Here at Tamebay HQ we’ve been reading the latest eBay UK Seller Release Spring 2019 with mixed reviews. On the plus side there isn’t much that’s going to really upset sellers which is good, but there’s also not much to really set sellers on fire and this feels like a very minor release for the start of the new year – now we know that there will be a fuller eBay April 2019 Seller Release.
The eBay.com seller release which came some hours later explained the reasoning saying that there are plans for another Seller Update in late April, but eBay are issuing a limited update now so sellers can start taking advantage of new features, Seller Hub enhancements, and listing updates.
With this in mind, what would you like to see in the eBay April 2019 Seller Release?
eBay Shop by Product
Many sellers will be that eBay are rolling back on their flagship Shop by Product experience from the seller side – not being obligated to match products to the eBay catalogue is something that we know will be welcomed. Too often it’s been accused of belonging to the sales prevention office and nothing should stand in the way of getting a product listed on eBay just because there’s not a matching catalogue entry to list it against.
It will be interesting to see how eBay’s new strategy of using Item Specifics and occasions where sellers do match their product to the eBay catalogue are used to relate like products enabling eBay to place reviews against them and buyers to be presented with a choice of similar offers, different condition options and generational versions to purchase.
We know that new buyers tend to prefer listing compression and for eBay to display multiple similar offers as a single search result. We also know that buyers who have been shopping on eBay for many years don’t like the Shop by Product experience and eBay still need to balance these groups of buyer regardless of how they match products on the back end.
Will Item Specifics make it easier for sellers to comply – we’d love to see some new really simply tools enabling Item Specifics to be edited – perhaps in a spreadsheet style from – especially now that all listings will be Good ‘Til Cancelled and may be on eBay for years.
eBay Payments and eBay Advertising
It’s very notable that the two initiatives which eBay say show the most promise for their revenues in the future don’t have any updates so far this Spring.
While we were on tenterhooks to discover if eBay Payments would be coming to the UK some time soon, it’s not really a surprise that there was no announcement. The UK is such a large eBay territory and, with Brexit knocking on the door and an unknown regulatory regime, it’s probably not the best time to launch new financial services in the UK. We know that there will be at least one new country that eBay Payments will be rolled out to early this year with announcements expected by the 2nd quarter.
eBay Advertising, which sellers will know as eBay Promoted Listings, is still relatively new and has sprung from nowhere in the past couple of years, becoming almost compulsory for sellers looking for fast sell through rates.
Having seen Devin Wenig extol the benefits of eBay Advertising to investors, it’s somewhat of a surprise that eBay are not already rolling out further enhancements to the service. For instance currently there’s only a CPA (cost per acquisition) model and we’re confidently expecting to see a CPC (cost per click) model in the near future.
We’d also like to see more feedback on how the initiative is going and refinements to the tools so that sellers can become more sophisticated in their approach. This is a major push by eBay as they’ve demoted the top listing in organic Best Match search results to second place and given the first search result position to Promoted listings. Sellers need to know how to counter this or win the top position through paying.
It would be great to see eBay roll out new tools with changes. In this seller release eBay have made it easy with their automatic conversion of new listings to the Good ’til Cancelled duration and they did arrange an Item Specifics tool with Optiseller, but where are the tools to easily manage your new Good ’til Cancelled listings? How about a tool to quickly identify listings that are a certain age without a sale, what about a tool to identify listings with a particular attribute that can be bulk updated at the click of a button. How about a tool to identify listings which are a year old that can be flagged for revision – most sellers update their templates from time to time and there are bound to be listings that slip through the net.
The changes that eBay are rolling out are largely reliant on sellers to do the grunt work in updating listings and at times it appears eBay are putting features live which are relatively easy for their engineers to implement, now we’re hoping for tools to enable sellers to manage the new features.
It’s somewhat of a disappointment that eBay still haven’t grasped the mettle and made it easy for UK buyers to discover products from UK sellers which can ship today and arrive tomorrow. eBay have provided cut off times for UK sellers. eBay have provided the ability to, for example, display a product with economy shipping and a next day courier service as an addition option. What eBay haven’t done is given buyers the ability to find items that can ship before the seller’s cut off time and ship with a next day courier.
On eBay.com, one of the search options is delivery speed with options for Guaranteed Delivery with 1 Day, 2 Day, 3 Day or 4 Day shipping (or ‘no preference’) so why hasn’t this been rolled out in the UK? It is 2019 and people are still using Amazon as their first port of call when they want to purchase an urgent product.
We know there are technical difficulties in ascertaining if a next day courier can deliver on time depending on the shipping address, especially if the buyer changes their shipping address at checkout… but that’s the same on Amazon where you can select alternative addresses. Surely there are people that work for eBay and sometimes want next day shipping which is after all current retail standards – They must be just as frustrated as me and probably also simply shop on Amazon.
eBay Premium Service
eBay Premium Service is a badge handed out when sellers offer a choice of either Free domestic delivery within 3 working days or a Paid for next day and when the delivery within 2 working days costs no more than £10. Sellers must also offer a tracked delivery services and upload a valid tracking number within the dispatch time for all items costing more than £20.
This is like the ‘Amazon Prime of eBay’, so why don’t eBay enable me to choose to view only items that qualify for eBay Premium service. It would partly rule out the shipping issue identified above and give me the surety that I’m purchasing from a seller who offers superb service when I need it.
With many popular categories having a default Gallery Display, buyers may well be forgiven for missing the tiny Premium Service badge which is so small it looks like a light bulb (There are two on the image below – see how long it takes you to spot them as they don’t exactly jump out from the page as a recommendation for great service!)
It would be unfair to say that there are no benefits from qualifying for eBay Premium Service, it would probably be fair to say that eBay could be enhancing the program and promoting qualifying listings more prominently so we’d love to see this in April.
What have we missed?
What would you like to see included in the eBay April 2019 Seller Release? Let us know in comments below…