This February 2020, eBay released its Spring Seller Update with some useful marketplace updates as well as its User Agreement changes. Keeping up-to-date with these seller updates is a must to all eBay sellers because these changes will affect your selling experience, whether you’re familiar with them or not. For instance, in the 2017 eBay Seller Update, they announced the ban for active content and many sellers got their eBay suspended. So our advice is: always familiarize yourself with all eBay updates to stay on top of your game.
As for this year, here’re the 6 updated topics:
Updates on how you list
Updates on how you ship
Updates to how you promote
Updates to how you service customers
Updates to how you manage your financials
Updates to your user agreement
So let’s break them down and see the details of each one.
#1. Category changes
The category changes claim to help international buyers find your items by helping eBay categorise your items closer to industry-standard classifications. These will impact primarily the Business & Industrial,Watches, Home & Garden, and Sporting Goods categories.
What you should pay attention to is the fact that eBay will automatically move your listing into its relevant category so you have to check that there hasn't been any mistakes. Ignoring these changes can result in differences in your eBay fees so make sure your listings always match their “best fit” category.
#3. Item Specific features on the active listings in Seller Hub
Seller Hub introduces a new task and filter feature so you can find and update missing item specifics in your active listings.
Here’s their step-by-step explanation on how to do that:
Also, you can now view missing item specifics in your Tasks module. There will be a little red error alert saying what should be done/added to your listing.
#4. Multi-User Account Access
This is great for eBay sellers who have employees handling orders because it grants authorized users access to the account without the need of a password. This will be read-only access which is enough to see orders that need to be prepared for shipping. Multi-user account access will become available in April, 2020.
#5. Volume pricing
This is a nice marketing update for eBay sellers, regardless if they’re store owners or not because it adds incentive for buyers to purchase more. This volume pricing update will help you create discounts for multi-quantity orders by creating easily visible bulk cart additions to your listings.
You can read more about this new volume pricing feature here, it includes setup instructions, their management and the FAQs. Neat new feature!
#6. Background Removal
The background removal is another nice feature eBay is adding this spring and many sellers have been asking for it. Your eBay images play a significant part in determining your sales because “small” details still matter to buyers and they judge a seller by the way their listing is presented. This is also why we recommend you use a professional designed eBay templates along with great images to further excel your first impressions.
#7. Terapeak Updates
On March 31, 2020 terapeak.com will be deactivated and its new features will be introduced in your Seller Hub. For those of you who don’t use it yet, it’s a great research insights tool that shows how specific products and categories across all eBay marketplaces are performing and helps sellers determine what to sell, when, and at what price. It is free for Basic, Premium, Anchor, and Enterprise eBay Store subscribers and can be found under the “Research” tab of your Seller Hub.
The new features that will be added include:
Unsold listing indexing and sell-through rate
Aggregate metrics for active listings
Listing report for active listings
These will be added later in spring 2020:
Multi-User Account Access for Terapeak Research
Data visualizations for active listings (Price & Category distribution)
The last feature for active listings will probably include competition analysis, which will be a very useful addition.
#1. eBay International Standard Delivery
This is an introduction to eBay’s new service, which is available to all US sellers using eBay’s Labels. The following benefits hope to improve international shipping experience:
Reliable tracking and visibility
USPS pick-up and drop-off convenience
Shipping protection for loss and damage
Seller protection for feedback and seller standards
Here’s eBay’s table of benefits for using their new International standard delivery service in comparison to the Global Shipping Program and USPS:
#2. FedEx 2-day delivery rate reduction
This is simply a notification that FedEx has lowered their prices for nationwide 2-day and home delivery (for the first time ever). It is now lower than it was in 2019 and applies to FedEx Pak, Envelope, and packages weighing 1-10 lbs. You can read the full announcement here.
#3. Missing item location ZIP codes notification
Item location ZIP codes are very important for eBay search visibility and sales conversion because it helps buyers understand where the item is being shipped from. If the warehouse where the item is stored is close to the buyer, then they know it will take less time for delivery and they’re more likely to proceed with the purchase. Thus, zip codes provide an accurate time estimate for that.
“If your listings are missing item location ZIP codes, you will be notified in the Active Listings tab in Seller Hub to provide missing ZIP codes. If you mistakenly dismiss the notification three times, you can return to the ZIP code page by clicking on the item location ZIP code link in the left navigation on the Active listings page. If you have multiple warehouses and do not have a unified ZIP code, you should ignore the notification. ZIP code changes you make will show in your listings after they refresh every few hours.”
Inventory Promotion - New “Offer to Buyer” enhancements
The “offer to buyer” is a really good feature eBay has been working on and we’re glad to see they keep updating its’ features. It permits sellers to create special offers to interested buyers by enabling discount negotiations. According to eBay, “around 30% more watchers turn into buyers when they receive an offer from a seller. Last fall, we announced that you could reach up to 10 buyers with an offer. Now you can reach up to 40 buyers.” This data is from eBay’s survey conducted from June through December 2019.
You can now create as many as 5 offers and counteroffers with each buyer and they vary based on the original price of your item. The lowest possible discount is 5% and the more expensive your product is, the higher the discount you can offer.
The fact that you can now do those negotiations on your mobile devices is the new feature introduced in March 2020, and it’s available for iOS and Android.
Seller Help is now combining management of returns, refunds, “Item not as received, and “Item not as described” issues all in one section, which is a good change and can be a time-saver for sellers. In addition, you can submit requests to review feedback received and its’ removal, view your policy notifications including any issues that need to be resolved with your account (like eBay suspension). Finally, you can also report buyers who abuse these policies - all in your Seller Help.
#2. Handling Returns & Cases
Starting June 1st, 2020, all sellers will be required to use shipping couriers that are officially integrated with eBay. You can view the PDF of that list here.
Once your case for “Item not received” will be opened, you’ll have 3 days to put in the tracking number update, however, it is always recommended to update that as soon as you start handling the shipment.
Starting April 1st, 2020, buyers will also have more time to file proof of returns shipment and sellers’ requests to close the case early will no longer be accepted. However, if eBay doesn’t receive that proof within the time the request is active, sellers will be protected from negative or neutral feedback of that transaction.
Most importantly, you need to make sure to respond to all your “Item not as described” cases within 3 business days because eBay will refund those buyers on your behalf without asking them to return the item. This is very crucial to pay attention to because you might end up losing your money and your item!
Sellers outside of the US, selling to US buyers on the ebay.com website must provide a US-based return address. “When you do not provide a US return address and your buyer requests to return an item that doesn't match the listing, you need to accept the return and provide the means to return the item within 3 business days. Otherwise, we may refund the buyer and seek reimbursement from you without requiring the item to be shipped back under eBay Money Back Guarantee. Starting June 1, 2020, we may decide these cases after the 3 business days elapse without requiring the buyer to contact eBay. This change will apply to returns valued up to $25.”
#3. Previously blocked buyers protection
Obviously, if you blocked a buyer he/she can no longer purchase from you. However, eBay will help you identify previously blocked buyers that are using new accounts with the same name and/or shipping address. You will be able to cancel those transactions and will be protected from any negative feedback and/or defects of that transaction. You can do so in your Seller Help page as per update #1 of this section.
At this time, we’re not going to dive deep into the eBay user agreement but we do suggest you read the document and familiarize yourself with the updates.
If you're an eBay seller in the UK, here's a short video recap for 2020 eBay Business Seller News:
This 2020 eBay Spring Seller Update includes a few minor and several major points sellers should definitely pay attention to. In my opinion, the managed payment update is highly important to read into because it will become a requirement for all eBay sellers this year. The offers to buyers and volume pricing are great new ways to increase sales as well as the eBay international shipping service because it will probably be cheaper for buyers to use.
These changes should help increase sellers’ profits and maximise buyers’ incentive to complete purchases so in my opinion, it’s a good update for both sides. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this update in the comments below and if you have sources of other locations discussing this update, feel free to drop a link.