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 —
WOO HOO WE’RE GETTING A SHOPPING CART!!!!
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.
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.