I was at the Internet Retailing Expo in Birmingham yesterday and ran into Matthew Dean from eSellerPro. In a rushed two minute conversation he said one very interesting thing – more and more of the changes that eBay are making are forcing sellers towards using 3rd party providers.
The latest change is the requirement on eBay.com for future qualification for Top Rated Seller status. Sellers will need to ship 90% of their items with tracking and crucially to enter the tracking numbers into eBay within your stated handling time. For sellers of low value items who haven’t routinely shipped with tracking there’s a cost implication but the real burden of the change is manually entering tracking numbers into eBay. This is something that software can automate.
Bulk automated emails are now a thing of the past as eBay handle all emails on our behalf. This doesn’t help when sellers need to communicate with their buyers their only option is now templated emails sent manually one by one to buyers.
There are two main reasons why bulk emails are important – The first is emergencies in unforeseen circumstances such as inclement weather or courier strikes when a seller needs to let all their customers know that deliveries may be delayed.
Sellers of custom made items used to use bulk emails to keep buyers updated as to order status. Bulk emails make it so simple to select all orders for example which were requiring proofs to be approved or for requesting images or text for making the product. Lack of bulk emails has increased the workload and again the only solution is to turn to 3rd party solutions.
eBay’s duplicate listing policy now penalises sellers who mistakenly list the same fixed price product twice. Whilst there should be no reason for doing so mistakes happen and again automating the listing process with software is generally more reliable than manually listing items.
There is no advantage to not leaving feedback as soon as possible for buyers as sellers can only leave positive feedback. However eBay’s feedback options are out of date. Currently you can automatically leave feedback on receipt of positive feedback from the buyer, or on receipt of payment. A sensible option would be to leave feedback on despatch and again this can be achieved with software.
eBay messages should really be replied to through the eBay My Messages console to ensure replies are visible to eBay customer support. Replying by email is possible, but in either case routing to multiple employees and keeping track of who is responding to which enquiries is a pain point for larger companies on eBay. Third party solutions can simplify this and ensure that emails are routed to the best person within the company to deal with them at the time the buyer’s message arrives.
As eBay increase the customer care requirements (and in my opinion they’ll focus less on feedback scores and detailed seller ratings and more on customer service metrics in the future), sellers will find it harder and more time consuming to meet the standards needed without using software solutions to ease the workload.
What other automation options would you like to see added to eBay? What causes you the greatest pain and which processes take the most of your time?