It is medicine time again. For many years eBay doled out changes in a continual drip. Now, they are handing it all out in one mega dose. Sellers for years have been asking for pre-announcement of changes. However, when they are doled out in such large chunks, it is a bit harder to digest. From eBay’s perspective, however, it does split the angst. Each seller is uniquely different, and everyone will find things they like, and things that they dislike. So in some sense, it doesn’t allow any fervor to build up over any one announcement – which is probably pretty smart on eBay’s part as they have steadily doled out items which have created anger all the way back to Pierre’s “it’s only a dollar” statement.
This week, we’ll be looking at each section of the changes and providing the details as well as providing some info on how these changes impact you, the seller.
Coming this week:
Part II: DSR and other ratings changes
Part III: Search and Listings
Part IV: Disputes and Resolutions and other Changes
On behalf of all of us at eBay, I’d like to begin this update by saying thank you. Thank you for your business. Thank you for your input and ideas to help us evolve eBay for the benefit of sellers and buyers. Thank you for your great inventory and your commitment to delivering great service.
We’re well aware that sellers of all sizes deliver the deals and quality experiences that bring buyers to eBay and keep them coming back. That’s why we’re taking new steps to reward great service, bring you more sales, increase your profitability, and help you succeed.
As announced in April, in the spirit of partnership, eBay is now consolidating changes that impact your business into two or three major releases a year, with two months advance notice. This post introduces the second and final major release of 2009. Most of these updates will launch between September 22 and October 1, 2009.
- Rewards for sellers delivering great buyer experiences
- New way to look at DSRs
- Avoid getting low DSRs-1s and 2s. Buyers have different ideas about what constitutes a high rating, but most leave a 1 or a 2 only when they experienced a significant issue with their transaction. eBay will be shifting focus from average DSRs to the number of low DSRs as a more accurate measure of customer satisfaction.
- Only domestic DSRs will count toward requirements for eBay.com. International transactions can be subject to factors outside a seller’s control and we want to make sure sellers can expand globally without undue impact to their standing on eBay.com.
- PowerSeller program update: rewarding quality over quantity
- Starting in October, a new eBay top-rated seller status will be added to the PowerSeller program to recognize and reward sellers providing great buyer experiences based on the new way to look at DSRs (very few 1s and 2s). eBay Top-rated sellers will receive the highest PowerSeller Final Value Fee discounts (20%), increased visibility in search results for Fixed Price listings, exclusive access to purchase Featured First and a prominent Top-rated seller badge on item pages. The Top-rated seller badge will be tested in search results pages this summer. The current PowerSeller icon will no longer be displayed on buyer-facing pages including item pages.
- All sellers with 100 or more annual transactions and at least $3,000 annual sales who meet the requirements for Top-rated seller status will be invited into the PowerSeller program and can start receiving Top-rated seller benefits in October.
- Next April, the PowerSeller program will also include a requirement for sellers based on the new way to look at DSRs (very few 1s and 2s). PowerSellers that don’t have Top-rated seller status will get 5% Final Value Fee discounts.
- Meanwhile, the current PowerSeller discount structure will continue until April 1, 2010 to give sellers 8 full months to keep their current discounts while they adjust business practices to qualify for the new Top-rated seller status.
- New minimum standards for all sellers:
- Starting in October, there will be a new minimum standard for all eBay sellers based on the number of low DSRs (1s and 2s) received. The minimum standard will be stricter in April, 2010.
- A new Selling Practices policy will define guidelines for professionalism and accuracy in all aspects of listings and transactions.
- Optional buyer charges for shipping insurance will no longer be allowed. Sellers can still buy shipping insurance and add the cost to the item or shipping price.
- Updates to the Seller Dashboard: You can now see a snapshot of your low DSRs (1s and 2s) and standing toward the new Top-rated seller requirements updated monthly through a link at the top of your Seller Dashboard. In September, you will be able to see daily updates.
- New way to look at DSRs
- Enhanced search presents more relevant listings
- Best Match, eBay’s default sort order, will look at listing’s recent sales in relation to the number of recent impressions it received as a key factor for Fixed Price listings. An “impression” is any time a buyer sees a search results page that includes the listing.
- In addition, single quantity and newly listed Fixed Price items will be given exposure in Best Match even though they have no sales history. These listings will be given initial impressions based on the performance of similar listings. This change will improve the exposure of new Fixed Price listings that are relevant to buyers.
- Auction-style listings will still get a boost in exposure as they are about to end. To keep auctions enticing, Auction with Buy It Now listings will be required to have a BIN price at least 10% higher than the auction start price.
- A new Search Visibility tool will help you evaluate how your Fixed Price and auction-style listings are performing in search results.
- Several features will be discontinued including Featured Plus, Border, and others to save you money and keep the focus on relevance.
- Product pages are rolling out to more buyers, so list with product details to make sure your listings are included. Also, eBay will start selecting sellers’ photos for inclusion in the eBay product catalog on September 1. If your photo is chosen, your user ID and a link to your profile page will appear on the product page. If you’d prefer not to have your pictures selected, opt out no later than August 31.
- Easier, more profitable selling on eBay
- Faster recourse for unpaid items. A streamlined process will cut the resolution time in half. We are also working on a new automated option that will make the process even more efficient, cut the time to resolution to as little as 8 days and block negative feedback when a seller opens a claim and a buyer doesn’t pay. This automated option will be tested in late September and our goal is to gradually make it available to all sellers by the holidays.
- eBay dispute resolution for buyer claims is expanding to more buyers to make the process faster and easier for sellers and buyers.
- Buyer communications will be faster and easier to manage with enhancements to My Messages and streamlined post-transaction emails.
- Get more control over international ship-to locations. You’ll have the same ship-to choices you have now, plus you’ll be able to specify countries you do not want to ship to.
- Upload tracking and delivery confirmation numbers for more shipping carriers.
- Editing listings, even multi-quantity listings with a sale and listing descriptions, will be faster and easier.
- New Selling Manager applications boost efficiency for sellers of all sizes-try them free!
- Category and Item Specifics changes are now consolidated with the rest of updates. Find out if there are changes to your categories.
- Stores subscribers-now you can put all your Fixed Price listings on vacation.
You’re also invited to:
- Take part in one of several upcoming webinars on Tuesday, July 28 and Thursday July 30.
- Join me and other leaders from eBay and PayPal in a Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, July 29. Check the Announcement Board soon for more details.
- Talk with members of my staff during the next two days on a special discussion board we’ve set up for this purpose.
Again, thank you for partnering to make eBay a thriving, successful marketplace.
Senior Vice President & General Manager, eBay North America