eBay forcing sellers to specify shipping or use calculator

March 24, 2008

Kristina Klausen announced today that starting immediately eBay will require new sellers to specify S+H costs and then in the ‘coming months’ will require this from all sellers.  I totally get this from the buyer’s perspective.

There are so many problems with this from a seller’s perspective it’s not even funny.

  • The eBay Shipping Calculator is a closed system with no access for third parties.  There are no APIs.
  • The eBay shipping calculator is USPS/UPS only.  Many top sellers prefer Fedex or DHL as their shipping carrier.
  • Thus sellers that use third parties (yes, like ChannelAdvisor) or don’t ship exclusively with USPS/UPS are forced to implement flat-rate shipping.
  • For larger items (let’s say a golf club), flat-rate shipping is MORE EXPENSIVE for most buyers because the seller has to look at their best case and worst case zone scenarios and price the flat-rate accordingly.

Thus eBay is implementing a policy that is going to reduce buyer flexibility AND seller flexibility while effectively causing higher shipping costs.

Wait, who wins in this?