Last week, we discussed eBay’s first seller release of 2014 — SR 14.1. Let’s continue the fun and dissect the company’s second major 2014 release, SR 14.2, which took place in August.
The overarching theme of SR 14.2 was more support for buyers. The marketplace simply wants to cultivate loyal customers by providing an environment where they can shop with confidence.
As a retailer, don’t think that all of these changes mean eBay was out to get you. EBay cares about its vast network of sellers and wants to make sure they have a good experience, too.
You can find a detailed recap of the release here, but we’ve captured the highlights below as a refresher for 2015.
Since late 2013, buyers in the US, UK and Germany have been able to request to cancel a transaction for up to one hour after they place an order. “Request” is the operative word here, as sellers aren’t obligated to accept cancellation requests (although eBay encourages them to, to provide a better buyer experience). Sellers have three days to respond to a cancellation request, and if ignored, the request is declined. At ChannelAdvisor, we give retailers the ability to delay importing orders, so that the retailers don’t accidentally start fulfilling the orders during the window when buyers can still cancel them.
Structured Flow for Returns
Buyers in the US, UK and Germany are no longer encouraged to use machine-to-machine (M2M) communications or the Resolution Center to contact sellers about returns. Instead, the Contact Seller page offers several options, including an option to request a return or simply ask the seller a question. Provided that the request is within the seller’s stated returns policy, the buyer can print a return label and send the product back to the seller.
EBay will automatically process a refund for PayPal payments, and Final Value Fee is automatically refunded when applicable. In the event of a return made due to “item not as described” (INAD), eBay charges the seller the return shipping cost (rates here). If a seller wants to dispute an INAD return, there’s an interface in My eBay to do so.
Contact Seller Page with new options
EBay’s Global Shipping Program
EBay’s Global Shipping Program (GSP), which makes it easier for retailers to send items abroad via eBay’s distribution network, decided to expand its reach to more buyers worldwide in 2014 by making listings available for the GSP without requiring sellers to explicitly enroll in the program. The change started in 10 English-speaking countries, and more countries are being added. It applies to sellers that aren’t already enrolled in GSP, as well as those enrolled without a significant amount of listings enabled. Sellers can still specify regional, buyer or country exclusions if needed. If you’re already opted in to GSP, or if you offer international shipping on more than 66% of your listings, this update won’t apply to you.
Automatic Defect Removal
While eBay started enforcing the new defect policy in August 2014, the company also began, on a weekly basis, automatically removing defects if any of the criteria below is met:
- The buyer didn’t pay for the item and an unpaid item case is opened.
- An eBay Money Back Guarantee or PayPal Purchase Protection case is ruled in the seller’s favor.
- The defect was a direct result of an eBay site issue or program error.
- The buyer violated the Buying Practices Policy.
- EBay/PayPal instructed the seller to hold a shipment or cancelled the transaction (likely because of fraud).
- EBay concluded that a defect was a direct result of systemic shipping delays (e.g., widescale shipping carrier delays, extreme weather).
EBay Maximum Final Value Fee Change
In November, eBay also raised the maximum standard final value fee from $250 to $750 on items sold for more than $2,500. While this change affects only sellers that don’t have an eBay Store subscription — their maximum final value fee will remain $250 — the move is clearly calculated to get more sellers into the Store program.
Why is eBay so interested in increasing Store membership? Well, it could be the revenue stream from Store fees. Or it could just be to bolster the exposure of the sellers’ brands. Though it could also be about increasing a seller’s effectiveness, since Store sellers have access to tools that provide insight into buyer behavior and trends. Regardless, what matters is that if you aren’t a Store seller, you might be affected by this increase in the final value fee cap in 2015.
Don’t let these changes scare you. EBay is still one of the most popular marketplaces in the world and one you should continue to sell on — and not be afraid to do so. These seller releases are simply focusing on providing a better buying experience for eBay customers. Happier customers will mean more customers for the marketplace. And you know what more eBay customers mean: more eyeballs on your products!
Blog post by Jordan Nowlin, social media and blog manager, ChannelAdvisor