ChannelAdvisor revamp their eBay checkout

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ChannelAdvisor have quietly revamped their 3rd party eBay checkout which is now a single page four tabbed process. There’s a pre-populated address check tab, followed by shipping method, payment option and final order confirmation tabs.

As you go through the process a sliding sidebar showing your order total is on the right hand side of the page with contact details for the seller should you run into any problems.

I spoke to Scot Wingo, CEO of ChannelAdvisor to ask the question why hasn’t the checkout been updated in the past? He told me this is something ChannelAdvisor have been looking at for over two years since eBay first indicated that 3rd party checkouts would be abolished. Due to uncertainty, making changes to the ChannelAdvisor checkout wouldn’t have make sense and this was proved correct when eBay delayed and changed their mind over the future of third party checkouts on eBay.

Since then eBay have announced the final retirement date for third party checkouts and with more fixed price items than ever on eBay there are more opportunities for combined shipping. ChannelAdvisor decided that for the 2010 holiday shopping season they wanted to give their customers the best checkout experience available on the Internet.

The developments won’t be wasted when eBay retire third party checkout, the technology behind the one page checkout will be used in a variety of products including the ChannelAdvisor webstore platform in the future.

The other question I had to ask Scot is why keep the third party checkout at all? The reason is that eBay still don’t provide functionality that many sellers need and has been added over the years. eBay have committed to building the checkout features that sellers use into the eBay platform before 3rd party checkouts disappear for good in June 2011.

Functionality still missing from eBay that can be provided by a 3rd party checkout include:

  • Tax/VAT calculations – This is essential in the US where sales tax varies by State and even for the UK where VAT is chargeable for EU sales but not for the rest of the world. Also VAT may or may not be chargeable on shipping depending on the product(s) purchased. Sellers need the flexibility to charge VAT/sales tax correctly.
  • Shipping capabilities – Sellers want to be able to offer different shipping methods based on multiple purchases to offer buyers the best service available.
  • Promotions – Offering discount coupons, free shipping, buy two get one free and combining orders just isn’t easily available on eBay but sellers still want to offer incentives to buyers to increase order size.
  • Shipping and tracking – eBay are pretty much exclusive with UPS/USPS in the US and Royal Mail in the UK. Sellers want flexibility to ship with Fedex, Interlink, Citylink and other carriers and to inform buyers at checkout which carrier will deliver their item as well as providing tracking numbers to customers.
  • Payment options – eBay allow a variety of payment options including the sellers own merchant credit card processing, but they don’t provide the ability on eBay to do this.

Whilst I’ve never been a fan of 3rd party checkouts, I’ve bought a couple of items from ChannelAdvisor customers recently and I have to admit that the checkout flow is a vast improvement. On past experiences where I’ve had up to seven pages to click through to complete a purchase but now it’s simple, straightforward and, unless you want to change any details, it’s pretty much a four click process.

Changing delivery address in ChannelAdvisors checkout is easier than it is on eBay (an improvement eBay could make immediately is to make the “Change” link much more prominent to encourage buyers to enter the delivery address that they want rather than email the seller to request a different delivery address).

The list of features that eBay need to build into checkout before June next year is extensive, but it needs to be completed to ensure that it’s a world class platform and to enable sellers to provide the best checkout experience on the Internet.

Disclosure: ChannelAdvisor advertise with TameBay

4 Responses

  1. must admit we used CA checkout just recently and it was ok
    it used to be a total pain,

    ebay, CA etc have an impossible job trying to make any checkout useable, to the guerkins out there,
    it astonishes us some web buyers have the sense to switch a computer on, never mind complete checkout

  2. “Tax/VAT calculations – This is essential in the US where sales tax varies by State …”

    If it were just State it would be relatively simple.

    In our case (right now) we only have to collect for our own state, which is 4% but depending on where it is going within the state we also have to charge the appropriate municipal tax, which varies. If it is going on the Res we are not to charge the State tax but charge the Tribal Special Jurisdiction (and possibly Municipal) tax instead.

    When we were on eBay we found it easier to calculate and pay the tax out of pocket as we did so little in instate sales.

    If the States succeed in their desired aim to compel each individual retailer to register, collect and remit for all 45 states that collect different rates of sales tax, with different tax rules (i.e. what is taxable eg shipping, or not eg kids clothing under a certain size range) then municipalities are sure to follow and it will be an administrative nightmare.


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