eBay releases Seller Dashboard (lite) for tracking those DSRs…

March 22, 2008

ChannelAdvisor ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

It’s alive!

Sellers were a little perplexed when the seller dashboard didn’t go live when Lorrie’s post said it would, but starting very late Friday night and into Saturday, it has appeared for most sellers.  To find it as a seller, login to eBay and go to My Ebay, then My Account, “Seller Dashboard”.

Not every reader is a large seller and I’m sure there’s a lot of curiosity around what this looks likes as DSRs are such a hot topic with the community so I thought you may enjoy a little walk through.

Keep in mind this is what eBay is calling the lite version of the dashboard and more is coming in May.

Here’s a screen shot of what it looks like for a real live titanium powerseller.

Seller_dashboard_2

I’ve marked up this screen shot to highlight some things:

  • First, I masked the seller’s user ID.
  • Then in box 1 I wanted to highlight how this works.  What you do is select the criteria you want to measure yourself against (5%/15%)
  • When you do that in box 1, box 2 changes to tell you if you are a powerseller and also if you can meet the X% criteria selected in box1.
  • Finally in box 3 is the meat and potatoes of this whole thing.  The 30-day trailing average (it updates daily) and how you stack up against the requirements.

In this example, the seller is clearly making the 5% discount tier and now thanks to this 30-day data, sellers can start to change some things and test to see if the 30-day average starts going up or down based on their changes.

So for example, with this seller we now have a much clearer path to the 15% discount.  If we can work and get the shipping time and charges DSRs up .1 then we can get there.

Why do/should sellers care about DSRs?

The 5+15% discounts in the US are pretty widely known, but now that BestMatch is live, we’re seeing conversion rates pop as much as 15%-30% for those sellers that are being advantaged.  One point I’ve been making to some sellers that say: “well I’m going to stay at a 4.5 and not really be advantaged or disadvantaged and keep charging high $ rates.” is that in a world where sellers are being advantaged, if you are not being advantaged that in itself can effectively be a disadvantage.

For example, let’s say you are selling shoes and are at a 4.6, but some of your larger competitors are at a 4.8.  It’s not only possible, but probably that you are now pushed off the front page of listings even if you have a high saturation strategy.  Start doing some searching with BM selected and you’ll see what I mean.

Think of it this way:

  • Page 1-2 of BM search results – advantaged sellers
  • Page 3-5 – sellers that are neither advantaged or disadvantaged
  • page 6+ – welcome to disadvantage-ville!

The moral of this story is sellers that take selling on eBay seriously need to work to get to the 5% level short-term and long-term think about what it takes to get to 15%.  If you don’t you can say hello to page 4 and maybe even page 6.

How to improve your DSRs

In Mid Feb, we ran a webinar on DSRs and came up with 11 best practices here.   One thing sellers have been constantly leaving in the blog feedback is that eBay wants them to do free shipping but eBay isn’t paying for it.

Well what these folks aren’t listening to is that we keep saying that our data says that sure cost does play a roll, but what’s equally important and sometimes more important are options (do you offer combined shipping,expedited shipping?) and communication.

With some tweaks to communication alone we’ve been able to move seller’s 30day DSRs .1-.3, so it’s more about setting expectations and living up to them vs. giving away shipping free.

To those readers who hate DSRs

Everytime I write about DSRs I get about 10 comments from sellers (most of them the leaders of the recent boycott) that fundamentally argue the system is flawed, evil and the work of satan.  Their argument goes something like this:

“eBay tells buyers that 4 is good, but then they require sellers to be a 4.5 which is above good.  Why does eBay require sellers to be better than what they are telling the buyers?”

I’m being kind here, there’s usually some reference to communism, a class action lawsuit or some such kind of thing.

This makes me think back to one of my first engineering classes at the wonderful University of South Carolina (go Gamecocks!).  This was a weeder class and super hard.  I was really proud on one of the first tests to get a 95, but somewhat perplexed to see the grade marked with a ‘B’.  The professor went on to explain that he was free by the university to grade on a curve and according to the bell curve, enough fellow students did better than I did such that I was now in the ‘second quartile’ and a B.  Well I can tell you that got my attention and I certainly started to strive to not only get above the ‘A’ rank which is usually a 93, but to get in the top quartile of my fellow students.

This is exactly what eBay is doing to sellers.  Sure they are telling buyers that 4 is good and 5 is excellent.  Then what they are doing is putting all of the sellers in a distribution curve and it turns out that when you do that, you end up with the buckets that Brian Burke outlined a long time ago.

So there really is no correlation to what ebay tells the buyer and where they draw the lines for advantage/disadvantage/carrots/sticks, what matters is where you rank against OTHER SELLERs.

Sellers that are stuck on this aspect of DSRs need to move on or be forever relegated to page 6 (and really what’s the point at that point?).

Finally a message for eBay (need seller’s help here too – call your TSAMs!!!)
While the seller dashboard is a neat app and give sellers some new data, we believe that third parties like ChannelAdvisor could do some innovative things with this data, but alas eBay has not made it available via any API.  We have literally thousands of sellers using our free DSRWatch utility, and would love to add some advanced charting/trending/alerting around the 30-day data, but eBay has this data locked up in it’s servers and isn’t providing access to anyone but eBay.

Disclosure for SeekingAlpha: I am long Google.