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eBay Retail Standards in 2020 could vary by category

By Chris Dawson January 10, 2020 - 9:00 am

Over the past few years, Retail Standards has been eBay speak for ‘We’re going to make you do something whether you like it or not’. Returns Policies because today’s retail standards demand it is an example.

However eBay hasn’t really kept up with retail standards in other areas, for instance (and we know this is a big one) next day delivery. As soon as I say buyers demand next day delivery there will be a ton of eBay sellers who quite rightly say their buyers don’t want fast shipping and are quite happy paying for an economy service and to give you two or three days to carefully package their item. Both sides of the argument are correct (and wrong).

There are many times when fast shipping is important – why do you think millions subscribe to Amazon Prime to get next day deliveries? Equally there are times when fast shipping is the least of a buyer’s concerns. If they’ve been bidding for 10 days on an auction for the collectible they just have to have to complete their collection, it’s highly unlikely they won’t want a couple of days more for it to be delivered.

Recently returned eBay executive Jordan Sweetnam has picked up on this and promises that 2020 will be the year when eBay start to differentiate on service expectations between categories. Retail standards will move from being a site wide catch all to focus on what buyers in a particular category expect as the norm.

“From a business perspective, 2020 will be a year where you’ll start to see more around how we begin to differentiate our business across the different categories that exist on eBay. ‘Retail standard’ as a concept is right, but I think the opportunity is to recognize that ‘Retail Standard’ is different if we’re talking about new Cell Phone cases vs Vintage Christmas Ornaments vs Plants. We need to move from “what is THE retail standard” to “what is the customer expectation in THIS category/condition”.”
– Jordan Sweetnam, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Americas Market, eBay

This makes an awful lot of sense, but it doesn’t go far enough without some radical rethinking by eBay around search and delivery. It’s fine to realise that the collectible vase doesn’t need next day delivery, but if someone’s just blown their laptop up or lost their power supply then they need a speedy delivery and currently on eBay you can’t search for fast delivery. Even though eBay Premium Service listings offer both a free economy service and a reasonably priced next day service, buyers can’t manipulate search results to find items that could arrive tomorrow.

Differentiating eBay retail standards by category will be welcomed, but highlighting sellers who already offer bog standard retail standards like delivery tomorrow should also be a priority. Failure to do this might just make any changes eBay make seem more like the stick than the carrot.

  • MYLES
    7 days ago

    The Amazon service level expectation creates unnecessary pressure on sellers who are already working on tight margins. If this translates over to ebay then its not worth the effort jumping through hoops on unnecessarily high service levels working longer hours to achieve that.

  • 7 days ago

    Make next day delivery options searchable and it will give buyers a means to eliminate the Chinese location abusers too.

    Ebay don’t even need to make the sellers jump through any hoops. I know they like to, but they just need to sort out their search filters.

    • ifellow
      5 days ago

      eBay should flex their muscles in China, not the UK. As the platform has not performed well for a while for domestic sellers.

      The last thing domestic sellers want is more pressure and still lower profit.

      If you look at the eBay business seller awards this year, they are nearly all 2nd hand goods sellers and 1 woman who makes cards at home as a hobby. This is pretty much all eBay is good for domestically.

  • Mark
    7 days ago

    Amazon Prime is a farce.

    If you sell as a seller offering seller fulfilled prime they jump down your throat if something goes wrong but prime supplied by Amazon they just apologise.
    You also have to remember that amazon don charge the correct money or work on normal industry profit margins due to then manipulating everything.

    So you are paying £7.99 per month for prime but people mainly pay it because they order a lot of items online so 3 items per month is good value and others because they have the TV package which i hasten to add is absolutely rubbish whats on offer for the money.

    Take a TV series we joined for the “Walking Dead Season 7” yep great then the season 8 launched and they wanted £30 WOW!! so prime subscription gave me crap and another £30 gave me 16 episodes of a TV series so i cancelled.

    Many people we speak to sign up in November for FREE TRIAL and buy their stuff for Xmas then cancel.

    when amazon can avoid paying tax in the UK at the correct rate and pay less than a premier league footballer and are happy making a profit margin of just 6% on items adding a so called free delivery is not difficult but its not free its £7.99 per month.

    Until the world wakes up and charges the price they really need instead of chasing false dreams of competing with Amazon they are all just hanging in their till they end up folding.
    Remeber also Amazon sell millions of products ?? yet do not even stock lots of them thats why they want sellers to join Seller fulfilled prime so they can advertise stuff and divert the sale to them as then they store pack and have the returns and the risk involved yet amazon still get their percentage.
    We proved that.

  • SAM
    7 days ago

    There are many times when fast shipping is important – why do you think millions subscribe to Amazon Prime to get next day deliveries?
    I think the above is wrong, people have this service included in PRIME which is a lot more than just buying stuff.
    I no longer pay for PRIME for next day delivery, and I do not know anyone who actually does.
    Amazon offer the full package, and it is the TV, Sport and Music that make it worthwhile the shopping bit is just a add on these days.
    People are skint in both the UK and USA and have become addicted to their TV shows to get away from the day to day battle of life and crap jobs. This why they all have the Amazon TV and netflix now because the offer that addictive “get away from it” content.
    Amazon get this and it is where they are making the CASH…eBay still think it is 2009…and think everyone wants to buy stuff all the time..they DO not.

    Plus for most things, I would take a SLOWER delivery (they used to give you a bonus like £1 credit on music if you took it)…

    All eBay need to do is FIRE everyone in charge right now and start again it is a mess of a site.
    It is SIMPLE just make next day searchable, I will add it but allow for all the options….how hard is it…there is the easy way and the hard way and rest assured eBay will pick the hard way…

  • Andy
    7 days ago

    I charge as little as 30p for 1st class postal upgrade on many of my large/letter lines, less than 5% probably nearer 1% take up on the offer.

    Some lines I can price for 1st class postage they are lines most likely to be hit with not delivered by expected date metrics.

    Last time a created a listing with 1st class post as my/customer primary method with free post option secondary I lost the fast and free icon from listing and sales plummeted.

    eBay need to remember that it was amazon that created the unicorn myth of free postage and they have fallen right into it.

    • NorthCrystal
      5 days ago

      We tested similar approach of offering for 50p to have rm24 instead of rm48.
      We stopped it very quickly as some folks paid the extra and expected it to be amazon prime delivery or something. Rm24 isn’t guaranteed either so we had few cases where it took rm more than 5 days and one can imagine some abusive behaviour of certain customers.

    • 4 days ago

      @Andy Very easy to lose the fast and free just by selecting the wrong postage option. I use:

      Standard Delivery (Other 48h courier)
      Standard Delivery (Royal Mail 24)
      Express Delivery (Royal Mail Special Delivery (TM) 1:00 pm)

      They don’t accept RM 48 as a 48hr delivery for Fast & Free, but will accept any “old bloke with a van” (Other 48h courier).

      I post the same day but my cut off time is 3am.

  • Dav
    7 days ago

    Most people with Prime aren’t using it only for buying stuff. There’s a slew of other features that go with Prime and those are the main reasons to have it. But that’s not the case with eBay. Everything they do is a gimmick. Does eBay ship anything? No. Does eBay have warehouses? No (maybe a few only for Chinese). Does eBay have a shipping network? No. Does eBay have any control over how fast items are delivered? No. But the big problem here is eBay thinks it’s a big YES for all of the above. Delusional company and incompetent decisions being made for years. Everything they do is to profit for themselves at the user’s expense. There’s never any added value to the customer. It’s as if on purpose they’re trying to push away as many sellers and buyers as possible. That’s the only thing eBay is succeeding at.

  • Ifellow
    6 days ago

    EBay and ‘standards’ . Lol what a thing !

    • Dav
      6 days ago

      Yeah eBay and standards should never be in same sentence. They don’t even enforce their own “standards” and policies if they’re losing money on the deal. With eBay it’s all about the money, any way they can get it. Nothing more. The way this company has operated for a decade now with all the constant changes and fee schemes shows desperation. It’s much worse than what they would ever admit (because all they care about is the stock price) and what most people think.

  • Ifellow
    6 days ago

    I offer next day shipping for £2.99 any less than 0.5 per cent of eBayers pay it.

    So not surprisingly customers want next day delivery for free, and the price of goods cheaper and the same as your local chinese vat fraudster.

    For my business I’d say this is impossible. eBay as a platform hasnt really delivered for us.

    I’d dont think I’d jump through the next day delivery loop hole unless my listed where boosted SIGNIFICANTLY and for FREE.

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