The latest eBay.com Seller Release is out with the major change being yet more buyer based criteria for sellers to be ranked on along with more detailed item specifics and changes to some tools including buyer communications.
Update: The UK announcement is out as well with a few differences. Below refers to the eBay.com changes
Introduction of Seller Ratings on Buyer Protection Cases
In addition to feedback and detailed seller ratings sellers will now be rated on how many eBay buyer protection cases are opened against them. eBay say “The number of item not received or item not as described cases opened with eBay or PayPal is an important indication of overall buyer satisfaction on eBay. Many buyers who open cases never get to the point of leaving detailed seller ratings (DSRs). That’s why, starting in September, along with low DSRs (1s and 2s), these cases will be used in evaluating seller performance and determining seller status.”
Basically if you get more than 0.5% opened cases as a Top Rated Seller or more than 1% for all other sellers you could face sanctions including loss of sellers status and/or selling restrictions. For low volume sellers there is an allowance of up to 3 cases for eBay Top-rated sellers and at least 4 cases for other sellers before sanctions kick in.
There is an additional criteria for unresolved cases where the seller does not respond to resolve an issue with the buyer and eBay or PayPal issues the refund. No seller regardless of status can have more than 0.3% of transactions with the exception of low volume sellers where it will take a minimum of 3 cases before sanctions kick in.
I can’t see this one going down well with sellers in categories where buyers habitually buy to try. eBay are constantly talking about “retail” and how they want sellers to up the mark, however for mainstream online or catalogue retailers the rates of returns are high (for many mainstream retailers over 30%) and yet a request for return is not deemed a bad buyer experience, it’s considered great service and encourages buyers to continue shopping.
Even legislators (at least in the UK and Europe) recognise that with distance selling it’s impossible to examine goods in the same way as a retail store and across Europe the law provides for the right for buyers to change their mind. Unlike mainstream retail, on eBay hassle free returns will now be punitive unless you can persuade buyers to contact you directly and not open a resolution case.
Item Specifics: Condition
In May eBay are introducing a raft of new and more relevant item condition specifics to enable sellers to better describe their items. These will include conditions such as “For parts or not working” in computers, “New with defects” and “Pre-owned” in clothing and “Brand New”,”Like New”, “Very Good”, “Good” and “Acceptable” in DVDs.
The new item conditions specifics will start to appear on eBay.com from July
eBay will issue every user with an anonymous email address which will be used for all future communications between buyers and sellers. This means you’ll no longer have a buyers real email address even after a transaction. eBay will verify the address from which a user responds so to ensure delivery of your response you’ll need to respond to emails from your registered email address. This could cause issues for people with multiple eBay accounts to manage but you will be able add a single “from” address to your account so that you can respond from the same email address for all user ids.
eBay will also enable sellers more control with an opt out of the Payment Reminder email if they wish to send their own reminders to buyers.
Featured First to be retired
The Featured First listing enhancement is to be retired by July, this is the feature which could give a boost for a Top Rated Sellers listing and would rotate it in turn into the top two slots of search results under Best Match.
Bulk Editing Tools
Starting in June eBay will begin to make new bulk editing tools available, including the ability to download and edit active listings in Microsoft Excel.
Shared product pictures for eBay catalogue
If you opt to allow eBay to use your product pictures as catalogue images you’ll get five free subtitles if your images is selected for use.