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What would you like to tell Harry Temkin, eBay VP of Seller Engagement?
Harry Temkin is eBay Vice President of Seller Engagement at eBay. Having only joined eBay in October of last year, he is one of the most influential eBay Execs in that everything that merchants do is down to him. He’s the guy in charge of the seller tools that you use on a daily basis – it’s his job to convince you to continue to list your stock on eBay and making sure that you have the tools and insights needed to do so and be successful.
Last week, Harry visited the UK and sat down to talk about his background, and his aims for 2019 in his role as eBay VP of Seller Engagement.
The main reason Harry was in the UK was to meet the regional teams and talk about their plans for sellers in the first half of 2019. While he was in the UK he also met a few eBay sellers to get their views.
“My aim in this new role is to provide the best possible tools to our sellers and the best possible analytics. The key is to ensure that we’re providing the best possible competitive information to our sellers so that they can list efficiently and basically get their products sold as quickly as possible.”
– Harry Temkin, VP of Seller Engagement at eBay
eBay have made a lot of demands on sellers in recent years with changes ranging from catalogue and the new eBay product based shopping experience to the introduction of eBay Promoted Listings and ever more mandatory Item Specifics. They’ve also deprecated older tools such as TurboLister and Selling Manager Pro in favour of the new eBay Seller Dashboard. What do you think of these changes to how you list and sell on eBay and what is the one thing that you’d like to tell Harry Temkin and the rest of eBay’s seller experience team? Let us know in comments below.
1/2/19 Updated to add message to Tamebay readers from Harry Temkin
“Hi everyone, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and concerns. While I was in the UK I met with a number of business sellers to talk about how things were going and what we could do better. I’ve read all your comments about the video here and on YouTube. Although I can’t respond to each of them right now, I’ll work with Tamebay to get you some answers soon.”
– Harry Temkin, VP of Seller Engagement, eBay
The eBay catalogue is a farce! Try updating the listings and see how it goes. I wasted a day recently updating only to be told that some of the products were not in the catalogue. Then they tried to tell me I had the wrong category for one of my products suggesting it went into a completely inappropriate category.
EBay need to ask – is our platform still fit fir purpose? For me it no longer is.
Ebay need to stop thinking what their customers want and actually ‘ask’ what their customers want. By customers, I mean the sellers that ebay are reliant on for their success. The seller interface is now outdated, cumbersome and time consuming.
Turbolister was great, plenty of tools, lots of options, upload when you want. Once that got taken away, they replaced it with a system so outdated you could run it on an Atari ST. Seller dashboard was a big step back for us who sell over 200 items a day. Our workload increased 4 fold. All we can do now to list new items is to ‘sell similar’ from existing listings.
When other companies are moving forward with the times ebay are moving in the opposite direction.
Look after the sellers, make THEM content to sell on ebay, the rest will follow.
We can’t even search our own listings any more to find items to give customers links to buy from when asked. It makes us look unprofessional.
Gone are the days when 1 person sat in their bedroom selling their old toys. We have up to 10 employees at any one time working on processing orders. All logged in one account with access to Paypal and all the secrets businesses normally hide from their employees.
I invite Harry Temkin to spend a day in our office and see all the obstacles and problems we come across on a daily basis that could all be solved if they just asked what they were.
There are far too many silly, little, basic, easily fixable (is that a word) issues that cause us business sellers problems every minute of every day.
I would invite him to come and spend a full day in our office with a notepad in hand. He would learn more in a day sat watching the problems in real time than reading thousands of messages from disgruntled sellers.
Are you up for it Harry ? I’ll put the kettle on.
For you Harry the absolute silliest point i have been raising with eBay for months now with no solution yet easiest.
Buyer returns something outside of the returns process no problem.
I go to the resolution centre and select “The buyer and I agree to cancel a transaction”
Easy well it was!! but not now.
Ebay changed the page it now looks lovely with all nice images and because its not n the new stuff you have to go to “see all”
Still not a problem. YET.
Then you enter the item number and up comes all the sales of that item and if you are lucky it only sold one item on the day the buyer who is returning bought theirs. If not and its an item that sells 4 or 5 er day well.
Start playing “eeny meeny miny moe” as guess what? there are not any with an eBay buyer ID just the date. So which do you refund
Typical eBay road built to the river oops no bridge. They have been told and told but mess around tinkering with other stuff they feel is important.
It doesnt matter about fancy tools and programs. None of that is important because as far as providing a good seller experience goes, ebay are not even at first base. What is far more important than any fancy selling tools is providing a safe environment for the seller to sell their products. The buyer has far too much power and they regularly take advantage of that. In a dispute, Ebay will ALWAYS comes down on the side of the buyer no matter how obvious a scam has occured and no matter what proof the seller provides, it is the seller that utimately looses out. The poor seller puts up with it because to do anything else puts their account and livelihood in jeopardy
Ebay needs to realise that its customers are the sellers, not the buyers, and treat them as such. The buyers are the seller’s customers, not ebay’s. Yes, if a seller fails to provide a certain level of service they need to be held to account, but ebay interfere far too much with the way people run their own businesses.
For certain items the sellers needs to have a much closer encounter with the seller and be allowed to engage more. If ebay wants to limit the seller to an email system then it needs to be better with a far better image sending system, and once the item is paid for, open communication should be allowed.
Something needs to be done about the Chinese sellers that bend the rules.
The practice of charging fees on postage is diabolicle, it is plainly a rip off and should be abolished, there is absolutely no reason for it other than greed.
I used to sell a lot on ebay, but now I sell very little there and prefer to use other platforms, simply because it is not safe to do so, its too expensive, the profit margins are so low, and there was too much interference in my business. Until ebay change its practices no number of fancy selling tools will attract me back.
Agree totally Graeme,
Seeing too often the phrase “I used to sell a lot on ebay, but now I prefer to use other platforms”. Yet nobody at ebay thinks to ask the fundamental question, why?
It is a buyers paradise and a sellers nightmare. The latest ebay profits look great but they could be double if they looked after sellers a little better.
1) Stop creating more work for sellers by fannying around “fixing” things that don’t need fixing. If in doubt – ask us! – we’re the ones who use it and have a wealth of experience in running businesses.
2) Sort out the business sellers who are masquerading as private sellers to take advantage of free listings and deny buyers their right of return on items. If a buyer gets hassle from a seller for trying to return an item they are less likely to buy on ebay in future.
3) Sort out the Chinese sellers who are pretending to be based in the UK. Buyers are less likely to buy on ebay if they have had to wait weeks for an item they have previously purchased to arrive.
4) Stop charging fees on postage – ebay don’t do anything to earn them and are just lining their pockets at sellers expense. If there is a problem with 99p sales and £10 postage cost sort it out instead of penalising good sellers who abide by the rules.
5) Encourage smaller business sellers as they’re the ones who to buy on ebay as well as selling. If Wolverhampton sellers can have free shops for a year it’s time ebay gave regular shop owners a months complimentary fees every now and again.
6) Lower shop fees by £10 instead of giving vouchers for overpriced, inferior quality ebay packaging. It is well known that ebay protect buyers so if a parcel is marked with ebay on the packaging it is an open invitation for it to “go astray” en route.
7) Ensure all customer service reps have actually sold on ebay rather than just answering phone calls and reading from a script. If sellers have a problem they want it sorted out promptly rather than having to make umpteen calls until they get a rep who knows what they’re talking about.
Harry. Listen to Annie. (I bet Harry doesn’t even read this page).
Well said Annie but how do we get Ebay to take any notice. They keep changing the rules and making the listing process more and more complicated. How many private buyers are likely to know makers part numbers and other item specifics that Ebay require to search by. I have seldom used a part number to search for something I want in 20 years of buying and selling on ebay.
Thanks, you mentioned every one of my concerns behalf of me too..
Every eBay executive and all product managers should have a quarterly objective in their bonus plan to spend at least one full day (or more?) shadowing a professional seller or working in a seller’s business in a related field so that they understand what it is actually like to use their own product.
Hal Lawton had the smarts to realize that few people in eBay had any clue what their own dog food tasted like and set up an initiative to correct that. But as the only bright light in their array, he got head-hunted and that program ended.
Going forward they desperately need to start hiring people who have some basic grasp of what it’s like to run a profitable mail order business. I don’t care if you’re an AI whizz, that’s not going to fix eBay’s issues. The problem is dropping margins and they need some very basic merchandising functionality and executive expertise.
eBay ‘Managed’ returns is not fit for purpose. It is utterly appalling!
Currently, 7.5% of our returns are genuine. The other 92.5% of our returns in perfect working order and exactly as described. The buyers are simply lying to avoid paying return postage. We do not offer a free hire service or try before you buy for electrical products, but eBay force us to do this. We have absolutely no way of reclaiming the postage, removing the returns metric defect or contesting them in any way shape or form.
We had one the other week where a buyer had changed his mind and wanted to return, so he picked the right reason and tried to buy a returns label through eBay. So far so good. But the system can’t cope with anything in more than one box, or a large item so it sold him the wrong label. He contacted eBay for assistance who then changed the return into a case against us (not as described). eBay then gave me an ultimatum (this was 7pm on a Friday evening) to supply my customer with a pre-paid postage label, get the thing back and refunded in 96 hours, or they would refund my buyer £750. No amount of messages/phonecalls/emails to eBay CS would change their mind…. It took me hours and hours to get them to remove the ultimatum. It left us out of pocket, my customer pissed off and I sold the thing on Amazon.
It’s been the main driving force for us to move our business elsewhere. Maybe the returns works for other categories, but in Electricals is does not!
Harry. Listen to Dave.
If Harry is still listening….
Another return today. The correct dimensions and weight are provided in the listing. Buyer wants to return it.
Reason: Ordered by mistake
Return approved automatically and they’ve purchased the eBay supplied label. Message just arrived:
I printed the return label, and took it to the post office and they will not accept as its tracked 48hr and over the dimensions so the return label is not right for the item. Please advise. Many thanks.’
eBay Managed Returns is not fit for purpose and does NOT work!
This has become a big problem for us too. Even more annoying is that the majority of our items are small things that cost less than £1.00 to post. When a buyer lies and says an item wasn’t as described to get a free shipping label, this costs us over £3.00!
I suggest tamebay have a poll of to select the top 5 pressing issues for ebay sellers. Then work out exactly how to present those 5 issues and insist on a reply to each.
As per Dave. Sort out managed returns, it’s very poor and very much open to seller abuse. I sell jewellery and despite providing measurements and weights etc, I often get “not as described”, “finer than I thought”, “doesn’t look like picture”, or “wrong item sent” (that’s item bought and paid for and despatched by the seller, but oops, buyer has ordered the wrong size, thus, wrong item sent! “. As a seller, it’s difficult to win,., and as a seller, we have to pay postage. Postage. Offer” free” post and wrap it in cheap barely suitable packaging… Or offer better quality and more suitable packaging… It’s about branding or is it about junk? I don’t think this does the ebay brand any good either. Also, upgrade bulk editing could be better. You need to add an option for percentage upgrade across a buyers product range rather than individual price increases. And lastly the http / https secure hosting of pics etc. As far as I can see and after spending literally weeks going through my listings, I’m no further forward with this showing dozens of non compliant items in my inventory. I’ve given up with this. I can’t be the only one. Thanks
Thank you guys … You have saved me writing a long list of woes..
To be honest i have stopped caring. Nothong changes, no one listens… No one really cares.
How about adding a tick box to choose the fastest shippers I mean how difficult to add this great feature?
How about not allowing sellers list products in the UK with estimated delivery 10-15-30 days?
How about not allowing sellers to manipulate the system by selling £1 product 48 hours service at the cost of £80? “So they can get fast shipping logo”
How about selecting the UK only lets you show genuine UK business based in the UK only? ( not a post box address ) selecting UK only still brings up on the item page that it is from Newcastle or London for example but it is really coming from China
Also, it would be great if each item had a little country flag on the corner or somewhere to show so it can be visible to buyers where the item is located so buyers can avoid sellers around the other side of the world who lists their product with same day shipping option in eBay UK
I mean it can take 20 minutes for eBay applying these changes and double both their and sellers income in less than a year once the buyers have a better experience and the word of mouth goes around
I can hear eBay saying buyers can always leave feedback for their buying experience right? Wake up eBay most of these sellers very competitive and some of them sell 300-400-1000 or even 10000 a day and they still get more positive feedback than negative so most of them are top rated seller status.
Besides the majority of buyers are clearly not doing their research prior to purchasing and are therefore only finding out the TRUTH about the seller when something goes wrong. Honestly, eBay shouldn’t you be tightening your system?
In the past, as a buyer, I reported several sellers and eBay promised to do something about but since eBay does nothing against these sellers I just gave up. I mean just search Tamebay posts history you will see countless location abuse, shipping manipulations etc. related posts Tambay raised since almost a decade whats improved? Nothing!
Unfortunately, eBay is getting a huge amount of revenue from those sellers, so unlikely that they will do something about it unless loosing in the competition force them, or someone high in eBay hierarchy puts his righteousness forward of his greed!
Could this someone be you, Mr Harry Temkin?
Flooded Counterfeit Jewellery in fine jewellery categories, from Chinese sellers.
How about adding a button at checkout that allows the customer to DELAY shipment.?Its unbelievable the amount of great customers we have who write and say “please don’t send it yet, I’m bidding on other items from you and would like you to combine shipping “ or “please don’t send yet I’m on holiday”. We are required by eBay to ship within the stated handling time- all it does is affect the sellers DSR.
I won’t mention other issues and the utter contempt some sellers hold eBay in as I’m trying to be constructive.
Freeze or reduce Ebay fees for sellers for the next couple of years.
Sellers have seen year on year rises in what they have to pay to sell items on Ebay and have been squeezed all round in the last few years.
Yet sales have not increased for most and in some cases have fallen.
Once you pay all your taxes; VAT, NI, income tax and take off all the costs of selling (including Ebay fees, buying stock, postage etc), sellers now have far less left for themselves than ever before.
If you really read these pages, Harry, please understand that business sellers have to be able to make a living, as opposed to casual sellers who just sell a few items now and then.
Business sellers work long hours and uphold the best practices of Ebay. They form the bedrock of Ebay’s profitability.
You’ve gained a big windfall by taking payments in-house. Give some of this back with reduced payment fees compared to the former paypal rates.
Definitely without a doubt look at REDUCING core Final Value Fees for Business Sellers across as many categories as possible.
With the influx of Promoted Listings and the fear of seeing a CPC Model for Ads coming in 2019, something has to give.
Reduced fees for Business Sellers will encourage Private Sellers running businesses to switch to business accounts as they should be forced to do this anyway.
Reduced fees will also encourage sellers to reduce prices thus increasing GMV and in turn this will translate to actual sales growth for sellers, something which has all but flatlined in recent years, thus equalling out any loss in fees through greater transactional volume.
Reduced fees will also see off any competition from the many new startups entering the scene and prevent them from getting a foothold as more sellers continue to focus on growth at eBay.
Sellers who have migrated to Amazon or to their own third-party websites will likely take a second look at coming back to eBay should an announcement of lower fees come into fruition.
If you want to REALLY grow in 2019 and beyond, you must attract new sellers, retain existing sellers and bring back old sellers all of which can be achieved by a reduction in Final Values Fees.
If you want to focus on Seller Ads such as Promoted Listings, stop wasting money on silly TV ads and make is feasible by lowering your fees.
please up grade the ebay app to a business user standard,
include more desktop options ,templates pre sets etc plus allow invoices to be sent ,
more easily with a mobile phone
Visibility on Ebay is a big issue, going hours and hours and hours with no sales and then getting a flurry in the space of minutes, it is obvious Ebay switch our listings off. Why pay for a shop/listings when you are not even getting visibility???
Well where do I start…
As a new business seller on ebay, I have been utterly disgusted at the treatment sellers receive. I have never seen anything so biased in favour of buyers in any marketplace anywhere in the world.
There have been some fantastic and salient points in the posts above – my very real fear is that in reality, eBay will not take a blind bit of notice.
I joined the fray at the end of October. We are selling adult toys and pleasure products – which adds a completely new level of obstacles on top of everything else eBay throw at us.
We did the right thing, and went the the process of becoming an “approved seller” that allows us to list out products in the correct category.
Unfortunately there is precisely Zero benefit in being able to list our products in the correct category as the “adult category” listings are filtered out of any normal search. Which is fine, ,except that there are hundreds if not thousands of listings from non approved sellers (and some approved sellers too) listed in non censored categories enjoying unlimited visibility and the corresponding sales that go with it.
Should I make a mistake and list something that eBay thinks should be in a different category, despite hundreds of other listings for identical products being listed in that category, I get a very over zealous policy team deleting listings and suspending my account.
Its a shame that they cannot be as vigorous against the non approved sellers blatantly mis-categorising sex toys as massagers and shut their listings down to give us all a level playing field.
To make matters worse, eBay then market me on the listings I have been viewing and watching (and reporting) encouraging me to buy… talk about salt in the wounds.
As a new seller its imperative that buyers have confidence in us as sellers and some sales history helps – yet any listings that the policy team take down removes any and all history – yet another attack on the viability of my business
I copied a listing, almost word for word, that had been up for some time with lots of sales and in the correct category and within 37 minutes mine had been taken down and my account suspended for 3 days for policy breach – clearly a mistake on eBay’s part but nothing I could do about it. I have since relisted and have had no such issue – yet.
I daren’t invest in stock for fear of not being allowed to sell it the same as nearly any other seller.
I have invested in stock based on established run rates to suddenly have listings deleted and told they need to be listed behind the hidden curtain and subsequently have had nearly zero views and the corresponding zero sales – on items I was selling 1-2 a day previously.
So I ask again, precisely what is the benefit to my business of being an “approved seller” ? other than placing a massive red flag on my account to give the policy team a to-do list instead of them concentrating on the non approved sellers abusing the system…
And don’t get me started on the cut and paste robotic regurgitation of scripts from customer service calls or live chat….
UPDATE: BREAKING NEWS:
Just had my account suspended for 30 days – including REVISIONS OF EXISTING LISTINGS ….WTF!!
The heinous crime this draconian measure inflicted for?
Having 3 listings suddenly decided on being mis-categorized – despite them being listed in the same category as hundreds of other listings for exactly the same product that have been there for months with thousands of sales between them.. yet these are all still live… so how have the “Policy Team” created their to-do list to “enforce policy”?? Sure as hell wasn’t using the search bar…. that would be too sensible.. why my account? is it down to the fact that as an approved seller I already have a red flag on my account that is regularly used to beat me with
And How about just moving them? or making me move them without deleting them and losing the watchers and sales history attached to them?
Thanks so much for trying so hard to ruin my business.
Fixing things to do list:
Managed Returns: Allow sellers to easily report if a buyer is returning under the wrong reason (and have it checked by an actual human)
Replacements: Allow us to offer replacements through the managed returns
Ebay Catalogue: This doesn’t really work, way too many bugs, almost impossible to consolidate listings into the catalogue.
Manual listings: too many times listings glitch, when you confirm it asks you again for the brand, then when you re-enter and confirm, this time it deletes the EAN, replace and now its deleted the brand again etc… very very annoying
Multi variants: allow sellers to remove old dead variants from listings to improve customer experience.
Last of all, I think ebay needs to re-evaluate making the site the same for all. When you told us we can’t put contact information in listings, we complied, but thousands didn’t and still have listings on the site. Years ago you told us to remove all text from listing pictures, we complied, but now you allow Argos & currys to do this. Are rules now able to be paid off?
At the moment it isn’t fair and it doesn work how it should. sadly its the basics ebay keep getting wrong.
I must state though, ebay concierge are awesome. So much better than what we used to have to put up with. So there is definitely some positive within some of the changes.
Dear Mr Tempkin,
Please fix the shopping cart so it’s multi currencey. Buyers do not want to see message FROM EBAY stating “this buyer does not accept combined payments”
This reflects badly on the seller as most intelligent sellers DO want to accept combined payments! eBay has chosen to display a message that says we do not. which is infuriating
It is short sighted and completely counterproductive to force buyer to pay postage on multiple items that can so obviously be shipped together for much less.
My overseas sales died long ago which is why most of my time is now spent on my own website. I also downgraded my Shop subscription to standard. I used to sell over 4,000 products. Now only 250.
Dear Mr Temkin,
Please start supporting personalised products. At last count over 10million listing available. All have to comply with current Ebay and indeed internet, “get it out the door before they have even order it” syndrome. All current metrics and facilites do not work well with personalised products. You have to waite for people to give you information before you can process the order. Amazon have picked up on this and have started to put in place methods where at least when ordering, you have to supply your information at that time.
Customer service is NOT about speed, it is about working with customer to give them a smooth buying experience with a quality product at the end all within there expectations that you helped to shape at the start of the order process. When was the last time you had a hand made sofa made to your specific requirements delivered next day. You would expect to waite and expect your sofa to be second to none. That can’t happen on Ebay because you won’t let it, you are only geared to speed and nothing else matters.
That just makes Ebay a humb drum poor mans amazon with no identity of its own. Ebay is better than that.
The area that needs most work for myself at the minute is the returns process, since the changes last year I am spending more and more time dealing with returns. It is to easy for buyers to click not as described to get sellers to pay for the return when they don’t want to pay return shipping. Got a duvet cover coming back currently, not as described as though it was white even thou mentions cream in 3 different places in the listing. Buyer messaged they wanted to cancel after it had been dropped off but before it had been delivered wanting to cancel the order.
So not only do I have to spend time getting any postage costs back from ebay I have a defect on my service metric for doing nothing wrong which ebay won’t remove.
The best analogy I have for the service metric defects are getting caught doing 20mph in a 30 and getting points on your license. That’s how ridiculous this system is. Get caught so many times doing 20 and you get a fine.
The more ebay sticks with this system the more it drives me to other channels to sell my stock.
I hear you Rob, sadly eBay don’t (or won’t). Returns on eBay are a nightmare. Sold an expensive antique to USA. Cost £80 to ship with fedex even though we charged only £60. Lady received it then decided she couldn’t afford it as her credit card bill had just arrived. All of this was openly written on eBay messages. She then opens SNAD claiming the colours in the photos are different. Result- dings on our account and a whopping return cost of £130.
So through no fault of our own we are £190 down in shipping alone. And eBay won’t do so much as lift a finger.
How about fixing some of the many faults with the eBay system, yes most of them are silly things but why not just get on and fix them?
This is just one of the long winded ways of working eBay style.
Buyer has just messaged me to ask to cancel and order, in the message I can clearly see the Big Blue Button with the words “View Order Details”, so why when I click on the button does it take me to the listing NOT The order?
I look in the Purchase History, as I acted quickly it means that it is the last order placed on the listing, good job it was not a question from a month ago.
I now click on the options and select “View Order Details” hang on, did we not just do that?
On opening up yet another page I see very little that helps. Ok, so now back to seller hub and click on orders, yes I see it as I have acted quickly, but if I had not then I would need to recall who sent the message etc.
Select the drop down menu and cancel
Now ‘Arry, let me tell you how the boys on Amazon do it.
Read message from buyer, order details clearly on display next to the message, click on order number, order window opens up with all the details, select cancel!
Boom Boom yeah…
If there is an unnecessarily complicated way of doing something, eBay will implement it and enforce it, and penalise you for the chaos it will undoubtedly cause with running your business and giving YOUR customers good customer service – or something equally inane and nonconstructive
Ebay are the single most unpleasant way of selling bar none.
Do they actually want customers? The way they treat sellers is utterly appalling and the shenanigans that “PayPal” get up to is crying out to be investigated by the FCA!
Paul, always found Paypal to be fair in the few dealings I have had when a buyer has opened a case on there. Had a few instances where buyer claims account was hacked but with the parcel being sent tracked and to the registered address I was covered and kept payment.
I trust Paypal with decisions in a case as think most people would come to the same outcome.
eBay on the other hand everything is in the buyers favour in every case, they can make up any reason to get a free return and impact on a sellers business. eBay’s answer is to hit you with service metric defects which no matter what you do or everdiance you have won’t remove and may give you a refund for the return postage if you appeal after they have give you more defects for them closing the case against you and keeping your fees. Which then you have to go back another day and ask for