eBay's 2018 Summer Seller Update is out, and with it eBay keeps its move toward a product-centric marketplace front and center while also announcing changes to:
Item location requirements in listings
Returns policies and processes
eBay stores URLs and markdown policies
Metrics about transaction difficulties in Seller Hub
Here are some of the highlights from eBay's most recent update.
eBay has been quietly testing its product-based shopping experience with a few product lines, and will now expand this experience to encompass entire categories of products.
Sellers selling in these categories, which are outlined in the update, will soon be required to list using the product catalog when creating or modifying listings. When catalog data can be improved, they'll also be able to suggest catalog modifications or suggest new products, subject to eBay approval.
While updating existing, long-running listings will be optional, listings that weren't listed using the catalog may soon "have minimal or no visibility to buyers."
Starting in July, listings across eBay will also be required to use accurate item location data. Inventory shipping from within in the United States must be listed using the ZIP code where it actually resides and from which it is actually shipped.
eBay relies on inventory location data to provide shipping times to shoppers, and this change will enable eBay to continue to refine the accuracy of its shipping estimates and ensure that eBay Guaranteed Delivery provides a best-of-breed experience.
Sellers that warehouse in multiple regions needn't worry—inventory stored at multiple locations, that is shipped from outside United States borders, or that is shipped via freight services are exempt from the new requirement.
Also starting in July, eBay will begin to offer shoppers a faster returns process:
eBay may proactively offer prepaid return labels to buyers requesting a return (in cases of buyer remorse, the buyer will pay for the label).
Buyers will have five business days to ship the return.
Once returns are delivered to sellers, they will have two business days to issue a refund or take action.
If two days pass without seller action, the buyer will automatically be refunded.
This change shortens the timeline for returns considerably, which will lead to increased satisfaction for buyers and shorter holds on funds for sellers.
To complement this change, in August eBay will automatically update existing listings to offer one of the new returns policies outlined in its 2018 Spring Seller Update. A chart in the most recent update shows how current policies will be mapped to the new returns policies when making this change.
In general, listings will be changed to offer whichever of the following policies is the closest to their previous returns policy—one of: no returns, 30-day returns, free 30-day returns, 60-day returns, or free 60-day returns.
Sellers will also be able to offer returns policies for international sales that differ from their policies for domestic sales.
July will be a big month for eBay—in addition to the previous two changes discussed above, it will also mark the introduction of new Seller Hub metrics that show:
How often buyers returned items because they didn't match expectations
How often buyers reported not receiving an item
The frequency of other buyer-reported issues with a transaction
How competing sellers are performing in these areas
The new metrics will be provided using a new, easy-to-read chart accessible from within Seller Hub.
This change will provide enhanced clarity to sellers as they address hiccups in their selling and fulfillment processes, enabling them to zero in on precisely how to improve the experience that they provide to shoppers.
Finally, eBay is in the process of deploying a new URL structure for stores—one relying on www.ebay.com rather than stores.ebay.com. Existing store URLs will automatically be redirected to the new store URLs, which will also support secure (https) connections, as they roll out.
Starting at the end of this month, sellers will be able to offer markdowns only on store products that have been actively listed for at least 14 days, to ensure that sellers' regular prices are competitive.
This will help to keep markdowns effective as promotional tools by avoiding the perception amongst shoppers that markdown prices are actually "regular" prices that have merely been decorated to suggest discounts.
Both changes should encourage shoppers to continue to view eBay stores as professional, top-quality shopping destinations.
Though a few of these changes will require additional work from sellers, all of them will continue to support and enhance the eBay shopper satisfaction, bringing more customers and more customers to eBay and providing them with the best possible experience.
At the end of the day, that's good for sellers of all stripes, as it will serve to boost GMV, create more repeat buyers, and continue to develop the growing perception that eBay and eBay sellers are able to favorably compete with other industry players not just on price, but also on fulfillment and service quality.
At the end of the day, therefore, the 2018 Summer Seller Update keeps eBay on the path that it has recently charted—toward an eBay that firmly occupies its position as a top e-commerce destination, one that is essential and beneficial to to the everyday lives of both shoppers and the sellers that serve them.
To read complete details, please visit eBay's 2018 Summer Seller Update page.
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