Value Added Resource Week In Review 12-31-23

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


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Welcome to the Value Added Resource ecommerce news week in review and Happy New Years Eve!

As we close out the year, check out the headlines from this week and take a look back at our top stories of 2023.

eBay & Ecommerce News

eBay is cold calling sellers to "encourage" them to pass on discounted shipping rates to buyers - are they worried high prices compared to other platforms are contributing to Active Buyer decline?

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.

Mandatory buyer paid shipping for sneakers with Authenticity Guarantee is causing major problems for UK eBay sellers who are no longer eligible to receive Premium Service benefits, including fee discounts.

eBay UK Sellers Denied Premium Service Benefits Due To Authenticated Sneaker Shipping
eBay UK mandatory buyer paid shipping for authenticated sneakers causes sellers to lose Premium Service benefits, including fee discounts.

Sellers notice their Return Policy information has moved to a new place in listings as eBay unveils new View Item Page design.

eBay Bug Moves Return Policy Under Description On Listings
Sellers notice their Return Policy information has moved to a new place listings as eBay unveils new View Item Page design.

Bonanza has launched Vercado webstores, offering online merchants an all in one site builder & business hub - but is it worth the price?

Bonanza Launches Vercado Webstores & Business Hub
Vercado by Bonanza offers online sellers a webstore builder & all in one business hub - but is it worth the price?

UPDATE: Amazon has backtracked on non-removable star-only feedback policy after significant seller pushback, including a petition campaign by ASGTG.

Amazon Launches Star-Only Feedback, Sellers Cannot Request Removal
Amazon allows buyers to leave star-only feedback without comment, sellers upset they will not be able to request removal.

Corporate Transparency Act Beneficial Ownership Information reporting requirements go into effect January 1, 2024 - here's what you need to know!

Corporate Transparency Act Beneficial Ownership Reporting: What Online Businesses Need To Know
Corporate Transparency Act Beneficial Ownership Reporting requirements go into effect January 1, 2024 - here’s what you need to know!

Top Stories of 2023

eBay came under increased legal and regulatory scrutiny on multiple fronts this year, starting with authentication workers at subsidiary TCGPlayer forming eBay's first US union, filing multiple unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board in the process.

The ongoing labor battle, and sudden departure of several key executives, has raised serious questions and concerns about due diligence and disclosure in the TCGPlay acquisition as well as possible implications for eBay's other labor-centric operations.

eBay Chief Accounting Officer Exit Amplifies TCGPlayer Due Diligence Concerns
eBay Chief Accounting Officer steps down amidst growing concerns about TCGPlayer due diligence.

The EPA filed a lawsuit in September alleging eBay failed to stop the sales of prohibited pesticides, restricted chemicals, and illegal emissions-control cheat devices on the platform.

The suit sparked a media blitz by executives and investigations by multiple shareholder rights firms looking to determine if eBay officers and the board breached their fiduciary duties.

EPA Sues eBay Over Sales Of Pesticides, Chemicals & Anti-Pollution Control Devices
EPA files lawsuit against eBay for failing to stop sales of pesticides, chemicals & devices to defeat pollution controls.

And the civil case against eBay, ex-CEO Devin Wenig, ex-Comms Chief Steve Wymer, ex-SVP Global Operations Wendy Jones, and others related to the 2019 cyberstalking scandal continues with a trial date set for March 2025.

eBay Execs Under Fire As Cyberstalking Case Gets 2025 Trial Date
eBay cyberstalking case headed for 2025 trial as questions about executive culpability linger.

Amazon also faced legal and regulatory challenges this year, including a proposed class action due to delays in Prime Shipping, and most notably, the FTC finally filed their long awaited antitrust suit against the company.

FTC Hits Amazon With Antitrust Suit Alleging Illegal Monopoly Power Stifles Competition
FTC files long awaited Amazon antitrust suit alleging monopoly power inflates prices, degrades quality & stifles competition.

Layoffs hit the tech and ecommerce industries hard this year with Amazon, Shopify, PayPal, and eBay all undertaking staff reductions early in the year.

More recently, Etsy laid off 11% of their workforce on December 13 and many companies are currently on a full or partial hiring freeze with employees bracing for the very likely possibility of more layoffs after the first of the year.

Etsy Lays Off 11% Of Workforce, Including Chief Marketing Officer
Etsy has announced a restructuring plan laying off 11% of workforce, ~ 225 employes, including Chief Marketing Officer Ryan Scott.

And of course you can't talk about ecommerce in 2023 without talking about Artificial Intelligence.

The introduction of ChatGPT has captured the imagination of tech companies and consumers alike, with AI being integrated in new ways on both the buying and selling side of many marketplaces.

Shopify and Mercari have both introduced AI-powered shopping assistants to help buyers find the perfect items to fit their needs.

Shopify Adds ChatGPT Assistant To Shop App & Web
Shopify’s ChatGPT powered assistant brings conversational AI to the Shop app & web experiences.

Amazon and eBay now provide AI tools to help sellers write descriptions and item information.

And eBay is working to expand their Magical AI Listing tool to empower sellers to create a listing using only an image - but Poshmark and Mercari may beat them to the punch.

eBay Teases Magical AI Listing Creation Using Only An Image
eBay teases magical AI listing tool to create listings using only an image - will it live up to the hype?

Was 2023 a successful or challenging year for your business? What do you hope to see from online marketplaces in 2024?

We always love to hear from our readers - leave a comment below, or contact VAR.

Thank you for your continued support and readership and we wish you continued success as we head into a new year!

Week In Review

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