You may also wonder just what these policy changes mean to you, so I’ll break down three of the major policy changes announced.
In its announcement, eBay noted upcoming changes to returns, auctions with the Buy It Now option and adjustments to eBay’s Top-rated Seller program. The changes will make return times longer, make auctions with the Buy It Now option fixed-price listings, and mean you may have to make adjustments to your listings.
The three- and seven-day return options currently available on eBay are very reasonable, I think. They give buyers plenty of time to return items and reduce the chances of buyers abusing the system. However, these options will be retired during the first week of May. After that, sellers who want to take returns will have to give buyers at least 14 days to return their items, or they can specify a 30- or 60-day return policy.
I don’t think this is a good idea.
Some sellers, especially those in the Clothing & Accessories categories, already have a tough time dealing with returns. Most returns are legitimate, yes. A buyer may forget to check a seller’s size chart and may order the wrong size, for instance. But other times, buyers receive good items, use them once and then decide to return the products without reason.
I think the new, longer return times put sellers at great risk. For instance, a high schooler may buy a prom dress one day, wear it to the dance then decide to return it, having no more use for it.
That worries me. What about you?
The change to auctions with the Buy It Now option also caught my eye. With this change, by May 28, sellers must update their saved listings for similar items to make sure they don’t violate eBay’s Duplicate Listing Policy.
This policy is meant to give more sellers added exposure on eBay and let shoppers find what they want more easily. I’m sure it does this. But I’m also sure the change will have some sellers updating tons of saved listings. I say the sooner you start, the better.
May 28 might seem like a ways away, but with all the tasks we sellers do, it will be here before you know it.
My suggestion is to remove the Buy It Now option to prevent your auctions from being considered fixed-price listings and potentially being flagged as duplicates.
I understand if you start an auction at a low price to save on fees but worry that you might see the item go for much less than it’s worth. I worry about that myself sometimes.
If this is the case and you can’t remove the Buy It Now option, I suggest you review your similar listings to make sure at least two of your listings’ fields, like photos, title, price or description, are substantially different so your listings won’t be in trouble, come May.
Now for the changes to the Top-rated Seller program. There were a few of these. First, eBay noted it would drop its sales requirement to $1,000. However, to qualify for this title, merchants must also upload tracking information for at least 90 percent of their transactions with U.S. buyers by May.
If you don’t do this already, you’ll want to start. You’ll also need to offer a one-day or same-day handling time, and at least a 14-day return policy with a money back option to get the Top-rated Seller discount. Sellers who don’t will still get a boost in Best Match, but they will not receive the discount.
Luckily, if you use Auctiva to print your shipping labels, the tracking can be automatically uploaded to eBay when you generate a label. I use this feature all the time and love it. It’s easy peasy, lemon squeezy! If you haven’t given it a try, I suggest you do. It could reduce your workload greatly.
eBay’s changes may mean some work for you, so start reviewing your items now to make sure you comply with the new requirements. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
What do you think of eBay’s changes to returns, auctions with the Buy It Now option and the Top-rated Seller program? What changes announced it the 2012 Spring Seller Update stood out to you? Tell us below in our comments.
Rebecca Miller is Auctiva.com's Product Manager. As an eBay seller of more than 13 years, Rebecca is well tuned into the needs of online sellers, and serves as an internal advocate for merchants. She continuously monitors Auctiva's Community Forums, answering customer's questions and taking their feedback to developers for future enhancements. Rebecca continues to sell on eBay, and has experience as a PowerSeller and a Top-rated Seller.