eBay 2018 Summer Seller Update for U.S. Sellers

Today eBay released seller updates on a number of platforms. The UK version was released just a couple hours ago, but now it’s time for the eBay.com (or U.S. version).

Inventory Optimization

eBay is expanding the product-based shopping experience including ability to suggest edits and add products to the eBay catalog.

The company is making category and classification changes to provide a more intuitive buying, selling, and search experience.

And there are improvement to help buyers find your products with item specifics.

With the expansion to the categories below, eBay invites sellers to contribute their expertise by suggesting edits to the eBay catalog, which will help ensure that product information is accurate, complete, and up-to-date.

Sellers will also have the ability to add new products if they have relevant inventory that is not represented.

Seller Hub and My eBay will show recommendations on existing listings that need to be updated in order to comply with the new requirement of below categories:

  • Cardio Equipment
  • Cell Phones & Smartphones
  • Computers/Tablets, Networking Tablets & eBook Readers
  • Humidifiers
  • Internet & Media Streamers
  • Major Appliances
  • Portable Fans
  • Programmable Thermostats
  • Small Kitchen Appliances
  • Space Heaters
  • TV, Video & Home Audio: Internet & Media Streamers
  • TVs
  • Voice-Enabled Smart Assistants

Starting mid-August 2018, eBay will provide sellers with the ability to suggest edits in the catalog to products that sellers may feel are inaccurate or missing critical information.

Sellers will also be able to suggest a new product to be added to the eBay catalog.

eBay strongly encourages sellers to begin updating their listings to comply with the requirement so that there will be no interruptions to a seller’s eBay business when the company requires catalog adoption starting mid-September 2018.

Starting mid-September 2018, sellers will need to associate Good ‘Til Cancelled listings with the eBay catalog in the categories above. Otherwise, listings may have minimal or no visibility to buyers.

Sellers will no longer be able to successfully revise an existing listing or complete a new listing if they do not use the catalog.

eBay also said, they will continue to expand the product-based shopping experience to more categories later this year and will provide sellers with advance notice so that they’ll have plenty of time to update listings.

READ MORE: eBay 2018 Spring Seller Update for U.S. Sellers

Search Results Grouped by Product For Easy Comparison

A tweak to search results is that they are now being grouped together by product to help buyers quickly find the specific item they are seeking.

Product Page

Improved product pages display selection, value, and a range of item conditions available on eBay – new items, refurbished items, auctions, and more along with reviews.

The top product slot for an item will be determined based on factors including price, inventory, delivery service, seller standards, and return options.

Category and Classification

Category changes including additions, removals, and renames will go into effect July 31, 2018. The category changes will provide a more intuitive buying, selling, and search experience on eBay as the marketplace transitions to a new product-based shopping experience.

Seller that have a listing in a category impacted by these changes, eBay will automatically move the listing to the most relevant category.

Click on the category name below to view category and item specifics changes.

READ MORE: eBay 2018 Spring Seller Update for U.S. Sellers

List Items in “Best Fit” Categories

eBay encourages sellers to review listings to ensure that they are located in the “best fit” categories. If they are not in the “best fit” categories, eBay tools can help revise items:

  • Listings tab in Seller Hub
  • Bulk edit functionality in My eBay
  • Selling Manager/Selling Manager Pro
  • File Exchange

Category Item Specifics Requirements

Starting July 31, 2018, when sellers revise or relist an existing listing, or create a new listing for the below categories, they will be required to add the following item specifics to complete the listing.

These item specifics help buyers find your items more easily based on how they search today.

  • Coins – “Certification” item specific (e.g., Ungraded, NGC, PCGS, etc.) will be required when revising or relisting an existing listing, or create a new listing in U.S. Coins or World Coins categories.
  • Comics – “Publisher” item specific (e.g., Marvel, DC, etc.) will be required when revising or relisting an existing listing, or create a new listing in Modern Age (1992-Now), Copper Age (1984-1991), Bronze Age (1970-83), Silver Age (1956-69), Golden Age (1938-55), Platinum Age (1897-1937), and Graphic Novels and TPBs categories.
  • Pottery & Glass – “Object Type” item specific will be required when revising or relisting an existing listing, or create a new listing in China & Dinnerware and Glassware categories.
  • Tires – Section Width, Aspect Ratio, Rim Diameter, and Tire Quantity will be required on newly listed car and truck tire listings, relistings, and revised listings.

Good ‘Til Cancelled listings will continue to auto-renew. However, eBay strongly encourages sellers to update listings now so buyers can find items quickly and easily.

Selling Metrics and Shipping

eBay is going for greater visibility into after-sale requests that aren’t meeting buyers’ expectations. Seller must also maintain the class of shipping service and time promised in listings and upload tracking. And seller must include include a shipping location zip code when listing an item.

Service metrics and competitive insights

Starting in July 2018, eBay will provide competitive insights with service metrics and peer benchmarks that will help sellers assess their performance. Sellers can find the insights in a new section in Seller Hub called Service Metrics.

The metrics will show:

  • How often a seller received return requests for “items not as described.”
  • How often a seller received buyer requests for “items not received.”
  • Peer benchmarks—comparisons to sellers of similar items.
  • Insights into why buyers are making after-sale requests, and tips to reduce requests.

Starting in September 2018, if a seller has a very high occurrences of these poor buyer experiences, they will be notified via email and may be subject to extended estimated delivery times and additional fees.

READ MORE: eBay 2018 Spring Seller Update for U.S. Sellers

Shipping Service Promise

eBay has updated their selling practices policy to reflect the importance and requirement of maintaining shipping service promises.

Buyers expect to receive their orders on time, especially when they pay additional fees for expedited shipping services.

eBay suggests that before a seller creates a listing, always determine the cost, tracking availability, and delivery speed of the shipping service option(s) the seller plans to offer.

Shipping location zip code

Starting July 31, 2018, sellers will be required to provide a valid zip code for an item’s shipping location when listed. Valid zip codes help eBay provide buyers with more accurate delivery estimates.

If the item is located in multiple locations, outside of U.S., or a seller uses freight, they will not be required to provide zip codes in the listings.

This is a bit of a curious one. eBay has required zip codes for a long time now, so what does this “notice” mean? The company seems to open up the possibility to avoid using zip codes in specific situations, that would actually be news. Let’s see how this is implemented come July.

eBay Stores

As announced in the 2018 Spring Seller Update, eBay is updating eBay Stores to give buyers a better shopping experience.

In May 2018, the company started moving Stores without custom content to the new Stores experience. These Stores will be updated to a new URL: https://www.ebay.com/str/StoreName.

A seller’s previous store URL will automatically redirect to the new URL with no action required. eBay recommends using this new URL when linking to reduce page load times.

Stores with custom pages will be updated to the new experience later this year. Stores with custom storefronts will be updated in 2019.

Starting in June 2018, eBay will provide Stores subscribers valuable new features that will help them manage their Store. They include:

  • New merchandising opportunities
  • Enhanced mobile experience
  • HTTPS security

In late-June 2018, these Store features will only be accessible in Seller Hub at the following locations:

  • Marketing tab
    – Stores Management
  • Performance tab
    – Sales reports
    – Traffic reports

Sellers will continue to have access to eBay promotional tools through the Stores experience including Promoted Listings, Promotions Manager, and Global Shipping Program.

READ MORE: eBay 2018 Spring Seller Update for U.S. Sellers

New eBay Stores Subscriber Benefits and Discounts

eBay offers Stores subscribers exclusive benefits and discounts provided by their partners to help sellers manage and grow their business. eBay have added three new benefits and discount programs with no additional cost to all Stores subscribers. They include:

  • Marketing support – Free co-branded promotional material for a seller’s physical storefront from eBay Always Open and support to help drive online traffic to a seller’s eBay Store.
  • Payroll benefits and HR – A free 3-month trial with Gusto™ Built for the modern business, Gusto helps sellers onboard and pay employees and contractors, and automates payroll taxes, deductions, and time off.
  • Accounting services – Discounts on Bench Accounting services for both regular and catch-up bookkeeping—ideal for small to medium businesses. Sellers that already use Bench, get more ongoing support. Bench can also help sellers get finances back in order. To learn more about how Bench works, click here.

Store Feature Removals

Starting late-June 2018, the following features will be removed because the functionality is either outdated or included in the new Stores management experience.

  • Recommendations
  • HTML builder
  • Search Engine Keywords
  • Promotional flyer
  • Favorite Seller Top Picks
  • RSS feeds
  • Promote similar items

Simplified Returns

Is there such a thing? eBay thinks so and they are making further changes to the process:

  • Enhanced automation for a faster, retail-standard returns process.
  • New returns policy options will automatically be updated.
  • New partial refunds guidance for buyers and sellers.
  • Customize international return policies.

Enhanced Automation for A Faster Returns Experience

Starting July 2018, eBay will automate two steps in the returns process for buyers and sellers. The changes will save up to a week of processing time.

eBay is increasing automation to save time and give sellers quicker access to funds on hold. It also delivers a streamlined returns experience for buyers by providing them immediate access to return labels and faster refunds.

There are two changes to the returns process:

  • eBay is expanding returns automation and may immediately accept a return request by providing a return shipping label to a buyer when a return request is received.
  • Sellers will have two business days to review a returned item and issue a refund. If no action is taken, eBay may automatically issue a refund on the seller’s behalf two business days after the tracking number shows a confirmed delivery status. At that time, eBay will close the return for with no impact to a seller’s performance.

Sellers can continue to control the efficiency of the returns process by creating rules in Return Preferences to automatically approve returns or send immediate refunds without requiring the buyer to send the item back.

READ MORE: eBay 2018 Spring Seller Update for U.S. Sellers

Streamlined Returns Policies

Starting in August 2018, listings that you have not updated to one of the new returns policy options, including Good ‘Til Cancelled, will automatically be updated for sellers.

This graphic is reminder of the new policies from the Spring seller update.

Certain product categories have unique retail standards and sellers of those products will be able to offer variations on the updated returns policy options.

Categories that will continue to have the option to offer 14-day returns include Collectibles & Art, Cameras & Photo and Medical, Mobility & Disability Equipment.

Partial Refunds

As announced in the 2018 Spring Seller Update, when sellers offer free returns, they can decide to issue partial refunds to buyers when the item is returned in an altered condition.

eBay has created a new Condition of Return Policy to educate buyers that the returned item must be in the same condition in which it was received.

If a sellers does not offer free returns, they will be able to issue a partial refund for items returned in an altered condition in select categories including Business & Industrial, Parts & Accessories, Collectibles & Art, Cameras & Photo, Medical, Mobility & Disability Equipment, Home Improvement, Furniture, Musical Instruments & Gear, and Yard, Garden & Outdoor.

International Returns Policy

Starting late May 2018, sellers will have the flexibility to set separate return policies for international transactions by updating their return options when creating or updating a listing.

For example, sellers can choose to offer free returns domestically, and in the same listing, offer paid returns to international buyers.

eBay will only update the international returns policy to match a seller’s domestic returns policy if the seller accepts buyer-paid returns.

If a seller does not accept returns, eBay will not set a returns policy for international returns.

If a seller offers free domestic returns, eBay will not change the international returns policy to include free returns. Sellers can set a separate returns policy for international returns yourself.

That’s all folks – full information is available here. Mostly updates to the Spring update but with some specific timelines.

What do you think about this eBay seller update? Head over to our Facebook Discussion Group or use the comments section below.

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