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What should be included in the eBay April 2019 Seller Release?

By Chris Dawson February 27, 2019 - 9:00 am

Here at Tamebay HQ we’ve been reading the latest eBay UK Seller Release Spring 2019 with mixed reviews. On the plus side there isn’t much that’s going to really upset sellers which is good, but there’s also not much to really set sellers on fire and this feels like a very minor release for the start of the new year – now we know that there will be a fuller eBay April 2019 Seller Release.

The eBay.com seller release which came some hours later explained the reasoning saying that there are plans for another Seller Update in late April, but eBay are issuing a limited update now so sellers can start taking advantage of new features, Seller Hub enhancements, and listing updates.

With this in mind, what would you like to see in the eBay April 2019 Seller Release?

eBay Shop by Product

Many sellers will be that eBay are rolling back on their flagship Shop by Product experience from the seller side – not being obligated to match products to the eBay catalogue is something that we know will be welcomed. Too often it’s been accused of belonging to the sales prevention office and nothing should stand in the way of getting a product listed on eBay just because there’s not a matching catalogue entry to list it against.

It will be interesting to see how eBay’s new strategy of using Item Specifics and occasions where sellers do match their product to the eBay catalogue are used to relate like products enabling eBay to place reviews against them and buyers to be presented with a choice of similar offers, different condition options and generational versions to purchase.

We know that new buyers tend to prefer listing compression and for eBay to display multiple similar offers as a single search result. We also know that buyers who have been shopping on eBay for many years don’t like the Shop by Product experience and eBay still need to balance these groups of buyer regardless of how they match products on the back end.

Will Item Specifics make it easier for sellers to comply – we’d love to see some new really simply tools enabling Item Specifics to be edited – perhaps in a spreadsheet style from – especially now that all listings will be Good ‘Til Cancelled and may be on eBay for years.

eBay Payments and eBay Advertising

It’s very notable that the two initiatives which eBay say show the most promise for their revenues in the future don’t have any updates so far this Spring.

eBay Payments

While we were on tenterhooks to discover if eBay Payments would be coming to the UK some time soon, it’s not really a surprise that there was no announcement. The UK is such a large eBay territory and, with Brexit knocking on the door and an unknown regulatory regime, it’s probably not the best time to launch new financial services in the UK. We know that there will be at least one new country that eBay Payments will be rolled out to early this year with announcements expected by the 2nd quarter.

eBay Advertising

eBay Advertising, which sellers will know as eBay Promoted Listings, is still relatively new and has sprung from nowhere in the past couple of years, becoming almost compulsory for sellers looking for fast sell through rates.

Having seen Devin Wenig extol the benefits of eBay Advertising to investors, it’s somewhat of a surprise that eBay are not already rolling out further enhancements to the service. For instance currently there’s only a CPA (cost per acquisition) model and we’re confidently expecting to see a CPC (cost per click) model in the near future.

We’d also like to see more feedback on how the initiative is going and refinements to the tools so that sellers can become more sophisticated in their approach. This is a major push by eBay as they’ve demoted the top listing in organic Best Match search results to second place and given the first search result position to Promoted listings. Sellers need to know how to counter this or win the top position through paying.

eBay Tools

It would be great to see eBay roll out new tools with changes. In this seller release eBay have made it easy with their automatic conversion of new listings to the Good ’til Cancelled duration and they did arrange an Item Specifics tool with Optiseller, but where are the tools to easily manage your new Good ’til Cancelled listings? How about a tool to quickly identify listings that are a certain age without a sale, what about a tool to identify listings with a particular attribute that can be bulk updated at the click of a button. How about a tool to identify listings which are a year old that can be flagged for revision – most sellers update their templates from time to time and there are bound to be listings that slip through the net.

The changes that eBay are rolling out are largely reliant on sellers to do the grunt work in updating listings and at times it appears eBay are putting features live which are relatively easy for their engineers to implement, now we’re hoping for tools to enable sellers to manage the new features.

Shipping Enhancements

It’s somewhat of a disappointment that eBay still haven’t grasped the mettle and made it easy for UK buyers to discover products from UK sellers which can ship today and arrive tomorrow. eBay have provided cut off times for UK sellers. eBay have provided the ability to, for example, display a product with economy shipping and a next day courier service as an addition option. What eBay haven’t done is given buyers the ability to find items that can ship before the seller’s cut off time and ship with a next day courier.

On eBay.com, one of the search options is delivery speed with options for Guaranteed Delivery with 1 Day, 2 Day, 3 Day or 4 Day shipping (or ‘no preference’) so why hasn’t this been rolled out in the UK? It is 2019 and people are still using Amazon as their first port of call when they want to purchase an urgent product.

We know there are technical difficulties in ascertaining if a next day courier can deliver on time depending on the shipping address, especially if the buyer changes their shipping address at checkout… but that’s the same on Amazon where you can select alternative addresses. Surely there are people that work for eBay and sometimes want next day shipping which is after all current retail standards – They must be just as frustrated as me and probably also simply shop on Amazon.

eBay Premium Service

eBay Premium Service is a badge handed out when sellers offer a choice of either Free domestic delivery within 3 working days or a Paid for next day and when the delivery within 2 working days costs no more than £10. Sellers must also offer a tracked delivery services and upload a valid tracking number within the dispatch time for all items costing more than £20.

This is like the ‘Amazon Prime of eBay’, so why don’t eBay enable me to choose to view only items that qualify for eBay Premium service. It would partly rule out the shipping issue identified above and give me the surety that I’m purchasing from a seller who offers superb service when I need it.

With many popular categories having a default Gallery Display, buyers may well be forgiven for missing the tiny Premium Service badge which is so small it looks like a light bulb (There are two on the image below – see how long it takes you to spot them as they don’t exactly jump out from the page as a recommendation for great service!)

eBay Premium Service

It would be unfair to say that there are no benefits from qualifying for eBay Premium Service, it would probably be fair to say that eBay could be enhancing the program and promoting qualifying listings more prominently so we’d love to see this in April.

What have we missed?

What would you like to see included in the eBay April 2019 Seller Release? Let us know in comments below…

  • Rob
    6 months ago

    Think we can see from the lack of comments so far on the other pages ebay have not managed to piss to many sellers off this time but there are no real wow announcements either that made me think that will be great for my business or can’t wait for that to help my business.

    The biggest thing I would like to see is a change to the returns policy and get rid of the service metric. Where it feels like everytime a return is opened for not as described due to a buyer wanting a free return, even thou there is nothing wrong with the item and it matches the description sellers are punished. Every time you phone up to get the return postage back off ebay, I hear the line we understand and appreciate how frustrating it is, yet they just had the chance with this seller release to change but choose not to.

  • 6 months ago

    “How about a tool to quickly identify listings that are a certain age without a sale, what about a tool to identify listings with a particular attribute that can be bulk updated at the click of a button. How about a tool to identify listings which are a year old that can be flagged for revision – most sellers update their templates from time to time and there are bound to be listings that slip through the net.”

    – This already exists as far as im aware – you can download listing improvements > underperforming listings and filter out products without a sale for so many days, i tend to end and relist these.

  • SAM
    6 months ago

    What should be included in the eBay April 2019 Seller Release?

    Devin Wenig has admitted he got it all wrong and has done the decent thing and resigned…
    I actually in the first time in years do not actually care that much…
    Site has become a chop shop of counterfeit basically ChinaBay but a £1 more expensive than Ali Express…
    All you are going to get is the big SALE on how you should PAY eBay more for less…

  • Toby
    6 months ago

    There is one thing i want to see more than anything…. what they are doing about all the listings i report? Sick of seeing that message that they can’t tell me…
    Well I will tell you why they can’t tell me, it’s because the answer is nothing.
    fake locations, private sellers that should be business, misleading titles. random keyword spamming, the list is very long. Yet out of the hundreds of reported listings i have done… nothing has changed. Some i report every month, yet still no change.
    Things like this are pushing more and more sellers aways and are proberly putting off more and more buyers.
    All i want to see if that the user has been notified, warned etc. What is wrong with that?

    • Jimbo
      6 months ago

      Well said. Private sellers that should be businesses is the worst one in my opinion – Its a massively unfair advantage for them. I saw one with 2000 listings and suspiciously, collection only …”im a busy momma so dont have time to post”. No idea what was going on there.

      Also, more action to remove counterfeit goods needed. I hate having to waste 7 characters of my title by writing GENUINE. By default, everything should be genuine. But eBay doesn’t employ enough experts in every category to weed out fakes…

    • 6 months ago

      Have to agree with that. And add that they need to actually apply “policy” across the board – not just randomly.
      I am selling as an approved seller in a a restricted category (read “restricted visibility” yet there are hundreds of sellers selling identical product mis-categorised products and gaining 100% advantage of visibility. I list the same product in the same category and get an account restriction. I report the listings daily, weekly monthly and nothing is done about them… and the cut and paste policy crap from CS just boils my piss.

      There is no one to talk to with any authority or sense at eBay and no one can give me a proper explanation as to how they can penalise one account but leave hundreds of other identical listings live – not hard to create the policy enforcement to-do list using a few simple search terms in the search bar of their own site. But then that would be too much like common sense

      I have actually pretty much given up for fear of the stress of it cause a heart attack
      All I want is a level playing field.. but that is clearly too much to ask

      How about on consumer products, barcodes are mandatory and when they identify a restricted category product – it prevents the listing from going live until it is in the correct category – for ALL Sellers? After all, if I try and list a restricted category product in a non restricted category, then the system prevents me from doing so – so the technology and systems are already in place – just apply it to those that arent playing ball instead of those that are.

  • Julius Oliveti
    6 months ago

    We need to have maximum 5 day delivery window for UK based stock (unless the seller is on holiday or the item is personalised) to cut out item location misrepresentation sellers.

  • 6 months ago

    The reason I like this release; I’m not seeing anything where I’m going to have to go through and edit every single listing, as is so often the case with eBay releases.

    With Brexit, a Royal Mail price update, making Tax Digital (or Diabolical…) and so many other things on our plates, the less additional changes we have to deal with all at once the better.

    There’s a fine balance between being agile, and working solely to meet the ever more Byzantine requirements of large organisations in ways that create costs without generating revenue. I’m glad that eBay (even if inadvertently) have managed to avoid adding any more pressure on micro and small businesses.

    • Martin B
      6 months ago

      Probably for one month until the April realease….

  • Bill Badger
    6 months ago

    It is welcome news that eBay are rolling back on their flagship Shop by Product experience.
    We had to remove all of our INDUSTRIAL SPACE HEATERS as eBay was put them in a domestic category. I can just imagine getting sued when someone puts a 50 Kilowatt Parrafin/Diesel Industrial heater in their living room. Thanks eBay.

    On another matter, when eBay demanded that we HAVE TO put a EAN/UPC number, a Brand Name and SKU number on all of our listings, I seem to be the only sucker that obeyed that order as none of my competitors did. It would prevent buyer confusion if it were universally enforced.

    Another time wasting exercise.

  • Billy
    6 months ago

    With the new returns method, I am finding people are increasingly sending the item back as faulty when half the time the boxes haven’t even been open. This, I assume, is to get around paying the return fee as I have no way of contesting their reason and it’s then down to me. When will eBay ever show any protection towards sellers? This is what I would like to see

    Also, the seller is registered with a UK address but when you check their business address, it’s either they are in Hongkong or in China. I hope eBay do something about this soon 🙁 eBay should give the option to choose the fastest shipper to their location. Unless eBay do something about this first loser is eBay, then the sellers and the buyers how difficult to figure this out????

    • alan paterson
      6 months ago

      @ Billy, I agree with you about the returns and buyers reporting the item as defective. we sell shoes which will inevitably not fit some buyers. Instead of selecting “does not fit” we are often getting “not as described”. Some customers just have fat feet. I cant accommodate for that – only describe our shoes as best as I can.

      we even have a free label for ANY reason on one of our ebay shops – yet buyers still select the return reason that gives us a defect (item not as described , defective etc).

      This effects our service metric negatively. I am behind ebay for most of their changes and measurements for monitoring sellers . But not this one.

  • Lynn N
    6 months ago

    I hear that Terapeak will be included in shop subscriptions in the USA. I see no mention of a similar perk for those of us in the UK. Will it be coming in the April update? I doubt it, we’re just the poor relations.

  • 6 months ago

    There are so many historic faults with the site, but this Ebay management has no intention of sorting out any of it.

    Rather than constantly making changes, fix the things that don’t work – read these boards and the Ebay forums to see the real concerns of sellers.

    Unfortunately, I also think the fee hikes will come in April, as they were notably absent.

    Sellers would be right to ask why so many seller releases are needed in the first place, as this is hugely destabilising and I defy anyone to make sense of what Ebay is trying to do.

    Perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad if Ebay got taken over and someone came in who could run it properly.

    • alan paterson
      6 months ago

      @ Andy, should we not be thanking ebay for improving the platform? I think many sellers on here are looking at the “hole” and not the “doughnut”.

      if you compare ebay to when I started years ago it is a dramatically improved marketplace. I remember when there wasn’t even photos for many of the items. Changes are often improvements. Compare the look and navigation of the ebay platform to 10 years ago and it speaks for itself.

      Pretty much every other company has annual fee hikes yet when ebay do it they are perceived as an evil empire. Last I looked we had inflation not deflation.

  • 6 months ago

    @alan paterson

    ‘Twixt optimist and pessimist
    The difference is droll;
    The optimist the doughnut sees –
    The pessimist the hole.

    In 1929, a restaurant in Charleston, West Virginia, revitalized The Optimist’s Creed’s wording and message. The Optimist’s Creed was displayed in the restaurant’s window and written in more contemporary language for the patrons. The targeted audience was customers who drank coffee and ate “sinkers,” another word for donuts.
    “As you ramble through Life, Brother,
    Whatever be your goal.
    Keep your eye upon the doughnut,
    And not upon the hole.”

    In 1931 this verse was adopted by Adolph Levitt, an immigrant from Russia who invented the first automatic donut making machine, for his Mayflower Donuts chain of shops. He had the adage printed on every donuts box, showing two men dressed as old-fashioned jesters, facing away from each other. One was smiling at a fat doughnut with a small hole and the other was frowning at a thin doughnut with a large hole.
    Sally Levitt Steinberg, his granddaughter, recalls:”My grandfather found this motto, The Optimist’s Creed, as it is called, inside a cheap picture frame he happened to buy in a dime store. He adopted it as his philosophy of life.”
    This philosophical gem became so popular that both Franklin D Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover, campaigning in 1932 during The Depression, worked The Optimist’s Creed into their campaign speeches.
    The Mayflower Donuts chain closed in the 1970s but the verse lives on.

    • alan paterson
      6 months ago

      @ Andy.

      mmmmmmmm ……………. doughnuts!

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