eBay Changes for the September 2012 Update (SR12.2)
eBay has a few changes coming up for the SR12.2 release in September and October 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. While some changes may not be currently relevant to an eBay country where you list items, many changes start in one country and are applied to others in the near future.
Promote Your Items for Google Shopping (All Countries)
eBay provides your items to Google for inclusion in the Google Shopping search results, expanding the reach of your products to even more shoppers. In order to comply with the Google requirements for product identification, eBay requires that you provide at least the UPC or Brand and MPN information when listing your item. If these fields are not provided, then the listing will still be available on eBay but may not be visible to Google Shopping buyers.
Action Required: Provide any of the UPC, Brand and MPN, or other product identifier information you have in the Catalog Product Information section of the posting template. If you would also like to search the eBay catalog to list against the product in the eBay catalog, you can use our functionality for Automatically Mapping Products to the eBay Catalog. Once you have configured the product identifiers on your posting template and product information, the Revise Listings functionality can be used to automatically update your open eBay listings. Note that eBay does not always show the product information on the eBay item page, so if you would like it to be visible to buyers you should also include that information in your Ad Template.
Additional Details for non-New Condition (All Countries)
In October, eBay will be adding an additional field to give more details about the condition of the product for listings using a condition value other than New. Items that are New are not allowed to submit these additional notes -- if you have a New item that needs additional notes you should review to determine if "New" is still appropriate and if so include those notes in your Ad Template.
Action Required: While it will be optional at first, you should adopt this functionality to provide additional information about products that are not brand new to reduce the number of returns from buyers or customer care cases filed with eBay because the item is "Significantly Not As Described". The new field will be available on the posting template next to the current Condition field after eBay makes it available for use.
Enhancements for Variation Listings (All Countries)
Variation listings were initially launched by eBay in the summer of 2009. Millions of items have been successfully listed and purchased using variation listings, and ChannelAdvisor has supported them since the initial launch in June of 2009. With the fall release, eBay is introducing several enhancements for variation listings including enhancements to an existing variation listing to add a new dimension (drop-down option for buyers). This allows a listing with just Size options to be updated and have different Colors as well. Additional features include options to rename variations that have been defined by a seller (but not those defined by eBay) and some improved management for quantity and price changes.
Action Required: Support for new dimensions will be automatically implemented when eBay adds the functionality and we can verify that it works properly. No changes will be required on your part, and open listings will automatically be updated to accommodate the new features. If you would like to rename a variation option on an already open listing, you can do so by manually editing the information on the eBay listing and the ChannelAdvisor product data at the same time. It is likely a better situation to withdraw the open listing and submit a new one with the new product information. Bulk quantity and price changes are already available today through the ChannelAdvisor platform using the Revise Listings functionality. Do NOT change quantity information directly at eBay, as this can cause an item already registered by ChannelAdvisor as "sold out" to become available to buyers again and the orders will not be processed. If you have quantity restocked for an item that sold out, just configure it in your product information and the ChannelAdvisor listing process will automatically add it to the existing open variation listing at eBay.
New Fee for Canceled Auctions With Bids (US and CA only)
In order to improve the buyer experience, eBay wants to discourage users from canceling active auctions with currently winning bids. Auctions that are ended early will be charged the final value fee for the current price at the time the auction is ended.
Action Required: If listing auction-style listings, ensure that you have sufficient quantity set aside to support buyers of those items. If using the Inventory Juggler, you should consider adding a buffer to your schedule for auction-style listings to prevent a situation where an auction with bids must be ended by Oversell Avoidance. While Oversell Avoidance will initially recover quantity from fixed price listings, if there is a need to end an auction listing to prevent a potential oversell then that listing will be ended as well. Note that fixed price listings can be ended at any time without penalty, and so they are ideal to use with the Inventory Juggler functionality to expand your reach to additional marketplaces.
REMINDER: 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.
Zero Listing Fees in Europe and Australia for Anchor Store Subscribers (Europe only)
To encourage additional cross-border trade, eBay is reducing the listing fees to zero for Anchor store subscribers in European countries. Anchor store subscribers on European sites can list for zero cost to European sites as well as eBay Australia. (eBay US and CA will still charge a small listing fee; final value fees still apply for all sites.)
Action Required: If you are a large seller on the European eBay sites and not already an Anchor store subscriber, you should consider if the difference in fees would be beneficial. Anchor store subscribers on eBay UK that already have no listing fees on their fixed price listing can now automatically extend that to other countries in Europe as well as listings on eBay AU.
REMINDER: Picture Quality Requirements (US and AU 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:
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".
Accurate Item Location Required (All Countries)
An accurate item location helps the buyer understand from where their item ships as well as assists eBay to calculate expected arrival time for purchases. Starting in late October, eBay will use the information provided in the postal code (ZIP Code) to validate the item location information that is submitted and ensure that a valid location is shown to buyers.
Action Required: Review the Item Location information configured on your posting template. In the past, many sellers have used generic country information or promotional text ("Top Rated Seller!") in this field. With the new validation requirements, you should review your values to ensure that valid information is being submitted. If you have products that come from different locations, make every effort to configure a proper postal code on your product and use a replacement tag on the posting template. If you have multiple locations for the product then it's a bit more challenging -- eBay can only accept one location. Select the most appropriate value you can determine based on your shipping locations and submit that with the listing. Changes applied to the posting template can be automatically updated on open listings using the Revise Listings functionality.
Enhanced Country-based Shipping Rate Tables (UK and Germany only)
The eBay shipping rate tables will now allow for country-specific rates to be configured. (Currently these are only available in the UK and Germany and are not part of the updates in the US.) These rates will be used for buyers from those countries to be charged different rates based on the delivery costs to each country.
Action Required: Shipping rate tables have been supported by ChannelAdvisor since their initial launch. In order to use the shipping rate table, configure it in your eBay account and then select the option on your posting template.
Duplicate Listing Policy Changes (Previously US only, now All Countries)
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.
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:
Additional Categories Using eBay Catalog (All Countries)
eBay has added more categories to the list that require catalog usage:
Unit Price Listing Requirements (Europe only)
In order to comply with EU regulations, unit price information is required for items that are based on weight or volume. In order to simplify this for sellers, eBay will automatically calculate the unit price for items. By providing a few additional details in item specifics, eBay can use those to automatically calculate the unit price and adjust, even when an item is put on a temporary sale.
Action Required: Provide the two additional fields in the item specifics. By providing the number of units and the unit of measurement, eBay can automatically calculate the unit price even if the price changes in the future. By using the functionality for Automatic Matching for eBay Item Specifics, you can configure these fields on your inventory product information and have them automatically applied to your eBay listings.
Warranty Detail Listing Requirements (UK and Germany only)
UK and German laws require sellers to provide warranty information for products. In order to comply with these rules, eBay requires that sellers provide the warranty details in the appropriate item specifics fields for those categories and for additional detail in the description information.
Action Required: Ensure that appropriate warranty details are provided in your Ad Template information to include with every listing. Review the affected categories at eBay to determine if your listings will need to be updated.
Featured First Removed (All Countries except Germany)
As part of the improvement to the search experience, Featured First will be removed from all countries and the search results will be solely prioritized based on factors like Top Rated Seller status, feedback rating, recent sales, and other transaction-driven factors. Germany is retaining the feature so it has been re-added to the Posting Template options.
DELAYED: 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.
Because of technical problems, eBay has postponed the release of Business Policies until 2013. We will continue to work with them to make this a seamless transition for our users.
Fast & Free Shipping Options Now Available (US only)
eBay has a new program for Shipping called Fast & Free which displays additional information to a buyer regarding the expected delivery time and shipping costs. If an item is expected to arrive within 4 days without any additional shipping cost, eBay will add the Fast & Free information to the listing details, encouraging the buyer to purchase and setting an expectation of reasonably quick delivery. This program is free and automatically applied to your listings when they qualify. Shipping times are based on historical trends of each individual seller based on the postal code of the buyer, thus different buyers may see different options and expected delivery times. eBay calculates these trends based on prior shipments from the seller and the handling and transit time associated with tracking numbers of prior shipments. Additional information about the program has also been posted to the eBay Strategies blog.
Action Required: None is required to be part of the program, but you will want to ensure that handling time is minimized and that tracking information is efficiently updated to eBay after items are shipped. If you would like to opt-out of the program, you can do so by changing a setting in your eBay account, but the overall benefits should be of interest to most sellers and should help increase sales.