How to get an automatic eBay on-time delivery metric tick

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eBay UK have been asking sellers to add tracking details for many years – not least of which to satisfy the relatively new eBay on-time delivery metric which was first announced in the summer 2015 eBay Seller Release. Following a bank holiday is perhaps the most likely time of year that your metrics may be impacted by perceived late deliveries, so today we take a look at how they work and could affect you.

At the time there were many objections to the standard, not least that for many items tracking simply isn’t affordable for low cost products and a lack of courier integrations for which tracking was available. Other issues included the difficulty in obtaining acceptance scans – something which is relatively easier for smaller sellers who ship products at a Post Office or purchase shipping through eBay. Larger sellers with a Royal Mail collection or who load a trailer with parcels for their courier to collect find acceptance scans more difficult to obtain. At the point of collection a single collection barcode on the warehouse wall may be scanned and from then the next scan of a parcel is often at the point of delivery.

Acceptance scans left online sellers reliant on the actual delivery taking place on time. If you don’t get an acceptance scan as proof that you posted on time then, if the item was delivered late, the seller would be reliant on the buyer to say the item was delivered on time at the point of leaving feedback. That, combined with sometimes parcels being delivered and not actually scanned at the doorstep made sellers wary of the on-time delivery metric with many concerns being aired.

The challenges with the eBay on-time delivery metric led many sellers at the time to decide not to upload tracking to eBay. Other sellers decided to add a day on to their despatch times simply to give parcels a chance of arriving ‘early’, although this in some ways lowers the attractiveness of products for customers looking for speedy delivery.

Here at Tamebay, On-Time Delivery metrics haven’t been a huge topic of conversation for some time – at least you, our readers, haven’t been shouting about them. Does this mean that many of the fears were ungrounded and you’ve learned to work with them or, despite initial worries, are the metrics working for you.

On the positive side of the eBay on-time delivery metric, when tracking is uploaded to eBay and works then sellers don’t get to rate you. The image above shows that for deliveries where eBay know from tracking that the item arrived on time that they state this. For items without tracking uploaded or where delivery scans fail, eBay ask ‘Did this time arrive on time?’ followed by the expected delivery date that was promised in the listing.

‘Did this item arrive on time?’ is the first question eBay ask when a buyer goes to leave feedback. Or if eBay know the item arrived on time it’s the first thing that they tell the buyer. Are you uploading tracking to eBay and if you still aren’t why not?

If you want to see how the eBay on-time delivery metric is measured at the point of leaving feedback, all you need to do buy something on eBay and go to the eBay Feedback Forum to leave feedback for your purchases.

8 Responses

  1. The most useless system ever employed by eBay (well one of them)
    The items when shipped by a cheaper confirmation of delivery service due to the item being low value, hits us numerous times.
    Here is why
    Firstly the item is marked as dispatched on time automatically (in fact early as we are one of those that moved our handling time to 2 days because of this).
    Then the item is not scanned until the point of delivery.
    Unfortunately many customers are not in and the do not bother to go and get the item for many days and then its scanned. So a parcel that gets to the customers door on time ends up being collected a week late. Pretty useless. Then we also have a huge pile of items here where the address is incorrect or the buyer does not go to collect now all of these go against us.
    So eBay need to use their brains and stop the buyer being able to cause these issues. When an address is incomplete eBay need to notify the buyer their account is suspended until they correct it.
    Also many people can’t remember when the item arrived as they leave feedback ages later so they just think they remember waiting ages for it so put it arrived late.

    eBay do not care because it is their way of clawing back discounts.

  2. Mark…. best thing all day is reading your comment and realising I am not alone!
    Ebay delivery metrics are a shambles.
    1, The time quoted on ebay says ESTIMATE. There for it should be just that, well atleast a days grace. Either that or remove the term. Almost all the delivery services are NOT guaranteed. So why are we punished for it?
    2, We have had plenty of occassions where the customer hasn’t been in and so a courier delivery is classed as late! We now don’t add tracking to avoid this as its an automatic defect! Royal mail are no different… lots of people get home to find a card saying they have a parcel to be collected… yet are told by RM they can’t collect it until the next day…. well that will be another delivery fail!
    3, Then as Mark says, you have the incomplete addresses or those that fail to read the description and order something that attracts a delivery surcharge for their location, so you have to contact them to see if they will pay it or not… if they will, it normally goes down as late delivery!!
    I could go on…. but the evidence is clear. The system is completely flawed. Sadly though as those in power at ebay have proberly never even bought something online ( i have no other explaination!!), they simply have no clue how it works int he real world. Of course what they can do is get together with this secret group of buyers who tell them what they want… you know the ones that only want things that generate ebay more money…..
    Over all… we have increased dispatch times and stopped uploading tracking to protect ourself. So ebays actions are achieving exactly the opposite to what they should be doing.

  3. It feels like this was always put in place by eBay not just to improve the end buyer experience, but to increase revenue from sellers. Some won’t hit the target (which is, after all, almost entirely outside their control), and others will adjust their procedures to hit it but fall foul of other discount-losing measures.

    We upload tracking for deliveries where there’ll be an acceptance scan of some kind early in the process (eg RM Tracked48), but not for low value items where the only scan is maybe on delivery. But then I check our metrics, and any cases where it shows as “marked late by customer” – that buyer gets blocked unless I can clearly see from RM delivery scan that it really was VERY late. A customer reporting a low value item as late because an RM48 arrived on the third day not the second is one I’d rather not have again than risk the cost of the metric. I ran the numbers just to make sure that it was a commercially correct decision, and so far it seems to be workig for us.

  4. Several times this year buyers have bought items from us whilst they were on holiday and then messaged me to ask for a specific post date. Usually this has been the following week. There is no system in place to manage this. All l could do was message the buyers to ask them not to give poor feedback on delivery time and l did not upload tracking.

  5. I do not think that customers who are only ‘buyers’ on ebay realise or appreciate the complexities and hoops sellers have to jump through. Many of my buyers seem to have no idea that pay pal is a cost to a seller. So l am sure that putting off a delivery for a week is also not an issue from a buyers perspective.


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