eBay Changes Webinar follow-up

April 15, 2011

Marketplaces ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

We had a huge response to our eBay changes webinar earlier this week.  Unfortunately our webinar provider had a technical problem and we weren’t able to do live Q+A which we always enjoy and get great feedback on.

So thanks to social media, we’re going to move that Q+A here.  We had attendees email in their questions which we’ll answer in this post and then in the discussion below the post, feel free to continue to add your questions and other thoughts.  Please note that due to a very high degree of spam on this blog we do have comments run though an approval process, but that generally takes less than one hour to complete.

This post has three parts:

  1. The webinar recording – if you’d like to hear/see a replay.
  2. The webinar presentation – A PDF OF the presentation
  3. Q+A – the questions emailed to us after the webinar with answers from our eBay gurus.

The webinar recording:

You can access the recording by following these steps:

  1. Go to our webinar page at:https://www.channeladvisor.com/webinars/
  2. Under the ‘Marketplaces’ category, select ‘April 13, 2011 -eBay Spring Changes’

(see this picture if you don’t see it – click to enlarge)



The webinar presentation:

If you would like to download the presentation: http://bit.ly/ebay_spring_changes_webinar  

Questions and answers:

As mentioned, we had some issues with our Q+A system that wouldn’t allow listeners to ask questions, so we gathered them via email and have put the answers here.  We have over fifty people in the company that are expect at various aspects of selling on eBay.  These answers are from a subset of that team and due to time limitations, we haven’t attributed them all (while I’d love the credit and to be smart enough to know all this, this was a team effort).

Q: When will ChannelAdvisor support the eBay shipping calculator for Canada? Is there any information on how it works? What options are available for me, and what additional info will I have to put into ChannleAdvisor and eBay?

A: We will be implementing the shipping calculator for Canada in the coming months.

Q: Do you think eBay will start requiring product identifiers for the home & garden category? If, so when do you expect that change to happen?

A: No insight or hints from eBay on moving in this direction, but given the fact we know home & garden is a large growing segment, I would suppose they will likely put effort into enhancing the buyer experience for any growing category in the future.

Bonus answer:  We do get a lot of questions on eBay’s top categories and growth rates.  The following chart is from eBay’s Q4 2010 results and we will update here when they announce q1 2011 in late April.  So you can see from this chart that H+G is the largest category at $2b/Q or $8.5b annual run rate and is growing at 11% y/y.


Q: For the clothing, shoes, and accessories category there was a slide that said brand, style, size type, size, colour, and shade will be required fields starting on May 9th. Will eBay really not show our listing if we do not have the shade and size type listed for a T-Shirt?

A: Unfortunately, yes a new CSA listing will not be created or revised if one of the required fields is missing.  EBay is requiring the following 6 fields – brand, style, size type, size, colour and shade .

Q: One question I wanted to ask is regarding eBay search, specifically, plans to address the woefully inadequate search results. One reason why we had many duplicate listings was to use the listing title for keywords since that is what a buyer may be searching on. With Amazon, you have 5 fields to add keywords. What is eBay’s plan?

A: Yes, eBay has given itself a 2 out of 10 on search and unfortunately with this release they did not really announce any innovations around the search engine.  I wrote a blog post entitled “Is eBay putting the shopping cart before the search horse” when they first announced the cart that shared some of your same frustrations.

That being said, you didn’t say what category you are in, but in many categories they do have variation style listings which are indexed in the search results.  It’s interesting to note that many sellers are starting to ‘spam’ the variation listings (not recommended, but shows the lengths sellers will go to in order to get around these limitations).

Link to blog: http://ebaystrategies.blogs.com/ebay_strategies/2010/08/is-ebay-putting-the-shopping-cart-before-the-search-horse.html

(bonus answer) A eBay engineer recently posted this blog post that talks about improvements they have made to BestMatch. It’s good they admit it kind of has been bad, but I worry they think they have this solved and at best it’s a 4/10.  Kudos to them and this Mike Mathiason guy on being transparent and admitting to the problems.  That’s an important first step to fixing things.

Q: It’s just a quick question about the new rules that items have to have item specifics added, like UPC/Barcodes/Colours etc. Does this include items in other categories such as mobile phone/lighting/audio gadgets, or is it just clothing? I’m just trying to get an idea of how much work is to be done to those listings. Will this be from 6th July?

A: As you know, eBay has a very complex set of categories and requirements across different regions.  Here are some resources for our three larger regions (US, UK, AU)->

US – http://pages.ebay.com/sellerinformation/news/CategoryUpdatesSpring2011.html

UK – http://sellerupdate.ebay.co.uk/may2011/index.html

AU – http://www2.ebay.com/aw/au/201103161205542.html

Adding information like UPCs/EANs assists with providing catalogueueue information for the categories that now are displayed in the “New Product Shopping Experience”.  The categories that are included in that list are:

  • Cell Phones & Smartphones
  • Digital Cameras
  • Video Game Systems
  • Video Games
  • Camcorders
  • Lenses
  • Film Cameras
  • Flash Units
  • Tripods

These categories were required to provide catalogueueue information in the Fall 2010 update and are still required:

  • iPod and MP3 Players (US, CA, UK, IE, and DE)
  • GPS Devices (US, CA, UK, IE, and DE)
  • DVD, HD-DVD, and Blu-Ray (US and CA)

Changes to the Clothing Shoes and Accessories category must include the 6 required fields of brand, style, size type, size, colour, shade.

Q: Do we need to or should we turn off the ChannelAdvisor email notifications? And should we do this now or allow ChannelAdvisor to do it in May automatically?

A: You do not need to turn off the email notifications from ChannelAdvisor, however many of the same messages will be sent by eBay so your messages will be redundant. It is important to review your email settings and adjust as appropriate.  ChannelAdvisor will not be turning off any emails automatically in May.

Q: Exactly what cart will be used and what does it look like for processing credit cards that are non-PayPal?

A: eBay has developed their own shopping cart for the processing all transactions – similar to other marketplace’s carts on their sites.  Initially cart purchases will not allow for non-PayPal credit cards; offering non-PayPal credit cards will pull your products out of a buyer’s cart and force them through a separate checkout.  We recommend you experiment with the cart in your country to understand how your listings appear to buyers.

(Bonus answer) – to turn on the cart in the US – something we recommend all sellers experiment with follow these two steps:

  1. Go to garden.ebay.com
  2. Select the cart ‘seed’
  3. Now experiment with the cart!


Q: Currently we have flat rate shipping via UPS to our US customers and offer a discount for each additional item.  Our International shipping rates vary depending on destination and are sent via USPS but no discount is offered for additional items.  Will we be able to do the same with the changes taking place? With a combined shopping cart, will customers understand that discounts are applied/not applied by purchases from each individual seller?

  • When multiple items are purchased and combined in the checkout, eBay will consolidate the items into a single order and combine the shipping for all items on the order (http://pages.ebay.com/help/pay/shipping-discounts.html). ChannelAdvisor supports promotional shipping rules as well as flat and calculated combined shipping rules.  Promotional Shipping Rules are set up on eBay and will be reflected on orders pulled down from eBay. Combined Shipping Rules (both flat and calculated) will generate a Profile ID, which is to be entered into the Posting Template to associate the items that use that Posting Template with the Combined Shipping Profile.  Learn more about using eBay’s Shipping Profiles (http://ssc.channeladvisor.com/howto/using-ebay-shipping-discount-profiles).  One option in your scenario is to set a % discount through the combined shipping rules. Then add the ID# to the posting template for domestic shipping only, and international buyers won’t get the discount.
  • Cart will apply discounts set by you to your items only.

Q: How can we set up different surcharge for different eBay categories? For example, one category surcharge is $20 to HI/AK, and another category surcharge is $40 to HI/AK. How can we set this up and apply to different items?

A: Unfortunately, different surcharges for the same region are not possible.  Shipping surcharges are set at the account level and are simply one rate.  The surcharge can then be turned on or off for particular items.  More information on setting up surcharges can be found here: http://ssc.channeladvisor.com/howto/implementing-shipping-rate-table-ebay-listings

Q. What are  details on the fourth domestic option and when will eBay launch it?

A. eBay plans to roll it out shortly. We are waiting on eBay to launch it before we make it available in ChannelAdvisor.


If you have more questions, feel free to pose them in comments and we’ll keep posting as long as there are questions. eBay’s Spring changes are large and impact many areas of your business and we want to make sure sellers have as much information as possible to plan for the new fees, category requirements, checkout and cart.

Thanks for your time – Scot and the team @ ChannelAdvisor