March 19, 2013, 12:49 PM

eBay to sellers: We’re a better deal than Amazon

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Final Value Fees:  eBay is introducing flat-rate final value fees. EBay used to charge Final Value Fees after each sale based on the merchandise category and a complex calculation of the selling price with various percentages based on price tiers. EBay is simplifying the fee structure, which long confused merchants. Merchants without eBay stores will pay a flat 10%.  Merchants with stores will pay between 4% and 9% based on four categories of merchandise.

Unpaid Items:  In May, eBay will introduce changes to help merchants deal with unpaid items. Since eBay’s infancy, consumers would go through a two-phase commitment—commit to pay, and then actually pay.  This forced retailers to hold inventory, waiting for the consumer to pay. Recent updates that have addressed this include Immediate Pay, which lets sellers require a buyer to pay immediately using PayPal. Other updates in the pipeline for May include: Enabling a merchant to keep items available for purchase until the buyer pays, and cutting unpaid item claim filing times by two days.

Feedback: Another source of frustration for sellers is when they receive negative feedback or ratings, work with a buyer to resolve a problem and then have difficulty getting the poor feedback or ratings removed. This glitch especially irritated merchants because in order to qualify for the 20% top-seller discount on final value fees, merchants must have less than one half of 1% worth of negative feedback. Starting May 1, eBay will remove poor feedback and ratings when an issue is favorably resolved.

Easier account management: Sellers can update their shipping, payment and return policies in one central location. Also, in late May, eBay will allow sellers to select 'same day' from the handling options as well as exact order cut-off times. For example, a seller can say, “Ships today if ordered by 5 p.m. central.”

Jordan Insley, owner of eBay electronics store Quick Ship Electronics, says the changes are an effort by eBay to fix headaches and hurdles merchants were encountering. "They are looking at this as an opportunity to clean up a lot of issues," he says. "EBay has done a great job bringing buyers back to the platform, now they are streamlining operations to make things easier for sellers." He also thinks the changes reflect eBay seeking to attract bigger merchants or to turn casual sellers in to full-time ones by making it easier and more affordable to manage a store with many listings and customers.

“The changes are appealing to those who are only selling on Amazon right now,” Wingo says.  “And eBay starting to amplify concerns about Amazon competing with their sellers for sales might keep exclusive eBay merchants selling only on eBay.”

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