Note from Liz - this post is not meant to be an exhaustive synopsis of the March eBay Seller Check In. I've chosen to highlight sections I personally found interesting, but I always encourage watching for yourself to get the full experience.
1:09 - 9:50 | Marketplace updates — Andrea Stairs, VP Seller Community and CMO, North America
9:58 - 15:18 | Seller engagement updates — Rebecca Michals, Director, Seller Engagement and Community
15:30 - 26:11 | Shipping Updates — Stuart Reichenbach, Senior Director, Shipping
26:15 - 45:55 | Drive Results With Data Deep Dive — Jennifer Roberts, Growth Advisor
46:03 - 59:19 | Questions and answers
Marketplace updates — Andrea Stairs
Asserting Our Leadership in Key Categories
Memorial Day focus on Certified Refurbished, Luxury Watches, and other categories with on site, social media and radio promotions.
Professional athlete and influencer campaigns continue on TikTok and YouTube.
On TikTok, which is a platform which is obviously dominated by Gen Z and younger shoppers, we're partnering with more sneakerhead influencers like Brianna Green and Wendy Lamb who have hundreds of thousands of followers even if you don't know their names and maybe I don't either.
Is anyone else a little concerned that eBay's Chief Marketing Officer apparently doesn't know or seem to care much about the influencers they are partnering with?
eBay NFTs - no new details, just a mention that eBay has officially announced they will be supporting selling of NFTs on the platform and to "watch this space."
Seller News Roundup
None of these are really new, mostly a recap of previous announcements.
Edit to cancel unpaid items - recap of the announcement here.
PowerSeller retirement - more info here.
Changes to adult only category - see updated adult items policy.
Seller Hub performance learning resources - centralized location for existing Seller School content, eBay for Business YouTube videos, and "how to" pages.
Seller engagement updates — Rebecca Michals
eBay Open Online - call for submissions.
Listing Best Practices - hints and tips from eBay for Business Facebook users.
Shipping Updates — Stuart Reichenbach
eBay Standard Envelope - basically just a recap of the eBay's help page about this service. No in-depth details or mention of the many complaints buyers and sellers have had about this service or the fact that that recent category changes may have removed this option for some trading card sellers.
Shipping Tip of the Month: Know Your Dimensional Weight - A reminder about carriers using dimensional weight for shipping calculations.
Is this tip a subtle way to get out in front of increasing complaints from sellers about exorbitant additional shipping charges?
Drive Results With Data Deep Dive — Jennifer Roberts
Analyzing Traffic Reports - high level very generic overview of reports available in Seller Hub under the Performance tab.
Understanding Your Sales Reports - Again, a very generic high level overview of sales reports.
Terapeak Research and Sourcing Insights - More generic high level overview here too. Still no mention of the $1000 minimum sales in the last 90 days requirement to use the Sourcing Insights tool or how to add saved categories - both of which I covered here.
Jennifer tries her best while reading the scripts here, but there is nothing in this section I would call a "deep-dive." It's basically just a rehashing of general information already available in multiple places like eBay Seller School and the eBay for Business YouTube channel.
In my opinion, eBay is using reports and data to try to "nudge" sellers into compliance with longstanding advice to use Free Shipping, Free Returns, Discounts & Promotions, Promoted Listings, and Item Specifics.
As I've said many times about the Listing Quality Report, most sellers are already aware of eBay's "advice" on these topics. Odds are if a seller is already not taking any/all of that advice, it is a purposeful business decision not a lack of awareness or understanding. For example, if a seller has already determined that offering free returns is cost prohibitive or doesn't fit well with their business model, there is nothing in these reports or tools that is likely to change their mind.
A post from a_c_green in the eBay community put it this way and I wholeheartedly agree.
I get the sense that the only reason they're pushing out this data because they can, rather than because there was a demand for it. It's easier to invent new reports and such than to devote the same resources to problem-solving the current system, debugging and so on, all those boring things that don't seem to have a benefit to their costs, but which result long-term in a better site that benefits everyone.
Questions and Answers
Items Specifics - Rebecca acknowledged there have been numerous questions and concerns about item specifics recently.
Item specifics, why do they continue to change?
There are a number of drivers for category and item specifics changes. One of the main ones is to support new products and new trends that we see happening in the marketplace.
Then there are programs that are related to supply and demand that we need to be able to support that require some changes to happen. And then also we want you to know that we are aligning all the sites and categories and item specifics to a global data model so that buyers and sellers have the best opportunities to transact globally and everything is, you know, an even playing field I guess.
And then in addition to the above, there are times that we have to make changes to meet a business requirement from legal or from policy from SEO, selling, search, shipping. So I think the takeaway here is that we are doing it on purpose because we truly believe that updating those items specifics will drive your business and will help result in more sales for you and a better experience for buyers.
Then the other part of this question is do we really have to do all of this? And I think that's a perennial question - do you have to do all of these item specifics?
So there's a whole team here at eBay that is working hard every day to make sure that the required item specifics are the most meaningful to buyers so that the specifics you put in are the ones that buyers are looking for.
Any other item specifics either recommended or optional and are not going to stop you from listing or potentially having a successful sale if they're not completed.
And then the last thing I want to mention just to be really clear, please do fill in the required item specifics. That's really important. But there's lots of recommended ones and we do not suggest that you put in NA or not applicable if you find a recommended item specific that isn't relevant to the item that you're listing.
Interestingly, in the community chat on 5-19, one user was particularly curious about eBay's "end game" to item specifics including whether it is part of a larger strategy to help with targeting for advertising on other platforms like Google and Facebook. Rebecca's answer here may give some clues.
Question: Is Terapeak going to being available in the app anytime?
So I've been here long enough to remember when we acquired Terapeak and I'm amazed at how fast we've integrated but I know there's more to be down and Terapeak is an incredibly useful and very popular source of insight. So we are working on that. We know that mobile is increasingly important both on the buyer side and on the seller side, so we are working on that and it's a priority. Nothing to announce right now but it's definitely something that we'll come back to and have more to share later this year.
Question: Sellers want to know, should they use the eBay Global Shipping Program or other eBay international shipping options?
Yes is the answer, please. First, yeah, ship internationally. There's a huge demand for US product. It's a really great way to expand your business.
The shipping portion of this look, there's lot of different ways to ship internationally. We think the two easiest ways, in fact we know the two easiest ways, are the two programs we have - eBay international standard delivery which we launched last year and our Global Shipping Program which has been around for about 7 years.
EISD is very similar to shipping internationally with the post office. It's a DDU solution, delivered duty unpaid to your buyer. Our program goes to 2oo countries around the world. It offers savings of up to 15% against some of the carriers I just mentioned a minute ago. Our tracking and reliability on this product is really strong. Built in insurance of up to $100 and seller protections because it's eBay's shipping program.
If you're looking for something a little bit more robust, the Global Shipping Program is a delivered duty paid solution.
Question: We have questions about fraudulent buyers, can you speak to how we handle fraudulent buyers?
We've got a team that is dedicated to identifying and actioning abusive buyers, whether or not their fraudulent, you know they can certainly make your life as a seller more difficult than necessary.
So the best thing to do to essentially raise a flag is to report those buyers through the report a buyer functionality. And what happens when you do that? The buyer gets flagged and it fees into our abusive buyer detective algorithm both to look at the individual case and also to educate that algorithm to changing patterns of bad buyer behavior.
So it's really important that you do do that flagging. There are other mechanisms that we have in place to detect the potential issues but in terms of what's something that we recommend sellers to do, definitely flag the buyer, then that comes into our system as something to be actioned.