Last night on RRB Radio – The River the Ranch and the Bay, there was an interesting snippet from eBay_Andy, an eBay Enterprise Account Manager and eBay Ink blogger. eBay have tested with a small amount of users the ability to require buyers to supply certain additional information at checkout.
The changes on eBay.com have currently been rolled back but hopefully will be fully implemented across the site in the near future.
Requiring buyers to supply a telephone number
The first change is the ability for sellers to choose to require buyers to supply a telephone number at checkout. This is required by many couriers and mandatory for many larger items where the courier needs to ensure the buyer will be at home to receive delivery.
The ability to contact a customer and schedule delivery, or of course to telephone them if there is a delay or other problem with their order should be a given, yet too many times eBay buyers don’t have their phone numbers either appended to their delivery address or updated to their current contact number.
Requiring buyers to supply a physical address instead of a PO Box
There’s often not a problem with delivery to PO Boxes if the item is being shipped by a national postal carrier, but if an alternative courier is being used then it’s likely the seller needs a physical address to deliver to.
This is the case around the world with particular issues being couriers to PO Boxes in the US or UK and Pack Station addresses in Germany (which are run by DHL Parcel Germany, a business unit of Deutsche Post’s Mail division). In some cases items can be delivered to a PO Box address, but not with a signature on delivery. This leaves the seller shipping the parcel untracked with no seller protection, using an alternative often more expensive courier, or having to contact the customer to obtain a physical address leading to delays in shipment.
Both these changes are essential for modern Internet retailers and the quicker they are rolled out worldwide the better the service sellers will be able to provide their customers. All sellers won’t want or need to add these requirements to their listings, but for those that do the updates will be very welcome when they roll out.