Effective February 20, 2016, eBay rolled out the new On-Time Shipping Metric, the marketplace’s new and more objective seller performance standards. These changes will both help and protect sellers when dealing with unexpected shipping problems. Here’s what you need to know.
On-Time Shipping Basics
Instead of buyer feedback, seller ratings and undelivered item requests factoring into your shipping performance, it is now calculated on what you can actually control: whether it shipped on time. Under the new system, eBay checks objective tracking information on these criteria: if your package was indeed sent within the time you said it would be sent, and if it was delivered by the delivery-date estimate.
How the New System Works for Sellers
The new metrics will indicate that a shipment is late only under the following circumstances:
• If tracking shows late delivery and no acceptance scan by carrier within the stated delivery window.
• If the buyer can confirm that the delivery is late, the lack of carrier acceptance scan proves the late delivery, and/or no confirmation of any kind shown by the estimated delivery date.
In short, if a seller has made a good-faith effort to deliver on time and has the confirmation to prove it, you won’t be dinged. For example, if you offer 2-day handling, be sure you’ve scanned the item and uploaded tracking within 48 hours of receiving payment. Even if the shipment isn’t in progress until after that 48-hour window, or the carrier doesn’t immediately scan your item, you’ve done your part.
In the event that you do not have tracking information, eBay will contact the buyer for you to make a simply inquiry about whether the package was delivered on schedule. If the buyer doesn’t respond in addition to there not being tracking available, your rating won’t suffer.
The Bottom Line
Remember, eBay has seller interests at heart with the new On-Time Shipping Metric. Avoiding the problem of late and undelivered packages can be as simple as adopting some new shipping strategies. Consider scheduled USPS pickup, which comes with an automatic acceptance scan. Also, eBay labels allow sellers the convenience of automatic tracking upload plus discounted postage. Above all, communicate with your buyers. Keeping in touch about potential delays can keep shipping issues from escalating and potentially impacting your performance rating.