Video: eBay Seller Release: Spring 2011

Richard Brewer-Hay

It’s that time of year again, folks. eBay announced its first seller update of the year this morning and, before I get into the details, the AB post clearly states that this is the first of two updates this year:

Updates that impact your selling are consolidated with lead time to adapt. These updates are scheduled to launch between April 19 and May 23 unless otherwise noted. This is the first of two seller updates for 2011.

The release itself builds upon a number of the changes announced last year. Among other things, for consumers, we will see free auction listings, up to 50 per month, including a free Buy It Now option. For Stores and Fixed Price sellers, we’ll see reduced final value fee rates that will be applied to the total amount of sale — including shipping; and a new eBay shopping cart will be the way to shop for all buyers later this summer.

Todd Lutwak, VP of Selling Experience for eBay, sat down to discuss the latest release and explain the free auction listings and new Final Value Fee structure to eBay Ink readers. He attributes buyer expectations – particularly with regard to free or low-cost shipping – as a primary reason for the change and also discusses how the Buy It Now functionality complements Auction listings…

Here are the key pieces of information coming out of this latest update:

* Sellers not subscribed to a Store: Starting April 19, it will be free to list Auction-style (up to 50 items a month) regardless of start price and free to add the Buy It Now option to these listings. The idea being that sellers only pay if their item sells. Auction-style Final Value Fees will apply to the total amount of sale, including shipping. Starting July 6, Fixed Price Final Value Fee rates will be reduced and applied to the total amount of sale, including shipping.

* Sellers subscribed to a Store: On July 6, Final Value Fee rates for Auction-style and Fixed Price will be reduced and applied to the total amount of sale—including shipping. Insertion Fees will stay the same.

* Seller discounts: eBay Top-rated sellers continue to earn 20% discount on Final Value Fees. The existing 5% discount for PowerSellers who are not Top-rated will end on June 1. All other PowerSeller benefits continue.

* New eBay Shopping Cart: will allow buyers to add items, both Auction and Fixed Price, from multiple sellers and pay in one easy checkout.

* Clothing, Shoes & Accessories: buyers will find your listings even faster shopping by brand, style, color, size and type. Item specifics will be required in these categories.

* Motors Parts & Accessories: Sellers will now be required to specify shipping and handling time, return policy, and item condition. The goal here is to cut down on buyer questions and to build their confidence when shopping on eBay.

* New communications hub: will help sellers manage contacts with buyers from one tab in My eBay.

* International selling: Specifying international shipping cost and carrier will be required to build confidence and reduce buyer questions. Updates to the seller dashboard will give you more insights into your global performance standing, helping you improve your service and grow sales.

As some of you already know, I’m currently traveling for work down in Austin but please feel free to shoot me questions @ebayinkblog or in the comments section to this post and I’ll be sure to get answers for you.

New eBay Shopping Cart
I’ve received many questions over the years of when an eBay shopping cart would be introduced. Given that it’s going to be opt-in at first, it’s pretty clear that this is a test and we will be adding functionality through the coming year. On the seller side, it is expected that unpaid items will be virtually eliminated in Fixed Price as items that are in shopping carts will still be available to other buyers until they are paid for.

As usual, with an announcement like this, we have a number of ways in which you can receive further information around the news:

** eBay Seller Information – Spring Update 2011
** eBay Seller Information – Fee Update
** eBay Seller Information – Check List
** eBay Seller Information – Special 48-hour discussion board
** eBay Seller Information – eBay Town Hall – Wednesday, March 16
** eBay Seller Information – Webinar – Thursday, March 17