eBay UK seller release has astonishingly good news (kinda)

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Following yesterday’s US announcement, eBay UK has just released its list of changes for sellers coming this September. Here’s a summary of — excuse me a moment —


Well, almost. It’s a test. But this, my friends, is almost the announcement we’ve been waiting for:

eBay will be testing a new shopping basket that will make it easier for buyers to purchase multiple items from multiple sellers. It will support both fixed price and auction-style listings from all eBay sellers in a single site-wide shopping basket experience. For fixed price listings, a new “add to basket” button will replace “Buy It Now” on the item page, and buyers will have to checkout and pay for the item in order to purchase it. Until the payment is made, the item can be purchased by another buyer. This should help reduce instances of unpaid items.

That’s all the information we have at the moment: there’s no indication of when the tests start, how many users will be involved or how I sign up for it. More info on this the second we get it, and may I say, “eBay, thank you, but about time”.

Other changes announced are:
1. Changes to My Messages
An out-of-office reply, customised email signatures, message filtering and the ability to sort emails by attributes such as item name, item number or end date: all sounds like it’s going to make using My Messages a lot less painful.

Sellers will have to respond to buyer emails from an address that’s been verified on their eBay account, but will be able to add multiple email addresses to their account. People using CRM systems are likely to need to change the way they work to fit in with eBay.

It’s all being presented as an anti-spam measure but I think we all know it’s more about stopping off-eBay sales. eBay spend too much time and effort worrying about that.

2. Changes to shipping information display
From September, delivery services will be displayed using a standard classifications: Economy, Standard and Express. Existing delivery services specified are going to be mapped onto these, so Special Delivery will automatically become Express; presumably First Class will be Standard and Second Class, Economy. Delivery estimate times will stay as they are now.

eBay say that this will reduce delivery-related questions. I say that unless I’m reading this incorrectly, it will massively increase delivery-related questions. Buyers are used to knowing what they’re paying for, and postage is always such a hot topic with eBay buyers, taking away the specifics of what service they’re paying for is not going to help anyone.

Update: the Shipping Team has now clarified this:

Where the seller has specified this, for example Royal Mail 1st Class, buyers will still be able to see the named carrier and service in the shipping specifics on the item page and at checkout. On the item page they will be presented with a (See all details) button that will then link to an expandable shipping details section listing the service in more detail e.g Royal Mail 1st Class. Additionally at checkout buyers will see full P&P details including carrier details.

In better news, sellers will be able to set surcharges and additional transit times for the delivery of items to special domestic regions, such as the Channel Islands and the Scottish Highlands. Sellers will also be able to exclude these regions altogether.

3. A new listing analytics tool
Couldn’t be worse than Omniture in my opinion, so let’s see what we get with this one. Listing Analytics will help sellers answer questions such as “how do my listings compare to the top 5 listings that appear on the first page of search results (impressions, average clicks) for a given query?” – I think what sellers really want to know is “how do I get this listing to the top of Best Match?” If the new tool answers that, it’ll be a hit.

4. Better bulk edit functionality
and about time too. From September, sellers will get a spreadsheet-like format to enable them to change listings more easily.

5. Compulsory catalogue data use for MP3 players and GPS systems

Search results for these items will be grouped by product, and buyers will see the number of listings available and the prices being offered, rather than individual listings.

6. Buyer protection cases to be included in seller performance

eBay and PayPal buyer protection cases will be included as a new element in seller performance, from 20th October (not 20th September as originally announced).

7. Some category changes
which don’t appear to have been announced yet.

How is it for you? Leave us a comment.

Creative Commons License photo credit: jk+too

39 Responses

  1. Bloody hell – this is good news…Thank God My Messages is changing – I have been harping on about this for ages!! Well done for listening to sellers eBay 🙂

  2. To little to late. I now have a free domain and website which does better than ebay.
    Also just lately i am doing well selling stock through the free adds in the local rags .

  3. Shipping changes looks to have the most impact, since I’m guessing it means that there are changes needed to the way File Exchange uploads are done (unless of course they simply map the current attributes over). Where this leaves the current ‘sellers standard rate’ I don’t know. Agree that the new wording on this is likely to increase the volume of emails (where, for example, do 1st class items from the Channel Islands get placed in this? Standard, even though the delivery time is longer than from the UK?)

    Cart looks promising, although how it integrates with auto-payment via Paypal will be where this lives or dies for many larger sellers.

  4. Why change the name of the postage services?

    I have never heard of 1 seller or buyer complain about the fact that postage is shown as 1st class standard, 2nd class standard etc. So god knows where ebay have got this idea from, other than knicking it from amazon. It works for amazon a it is a completely different format to ebay.

    I can’t wait for all my buyers to start selecting “express delivery” on a Friday night at 8pm, and then email me on Monday morning because it hasn’t arrived, and also quoting “I sleected express delivery” and it isn’t here.

    Then I’ll have to explain it was dispatched Monday morning as we post Mon-Fri and they completed payment FRiday night. Then I’ll get loads of abuse saying I shouldn’t offer “express delivery” blah blah.

    This will add more low scores on the DSR’s.

    Absolutely rediculous IMHO.

    Why change something that worked perfectly before?

    A shopping cart on the other hand…. has had buyers and sellers screaming out this, for years, so this is good news.

    I’m still baffled by the shipping names supposedly to reduce the numbe rof questions sellers get. I can’t remember when I last received an email saying “what does 2nd class” or “1st class delivery mean?”

    I can certainly imagine questions on a daily basis asking how fast express delivery is?

    My answer will be simple…”1st class”

  5. nothing here that excites us or worries us,
    nothing that will have any major effect on the way we work
    though we do like the generic terms for shipping options as we dont always send as the present list states

  6. I have just been speaking to my account manager about it because I have to select sellers standard rate as there is no option for Royal Mail Tracked. So now I will be economy delivery. I am going to have to edit 600+ listings to change it to 48 hour courier. Oh joy

  7. “In better news, sellers will be able to set surcharges and additional transit times for the delivery of items to special domestic regions, such as the Channel Islands and the Scottish Highlands. Sellers will also be able to exclude these regions altogether.”

    Absolutely the best news I’ve heard from from an Ebay update. I send pallets all round the UK and the price can vary wildy. Being able to set additional surcharges automatically should be of great benefit.

  8. Am I the only one who has misgivings about the shopping basket? When someone buys from me, they often then go to my shop/other listings to see what else I’ve got, and often buy more items to save on postage. I do the same myself if I am buying, especially from overseas. If there is a basket, surely that just encourages shoppers to go elsewhere for further purchases? Then there is always the chance that when they go to ‘checkout’ they will dump some of the items in the basket and ‘Sold!’ will become ‘Not sold after all!’

    I also don’t see how it helps with combined postage, etc – this is certainly not my experience on Amazon. Recently I wanted a series of books and went through lots of sellers to find one who had all of them, thinking it would save me money as the seller could combine postage. Not so. I bought 6 books from the same series – all small, light second-hand paperbacks, about 50p-75p each. The seller sent them all separately and charged postage for each one separately – I have never seen anything so ridiculous! I contacted the seller who apologised, saying they had to do it this way because of Amazon rules. Is this how eBay is going to end up? 🙁

    Silk Dreams Lingerie

  9. It would appear (according to eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff) that the beta test for the shopping cart will apply to buyers not sellers in which case we have a long wait before we can get excited about it.

  10. I don’t see the shopping cart as a good thing at all. I get the impression that eBay want to give the appearance that the buyer is buying from trusty eBay and not an individual seller.

    We will be waiting longer for payment because the buyer is still shopping with other sellers assuming they still want their impulse purchase as it sits in a shopping basket.

    They might even take it out on us because they lost their item to a quicker buyer.

    Why need it? It takes 30 seconds to pay by Paypal already. Then I’ll go shopping for more if needed.

    I see it now. Congratulations your item sold…Buyer is still shopping you will be paid shortly, don’t send item yet…..3 days later buyer completes checkout.

  11. eBay had a perfectly working shopping cart system within eBay Express (RIP) I don’t recall it being a problem on there. It did all the transactions seperatly but the buyer didn’t have to keep going through the system for each seller.

    However, eBay with it’s wealth of options unlike Express is a whole different ball game, I do hope they can at least get it right from the start esspecially so close to Xmas. Though given their track record I’m not holding my breath. 🙂

  12. The cart will be launched and withdrawn within the same month, then re-launched…maybe.

  13. Great changes ahead

    All that needs to be done now is a review of the 12 month Top Rated Seller look-back period for low volume (but high ASP) sellers.

    Low volume doesn’t necessarily equate to low priority. It’s just unfair.

  14. p.s

    Here’s hoping they add a search facility to messages, too. Ctrl F has it’s limitations! It’ll probably quicker than running an Outlook search.



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