eBay.com have announced the details of the 2011 Spring Seller Update and the changes that sellers will be looking at most closely are fees. It should be noted that these changes apply to eBay.com and when changes for eBay UK are announced they are likely to differ in key areas to those on eBay.com.
The big news in the US is that the 5% Final Value Fee discounts for PowerSellers who are not Top Rated Sellers will end, for the first time Final Value Fees will be applied to shipping charges as well as the item sale price, payment holds will be introduced for new sellers and global seller standards will be introduced.
eBay.com fee changes
eBay Top-rated sellers continue to earn a 20% discount on Final Value Fees. If you’re not a Top Rated Seller then the current 5% PowerSeller discount ends as of your June invoice this year.
Store subscribers will see no change in Insertion Fees, but there are changes to final value fees which see rates segmented by category. Final Value Fees are down from the previous fee schedule by 1% (2% less in Media, Clothes Shoes & Accessories and Motors Parts & Accessories), which should for many sellers take into account the extra fees charged by charging fees on the shipping costs as well as the final value.
Those who sell low cost items with relatively high shipping costs in comparison to the sale price will be hit the hardest. The change is good news for those already offering free shipping as they’ll enjoy lower Final Value Fees without being impacted by fees on shipping costs.
This appears quite simply a ploy to end fee avoidance by overcharging on shipping, although it may also penalise sellers who ship heavy items with costly shipping and those that provide premium shipping services in contrast to those who ship by the cheapest possible method.
Non-store subscribers Insertion Fees will be free for the first 50 auctions per month regardless of start price along with the option to add a BUY IT NOW price for free. This will kick in on the 19th April along Fixed Price Final Value Fee rates reduced and applied to the total amount of sale (including shipping) from the 6th July.
After 50 items non-store subscribers, Insertion Fees will be charged at the same rate as Insertion Fees for eBay Store Subscribers.
Sellers with little or no selling history and sellers performing below eBay’s minimum standard will see buyer payments show as pending in their PayPal account and not be available to withdraw or spend.
If you have a Standard or Above Standard performance rating and an established selling history, or you’re an eBay Top-rated seller then you’ll see no difference and funds will be available when your buyer pays.
If you have a limited selling history (90 days or less from your first sale, 25 or fewer sales transactions or $250 or less total sales since your first sale) or if you have a Below Standard rating in your Seller Dashboard then funds will be held.
Funds will be available 3 days after eBay receives confirmation of delivery when you upload tracking information, 7 days after your latest estimated delivery date if you don’t upload tracking but mark the item as shipped. If no shipping information is provided to eBay (you don’t upload tracking information or mark the item as shipped) then funds will be available 21 days after the buyer pays.
Sellers with funds held will be able to pay postage and print shipping labels on eBay or PayPal. Benefits are that tracking information is uploaded automatically and funds for the cost of shipping will be made available from the held money. This will give new sellers the ability to ship items without having to self fund postage for up to 21 days.
Global Seller Standards
Starting in May 2011, minimum selling standards will be put in place across all eBay sites around the world. From the 20th May, to sell into other countries sellers will be required to meet new minimum Global Standards and sellers already have to meet minimum standards to sell into the US, UK and Germany.
Sellers will also be able to achieve Top Rated status in Canada, Australia, France and Italy in addition to the US, UK and Germany.
As previously announced the Shopping Cart (known as the Shopping Basket in the UK) will be rolled out to eBay.com will be rolled out by the summer and become the standard way to buy on eBay over the course of the year. Initially only PayPal will be supported but by summer all accepted forms of payment on eBay.com will be supported.
The eBay Shopping Cart eliminates virtually all unpaid items for Fixed Price listings, the only exceptions being items offered on a negotiated sale such as Best Offers and Second Chance offers.
Catalogue in Electronics
If you sell electronics then you need to start listing using the eBay catalogue. The new shopping experience already live on eBay.com for DVDs, GPS systems, and MP3 players will be rolled out to more categories. Listings that don’t use the eBay catalogue in these categories receive limited exposure on the Search Results page and thus impact sales.
Starting on the 16th May you’ll be required to list and revise listings in these categories with the catalogue when there’s a product match. Best practise will be to start listing with Product Catalogue immediately so that your products are ready when it becomes mandatory.
Mandatory Item Specifics for CSA
From the 9th May Brand, Style, Color, Size Type and Size item specifics will become mandatory for all listings in listings in Clothing, Shoes & Accessories.
Both “Colour” and “Exact Colour” will both be required and eBay say that new colour treatment will help establish consistent colour across categories.I’ll be watching this one with interest as eBay have changed “colours” in clothing on eBay countless times over the years and each change means existing listings then have colours specified which no longer appear in the product finders that buyers use for search.
Motors Parts & Accessories
All listings in eBay Motors Parts & Accessories categories will be required to specify a return policy, handling time and item condition. This is basic information all ready required for other eBay categories.
New communications hub
Starting in May, you’ll be able to manage your communications with buyers from just one location within My eBay. You’ll be able to see the emails that eBay sends to buyers after a transaction, manage your buyer-facing Automated Answers and access your Store newsletters all on the one page.
From June sellers will be able to specify more international shipping carriers and costs in their listings. Later this year, items offered internationally that specify international shipping information could receive increased exposure by being displayed in the main search results for eBay sites in Australia, Canada and the UK.
Specifying international shipping details on items offered to buyers in Australia, Canada and the UK will be required starting in August 2011.