SkipMcG2eBay Spring 2016 Seller Update
By Skip McGrath

The annual Spring seller update is here again. There are some pretty interesting updates this year as the new CEO tries to put his mark on the company.

The updates fall into the following categories:

View item -Improving conversion and the buyer experience through the item description.

Features and fees -Store subscriptions, feature fees, and access to dedicated customer service.

Product reviews -Helping buyers make better buying decisions with more relevant product.

Information Seller Hub -Coming to all sellers this summer with new enhancements.

Category and item specifics -Find out if your categories or item specifics will be updated.

Jewelry Policy -Update your listings to comply with new Fine and Fashion Jewelry definitions.

User Agreement -Seller performance standards, Returns and Cancellations, and legal disputes.

You can see the complete announcement here.

Let’s look at each item:

View Item

– The new View Item description for mobile features a clean and consistent item description summary. eBay derives a brief, 250-character, text-only description summary from your full item description. This provides relevant listing information that allows shoppers to make fast, informed buying decisions.

For the summary, eBay determines which content in your full item description is most relevant by identifying keywords that shoppers use to search for your items. If your full item description uses basic HTML, CSS or text-only descriptions, and is no more than 800 characters, eBay will display the full description when buyers view your item description on their mobile devices.

Because the new View Item description summary is automatically generated by eBay, no action is required from you. If you want to highlight information that isn’t captured in there auto-generated summaries, you can choose the specific listing information you want to show using more advanced HTML options. This functionality is ideal for items that have unique characteristics, such as arts, antiques and collectibles.

Remove active content for peak performance

The use of active content in listings, including JavaScript, Flash, plug-ins and form actions, inhibits purchases on mobile devices and can lead to abuse in the marketplace. Beginning with the Spring 2017 Seller Update (next year), eBay will limit the use of active content in all new listings across all devices and it will not be rendered by default. By the Fall Seller Update 2017, eBay will remove or block listings with active content. They encourage you to limit your use of active content now. eBay will provide more information later this year about which functionality will be limited and provide the specific timing in early 2017. They also are working closely with there third-party partners in cases where they use active content on your item descriptions or stores.

Features and fees –

This May, eBay will introduce a new pricing structure for some listing features and for eBay Store subscriptions, plus new benefits for eBay Store subscribers.

For eBay Store subscribers
Anchor Stores-New access to dedicated customer service

Beginning in May, eBay will introduce a new pricing structure for Anchor Store subscribers. With the new pricing structure, Anchor Store subscribers will receive new benefits including increases in the zero insertion fee listings allotment for both fixed-price and auction formats in nearly all categories and new credits for promoted listings. North American registered Store subscribers will also receive a coupon for eBay-branded shipping supplies and, by July 1, will receive exclusive access to customer service via a dedicated a toll-free phone number and email.

If you are an Anchor Store subscriber on an annual subscription, you will pay an additional $360 per quarter, and the value of the benefits that you will receive, excluding the value of new, dedicated customer service. eBay says this is worth up to $1,495 per quarter.

Premium and Basic Stores

Beginning in May, eBay will introduce a new pricing structure to Premium and Basic Store subscribers. With the new pricing structure, Premium and Basic Stores will receive an increase in the zero insertion fee listing allotment for both fixed-price and auction formats, and North American registered Store subscribers will also receive a new coupon for eBay-branded shipping supplies.

See the following image for the new store fee schedule

† Optional fees and final value fees still apply. You’re charged one insertion fee per listing per category, regardless of the quantity of items, for any duration including Good ‘Til Cancelled. Good ‘Til Cancelled listings count toward your monthly allotment of zero insertion fee listings upon renewal every 30 days and may incur insertion fees and optional fees upon renewal. Terms are subject to change. Learn more.

‡ Motor Vehicles, Real Estate, Classified Ads, Heavy Equipment, Concession Trailers & Carts, Imaging & Aesthetics Equipment, and Commercial Printing Presses are excluded.

** Collectibles categories include Antiques, Art, Coins & Paper Money, Collectibles, Dolls & Bears, Entertainment Memorabilia, Pottery & Glass, Sports Memorabilia, Cards & Fan Shop, Stamps, and Toys & Hobbies. Fashion Categories include Clothing, Shoes & Accessories, Health & Beauty, and Jewelry & Watches.

Listing upgrade fee changes – Beginning in May, listing upgrade fees for select optional features will increase for items with a list price greater than $150. For details please see the table below:

eBay-branded shipping supplies

Later this month, sellers will be able to conveniently purchase affordable eBay-branded shipping supplies on eBay with quick handling time and free shipping. Premium-quality boxes, envelopes and tape will be available at very competitive prices, providing you with one-stop shopping convenience for all your packaging needs. eBay says there eBay-branded shipping supplies are eco-friendly, too.

*** To be eligible for the dedicated customer services and eBay shipping supplies benefits, sellers must have a valid eBay registration address in the US or Canada. (Sellers using My eBay can verify their registration address at My eBay > My Account > Addresses > Registration address).

Product reviews-a new eBay standard

eBay has updated product reviews to make it simpler to read and contribute reviews.

  • Expanded to even more products
  • Cleaner design with easy to identify ratings
  • Simple follow-up emails to buyers requesting product reviews

eBay believes that product reviews drive buyer trust and confidence by providing relevant information they need. Supplying this information at the point of purchase could mean shoppers are more likely to convert to buyers when viewing your item. eBay’s research shows they keep buyers on the site, resulting in an average 18% uplift in sales.

Seller Hub coming to all sellers this summer

In the Fall 2015 Seller Release, eBay announced the new eBay Seller Hub beta. More than 25,000 sellers are now using the new hub to manage their eBay business. Based on their input, eBay made a number of enhancements that will hopefully help you manage your orders and inventory more efficiently. This summer, Seller Hub will be available to all sellers and will become the default tool for managing your listings on eBay. If you want early access to Seller Hub, join the waitlist today. There is a button on the announcement page to join the waitlist here.

eBay says the benefits of the seller hub are as follows:

  • Competitive listing guidance
  • Detailed sales information
  • Listing tools to better manage your listings
  • Access to marketing tools for Store subscribers

Category and item specifics

eBay thinks that new category changes and item specific updates will create an even more intuitive buying, selling, and search experience on eBay. In May, category name changes and item specifics on the US site will be more closely aligned with other eBay sites to offer eBay sellers improved access to cross-border trade opportunities. In addition to category name changes, other updates include additions, removals, moves and renames. ( Its not clear if eBay will make these changes for you or if you will have to do them manually)

See if these updates apply to you

Click on the links below to check the list of affected categories and make any necessary updates to your listings. The specific change to a given category can be found on the detail page by selecting the category. Additionally, some item specifics have been updated.


Jewelry Policy

Here’s what’s new with eBay’s jewelry policy

eBay has updated the eBay jewelry policy to provide clearer definitions of what can be listed in the Fine and Fashion Jewelry categories, which more closely align with industry standards.

They have expanded their list of fine and fashion metals, gemstones, and materials that can be listed in these categories. They have also updated listing requirements to help you describe your items more clearly and accurately to ensure they’re listed in the appropriate category (i.e., Fine or Fashion). Policy changes include:

  • A requirement that the metal type or gemstones need to be Fine as defined in the policy to list items in the Fine Jewelry category. If any part of your item is Fine, then it should be listed in the Fine category.
  • Fine metals that are plated or filled with another fine metal must be listed in the Fine Jewelry category.
  • New Item Specifics for those materials in each category. Sellers will be required to use these new Item Specifics when listing.
  • Clarified listing guidelines for treated, enhanced, lab-created and simulated/imitation items.
  • Natural diamonds that have been enhanced must include “Enhanced” in the title, Item Specifics, and description of your listing.
  • Natural gemstones that have been treated must include “Treated” in the Item Specifics and description of your listing.

Listings that don’t follow these guidelines may be removed and your selling privileges may be restricted, and your account may be suspended.

eBay User Agreement Updates

Here is what eBay says about their new updates. I felt it best to use their exact language for this item.

At eBay, we strive to make our policies clear and our services easy to use. As part of that commitment, we’re announcing some changes to the eBay User Agreement.

Our updated User Agreement will take effect on April 5, 2016 for new users and on May 19, 2016 for all other users. The updated User Agreement was posted on on April 5, 2016.

Key updates to the eBay User Agreement:

  • Using eBay: While eBay is committed to measuring our sellers’ performance fairly, we also expect sellers to consistently provide service that results in a high level of buyer satisfaction. We’ve updated this section to indicate that sellers who fail to meet ourminimum performance standards may have their accounts limited, restricted, suspended, or downgraded.
  • Returns and Cancellations: We’ve updated this section to state that, for new sellers, in all listings where returns are accepted, eBay will set a default rule that automates the return process. As before, sellers can still customize their return preferences (requires eBay login) from their account settings in My eBay, and may choose not to accept returns when listing.
  • Legal Disputes: We’ve made some minor changes to our dispute resolution policy. Please see the updated User Agreement for details.

– See more here.

So there you have it. Lots of changes this year which is combined with eBay’s new look and feel and what’s not mentioned specifically is the search algorithms will also change. Personally I am not optimistic about this in the long run, but I could be wrong so we will just have to wait and see. Previous changes to the search engine have been highly problematic for sellers resulting in poorer search results.

Of all the things mentioned in here be sure to check the category updates and make sure you comply with all the new rules.


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