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Deconstructing eBay, Part Two of Three

April 19th, 2009 by Skip McGrath

We continue looking at the big changes eBay announced last week and their impact on eBay sellers

This is part two of the post I started yesterday about the changes to the eBay platform and the new policies announced by eBay that will take effect in June. You can scroll down to see part one. As I did in part one, I am giving each of these my Star Rating (1-5 stars) just like eBay has buyers do for sellers. When I finish the third and final post, I will calculate the total star rating.

By the way I am now on Twitter. I am not a big twitterhead, but I always do a tweet when I do a new blog post or upload a new edition of my newsletter. So if you would like to follow me, here is my Twitter profile: http://twitter.com/Skip_McGrath

 

New Smart FAQs

 

Package tracking in My eBay

Return policy and handling time-deadline extended

Customized Item Specifics

Category and item specific changes

 

Smart FAQs is a new free feature that draws on live information from your listings to answer the top 20 buyer questions before buyers reach you through the “Ask a question” or “Contact seller” links.  This is a wonderful option for sellers who only sell one category of product. But in our case we sell in four different categories and some of the FAQs would just confuse people. (3-Stars)

 

This is potentially a great feature for sellers who ship everything themselves and a good feature for those of us who also dropship. If you print a shipping label through PayPal or eBay, tracking, a delivery confirmation numbers will automatically appear in the buyer’s My eBay. If you don’t use the PayPal or eBay label printing solution, you can enter tracking information manually in My eBay.

Unfortunately you can only upload USPS and UPS tracking information.  I would give this a higher star rating, but for example one of our leading products is shipped by FedEx Ground so this system won’t work for us. (3-Stars)

 

Earlier in 2008 eBay advised sellers they are required to add a return policy and handling time to all your listings by mid-March of 2009. eBay has extended the timeline: Return policy and handling time will be required in all new listings and when you relist beginning June 15. The deadline for updating your Good ‘Til Cancelled listings has been extended to mid-September.

Personally I think this is something eBay should have done a long time ago and I don’t know why they are extending this. Small sellers have had several months to do this and large sellers have automation tools to do it for them, so I don’t see the point.

Having a stated return policy and handling time is a big positive for buyers and I don’t see any downside for sellers. I have used a formal return policy in my auctions for over 5 years. I don’t know why eBay is waiting, unless they plan to add some yet to be disclosed mandatory features which is what I suspect. (1-Star)

 

Item Specifics let sellers provide details about the item you’re selling, such as its condition, size, color, or style. These details appear at the top of your listing description, in a consistent format, making it easy for buyers to get the facts about your item.

eBay provides suggested Item Specifics in drop-down boxes during the listing process. However, if these suggestions don’t work for your item, you can create your own value for an item specific. These are customized Item Specifics.  I really like this feature and am glad eBay is expanding it to more categories. (4-stars)

 

The big change here is in the jewelry and watches categories. This will force sellers to list fashion and fine jewelry and watches in the appropriate category and force sellers to use accurate terms. For example you can’t call something a diamond if it is not.

This means you cannot use terms such as simulated diamond. If it’s a zirconium you must call it a zirconium.  This policy is going to upset a lot of jewelry sellers –especially low end and fashion jewelry, but will help buyers find what they are looking for. My take on this is strong agreement. Even though it will make life difficult for some folks, it is really good for the buyers. Some of my readers will hate me for this, but I strongly believe in not misleading people and making it easier for buyers to find exactly what they are looking for. I give this one 5-Stars.

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