eBay’s 2014 Spring Seller Update

EW.com eBay Spring Seller Update 2014 570x300There are several big updates for eBay sellers this spring. While these updates may require changes to your normal routine, they are designed to keep your buyers engaged and coming back to your shop. What’s in store? Read on to learn more.

Rewards for great service. When you provide outstanding service, eBay will reward you with greater visibility – which could lead to more sales. Spring 2014 changes include new safeguards designed to keep your service levels high.  A single new measure, the transaction defect rate, will be used to evaluate seller performance, instead of the four individual Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs), which are shipping cost, shipping and handling time, communication and item description. The defect rate is simply a percentage of your total transactions with one or more specific defect (below) that will most likely lead to buyers leaving eBay or spending less.

The defects that will be considered in the transaction defect rate:

  • Detailed seller rating of 1, 2 or 3 for Item as Described;
  • Detailed seller rating of 1 for Shipping Time;
  • Negative or neutral feedback;
  • Return initiated for a reason that indicates the item was not as described;
  • eBay Money Back Guarantee (previously known as eBay Buyer Protection) or PayPal Purchase Protection case opened for an item not received or an item not as described;
  • Seller-cancelled transactions.

Starting in August, all sellers can have a maximum 5% transaction defect rate.

Changes to your TRS status. In order to maintain your TRS, you’ll need a 2% maximum defect rate for U.S. transactions. TRSs will no longer be accountable for the individual 0.5% of 1s and 2s for each of the four DSRs or for having a positive feedback rating of 98%. Unless your shop has transactions with defects with five or more different buyers, the defect rate won’t apply. Pay attention to tracking requirements, too; TRSs must have tracking uploaded (which eBay needs to be able to verify) on 90% of transactions.

What’s the timetable for these changes? The new transaction defect rate will come into effect in August 2014, based on transactions starting May 1 and ending on July 30. (For lower-volume sellers who have fewer than 400 transactions over 3 months, this rate will be calculated using data over the previous 12 months.)

Returns can work for you. Use returns to your competitive advantage! Customers appreciate return policies that protect them and making returns easy can keep your buyers coming back. As a new update to eBay hassle free returns policy, a reassuring message to buyers will be displayed on your item page itself – This message will be designed to encourage the purchase by letting customers know how simple it is to print a label and pay for shipping directly via My eBay. In addition, eBay’s item condition policy will spell out rules for returns depending on the item category. For sellers, eBay will validate your return shipping address before the customer prints the return label, and automatically upload tracking. eBay is also offering a new extended holiday return policy in which buyers have until January 31 to return any item purchased between November 1 and December 31.

Category- and item-specific updates. To improve the overall shopping experience, eBay has announced updates for the following categories starting the week of April 7:

  • Business & Industrial
  • Cell Phones & Accessories
  • Clothing, Shoes & Accessories
  • Coins & Paper Money
  • Collectibles
  • Dolls & Bears
  • Health & Beauty
  • Home & Garden
  • Jewelry & Watches
  • Motors
  • Pet Supplies
  • Sporting Goods
  • Sports Memorabilia
  • Stamps
  • Travel

If the items you sell fall into any of the categories listed above, see detailed information on how your selling practices may be impacted.

The Bottom Line. eBay continually evaluates and adjusts its policies to make both shopping and selling easier. Keeping updated and educated will help you ride out the changes and use them to your advantage. Remember, if you have questions or ideas about how to implement these changes, an eBay Seller Meetup Group is a great way to share knowledge with fellow eBay Sellers and learn more. It’s spring … turn over a new leaf and find out how these updates can work for you!