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My Take on EBay's Fall 2016 Seller Update

My Take on EBay's Fall 2016 Seller Update

In my last post I wrote about the changes in eBay's Fall 2016 Seller Update from a buyer's perspective. Today I want to write about them from a seller's perspective, as I know many buyers are also sellers.

- Structured Data:

"For new or manufacturer refurbished items, eBay will accept non-standard product identifiers. We will make selling even easier by enabling merchants to list using a wider range of product identifiers beginning February 2017, including:
        Amazon standard identification numbers (ASIN)
        Google product identifiers
        Private label product identifiers (seller-generated product identifiers)"

My take is this is a good thing; they are making it easier for sellers to use all kinds of product identifiers, including rival Amazon's.  This should help sellers list items that already have identifiers, and help buyers find things in search.

The only thing that worries me about this is the following part:

"By February 2017, for most categories, newly-created listings will require at least one type of product identifier (e.g. UPC, GTIN, one of the above, etc.). Also, note that the options “Does not Apply” and “NA” will no longer be available for the majority of items."

I hope that for rare and one-off items, sellers will still be able to list these without some sort of product identifier number. EBay did say that "When you provide your product information to eBay through our new catalog-upload feature, we’ll create eBay product identifiers (ePIDs) for you, which help you build your brand on eBay. ePIDs offer sellers of private label and unbranded items access to the benefits and insights branded inventory currently enjoys, including eBay product reviews." So there will be a specialized eBay product identifier; I just hope that those rare and unique items won't have a problem being listed.

- Returns

"You told us that you wanted the option to offer buyers a replacement item, or allow them to exchange an item, rather than provide a refund. This capability will be available in October.

We are also updating the Return Preferences in My eBay, so that you can set preferences for automating returns, refunds, and replacements all in one place."

My take is this is also a good thing; having more information for buyers about return preferences in listings should help both sides, and having the option to do an exchange instead of a return should as well.

- Active Content

"Active content no longer allowed on item description pages after June, 2017

"Active content is used by many sellers today to provide interactivity, animation or video via JavaScript, Flash, plug-ins, and form actions in listings. As we mentioned last spring, active content can negatively impact the user experience by inhibiting mobile purchasing, creating longer load times, and increasing security vulnerabilities."

I've written before that I think active content is just a distraction. Some sellers may not be happy if they are using it now, because they will need to change their listings, but I don't think this will be a big problem for most sellers.  And for buyers, it will be a cleaner look.

- Seller tools

"eBay Seller Hub to become the tool for managing your business on eBay

"Free to use, eBay Seller Hub offers the tools, information, and insights you need to build and maintain your business on eBay. As part of our ongoing commitment to providing you with world–class functionality and actionable data, we will be directing future resources toward developing new Seller Hub features that will make it easier to run your business and help you stay competitive in the ever–evolving world of e–commerce."

I think consolidating the tools and information sellers need in one area is a good thing. And the new tools will be available all from that area; "eBay will no longer support older tools, such as Selling Manager and Selling Manager Pro after Spring 2017."

- Seller performance standards

"More insight, more guidance, and more time to get back on track," says eBay.

"When you’re unable to meet eBay’s minimum performance standards, we’re making it easier to understand your status, how you got there, and what you can do to fix the situation.

"As you work to make these improvements, we’ll defer performance-related selling limits or selling restrictions on your accounts for at least three months (other consequences may still apply*). This will give you ample time to focus on selling and getting your status back above standard."

The sellers who wrote about this that I saw all were very happy about this, understandably. Things sometimes happen in any business -- illness, disasters, floods, etc...and this new leniency gives sellers with such situations a chance to salvage their business and time to fix things.

Other than that, there were mainly minor things such as category changes -- additions and consolidations -- and some changes to the User Agreement.

It seems to me that sellers should be pretty happy about this new update, which many agree took seller feedback into account, with CEO Devin Wenig taking his hundreds of conversations with sellers to heart.

What do you think about the eBay 2016 Fall Seller Update from a seller perspective?  Post a comment here!