Please eBay, surface the convenience and service your sellers can deliver

By Chris Dawson February 1, 2019 - 2:57 pm

My first ever ecommerce experience was on eBay and being a full time seller for a decade it left me loving the marketplace so it’s with regret I have to admit I buy more frequently on Amazon these days. And there’s only one reason for that and it’s not because prices are cheaper on Amazon or because they have a wider selection of goods – they don’t, eBay wins on both counts. The one and only reason I buy more on Amazon is convenience and service.

On Amazon convenience and service are king. Search for any product and, even if you don’t click the Prime button to limit search to products that can be delivered quickly, Amazon displays below each product the expected delivery date. Sometimes it’s today, sometimes it’s tomorrow, some times it’s a little longer, but right up front in search results I can make a buying decision based on how quickly I want the product. I now use Amazon for routine purchases which previously I’d have gone to the shops for simply because it’s quicker and easier.

eBay has massive advantages however, my last purchase was for brake bulbs for my car – on Amazon buying motors parts is a nightmare but on eBay you pop your registration number in and eBay instantly finds brake bulbs that fit your car. eBay has a superb selection of products and very often their sellers offer lower prices than Amazon merchants. Where eBay miss out is that they don’t allow me to see the fantastic convenience and service that so many eBay sellers offer… and bear in mind that many merchants sell on Amazon and offer next day delivery as well as selling on eBay. It’s not the merchants service on eBay that is at fault, it’s eBay not promoting their service.

eBay’s shipping offering for merchants is relatively sophisticated but at the same time desperately clunky for sellers and impossible to leverage for buyers. They offer the ability to specify cut off times, but not by courier or destination so the cut off time for same day shipping is the same for a 24 hour delivery to the UK as it needlessly is for a two week delivery to Australia. When shipping eBay will surface the carrier chosen by the buyer from the seller’s offer, but it’s still not easy to see at a glance what has to be shipped today and what isn’t due to ship until tomorrow.

eBay’s biggest failing however is still in search results. The only way to cut and dice search results is by ‘Free Postage’ or ‘Free Click and Collect’. In the search results display eBay still highlight Fast and Free, but this being Friday fast and free means I’ll be lucky to get a product before Wednesday next week and that really isn’t fast in today’s terms. Next day delivery – Saturday by Royal Mail or Monday by 24 courier is fast. Wednesday delivery can only be described as “Free and desperately slow“.

What eBay do do well now is, if a seller has specified a cut off time, display a ‘Despatched today if ordered within….” message. This is a fantastic piece of messaging which tells me that I can receive the product quickly, in this case perhaps even tomorrow as it’s shipped via Royal Mail. The problem is that I might have to click into a dozen products from search results before I find one with this messaging and quite frankly it’s simply easier to shop on Amazon.

I’d love to shift the bulk of my online purchasing back to eBay, if for no other reason that I know the prices are often cheaper, however I’m seduced by how easy Amazon make shopping. Please eBay, make 2019 the year that you display delivery promises in search results or add a button so that, if I’m in a hurry, I can find products from sellers who offer the convenience and service of fast shipping and fast despatch. If nothing else, at least display the “Despatched today if ordered within…” message on search result pages.

  • Toby
    7 months ago

    Amen to that

  • 7 months ago

    The situation would improve if Ebay’s metrics were achievable in the real world.

    Royal Mail’s own targets are around the 90% mark for 1st and 2nd class mail, meaning you would be demoted as a seller, even if Royal Mail hit those targets.

    Sellers build in extra handling time and underbid on service, e.g., advertise economy and send 1st class, in order to get the defects down to a level which doesn’t cause problems. So buyers can’t tell from the delivery estimates how soon an item will actually arrive.

    So yes, sort out the ability to search by despatch time – this is already happening on .com, where you can specify the number of delivery days in your search criteria (from one to four).

    But you also have to deal with a fundamentally flawed defect system, which cannot be met without short-circuiting the system.

    Ebay needs to stop hitting sellers over the head and start doing what will most help buyers.

  • George
    7 months ago

    All of this because you have to click the listing to see the expected delivery date?

    Wildly pretentious and over-the-top.

    Legitimately saying you’ll pay more on Amazon because you can’t be hassled to click on the listing.

    • 7 months ago

      It’s not as simple as “click the listing to see the expected delivery date”. It’s a I really want this tomorrow or the next day at the latest. Click the first listing to find out it’s from China, click the second listing to find the seller has a two day handling time, click the third listing and discover that it’s a three day economy delivery service, click, click, click…..

      Or I can go to Amazon, see in search results it can be delivered tomorrow and buy it in 30 seconds. Frankly to save a quid I can’t be bothered. What’s more important than me is that judging by Amazon’s growth there’s quite a few people that can’t be bothered and simply don’t shop on eBay.

      If eBay do nothing then buyers will carry on ignoring the site as not meeting today’s retail standards of next day delivery and eBay’s growth will continue to stagnate apart from collectibles and other items not available on Amazon.

    • Rob
      7 months ago

      Amazon customers are usually willing to pay more for items and service. Over time they have been trained to pay more and don’t get a chance to negotiate. eBay on the other had encourage them to ask for money off by sending best offer messages for buy it now items.

      Over Christmas often had buyers paying extra for quicker delivery services on Amazon, yet on ebay none.

  • SAM
    7 months ago

    Till about 2 years ago the start eBay decline as far as we are concerned. We used to ALWAYS be up their in best match, we were TRS offered same day dispatch and everything went 24 hour mail, our metrics were excellent and we provided no quibbles refunds returns etc, we stood out from many competitors selling sometimes the same goods as we photographed everything used and new…customers seen Exactly what they were getting..

    Not long after Rob Hattrell arrived none of that mattered anymore, all that matters is who pays more to play…and quality, service does not really matter, Jesus half the time it is criminals selling counterfeit goods top of best match as the can pay to boost them…your simply not getting any coverage on eBay, it is all more for them and less for the merchant’s.( all short term profiteering)

    We now hardly bother with eBay have more stock s on GAME these and I know a lot of our competitors are also. …Now we still within 1 day and everything is now 48 hours…WHY bother with a site that does not promote decent service, genuine goods…etc.
    eBay have no control over delivery unlike Amazon but do nothing to help themselves.
    We spent 1 hour with eBay today where’s not that long ago we would have been working it all day., it is just not worth it at present.

    Saying all that and I do not buy on eBay either, I only buy of Amazon themselves and very rarely from 3rd party Merchants (stung by misrepresentation a lot) …I do find myself going more and more to retailers direct a lot who have improved their e commerce divisions…

  • Jay
    7 months ago

    Anyone else wonder why comments are closed here;

    Probably because he does read Tamebay as the article suggests and he doesn’t want to see the usual barrage of complaints in response to his “glowing” self indulgent article.

    So in response, I’m posting here…..

    Actions speak louder than words Mr. Temkin, they really do.

    • 7 months ago

      Comments are only closed to encourage people to reply on the original thread here where we know Harry is reading them.

    • Jay
      7 months ago

      The thing is Chris there isn’t many sites providing any positive feedback for eBay at the moment. He doesn’t need to read the comments on Tamebay to figure out sellers are fed up, overworked, underpaid, fees too high, service too low, sales not growing, poor visibility, unfair metrics, unfair returns, site not working, too much focus on ads and too much focus on “eBay itself”.

      At some point you’ve got to start making it worthwhile for the sellers, the only reason we’re sticking it out is because “there nowhere else to go”. They’ve got us by the balls, literally. We know we don’t have a business without eBay and we don’t deny it. Start showing sellers a glimpse of hope again and we’ll put the last few years behind us as if it never happened. We don’t want any trouble, just something in return for our efforts eBay please.

    • Billy
      7 months ago

      Good catch! Well done!

  • jim
    7 months ago

    ebays owes us nothing
    its a business that provides a service at a fee to others .for its own profit and gain

  • 7 months ago

    On a regular search chinese sellers come before my items yet they offer a 2 week delivery time….same can be said for sellers sending 2nd class for simular items we sell.
    We send all items first class yet we are demoted cos we wont pay promotion fees
    Come on Ebay sort this out before all our customers go to amazon

  • Billy
    7 months ago

    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 for 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 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 should be tightening their 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 issues Tamebay raised almost a decade what improved? Nothing!

    Unfortunately, eBay is getting a huge amount of revenue from those sellers, so unlikely that they will do something about it unless government force them, or someone high in eBay hierarchy puts his righteousness forward of his greed!

  • Toby
    7 months ago have searchable Guaranteed Delivery options of;

    No Preference
    1 day shipping
    2 day shipping
    3 day shipping
    4 day shipping

  • Mark
    7 months ago

    Ebay have the worst shipping format of anything mainly because they cannot let you do item shipping by each item.
    We have a number of listings where the vaiations of some items are large letter £0.60 shipping for one variation and then another variation is slightly bigger so costs £1.89 to ship.

    So we either cover that price making the smaller variation very expensive or drop the larger item making it a loss.

    Instead of keep messing around with tweeks that have no real importance work on the basics. Make the site work for everything.

  • Toby L
    7 months ago

    It’s sad when you have to admit that ebay is the weakest part of your business service wise, but it is. The answers aren’t rocket science but ebay seems to be completely blind to them.
    With postage, what i would like to see is a message saying ‘get it as soon as ‘X’ . I don’t want to know how quickly they dispatch, or what speed of service – both can counteract each other, ( 1 days dispatch 5 day delivery or 4 day dispatch 24hr delivery!) I want to know what is the fastest i can get it… mon, tues, weds… Then show me the options cost wise. As many have said, often you want it by a set date, so the date is king. Not the standard rate, not the cheapest rate, but the fastest.
    Is it really rocket science? You could even search by delivery date!
    Oh and this cut of time thing…. yes very anouying. Our courier time is 12pm, yet we can pack royal mail up until 2.30pm, but we must set it at 12pm for everything. Then there is Friday…. buy it with our 24hr courier rate and it will arrive on monday if placeed before 12pm…. yet pay for the cheaper rm24 and it will proberly turn up Sat, despite ebay classing it as a 1-2 day service!!
    Oh and that wording… 24hr courier, still many customers dont understand that most couriers don’t delivery at weekends! So they pay on Friday and expect it within 24hrs.
    It is no wonder buyers are confused or disappointed when the whole systems is shoddy and best put back in the 90s where it belongs…. like the fact we get judged by ebay on delivery time, yet the wording on the metrics is dispatch time! If tracking shows i posted it on time…. why am i being punished under the heading of late dispatch, if the coruier delivers it late…. Which more often that not is because the customer is not in, not because it hasn’t had an attempted delivery!
    …. not to go on, but there is another thing! Delivery zones…. If my listing is for an item that requires a courier and the customer lives in the Scottish islands etc, then it costs more than if it were going to Devon etc… Why can we not add zones to the postage? We add notes to every listing, but buyers never read them, then get funny when we tell them it has incurred a surcharge. Especially as many dont check messages for several days. If ONNBUY can do it why can’t ebay?
    To be honest although we are just toying with ONNBUY at the moment, and it still could do with some tweeks to the postage system… it is already light years ahead of ebay.
    Ok… i will go now, hoops to jump through!

  • Danny
    7 months ago

    Totally agree with this. Last week I was trying to find a fancy dress costume for a stag do at the weekend. Needed delivery within 2-3 days – not a big ask. Must have clicked through 20+ listings (all with Chinese business seller details) with delivery dates 2 weeks away+ before I eventually found a seller who could offer 1st class delivery.

  • Carl
    7 months ago

    Question eBay? Do we still upload the tracking number after the dispatch date has gone and hence receive an automatic defect that we then have to challenge with you and have it removed, if the delay in dispatching the order was due to the buyer not communicating with us after purchase?

    Example: Buying a bespoke product and not specifying the specifics after purchase. Switching off eBay and messages and “waiting for the product”, only to find out days later by letter or text message that the information is required.

    Welcome to eBay’s Sellers “one size fits all”….

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