Part III – Live blogging from ChannelAdvisor UK – Mark Lewis reveas UK eBay details…

March 30, 2009

ChannelAdvisor ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor
This is the third and last part of a two part series on eBay’s presentation at catalyst UK:
Part 1, Part 2 are here.
Some highlights/newsworthy items:
  • eBay UK to force free shipping and handling (P+P in UK lingo) for some categories.
  • No changes planned for DSRs
Now for the complete transcript:
Question: With the changes you are implementing, are you working with ChannelAdvisor?
Answer: We will be making the announcements 60-days ahead and giving ChannelAdvisor very early availability in the sand box.
Question: I have a question on multivariant otions.  I’ve found on our own ecommerce site that it’s easy for consumers to mess up the drop-down boxes.  Will you avoide that by giving sellers the ability to change to radio buttons?
Answer: No, but we have tested and it’s doing great with buyers.
Question: We are exclusive on eBay and you talked about lowering your highest service, best sellers.  We’re finding the opposite.  We ship heavy items, we ship at cost or below. Our DSRs are terrible on shipping fees.  Now we pay more on eBay and our sales are down because of DSRs. 
Answer: Generally speaking, DSRs are working well.  They give us a mechanism for rewarding sellers at the upper end of the rankings.  There are some categories where it’s extremely difficult to maintain high DSRs.  I’ve talked to furniture sellers with this challenge.  Thus far we haven’t said we’ll change our DSR rules to be category specific because we want to keep it the same and easy for sellers to understand.  My advice is to continue to do what you are doing -work with shipping partners, and be transparent.
Question (same seller): One thing we did is choose a terrible cheap shipper and that solved our DSRs, but customers get terrible experience. You are pushing me out of business.
Answer: That’s nto the effect we wanted to have, this is an unusual case.  You should know your buyers enough – sounds like they want lower cost over quality.
Question: (sue from tamebay) – Why do you provide click-through data and not conversion on Adcommerce.
Answer: Tomorrow there is a session for detailed questions like this.  Adcommerce gives sellers yet another opportunity to meet buyers.  We appreciate the feedback.
Question: When we have lower quantity items, when we list on eBay, it is allocated so not available to other channels.  We want to put it on other channels and take the listing off eBay.  eBay has an issue with ending listings, what’s the policy?
Answer: In auctions if there’s a bid, you can’t yank it. For fixed price we ask that there is clear locked down inventory.  This policy is for the best possible buyer experience.  No issues ending fixed-price listings.
Questions:  Why are your two releases so close?  What’s major and what’s minor?
Answer: We want the second change to not impact the holidays. Next year we will probably do three changes.  Major changes are those that disrupt sellers. For example, if we tweak the BestMatch algorithm, that’s minor. Let me ask you a question – will this make trading on eBay easier?
Answer from the audience: I believe so – in the past your changes have made it very very difficult for my business.
Question:   Free postage – you’ve consulted with powersellers around this.  Amazon and Pix offer longer characters vs the 55 at eBay.
Answer: Clarification – sellers already have the option for free P+P (UK speak for S+H)
(back to seller) – I don’t think we’re on a level playing field.
Answer: Where possible we want to make it easier for sellers.  We have pricing incentives for DVD sellers and will turn up search incentives through the year. There are some categories where we may have to go faster than the marketplace is going.  For those categories we will mandate free P+P. Free P+P is 15%, but not high enough.  They want to see it very wide-spread.  In some categories it’s not the norm, others we will make it the norm.
Item title – we are not actively working on this.  In the past we use to index only the title. We now index the title and attributes.  We are doing some other things that will contribute.  We will allow sellers to create their own attributes (ChannelAdvisor supports this today BTW).  The other is multi-variation.
Question: I agree we need longer titles. (comment really)
Question: For free P+P, with DSRs,  you should have 5.0, but that’s not the case.
Answer: You’d think so wouldn’t you?  We have heard this alot from sellers that they should have manditory 5s when offering free S+H.  We’ve heard from buyers that while the price may say free, they actually throw extra fees in there and buyers want to mark their DSRs down when that happens.
For most sellers with free P+P it’s not an issue because they are above the FVF credit threshold.
Question: In regards to Trust and Safety – we have a new account on eBay. It was selling similar items and wanted to try some new strategies.  We got tripped up by TnS.  TnS wouldn’t help us with this even though we are a top seller.
Answer: Most large sellers have account managers. We now have a policy that if one of your accounts is kicked off eBay, we will not risk your main account.  Brand restrictions are in place around 50 brands where there is high risk of VERO action.  Therefore we have to take exceptional steps to manage that risk.   We’ve done so with stringent requirements – biz account, impeccable record, etc.
SeekingAlpha Disclosure: I am long Amazon and Google