Strategy

eBay Changes for April 2012 Update (SR12.1)

 eBay has a few changes coming up for the SR12.1 release in April and May of 2012. We will work to make the adoption of new required features as seamless as possible, but you should be sure to review each change to ensure uninterrupted sales for your account.

If you have not seen the prior announcement from eBay, you can get more details here:
US: http://pages.ebay.com/sellerinformation/news/SpringUpdate2012.html
UK: http://sellerupdate.ebay.co.uk/spring2012/index.html
DE: http://sellerupdate.ebay.de/spring2012/index.html
AU: http://pages2.ebay.com.au/Hub/May_2012_seller_changes/Overview

 

Prerequisites


 

eBay Changes


 


Pictures Now Free for All Users (US and AU only)

eBay has had free pictures for store subscribers, but now pictures are free for all users on the US site and on the AU site.  Please note that this does not apply to other countries, many of which are still charging for multiple images.  If you would like to have multiple images on your listings, please see our SSC page on eBay Picture Services.

Action Required: None is required, but if you have multiple images you will want to make sure you are submitting them to eBay with your products to increase their exposure and encourage buyers to purchase your items.


Requirements for Pictures in Listings (US only)

eBay is now setting a number of requirements on pictures that sellers have to implement by Fall 2012.  These include a requirement to provide a picture, minimum size, removal of excess decoration on the image, and restrictions on use of stock images from the eBay Catalog:

  • All listings will be required to have a picture.
  • Photos must be at least 500 pixels on the longest side of the picture.
  • Borders around pictures, and text added to pictures, will no longer be allowed. Watermarks for attribution purposes only will continue to be allowed.
  • When listing a used item, stock photos may no longer be used as the primary item photo for the listing. A catalog image can still be used. However, it can’t be used as the primary photo representing a non-new item for sale. Books, Movies, Music, and Video Game categories will be excluded from this requirement (with the exception of Video Game Consoles which will be required to adhere to this new requirement)

Action Required: Review your images to ensure they comply with the new requirements.  If your images are below the new minimum size or include text, borders, or other enhancements to the picture then new images will need to be acquired prior to the policy enforcement date of "this fall".


Top Rated Seller Program Changes (US only)

The Top Rated Seller program is expanding the breadth of requirements, adding a requirement to ship with a trackable shipping method and to provide that shipping information to eBay in a timely fashion.  In order to qualify as a Top Rated Seller you must have at least a 14 day return policy and a one-day (or less) handling time.

Action Required: Review your handling time and return policies to ensure you meet these requirements.  If you are not already uploading your tracking information to ChannelAdvisor, start providing that information and it will automatically be provided to eBay in compliance with this shipping requirement.  Make sure you provide that information in a timely fashion as the timing is important -- providing it late is just as bad as not providing it at all.


Support for Same Day Handling Time (All Countries)

Starting in June, eBay will support the concept of a same day handling time for sellers that can ship the same day the order is received.  In order to properly achieve that messaging to buyers, eBay needs to know the daily cutoff time for shipping.  Make sure that you calculate a time that leaves sufficient buffer for the order to be imported from eBay, processed by your system and still make the daily shipping cutoff time for your business.

Action Required: Configure the daily cutoff time directly at eBay in your seller account, then update your posting templates to have a 0 day handling time.  You will also need to make sure that you can turn around and provide the shipping details and tracking information back to eBay quickly so you do not get penalized for late shipping, which is determined by eBay based on when the shipping notification and tracking information are submitted to them.


New Business Policies for Returns, Payments, and Shipping (All Countries)

eBay is creating a new concept called Business Policies.  These policies will be configured and managed at eBay and will be a package of details that are all used together when listing an item.  For example, a policy might specify a "30 day return policy, money back or exchange, return shipping paid by buyer" and another policy specify "14 day return policy, money back, return shipping paid by buyer".  When listing an item, you would pick from one of these policies already configured in your account and use that to list the item instead of specifying each of the individual elements. Then, if you need to change anything you only have to change it in one place in the policy and all of the open listings using that policy automatically update.  For most users, this will feel very similar to the ChannelAdvisor model of configuring it once on the posting template and then using that value for all of your listings.  These will be slowly opened to users throughout the summer with a target of having all users converted by the fall.

The new Business Policies system is designed to replace all questions about return policies, payment methods, and shipping information and consolidate that down to a single question for each of these three, where you select one of the configured Business Polciies for each of these three very similar to how you select an eBay Store Category today based on the categories that you have configured at eBay for your eBay Store.

Action Required: Nothing at this time.  We have been working with eBay regarding the development of this functionality and plan to seamlessly integrate it with the current posting process.  Later in the year we will convert the posting template information from the current fields to the Business Policy options, automatically taking all of the information from your existing posting template and creating policies as needed at eBay to ensure uninterrrupted processing.  Our goal here is to make this completely invisible and require no additional work on your part, allowing you to benefit from this new functionality with no additional effort.


New Returns Center at eBay (US only)

eBay is creating a new Returns Center to help centralize and manage the information for buyers returning items to sellers and to ensure that they have visibility into the underlying transactions that are being returned.  While you are not required to use this (at this time), buyers will be encouraged to use it when returning an item to you.  The returns center is designed to make that easier for eBay to track the returned item, for buyers to get the item back to the seller, and for the seller to manage the information necessary for the return.

ChannelAdvisor is not planning any changes for the new Returns Center but is working with our partners at Cloud Conversion to extend their existing suite of tools to support this new model.

Action Required: Sellers that have an existing model to handle returns will want to evaluate that with the changes eBay is making to ensure that problems do not arise when the system is enabled.  Buyers will be encouraged to use this model for returns, so you will want to ensure that at a minimum it can be handled and returns processed when they come in this way, even if you prefer a different method.  If you use an RMA number, you will especially want to make sure that your account at eBay is flagged to require an RMA on returns so buyers that go through the new Returns Center will have to wait for an RMA number to be generated before they submit the return to you.


Duplicate Listing Policy Changes (US only)

The Duplicate Listing Policy is changing slightly to consider auction listings with a Buy It Now price to be considered as Fixed Price listings.  This means that if you are listing both auctions and fixed price listings, the auctions cannot have a Buy It Now price or they will be considered duplicates of the fixed price listings.

Action Required: Note that the duplicate listing block will not know if your auction listing has a BIN price on it or not, so it will not prevent an auction with BIN from being listed aside an existing fixed price listing.  If you are listing both types for the same inventory item, make sure that there is no BIN price on the auction listing or withdraw the fixed price listing while the auction is live.


USPS First Class Mail Classification Change (US only)

Based on eBay's historical tracking data, the USPS First Class Mail shipping service will be demoted from Expedited to Standard in the classifications of shipping services.

Action Required: None.  All changes will be automatic.  If you do not have another service that is considered "Expedited", you may want to investigate adding one to continue providing that service level to your buyers.


New Merchandising and Advertising on the Item Detail Page (Europe only)

eBay is adding new merchandising and advertising elements onto the item detail pages on European selling sites.  The merchandising will show products across eBay (including those that are not yours) that buyers may be interested in and the advertising will link to eBay promotions or to off-eBay sites.  Sellers will be automatically included in the program and have this information shown on their listings.

Action Required: Follow the instructions here to opt-out of the program if you do not want these shown on your items.  These are active now, so you should opt-out immediately if you do not want these shown on your listings.


Payment Method Changes (Germany only)

Starting in June the options for Escrow and See Description will no longer be available, as part of the continued preparation for the Payment Intermediation program.  Since eBay will be receiving the payments and then forwarding the money to the seller then these two are now longer relevant and are being removed to alleviate confusion.

Action Required: Sellers that are listing on eBay.de will be required to participate in this new payment process.  Sellers listing in other countries are not affected and will continue to process payments and transactions as usual.


Return Policy Changes (US only)

Updates are being applied to the return policy rules which may be significant for some sellers. eBay will be removing the "Exchange" and "Merchandise Credit" options. The only options remaining will be the existing "Money Back" and the new "Money Back or Exchange" option. Also, the 3 and 7 day options will be removed, so buyers will have a minimum of 14 days to return an item.

Action Required: This means that if you offer returns, you will be required to offer the buyer a money back method. If you are not willing to do that, you should change your policy to no longer accept returns. The new "Money Back or Exchange" option will be added as soon as eBay makes it available. If you are offering anything other than "Money Back" or have a duration of less than 14 days, you should update your return policy to be one of the new options or disable returns altogether.

When the 3 and 7 day options are removed by eBay, ChannelAdvisor will automatically migrate all users with 3 and 7 day return policies to the new minimum of 14 days. When the "Exchange" and "Merchandise Credit" options are removed, ChannelAdvisor will automatically convert any posting template still using those options to "Returns are Not Accepted". If you have already converted your return policy to values that are still allowed by eBay there will be no change to your return policy settings.  This will happen in late April or early May prior to the eBay deadline for sellers to update their information.


Category and Item Specifics Changes (All Countries)

eBay will be including a number of category and item specifics changes with this release, as detailed here:
US: http://pages.ebay.com/sellerinformation/news/classificationspring2012.html
UK: http://pages.ebay.co.uk/categorychanges/
DE: http://pages.ebay.de/categorychanges/
AU: Not yet posted

These will have significant impacts to some sellers, though most categories and item specific changes should be minimal.  Sellers should carefully review the changes to understand the new information required of them and select new categories when appropriate.

Action Required: If you are not already, ensure item specifics are being submitted with your items. If you have listings for categories that will be discontinued, be prepared to make changes to the ad and posting template information when the changes take effect at the beginning of May. We do not expect these changes to affect many items, but will work to make them as seamless as possible.  If eBay is able to give feedback that an item should be moved to a specific new category, then we will automatically update the ad and/or posting template with the new information and signal to you that the data has been changed by eBay so you can review and verify it.  Any reference to "conversion" to Seller Tags or Custom Item Specifics may be ignored as that will be handled automatically by ChannelAdvisor processing.


Additional Categories Using eBay Catalog (All Countries)

eBay has added more categories to the list that require catalog usage:
US: http://pages.ebay.com/sellerinformation/news/classificationspring2012.html#ca
UK: http://sellerupdate.ebay.co.uk/spring2012/catalogues-categories.html
DE: http://sellerupdate.ebay.de/spring2012/catalogues-categories.html
AU: Not yet posted

Action Required: If you are listing into these categories, make sure you are associating with the catalog items when possible.  If you are not already using it, the automatic catalog lookup can save you a substantial amount of time and get your items in compliance with eBay policies.


eBay Fee Changes - Top Rated Discount Reduced (Europe only)

As part of the fee changes, the old Top Rated Seller discount has been reduced by ten percentage points.

Action Required: None is required. If you are not a Top Rated Seller you may want to look into the requirements to achieve that status and qualify for the discount on fees.


Features Removed from eBay Motors (US only)

Several features have been removed from the US Motors site to bring it in line with the other eBay sites.

Action Required: None is required. If you were using any of these features they will be automatically removed by eBay and will be removed from the posting templates in early May.

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