August 1, 2010, 12:00 AM

This year’s final changes for eBay sellers will hit next month

Among new features shoppers will see on eBay are four standard shipping options of economy, standard, expedited and one-day. In addition, eBay sellers will be able to show buyers in distant areas like Hawaii or Guam the exact shipping charge before a buyer completes a purchase.

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EBay Inc. has announced its third and final round of changes to its marketplace for this year, moves aimed at improving the consumer shopping experience. The majority of the changes are scheduled to launch between Sept. 7 and Sept. 13.

One change is the creation of four standard shipping options—economy, standard, expedited and one-day. Those options will be prominently displayed on item pages and at checkout.

“This will be a really good thing for both buyers and sellers,” says Dinesh Lathi, eBay vice president of buyer and seller experience, in a video on eBay’s blog. “Sellers, by using language buyers are very accustomed to seeing elsewhere in e-commerce, like economy, standard, expedited or one-day, will do a much better job of managing expectations.”

Sellers will also be permitted to exclude buyers in certain locations. Or, if they choose to sell to buyers in places like Alaska, Hawaii and Guam, a seller can show the buyer the exact shipping charges before the buyer completes her purchase.

The online marketplace also aims to expand sellers’ use of its catalog, which standardizes product descriptions of electronic items like iPods, as well as DVDs and Blu-ray disks. To increase seller uptake of the catalog, eBay is eliminating listing fees for sellers who list with the catalog, as well as boosting those sellers’ placements on eBay search results pages.

Other changes include efforts to improve the efficiency of seller communications. For instance, eBay is turning on its Automated Answers feature for all sellers. That means that when a buyer clicks the “ask a question” link, Automated Answers uses information from the seller’s listing to answer commonly asked questions. If the buyer doesn’t find the answer he seeks, he can e-mail the seller his question.

zak@verticalwebmedia.com

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