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eBay Announces Major changes To PowerSeller Program, DSRs, Unpaid Item Disputes and Search

July 27th, 2009 by Skip McGrath

Most of the changes will not take place until September 22 with others coming in October

Last year eBay announced that they would give sellers more time to adjust their business to changes on the platform. This is the second planned announcment of 2009.  Normally I list the new changes with my comments, but this one caught me on vacation, so I am just going to list the changes and I will save my analysis for my newsletter that will be out later this week. If you don’t get the newsletter, you can subscribe for free here.

Here is the text of eBay’s announcement:

  • Rewards for sellers delivering great buyer experiences
  • New way to look at DSRs
    • Avoid getting low DSRs-1s and 2s. Buyers have different ideas about what constitutes a high rating, but most leave a 1 or a 2 only when they experienced a significant issue with their transaction. eBay will be shifting focus from average DSRs to the number of low DSRs as a more accurate measure of customer satisfaction.
    • Only domestic DSRs will count toward requirements for eBay.com. International transactions can be subject to factors outside a seller’s control and we want to make sure sellers can expand globally without undue impact to their standing on eBay.com.
  • PowerSeller program update: rewarding quality over quantity
    • Starting in October, a new eBay top-rated seller status will be added to the PowerSeller program to recognize and reward sellers providing great buyer experiences based on the new way to look at DSRs (very few 1s and 2s). eBay Top-rated sellers will receive the highest PowerSeller Final Value Fee discounts (20%), increased visibility in search results for Fixed Price listings, exclusive access to purchase Featured First and a prominent Top-rated seller badge on item pages. The Top-rated seller badge will be tested in search results pages this summer. The current PowerSeller icon will no longer be displayed on buyer-facing pages including item pages.
    • All sellers with 100 or more annual transactions and at least $3,000 annual sales who meet the requirements for Top-rated seller status will be invited into the PowerSeller program and can start receiving Top-rated seller benefits in October.
    • Next April, the PowerSeller program will also include a requirement for sellers based on the new way to look at DSRs (very few 1s and 2s). PowerSellers that don’t have Top-rated seller status will get 5% Final Value Fee discounts.
    • Meanwhile, the current PowerSeller discount structure will continue until April 1, 2010 to give sellers 8 full months to keep their current discounts while they adjust business practices to qualify for the new Top-rated seller status.
  • New minimum standards for all sellers:
    • Starting in October, there will be a new minimum standard for all eBay sellers based on the number of low DSRs (1s and 2s) received. The minimum standard will be stricter in April, 2010.
    • A new Selling Practices policy will define guidelines for professionalism and accuracy in all aspects of listings and transactions.
    • Optional buyer charges for shipping insurance will no longer be allowed. Sellers can still buy shipping insurance and add the cost to the item or shipping price.
  • Updates to the Seller Dashboard: You can now see a snapshot of your low DSRs (1s and 2s) and standing toward the new Top-rated seller requirements updated monthly through a link at the top of your Seller Dashboard. In September, you will be able to see daily updates.
  • Enhanced search presents more relevant listings
  • Best Match, eBay’s default sort order, will look at listing’s recent sales in relation to the number of recent impressions it received as a key factor for Fixed Price listings. An “impression” is any time a buyer sees a search results page that includes the listing.
  • In addition, single quantity and newly listed Fixed Price items will be given exposure in Best Match even though they have no sales history. These listings will be given initial impressions based on the performance of similar listings. This change will improve the exposure of new Fixed Price listings that are relevant to buyers.
  • Auction-style listings will still get a boost in exposure as they are about to end. To keep auctions enticing, Auction with Buy It Now listings will be required to have a BIN price at least 10% higher than the auction start price.
  • A new Search Visibility tool will help you evaluate how your Fixed Price and auction-style listings are performing in search results.
  • Several features will be discontinued including Featured Plus, Border, and others to save you money and keep the focus on relevance.
  • Product pages are rolling out to more buyers, so list with product details to make sure your listings are included. Also, eBay will start selecting sellers’ photos for inclusion in the eBay product catalog on September 1. If your photo is chosen, your user ID and a link to your profile page will appear on the product page. If you’d prefer not to have your pictures selected, opt out no later than August 31.
  • Easier, more profitable selling on eBay
  • Faster recourse for unpaid items. A streamlined process will cut the resolution time in half. We are also working on a new automated option that will make the process even more efficient, cut the time to resolution to as little as 8 days and block negative feedback when a seller opens a claim and a buyer doesn’t pay. This automated option will be tested in late September and our goal is to gradually make it available to all sellers by the holidays.
  • eBay dispute resolution for buyer claims is expanding to more buyers to make the process faster and easier for sellers and buyers.
  • Buyer communications will be faster and easier to manage with enhancements to My Messages and streamlined post-transaction emails.
  • Get more control over international ship-to locations. You’ll have the same ship-to choices you have now, plus you’ll be able to specify countries you do not want to ship to.
  • Upload tracking and delivery confirmation numbers for more shipping carriers.
  • Editing listings, even multi-quantity listings with a sale and listing descriptions, will be faster and easier.
  • New Selling Manager applications boost efficiency for sellers of all sizes-try them free!
  • Category and Item Specifics changes are now consolidated with the rest of updates. Find out if there are changes to your categories.
  • Stores subscribers-now you can put all your Fixed Price listings on vacation.

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