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Filed in: General Announcements

2012 Spring Seller Update: FREE pictures, eBay Top-rated seller program updates, more

Vice President of Merchant Development, eBay

Michael Jones

Congratulations sellers! Your commitment to great service is paying off. With eBay growing at double-digit rates, you now have access to more than 100 million active buyers!  Sales for Top-rated sellers are outpacing the growth of ecommerce. Updates coming this spring will help keep those buyers coming your way and steer them to your great listings. As always, updates that impact your selling are consolidated with lead time to adapt. This is the first of two seller updates for 2012.

FREE pictures!
All pictures will be FREE on all listings submitted starting on July 2 (excluding eBay Motors vehicles). Buyers love lots of great pictures, so get ready to load up!

Top-rated seller program rewards listings with prompt shipping and returns
Savvy online merchants understand that consumer expectations are evolving, and they are adapting their businesses to compete. Now the eBay Top-rated seller program is also evolving to keep pace, placing the focus on listings that offer prompt shipping and returns.

  • Starting in June, to be eligible for Top-rated seller status, tracking information needs to be uploaded to eBay within your stated handling time on 90% of transactions with US buyers. Start uploading tracking information by May 1 to make sure you qualify by June 20.
  • Starting June 1, those listings from Top-rated sellers that include 1-day handling and a 14-day or longer return policy with a money-back option will get the greatest average boost in exposure and 20% final value fee discounts. Listings that don’t include these services will continue to get some boost in Best Match and the Top-rated seller badge, but not the 20% discount or greatest average boost.
  • Bonus discount now: As an extra reward to help you get started offering these in-demand services now, from March 1 through May 31, Top-rated sellers will get a bonus 5% discount off final value fees—along with their current 20% discount—for all listings with 1-day handling and a minimum 14-day return window with money-back option.
  • To include sellers of more sizes who offer great service, the annual sales requirement for Top-rated sellers will be lowered to $1,000.

Safeguards protect your record of great service
New seller protections help ensure that your seller performance ratings and Feedback are the best possible reflection of the great service you provide:

  • Get an automatic 5-star Communications rating for transactions where you offer same-day or 1-day handling, upload tracking information by the end of the next business day, and there is no communication between you and the buyer.
  • Feedback left by a buyer with an unpaid item recorded for the transaction will be automatically removed from your record.
  • Earlier this year, eBay started displaying an automatic message on the item page to buyers outside the US regarding customs-related delays and duties. Now any Feedback from international buyers that only references customs issues is eligible for removal.

Improving your efficiency and profitability

  • Apply payment, shipping, and return policies to multiple listings with just a few clicks.  With an optional new way to manage your business policies, you can create custom settings and apply them to all your listings or groups of listings quickly and easily.
  • Shipping updates
    • Same-day handling time—Stand out from the crowd when you ship the same day for orders received by your specified order cut-off time. Same-day and 1-day handling are both considerations for Best Match ranking.
    • USPS® First-Class Package service will be reclassified from an Expedited to Standard service. Take advantage of the savings this service offers—and set the right delivery expectations for your buyers.
    • For listings with 3-day or longer handling, buyers will see a message on the item page that the item may take longer than 3 days to ship.
  • Returns
    • A good return policy—including a reasonable timeframe and the reassurance that buyers can get their money back—helps you sell. Starting the first week of May, the 3-day and 7-day return windows and “Merchandise credit” and “Exchange” refund options will be retired. As always, you can still specify “No returns accepted,” but keep in mind that offering a good return policy can help your sales.
    • An optional new way to manage returns virtually automates the process according to the terms you specify. Your buyer simply clicks a link in My eBay to print a pre-paid shipping label. When you get the item back, simply click a button to issue the refund. Your final value fees are automatically refunded.
  • New listing guidelines
    • Quality pictures can make all the difference in enticing a buyer to choose your item over the rest. Starting this fall, all listings will be required to have a picture, and all photos must be at least 500 pixels on the longest side with no added borders or text (watermarks okay).
    • Best Match, eBay’s default sort order, will begin looking at more information from your listing—including your item description—to rank search results. Item specifics, product codes like UPCs and ISBNs, brand, part numbers, and other descriptors will also be increasingly important to get your listing found by more interested buyers.
    • Reducing the number of duplicate listings for an identical item from the same seller has paid off. It’s made it easier for buyers to find what they want—and significantly increased exposure and sales for more sellers. Now Auction-style listings with a Buy It Now option will be treated as Fixed Price listings under eBay’s Duplicate Listing policy—only one of identical items can be listed at a time.
  • Category and other updates
    • Starting May 1, the maximum final value fee for Standard Auction-style listings will be $250. (Note, this change only impacts transactions of more than $1,111.00 for sellers who do not have an eBay Stores subscription).
    • Electronics & Technology: To make it easier for buyers to find your products, listing with the eBay catalog will be required in more consumer electronics categories including DVD & Blu-ray Players, Home Theater Receivers, Home Speakers & Subwoofers, Home Theater Systems, and Home Theater Projectors.
  • Motors Parts & Accessories and Vehicles: To focus squarely on the best, most relevant listings, some optional listing features will be retired—Border, Highlight, Featured Plus!, and Listing Icon in Parts & Accessories and Motors Home Page Featured in Motors Vehicles.
  • Category and item specific updates: Look for updates in Clothing, Shoes & Accessories, Coins, Computers & Networking, Consumer Electronics, eBay Motors, Home & Garden, Toys, and Jewelry & Watches (Category adjustments in Watches only). Find out how your listings are affected.

Get details on the 2012 Spring Seller Update.

Use the Seller Checklist to stay on top of important dates.

Update your listings quickly and efficiently and bulk editing tools.

For additional insight, you’re also invited to:

  • Talk with members of my staff during the next two days on a special discussion board we’ve set up for this purpose.
  • Join me and other leaders from eBay in a Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, February 29 starting at 3:30pm PST.

As always, thank you for selling on eBay.

Sincerely,

Michael Jones
Vice President
Merchant Development

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