 4 years ago

    I just add the free delivery option at the bottom of my delivery choices.

    First option for the customer is 2nd class
    Second option is 1st class
    Third option is Special Delivery
    And the new fourth option is:
    Economy Delivery from outside UK (10 to 22 working days) and it is this that has a cost of £0.00

    If a customer sees this and wants to wait between 10 to 22 working days for their item then they must want free delivery very badly!
    Since I’ve made this option available only once has a customer chosen it yet all my 900+ items (variations) have it in the listing. The percentage of customers choosing it is less than 1% at the moment. But 100% of my listings will qualify for TRS status.

    And in case you were thinking that the above method will not make your listings TRS eligible, then in a previous Tamebay post, Emma Shardlow from eBay has confirmed that the above option will allow the item to qualify for TRS status.
    I recommend all to try it to see if you actually lose profit. I think you may be surprised at how few customers will take you up on your “offer”.

    • jd
      4 years ago

      Wow!

      Good luck to you and long may it last.

      Emma Shardlow? not heard from her recently.

      Hope that Emma will be able to comment on this quite soon cos if true it’s a nonsense is it not?

    • 4 years ago

      I agree.
      A nonsense. But if free shipping is what they want from us and this does turn out to be an eligible way of giving free shipping, then why not do it?
      It just takes a minute or two with the bulk editing tool to add this option (could be a lot longer if you have different shipping set for different items).
      I’ll be keeping an eye out for my extra 5% discount for July and will report back to say if I get it or not.

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