— May 31, 2018
Starting as an auction site for small vendors with collectibles, eBay is now a marketplace with every type of product, merchants of all sizes, and multiple purchasing options.
The platform has sustained itself by constantly meeting buyers’ needs. Rather than staying static, eBay introduces new marketplace features constantly to satisfy ever-changing shopper expectations.
These changes affect how you conduct your business as an eBay seller and, in turn, influence your bottom line. The more informed you are about the marketplace’s updates, the more prepared you’ll be to engage and delight buyers and win their sales.
Ready to stay up to date? Here’s a roundup of eBay’s major 2018 updates thus far.
Product visibility updates
When eBay was originally conceived, each listing was meant to be unique. Most merchants were selling one-of-a-kind items, so shoppers expected each listing to be distinct.
Not the case today. With more standardized goods on eBay—iPads, appliances—buyers don’t want to spend time scrolling through different listings. On other marketplaces, such as Walmart or Amazon, these uniform products can be found instantly after a click or search, so buyers expect the same experience on eBay.
To accommodate, the marketplace is making it easier for shoppers to find your products with two visibility updates: expanding the eBay catalog and promoted listing placements. With these changes, more buyers can find your products so you can win more sales.
Expanding the eBay Catalog
As of April 2018, sellers are expected to list the following products through the eBay Catalog instead of creating unique listings.
The eBay Catalog is a centralized repository of product information in the marketplace. Rather than having a separate listing for each item being sold, merchants can share a listing for identical products.
With this product-based organization, shoppers don’t have to work hard to find your item. They look at one centralized listing shared by you and other merchants selling that item instead of endlessly scrolling through multiple listings.
While gaining more visibility through the Catalog can boost sales, sharing a listing with other merchants also comes with the caveat of intensified competition. A shared listing means buyers can directly compare your offering with other merchants’, so you have to make your item stand out to win sales. Here are a few factors to consider to make your item extra appealing.
- Consider price. Try to match or offer a lower price than the “Top Pick” to attract more buyers.
- Consider feedback. eBay is more likely to rank your item higher, or even as the Top Pick, if you have strong, positive seller feedback.
- Consider shipping. As more marketplaces offer free shipping, this policy has become an expectation of online buyers. Offer it to attract more shoppers to your item.
By staying ahead of other merchants on these factors, you can use eBay Catalog to enjoy greater visibility and win more sales.
New promoted listing features
To help you increase your products’ visibility, eBay has also released a promotion update for sellers who use their advertising service. Starting March 2018, the marketplace has released several new promotion features.
- New promoted listing placements on the home page. The increased exposure will allow more buyers to see your listing and help you boost sales. The placements are based on shoppers’ preferences, so make sure every aspect of your listing—price, SEO—is aligned with your target buyers.
- Item recommendations for successful campaigns. This new feature maximizes the value of your advertising investment as eBay selects the listings—bestsellers, new items—that will most likely bring the greatest return from the campaign.
- Enhanced reports on the campaign management dashboard. There are now additional insights to understand the details of your promoted listings, such as what items sold and when they sold.
These promotion updates will increase the exposure of your listings so you can reach more buyers and maximize sales.
Customer service updates
Whether it’s Amazon or Warby Parker, online businesses today use tools to predict and meet their buyers’ preferences. With this new standard for customer service, buyers today expect a superior shopping experience where:
- Relevant products are suggested based on previous shopping.
- Online stores are accessible through all devices.
- Businesses respond promptly to any order issues.
With these buyer expectations in mind, eBay has released several updates to improve the overall customer experience.
eBay store enhancements
As a part of eBay’s 2018 updates, eBay Stores have been updated to create a better shopping experience for customers. Sellers with a store can now enjoy these new features:
- An optimized mobile web experience
The design of eBay Stores has been readjusted to fit on mobile screens.
- Enhanced SEO and traffic benefits
- Designed to show more relevant products for buyers
With these changes, sellers will be able to seamlessly view and access your eBay Store and quickly find the most relevant products. Enjoying a more seamless shopping experience, customers will be more likely to make purchases and boost your sales.
Most sellers’ Stores were automatically updated with these changes in May 2018. For sellers who have custom pages or HTML in their stores, you can move to the new experience with these instructions.
New response time metrics
To help you manage your business and meet buyers’ expectations, eBay will add new Seller Hub metrics in July 2018 for merchants. When buyers make negative after-sale requests—such as, items delivered damaged or described incorrectly—you will now be able to see how often you receive these requests compared to sellers with similar items and circumstances.
Track these metrics so you can minimize your negative after-sale requests. By avoiding orders with failed deliveries or incorrect descriptions, you are able to:
- Make your buyers happy. When you aim to minimize negative after-sale requests, you’re providing great customer support. Constantly keeping shoppers satisfied with improved order management motivates them to continue returning to your eBay items and make purchases.
- Improve your items’ rankings. eBay wants their buyers to stay happy, so they reward sellers who have minimal negative after-sale requests with better rankings for their items in search results or shared listings.
The key is to regularly check the metrics of your after-sale requests so you can ensure your listings are performing well. Set a weekly reminder to check these metrics so you can constantly evaluate and improve your performance.
Order fulfillment updates
Online shopping was a bit of a gamble when it was first introduced. You would most likely pay high shipping fees to receive an item that you’ve never seen in-person. If you didn’t like the product, returns were often not offered by the merchant to avoid expensive shipping costs.
But as online shopping has become more widespread, merchants are increasingly making online purchases less costly and risky with two features: fast and free shipping and generous return policies. To meet these benchmarks and make buyers feel more comfortable with their purchases, eBay has released several order fulfillment updates for sellers.
Guaranteed delivery expanded
Starting in March 2018, eBay expanded Guaranteed Delivery to more merchants. Now, eBay sellers need fewer transactions—a minimum of 100 within the last 12 months—and a Late Shipment Rate of 3% or less to qualify. If eligible, eBay will contact merchants so they can deliver purchases to buyers in three days or less with eBay’s coverage.
Participating in Guaranteed Delivery with eBay’s recent expansion of the program can benefit you in a few key ways as a seller:
- Makes customers happy. Fast, reliable deliveries delight shoppers and drive them to return to your business and complete more orders.
- Increases likelihood of winning sales. eBay buyers can search for products by delivery time frame. With this feature, offering a favorable short delivery window with the Guaranteed program can increase your items’ exposure and boost sales.
- You have eBay’s coverage. eBay covers late deliveries with this program if you meet the handling requirements.
With the expansion of Guaranteed Delivery, you can offer fast, on-time shipments to your buyers to drive more sales. Review the guidelines for Guaranteed Delivery here to make sure you can qualify.
New shipping labels
To ensure that sellers provide on-time shipments, eBay is updating their labels process this summer to make printing and processing easier for merchants.
Sellers can now easily make a choice between different delivery services when creating labels with new comparison charts for delivery dates and prices.
Transitioning to this new eBay labels experience will be seamless, according to the marketplace, so you can continue using your preferred shipping methods without interruption. With this improved interface for printing and processing labels, you’ll be able to ship out orders more quickly to buyers.
Your return policy impacts whether a buyer chooses to make a purchase. In fact, eBay found that 75% of their shoppers check return policies before completing an order.
Understanding how return policies drive sales, eBay has updated their marketplace standards to encourage generous, simple return policies from sellers.
- There are now only five return policy options. Lowering the number of policy types makes returning less confusing and intimidating for buyers, so they aren’t discouraged from purchasing. You can view the five types here.
- Top-Rated sellers are required starting June 2018 to provide 30-day free returns. According to the marketplace, they’re enforcing this policy to boost buyer confidence and sales. Free, lengthy return policies are becoming more commonplace, so eBay wants to ensure they’re meeting these standards.
- eBay now offers more protection for sellers who offer free returns. Starting in June 2018, if a buyer returns an item that’s damaged or used, you can offer a partial refund and eBay will support you.
Adapting your return policy with these new standards makes buyers feel more confident making a purchase from you. By updating your policy to be more understandable and generous, more buyers feel comfortable making a purchase.
Seller account updates
eBay’s 2018 updates aren’t solely oriented around the buyer—they also affect sellers’ accounts. A few of the changes are designed to improve merchants’ business practices. While sellers are going to negatively view some of these updates, such as slight fee increases, many of the changes provide more flexibility and insights to help eBay merchants.
New eBay store subscriptions
While eBay previously only offered three types of Store subscriptions—Basic, Premium, and Anchor—the marketplace will also offer two new types—Starter and Enterprise—starting May 1. This expansion of Store types will make it easier for sellers to select the plan that fits their needs.
Below the Basic subscription, the Starter plan is designed for merchants selling at least 50 items per month. It allows sellers to enjoy the benefits of having an eBay Store without needing to sell more products.
The new Enterprise subscription, on the other hand, is the top-tier level above the Anchor plan. It’s designed for high-volume sellers with an upgrade option and additional benefits.
If you’re interested in switching your Store subscription type to one of these new options, you can review the two plans here. Finding a subscription type that fits your budget and allows you to reach more buyers will help you boost your eBay profits.
Changes to subscription fees
Starting in May 2018, eBay slightly increased Basic subscription and insertion fees.
- The Basic monthly fee increased from $ 24.95/month to $ 27.95/month, and the yearly fee increased from $ 19.95/month to $ 21.95/month.
- The Non-store insertion fees increased from $ 0.30 to $ 0.35 when you exceed the 50 zero insertion fee listing allocation.
- The Basic store insertion fees increased from $ 0.20 to $ 0.25 when you exceed the 250 zero insertion fee listing allocation.
These fee increases are pretty small, but over time these expenses—particularly the monthly and yearly Basic fee changes—can add up. If these updates impact you, it’s best to reorganize your budget now around these changes to maintain control over your profits.
Enhanced pricing guidance
Beginning later this summer, eBay will be expanding their pricing guidance for merchants in Seller Hub. Here are a few of the new pricing insights that will be provided:
- The minimum and maximum price for your item on eBay during the previous 60 days
- The minimum and maximum price from other merchants during the previous 60 days
- The current “trending price” for your item
These metrics can be viewed in the Listing Improvements section of the Growth tab in Seller Hub. By tracking these figures over time, you can assess whether your current product prices are too high or low. Once you’ve readjusted your price using these new insights, you’ll be able to attract more shoppers and boost your sales.
Track eBay’s changes to sell more
These are only eBay’s updates for the first half of 2018—the marketplace will continue releasing changes as the year goes on. As an eBay seller, staying up to date on these changes is a key component of your business’ success. Adapt and adjust your current practices around the marketplace’s updates, and you’ll understand exactly how to take advantage of eBay’s features and create a superior shopping experience for your buyers.