eBay have just announced an increase to the postage caps in line with the recent Royal Mail price increases, which came into effect on 4th April (or will come into effect in May for Royal Mail contract customers). eBay’s roll out for listings launched on or after the the 6th April 2011.
Sadly eBay have once again committed the cardinal sin of driving sellers to offer the worst possible service to their customers. They have based the new postage caps on where Royal Mail 2nd Class service prices have been increased to more than the current postage caps.
The postage caps are applied to the first domestic service offered, sellers are able to offer premium services at rates higher than the postage caps for additional delivery options. This effectively means eBay are encouraging sellers to offer 2nd class postage and the worst possible delivery time, with 1st Class postage or courier delivery as an afterthought.
It should be noted that by offering 2nd Class postage it will be displayed to buyers as an “Economy” shipping option – faster delivery options will be displayed either as “Standard” or as “Express”.
Pretty much the whole of ecommerce (apart from eBay) offers a “Standard” service as standard. Many also offer options to either upgrade to “Express” if you’re in a hurry or downgrade to “Economy” if you want to save money.
It’s time eBay guided sellers towards offering a “Standard” service as standard and to do this would take one simple change – Keep the postage caps, but please eBay, don’t insist that they apply to the first service offered. Allow sellers to default to at least an adequate or “Standard” service and then let buyers choose to downgrade to a capped “Economy” postage service if they want to save money.
Why eBay would want sellers to provide Top Rated or Above Standard services to their buyers and yet guide them to offering sub-standard or “Economy” services as the default. It just doesn’t make sense.