eBay business policies

Mastering eBay Business Policies: A Comprehensive Guide for eBay Sellers

Aaron Fitch
March 31, 2024

Let’s look at how to optimize and manage your eBay Business Policies (& workflows) in your growing eBay store.

Key Takeaways: The Importance of Business Policies for eBay Sellers

Your eBay store’s business policies set the tone for your interactions with customers. From shipping to returns, eBay Business Policies tell your customers what to expect from the transaction.

Additionally, managing eBay Business Policies correctly is essential for growing eBay sellers to save time and sell more!

Understanding eBay's Business Policies and How They Work

eBay Business Policies Dashboard and Button Location

Did you know? — If you’ve listed even one product on eBay, then you’re already using business policies! (even if you didn't “opt-in” to manage business policies yet)

Why? — eBay uses each listing's return, payment, and shipping settings to automatically create Business Policies for your account.

Pro Tip: If you didn't “opt-in” to manage business policies yet, you might consider doing soon! If not, you could end up with hundreds or thousands of random-looking policies that you’ll need to clean up later..

What are eBay Business Policies?

When a shopper buys from you, eBay Business Policies tell the customer how the transaction is completed and what they can expect from your store. 

Creating eBay Business Policies

If you haven’t yet,
Opt-in to Seller Hub using the link for your country:

eBay's Seller Hub gives you full management control of the business policies.

Opt-in to eBay Business Policies

Opt-in to eBay Business Policies Screen

Use the eBay Policy Opt-in Link for your country:

If the page doesn’t ask you to "opt-in" or "Get Started" then you are already registered!
You can also opt-in using these steps:
- Navigate to the
Listings section of your eBay store. (or to the Account tab in My Account)
- Select
Business Policies from the left menu. 
- On the following screen, select
Get Started.

Types of Business Policies

There are three main types of eBay Business Policies: 

  • Payment Policy - How customers pay for the order. 
  • Shipping Policy - Shipping prices, courier options, and handling time (time until shipped).
  • Return Policy - If you allow returns and how much time the buyer has to return the item.
Additionally, eBay Motors sellers can set shipping & return policies specifically for automotive listings.

Setting Up Payment Policies

eBay Seller Payment Policy Settings

Payment Policies explain two things to customers:

  • Which payment methods you accept.
  • If payment must be made immediately — or if they will be invoiced later.

→ To create a Payment Policy:

  1. Go to the Business Policies Dashboard [US↗] [UK↗] [CA↗] [AU↗]
  2. Select Create Policy
  3. Choose Payment from the drop-down menu.
  4. Name the policy and type a short description. Policy names and descriptions are only visible to you (not to the buyer). 
The most popular payment method is Payments Managed by eBay.
This allows eBay to act as the middleman in the transaction, collecting payment immediately from the customer via one of eBay's accepted payment methods.
Other payment options include:
- Check,
- Money Order,
- and Cash on Delivery
(Some alternate payment options may not be available for some listing types & markets.)

Setting Up Shipping Policies

eBay Seller Shipping Policy Settings

Shipping Policies communicate two things to the buyer: 

  • any shipping fees and carrier options
  • how long you’ll take to ship the item.
Handling time & carrier info provides you (and the buyer) with security, knowing that order processing will be processed in a particular manner.

→ To create a Shipping Policy:

  1. Go to the Business Policies Dashboard [US↗] [UK↗] [CA↗] [AU↗]
  2. Select Create Policy 
  3. Choose Shipping from the drop-down menu.
  4. Name the policy and type a short description. Policy names and descriptions are only visible to you (not to the buyer).
  5. Choose the buyer’s shipping fees:
    a. Flat Rate - A set rate based on the shipping method (Enter $0.00 for Free Shipping)
    b. Calculated Shipping - Let eBay calculate and charge shipping costs based on the buyer’s location.
    c. Local Pickup - If too large to ship, the buyer will meet you to pick up the item. 
  6. Carrier - Add Carrier Options and any prices to charge for each shipping method.
  7. Handling Time - Informs customers the maximum time it takes for you to process the order and send it to the courier for shipping. (The package must be with the courier before this timeframe ends).
  8. International Shipping - Enable International Shipping if you will ship the product internationally. 
  9. Excluded Locations - Select countries and regions that you will not ship to. 
  10. Shipping Rate Tables - Provide custom shipping prices based on individual locations.
Faster handling time & free shipping can be a game-changer in selling!

Setting Up Return Policies

eBay Seller Return Policy Settings

If a buyer unsatisfied with a purchase, the eBay Return Policy tells the buyer: 

  • if the buyer is able to return the item
  • how long the buyer has to return the item
  • who will pay shipping to return the item

→ To create a Return Policy:

  1. Go to the Business Policies Dashboard [US↗] [UK↗] [CA↗] [AU↗]
  2. Select Create Policy 
  3. Choose Return from the drop-down menu.
  4. Returns Accepted - Choose if you’d like to accept returns.
  5. Days - Set the amount of time the buyer has to request a return.
  6. Return Paid By - Select if you or the buyer will pay for shipping a returned item.
  7. Additional Details - If there are exceptions to accepting a return that are not included in the setting options (such as the item needs to be in a particular condition), include the stipulations here.
  8. Accept International Returns - Enable if you are accepting international returns (which is typically much more costly). eBay will provide you with new settings for international buyers.
The default settings are “eBay’s Guarantee,” which is eBay’s preferred return policy.
Using eBay’s settings may test your risk-tolerance, but can also lead to many more sales!

Managing and Updating eBay Business Policies Like a Pro

eBay and 3Dsellers' Business Policy Dashboards

If your selling practices change, you can edit your business policies at any time. (However, items with active orders may require time before updating).

Additionally, eBay and 3rd-party software has made assigning business policies to your listings very efficient.

Key Features and Benefits of Managing eBay Business Policies

There are two major reasons sellers optimize their eBay business policies:

  • Sell more: Business Policies provide let you separate your eBay store from the competition (free shipping and 30-day returns will give shoppers more incentive to buy your products).
  • Stay safe: When you encounter a bad buyer, your business policies protect your eBay seller account. If you followed your handling time, shipping, and return policies, eBay could remove negative feedback and favour you in a resolution centre case.
Pro Tip: Create commonly-usable policies to quickly apply them to listings and drafts! — Organizing business policies is especially useful when bulk-listing and editing.

Making Changes to Your Policies

To change your eBay Business Policy settings:

  1. Head to your Business Policies Dashboard [US↗] [UK↗] [CA↗] [AU↗]
  2. Select the Edit button (located to the left of each Policy).
If you’re using 3Dsellers Listing Software, Business Policies can be edited & created easily within the platform:
3Dsellers eBay Business Policy Edit Settings

Assigning Policies to Listings

You can assign eBay Business Policies to your listings in several ways: 

  1. eBay Listing Editor - Create or edit an individual listing.
  2. eBay Bulk Edit Tool - Select listings in Seller Hub.
  3. * eBay Listing Software - Custom filter listings & drafts to apply policies in bulk.
Consider bulk-applying policies to groups of items based on advanced custom filters with listing software, such as 3Dsellers

Best Practices for eBay Business Policies

3Dsellers eBay Business Policy Dashboard Hilighting Bulk Actions Button

Business Policies protect you and provide security to the buyer.

However, they can also cause loss in sales if not implemented correctly:

Consistency is Key

Repeat customers can increase sales by up to 40%. To acquire them, eBay sellers provide consistency in order-processing. This way, the buyer always know what to expect. Even shoppers will notice the differences between your policies, causing mistrust.

For example, if your shipping, handling times, and returns are different across multiple items, the buyer may not trust you. But if you always offer the same shipping & return time, then the buyer feels safe knowing you are consistent. (This is especially true for eBay Motors automotive parts who sell to mechanics).

Be Clear and Specific

Like your eBay listing description, the details of your policies should be easy to read and visible. (Pro tip: 3Dsellers Listing Designer allows creating “Policy Tabs” in descriptions).

If you add details to your return policy, ensure they are clear and easy to understand. (ChatGPT might be able to help copyedit your policy details & description policy text)

Additionally, if your shipping policies are simplified, then the buyer has less choices, making the product psychologically easier to buy. (Pro-Tip: Shipping Rate Tables show a simple policy based on the buyer’s location)

Consider Your Target Audience

Your niche may attract particular types of buyers. Consider the thoughts behind the target buyers (or most popular shoppers). For example:

  • Gifts - A generous return policy can attract people buying goods for loved ones.
  • Budget Items - Free shipping can help to entice people on a low budget.
Researching who is the target audience is vital: you may provide the product they need, but they also want good customer service!

Research Competitors' Policies

Consider your most successful competitors and note their business policies. Then, try to match or outperform their policies. (e.g. charging for shipping when the same item is available without a shipping fee).

Following competitor success can achieve more market-share for your business!

A Last Note on eBay Business Policies

Your business policies are part of the product!

Buyers don’t just pay for the item; they pay for service that supports it. This stresses the importance of building good relationships with your customers.
(Pro-Tip: use a Helpdesk to know your repeat customers & send templates fast).

Ensure policies are easy to see, simple, and easy-to-understand.
(Pro-Tip: add policy details to eBay listing descriptions with Listing Designer)

Because eBay Business Policies make or break good sellers, strive to be the best within your abilities. If you aren't able to offer the policies you want yet, offer what you can. Then, when you upgrade policies, let your store followers know (with your eBay Store Newsletter), and you’ll grow to where you aim to be.
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