eBay Sellers Push Back On Continued Shipping Discount Pressure

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


eBay continues pressuring sellers to offer free or discounted shipping, but sellers are not having it, telling the company it should consider lowering its fees if it wants items on the site to be more price competitive.

The latest round of backlash played out on the eBay for Business Facebook page, where a post "encourage" sellers to provide shipping discounts has received 174 responses so far.

Isn't it amazing how Ebay has soooooo many suggestions for us to take less money for OUR items, yet, they never offer to reduce their "fees"

Offering "Free Shipping" from the East coast to a West coast buyer is often prohibitive due to the increased shipping cost based on distance. It would help me to offer free shipping if I could limit the "free shipping" to certain zip codes.

The promoted listings fees are terrible just to maybe get a sale. FVF + promotion = 25%+ fees for items we use to pay an average of 15%. The extra promotion fee knocks out us offering free shipping on the smaller value items unless we want $8-$9 net before subtracting COGS.

Wish we could wind back time about 3 years.

Agreed, ebay should pay for the shipping to build loyalty

How about you guys eat the cost of that, everything you guys post involves us losing money, give a shipping discount, promote at wild levels, best offer ect. When is something going to benefit sellers?

Is ebay's customer base actually growing? When I see all this effort to force sellers to have to lose more money to sell on the site it feels like Ebay is trying to beef up their bottom line numbers to give the appearance that things are ok.

You can only squeeze sellers so far and other platforms will start to gain traction as people will be forced to sell on other platforms or a newer platform will come and start eating Ebay sellers.

If this is the solution Ebay has come up with to keep their profit margins in line it is a very short term fix and ultimately Ebay will lose in the long run.

So now we not only have to give eBay 25% of our sales by doing prompted listings (or you literally prevent things from being seen or sold) AND take a hit on shipping? You’re not a consignment store…we’re doing all the work. You’ve lost sight of who you actually make your money off of. It’s US, not the buyers.

eBay posted the same image as well as a clip with advice from an "expert seller" in the community and sellers there were baffled about one particular point on the list - #2: Top of page placement gets your listings seen first.

Shipping Discounts get “top of page placement”???
Read shipping tip from side bar.... https://community.ebay.com/t5/What-s-New/Shipping-discounts-plus-an-expert-tip/ba-p/34292840 Does #2 mean Top of Page Placement in searches? outranking Promoted Listings? What kind of discounts do they mean? Never seen this before. This apparently…

Read shipping tip from side bar....


Does #2 mean Top of Page Placement in searches? outranking Promoted Listings? What kind of discounts do they mean? Never seen this before.

This apparently a tip from a seller........but to get this kind of exposure from ebay.......it's true?????

Thank you for sharing. I will be interested to hear what the blues say about "top-of-page placement". I have used shipping discounts for years and I do not see my listings always appearing at the top of search page results.

It looks to me that this seller is talking about shipping discounts and overstating/misstating what I see here:


Screenshot 2024-02-18 111347.png

We're not entirely sure what that point means either as yes, offering free or discounted shipping can help your visibility in search, it by no means guarantees "top of page" placement - especially not above Promoted Listings Advanced Cost Per Click ads that are given preferential access to the top 4 slots in "best match" search as well as across other placements both in search and on listing pages.

eBay has cranked up the call to offer free and discounted shipping in the last few months, surveying buyers and sellers in Australia about shipping costs and cold calling sellers with high pressure sales tactics to try to convince them to pass along discounted shipping rates to buyers.

eBay Cold Calls Sellers With Nudge To Reduce Shipping Costs For Buyers
eBay cold calls seller to “encourage’ them to pass on discounted shipping rates to buyers.

Meanwhile, USPS just recently instituted another rate increase, which also acts as a defacto fee increase for eBay since they charge Final Value Fees on the total, including shipping.

If eBay is actually concerned about whether or not items on the site are price competitive across the larger ecommerce market, targeting shipping costs ignores the much larger Promoted Listings elephant in the room.

First party Promoted Listings ads continue to be a major source of revenue growth for eBay, with over 2.3 million sellers adopting a single ad product in Q3 2023.

Q3 also marked another strong quarter for our advertising business. Total advertising revenue grew 24% to $366 million. First-party ads grew 36% to $345 million or 36 points faster than FX-neutral GMV growth.

Over 2.3 million sellers adopted a single ad product during Q3, and we currently have over 850 million live promoted listings. Promoted Listing Standard, our cost per acquisition ad unit, was once again the largest contributor to growth in Q3, driven by continued optimization of placements, ad rate improvements, and the recurring benefit of the halo attribution change we discussed last quarter.

With more placements for Promoted Advanced Cost Per Click and Promoted Display adsexpanded Offsite Cost Per Click ads for Google placement, and "halo" attribution that allows eBay to charge Promoted Listings Standard ad fees for even more transactions, sellers increasingly face a "pay to play" scenario just to keep their businesses running on the platform.

Promoted Listings Standard ad fees are also charged on the total amount of sale, including tax and shipping, and as ad rates continue to rise at an unsustainable pace, sellers must bake that cost in somewhere, with consumers paying the price.

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If eBay is serious about wanting to win over buyers with better prices than the competition, they're going to have to reckon with their own role in driving prices up across the platform and come up with real strategies to increase sales rather than simply milking existing sellers for more revenue via ads while pressuring them to provide more discounts at every turn.


Liz Morton Twitter Facebook LinkedIn

Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!

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