02/27/2018 at 1:07 pm #33993
Let’s chat about the upcoming changes. Some things that stand out:
-Starter store option below basic store. Enterprise store (100,000 listings!) above anchor store. Still nothing between premium and anchor.
-TRS will require free 30 day returns
-No more restocking fee
-Expanding guaranteed delivery program
-Catalog based listing (and shopping). Looks like a lean toward amazon-style.
Excited to see eBay making adjustments. Let’s hope it draws more buyers.
Here’s the link: http://pages.ebay.com/seller-center/seller-updates/2018-spring/
- This topic was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by Matt.
02/27/2018 at 1:17 pm #33996
I would really love to hear what Top Rated Sellers think about this new ebay stipulation that in order to be a Top Rated Seller one must give free 30 day returns. I really do not think it is ok for ebay to put that stipulation on being a Top Rated Seller.
02/27/2018 at 1:26 pm #33999
As an Anchor Store subscriber and TRS+ seller, I am not going to participate in free returns. It just won’t work for anything over a pound in weight. And when I ship heavy items from the East Coast to the West Coast, it’s often times $20+ to ship priority mail items. I can’t eat $40 in shipping for something that might cost $40. It just doesn’t make sense. I make between 6-8K a month as a TRS+ seller. I’m worried how much it will drop when I lose the TRS badge.
02/27/2018 at 2:04 pm #34002
There’s no requirement for TRSs to offer 30 day free returns. That requirement is per listing, for the TRS Plus badge and 10% FVF discount. If you want the discount and the badge, you will need to offer 30 day free returns. You can do this per listing, offering it for light weight stuff but not heavy weight stuff if you so choose. I’ve been offering it for a couple years now, on pretty much everything I sell, it hasn’t hurt me at all. But I have a low return rate, your mileage may vary.
02/27/2018 at 2:15 pm #34005
Is there a benefit to having TRS status alone without TRS+ badge and discount?
02/27/2018 at 2:08 pm #34003ElleParticipant
Me too AtomicStar. Free returns will be very difficult to absorb. And the restocking fee going away? Ebay reps encouraged me to add that in in the first place! 🙂 I hope they rethink those two. I am top rated with an inventory of about 1600 and about 100 sales a month. That could be difficult to absorb.
02/27/2018 at 2:09 pm #34004
I’ve only ever had three returns (I sell very little clothing or very large items), but I’m moving away from retail arbitrage so more issues might crop up. I will probably try it if they actually go through with this TRS demand and then look at the numbers. I think they will get a lot of push back on this item and hopefully they will just drop it. I certainly hope they are only requiring free domestic returns. I don’t see that it says that, only that you can have a separate policy for international. I’ll continue to carefully evaluate my new purchases for flat rate sizing and estimated shipping costs.
I’m going to be a bit disappointed if I’m not included in the March 1 group for guaranteed delivery. I joined the waiting list right away and have a great record. As a buyer, I’m not filtering with that currently. Most of my Ebay purchases are not time sensitive.
Since the overage on my store subscription is going up five cents per listing, I might be needing to upgrade as the break even will change for premium. If anyone recalculates b e, please share. I wonder though if they will create even more levels later.
Finally, I hope they have really, really worked on their product catalog. I was unable to successfully enter a sku on anything except Legos and dvds in the past. If you do, then they really hound you to change the price and do free shipping. I’m guessing they will drop this requirement once again or put it off.
02/27/2018 at 2:54 pm #34010
Matt, TRS sellers get a higher shipping discount with ebay labels than non TRS. Also, I think TRS sellers get a quarterly credit ($30?) on Promoted Listings. Not sure if there are other benefits as well.
02/27/2018 at 4:00 pm #34020
Flippertools provides a nice summary of TRS (no plus) benefits.
The $30 promoted listings credit and $100 free usps insurance are b/c of having a store, not TRS.
03/01/2018 at 4:20 pm #34171
Thanks for clearing it up! I went into a skim reading panic when I saw “free returns”, “required”, and “top rated seller” all in the same sentence. I feel a little better…
02/27/2018 at 2:58 pm #34012
MAtt, I think TRS also doubles the free insurance on USPS through ebay labels, from $50 to %100? Not sure if that’s TRS or having a store though…
02/27/2018 at 3:26 pm #34014mayberrymom24boysParticipant
- Location: Texas
Yes, MyCottage, agreed. What I read is that 30 day free returns is for Top Rated PLUS, not for TRS. And I was wondering if individual listings would have the opt-out feature. I *might* be able to handle free returns on clothing and shoes, but not on larger items where the shipping is an arm and a leg. Hard to predict whether the benefit to search ranking will be enough to justify eating the cost of the occasional return shipping. It probably depends how many people participate in the free 30 day returns. If, like guaranteed 3-day shipping, hardly anyone qualifies or participates, seems like it won’t hurt anything to not offer free returns. Honestly, when I purchase, I only look at feedback percentage, not at TRS or TRS Plus. My current return rate for clothing and shoes is about 4%. Not horrible, not great. Not sure yet what I’ll do.
02/27/2018 at 3:53 pm #34019
I was most struck by the announcement that re-stocking fees are going away, which I found here:
“Restocking fees will no longer be a return option.”
However, as I browsed around the other info on the update, I found a contradictory statement here:
“What’s changing with restocking fees?
Restocking fees will be offered to all sellers inside a structured pull-down menu located in your return policy. When you select the restocking fee, it will show on your item page, and be automatically deducted from the refund when the buyer chooses the following return reasons:
Found a better price
Just didn’t like it
Ordered by mistake”
So now I don’t know what to think.
02/27/2018 at 4:17 pm #34022
Sonia, No. The Promoted Listings credit is for TRS. Anchor stores get an additional credit. Other stores, none. This is from ebay:
Benefits for Top Rated Sellers and Anchor Store subscribers
✓ Top Rated Sellers are eligible to receive a $30 credit each quarter**
✓ Anchor Store subscribers are eligible to receive a $25 credit each quarter**
✓ If you’re both a Top Rated Seller and an Anchor Store subscriber, you’re eligible to receive the both quarterly credits, totaling $55
02/27/2018 at 4:25 pm #34023
Sonia, The restocking fee is going away, but, for now, I think it is still available. It goes away in May.
02/27/2018 at 4:35 pm #34025
OK, so they really need to remove pages that say “what changes with restocking fees” that provide the wrong/outdated information that you can get to via links on the Spring Update.
I’m bummed about the restocking fee. It was a nice deterrent for would-be buyers looking to rent an item, and even more, pay for my time/effort handling the return. But I’ll get over it. Just calls for raising prices all around! And making sure to source things that aren’t part of the race to the bottom. Hard to compete with people who have created their own sweatshops.
02/27/2018 at 5:01 pm #34026almastyParticipant
I just came to this thread to laugh at the enterprise store level pricing. That is all.
02/27/2018 at 9:30 pm #34035SimonParticipant
- Location: San Francisco Bay Area
When I saw the headline about new store levels I was really hoping they would fill the hole between premium and anchor. I’m sad they didn’t do that
02/27/2018 at 10:12 pm #34038omfugParticipant
I don’t even sell that much on ebay anymore, I believe that there a grace period till may to opt out of a store with no penalty?
02/28/2018 at 7:58 am #34039
Sharing a video from The Thrifting Board FB group of Griff and Brian discussing the new free return TSR+ requirement. International not required, even GSP. Free returns with TRS seal and 10% FVF discount applies on item by item basis. If you have TRS I believe you get all of the other goodies even if you opt some items out of free returns. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRWNpEGWwt0
02/28/2018 at 1:57 pm #34064
ChristineR – I just watched this video. I have to say – I am sold. This sounds like a great program. I just signed up for business policies because of the Smartpost issue, and, coincidentally, it will help me to set up free returns. I can pick and chose the items that I don’t want to have free returns, namely items where I might chose FedEx as an option because of weight or size.
This will help the situation where a buyer “rents” a dress or opens the packaging for a new item. As long as we have met the free returns, one day shipping, etc, we can chose to give the buyer a partial refund. Assuming we don’t abuse the system, Ebay will not involve us if the buyer choses to fight it.
When I first started out just about two years ago, I might have had heartache with this policy. I’m kind of glad it didn’t kick in until now.
I don’t work with my numbers except to post them here every week and to do my taxes. I’m running my little ebay business on my own, and I feel a pressure to list, list, list, which puts organizing, analyzing, and adjusting as a second priority. However, I read all the posts about other people who do their numbers and, for the most part, I get it. You guys kind of do the numbers for me, and I’m benefitting from your information. Thanks!
02/28/2018 at 2:10 pm #34067
Sharyn: “You guys kind of do the numbers for me, and I’m benefiting from your information. Thanks!”
Reminds me of a commercial from my youth…”We do the work, so you don’t have to.”
02/28/2018 at 8:02 am #34040
The FAQs say that after May 1 no one is required to have a store and once signed up, it can be cancelled “without an early termination fee.” As I understand it, nothing changes until May 1 so whatever the present policy on cancellations would apply until then.
02/28/2018 at 9:57 am #34047
It sounds like you can still sell anyway you want. No seller has to accept returns. But obviously eBay is showing us what sellers they plan to push up in the rankings. They said 30 Day Free Returns is now the “retail standard”.
Here’s my big question about taking free 30 day returns. How exactly will eBay protect sellers from abuse especially since they’re will be no more restocking fees.
–”If a buyer asks for something different or extra, or if we identify a buyer who frequently returns items, we’ll step in and protect you.”
–”For example, if a buyer uses or damages an item and returns it, you can decide to issue a partial refund and we’ll take it from there. If a buyer escalates a case, we’ll take care of it for you so you can focus on your business. Plus, we’ll protect your reputation from any negative feedback.”
Sounds good. But as we all have experienced, dealing with customer service to resolve these issues is never easy.
02/28/2018 at 10:02 am #34049
Overall, here is our take on the requirement to offer 30 Day Free Returns. Do we like it? Not really. But will we offer 30 Day Free Returns? Yep.
Here is why. The marketplace is shifting. People want free returns online now. It is just a reality. We can continue to NOT offer free returns, and we can lose sales. Does it cost us money to do this? Yes, but so does a lot of things in business.
I ran some numbers (go figure) on our store. Our return rate is 2% (all clothing). In using January sales volume:
Number of sales: 281
Avg COGS: $5
Avg Sales Price: $27
Avg Gross Profit: $22
Return Rate: 2%
# of Returns: 6
Avg Cost of Return Shipping: $4
Cost of Return Shipping: $24
EBay Final Value Fee: $700
TRS+ Fee Savings (10%: $70
So, our TRS+ fee savings on FVF will cover our cost of return shipping. Now, let’s assume that our return rate DOUBLES (highly doubtful, but it might). Total cost, $48. TRS+ still covers it.
Also, I am looking at having an increase in Sell Thru Rate by staying at this level (by staying up in search and by others that opt out dropping in search). At $22 profit per item, I only have to sell 3 more items in a month to cover a HUGE (and unlikely) increase in returns.
The key factor for us is evaluating at time of purchase what the shipping cost is as a percentage of the profit made. If we had a potential $10 profit on an item, and the shipping is $4, there is some risk, but coverable (I ran the numbers on this scenario too, as that is the low end of our clothing). But if we have a $10 profit with $10 shipping, then the breakeven point doubles. Much more risk.
So our focus going forward is to think about the cost of shipping when evaluating profit potential when we buy, and evaluate the risk of a return on an item (looking for flaws).
02/28/2018 at 10:51 am #34055
Yep, T-Satt I think you are wise to evaluate on the buying end. Unfortunately I have some death piles going here so will use this experience to evaluate what I will most want to be buying, shipping and selling. There is so much stuff out there, so from now on increasing shipping costs will be an even bigger part of the equation, along with projected profit.
03/01/2018 at 10:42 am #34130
Right there with you T-Satt. We have had 30 day returns on our whole store for over a year and no increase in returns. Actually we don’t even get returns. Since 2002 maybe 2 or 3. Also only had 3 or 4 breakages. Nothing but 100% feedback and out of 852 feedbacks only had 1 neutral since 2002.
It is part of doing business. Back in the mfg. days we had tons of stuff stolen from the plant usually by employees, Pens, pencils, calculators, toilet paper, clip boards, not books, computer paper, ink cartridges, staples, paper clips, staplers, tape, tape dispensers, boxes, tape guns, extension cords, paper towels, soap, get the point. all of that added up to a percentage of our Sales. In retail it is called shrinkage. As online sellers we don’t have that. just some internal breakage from slippery fingers occasionally.
With such a low return rate, who cares. I will take anything back any time, even paying for shipping both ways. I know my numbers, I know my margins, I have tons of slush built into the profit margins, even offering free shipping on a lot of items and making more money now on shipping because of it.
We have been building our own Shopify Store online for months now and when we go live, we will have all these types of benefits for our customers. And just think, customers coming directly to our store without having to pay any Ebay fees at all, but we set the rules, and the policies [SOP’s] will be just as customer friendly as Ebay is trying to get us to be.
You know that the best way to get a handle on some of these numbers is to make sure one uses accounting software and pulls a bi-weekly P&L and look at the percentages. Then compare those percentages with other metrics as a baseline. I remember almost all of my percentages from the old days and if I have a slush category like shrinkage of less than 1.5% I am good to go. I also remember about two dozen other percentages and anything within those or less I know we are making good profit margins. Get those too high and out of line, then make the internal manuvers to cut back and correct, including reducing personnel.
So run our online business the same way. Just do the changes, implement, adjust and move on. Simple. Atleast no one selling on Ebay has to deal with and be responsible for hundreds of employees. You don’t know head aches until you have that number of “people” to deal with internally. After every pay day, I had dozens of people who “wan’t to see me”. Well, handling Ebay changes is a walk in the park.
Mike at MDC Galleries and Fine art in Atlanta
03/01/2018 at 11:05 am #34136
Mike: Amen Brother! Preach it!
02/28/2018 at 10:24 am #34051
Jay, as I understand it, there’s a trade-off. This is my take: ebay REALLY wants free return shipping to become the new norm on ebay. They believe this will help keep the marketplace competitive. They also understand there is a LOT of seller angst about it. So they are saying: Fine, we get that. So here’s the deal: offer it, play fair with the buyer (ebay will be watching…if ALL your refunds are at 50%, you could lose the protection, etc)…but if you play fair with the buyer, ebay will take all the heat off…you issue your partial refund, and if the buyer isn’t happy, it’s between the buyer and ebay. ebay can aide with the seller or buyer, either way, the seller won’t be involved. If ebay sides with the buyer, ebay pays the buyer the difference.
Why would ebay do this? Well, like I said, that’s how important they think this is to keep the site competitive. But I think there’s a second reason as well. ebay has the data. And I think the data shows ebay that seller concerns around this are way overblown. In other words, they have some idea of what this will cost them, and it isn’t that much. Especially when they factor in their projections on the impact: they will save a lot of money on Customer Service, because one of the most time consuming issues is sellers arguing over so-called false INAD claims…take the seller out of the equation, and that will reduce the cost considerably. Also, they really believe there will be a substantial increase in sales, and thus revenue, as a result of this change (and others they are making).
I’ve been offering free return shipping for a couple years now, and I know others who’ve been offering it. No one I’ve talked to has seen a substantial increase in returns and false INAD claims pretty much vanish because the buyer has no reason to claim INAD just to get the free return shipping. Over the years I’ve been amazed at the amount of effort and time sellers put into fighting so called false INAD claims. I told myself it’s easier—and affordable—to just offer free return shipping, and that’s how it has worked out for me. And this change will make it even easier and more affordable. As always, your mileage may vary, but it simply hasn’t been a problem.
And one more thing…when I first went to free return shipping, I told ebay that one thing that was holding people back (and almost prevented me from doing it) was the fact that there was no way to offer free return shipping on domestic only….now that ebay could be paying out on buyer claims, they’ve suddenly had a change of heart, and come May —when it is finally offered—I will change all my listings to domestic free return shipping only.
02/28/2018 at 10:28 am #34052
02/28/2018 at 10:57 am #34056
Yep, I get the argument: eat the cost and expect more sales. (It’s the Amazon way.)
–What kinds of items do you mainly sell?
–What’s your return rate?
02/28/2018 at 11:30 am #34059
Yep! That is why I ran the numbers in my post above. Won’t hurt us at all.
02/28/2018 at 8:46 pm #34091
Jay, I mostly sell antiques, collectibles, used stuff (including some clothing). Pretty much your basic “whatever I can scavenge” kind of stuff, with rarely, a retail arbitrage type item.
I know I should know this, but I haven’t really done the numbers to figure out my return rate. It’s small enough that I haven’t felt the need really.
03/01/2018 at 11:09 am #34139
Jay, it is not just the Amazon way, it is a business approach methodology way. And as far as “eating the cost”. Think like an operations guy. Ask the question, what is causing the returns? If it is anything internal, find it and fix it.
If it is too short of a description like only having “size 42” as the only copy in the whole description box. Well check out the listing of what was returned and see if it was better described would it have maybe not been returned. Or is it better Item Specifics or if one can’t figure it out then sure, maybe, eat it and move on. Once that returns are placed into ones Chart of Accounts [COA], as a line item then yes, accept it as it is IF in the relationship to the over all picture that a P&L provides you are within acceptable margins. Then account for that in the pricing structure and those loses are made up as someone replied, by adjusting prices. Sell 1500 items per year at a $1.00 higher price provides one with a $1,500 retained earnings to be applied to those misc. items. And as T-Satt mentions, if those returns are less than the $1,500 there is even more profit left over.
When we as re-sellers of vintage items are finding inventory for $5 and less and selling them at 10, 15 or even 20 times the money, then there is room to spare.
Just my opinion.
03/02/2018 at 4:27 pm #34254
Jay, I figured out my return rate for the last 12 months: a little less than one half percent. Like I said, it hasn’t been a problem. That could change on a dime, I realize, but for now, I’ll stick with free return shipping.
03/01/2018 at 10:54 am #34133
Yep… and as i said in my reply to T-Satt. Run your business like a corporation. Just do what Ebay wants and knock off the belly aching. Just “Do It”, “Gett ‘er Done” and move on with making money.
The biggest suggestion I could make to anyone who wants to really run a thriving online business is to go through the book, “Ninety Days to an MBA”. and get a grasp those principles, and then apply to your store on a smaller scale.
As Jay always says, if you want to dowse yourself with grief just go visit the Ebay forums and one can fall into the depths of gloom and despair really quick.
mike in Atlanta
03/01/2018 at 11:09 am #34140
Mike: You are on fire today! Agree again, and with Jay’s comment. If you really want to get to the 5th level of despair…go on the EBay forums…
The Banner should say “Here there be dragons”…
03/01/2018 at 11:16 am #34141
Yes, I agree that it’s not worth bellyaching. eBay also is not forcing anyone to do Free returns. You can still have a “no returns” policy. The eBay algorithm will probably just push you down in search (I assume).
However, when eBay tried to push “free shipping”, most sellers said “no thanks”. That program has basically died off. I remember when some sellers said “if you dont do free shipping, your sales will drop off!” We ignored that fear and kept selling just as much as always.
I dont believe any of have to do what eBay dictates. They’re just a bunch of MBA’s sitting around a desk coming up with ideas. Doesn’t mean they make sense down on the ground. Do what makes sense to you.
“Free 30-day Returns” is their next big idea. Will it work? Maybe. We’ll try it out and see what happens. As I said, it all depends on how eBay actually protects sellers from abuse. If it gets too silly, we’ll end it and my prediction is that we’ll keep selling just fine.
This is not our first “seller update” rodeo.
03/01/2018 at 11:24 am #34146
This is not our first “seller update” rodeo. Boy you got that right. ….
03/01/2018 at 11:21 am #34145
“5th level of despair”… Love it. Is that anything like the 12 Elements of Turmoil?
I saw a humorus item in front of a cash register the other day. It was a small sign that read “For Complaint Dept. Pull Here”. It was attached to the round pull pin on a hand grenade. I laughed.
The cashier said everyone comments on it.
03/01/2018 at 2:37 pm #34155
I would like to offer that sellers expressing their disagreement with eBay practices is far from bellyaching. eBay’s business model is to focus on eBay as a corporation first, take the middle ground on all rules, regulations, and practices (just read their jargon – while there may be a rule in place there is usually an exclusionary clause or sentence close by), and then to focus on their sellers. I am sorry, but their first priority is not sellers. While eBay employees supposedly have to or have sold on eBay, they most likely do not live in the trenches of being an eBay seller. As has been stated here on the forum and made clear (by listening to some eBay reps and/or reading their replies to postings), ebay employees and top administrators think in corporate (not seller) policy, practice, and jargon which may not always coincide with what actually happens in the day to day trenches of being a seller on eBay.
Jay has identified SL as being a place to examine the business of selling online (ecommerce). Expressing oneself and identifying what is and isn’t working is part of best business practices as well as the examination of ecommerce. Sellers have a very important and powerful voice and sometimes need someplace like SL to not only express their concerns and ideas but also to vet the levity of their concerns and ideas. There has been much resolve found in the forums of SL on various topics due to sellers expressing themselves. With this resolve found, it appears that sellers have greatly benefited and been able to improve in practice, understanding, and skill.
On another note, due to the fact that eBay is still works somewhat on a hit and miss basis and works to also stay in the middle, it is going to be the sellers voice and actions that either moves eBay practices and policies forward, helps them change, or causes them to become obsolete. If sellers just sit by and question nothing, then eBay assumes all power and the right to do what is best for them as a corporation. It is clear that several elements of the current seller’s update are due to sellers speaking up. On another note, Top Rated Sellers are enjoying a boost in their item visibility (and most likely sales) because they spoke up causing eBay to change their practice of showing the items of outside vendors below listings to instead showing the items of Top Rated Sellers.
On a final note, you have made it clear that you work within a team while serving as a leader. You have expressed the importance of team input and ideas which has proved to be of great benefit for you and your business. For those of us who are small time sellers, we need Top Rated Sellers such as yourself to objectively examine the practices and policies of eBay and provide input that is not just from a corporation standpoint but from a perspective of what is best overall.
03/01/2018 at 3:01 pm #34158
Well put and I don’t disagree at all. Pointing out issues and helping resolve and taking about possible out comes is truly the nature of SL. While I have a corporate background, my forte’ is contemporary fine art, have a MFA degree and aught on the collegiate level. So I am by no means a corporate worker bee any longer.
So, giving an opinion on just don’t worry too much about up coming changes, go with the flow, be flexible and make the needed changes in a quick fashion seems to be inline. But there is a difference between what may this mean, what are possible solutions as compared to the old “whow is me I am doomed and can’t see how I am going to survive” approach.
I too have asked many questions on SL and gotten great feedback, help and suggestions. By no means did I mean to imply to stop inquiring, asking, seeking and reciprocating. i meant it doesn’t help to put one’s hands up on each side of your face. drop your jaw and cry, “I am doomed, I am Doomed” Ebay is killing me.
Sure, I know what Ebay is doing and why. Very much so, and it doesn’t bother me, I would be doing the same. So, in different words, besides getting and seeking advice and related conversation, in the end, we will or in my opinion, should just get on with it.
A lot of time can also be lost on forums if one isn’t careful. We knew a friend who listened to Utube vids, read blogs, posted tons and she went well over a year and really never got many things listed.
Just saying.. no malice intended or implied.
03/01/2018 at 3:06 pm #34160
AdventureE: I understand your heart in what you are saying. I know Mike enough from discussing things back and forth that I believe that his heart IS with sellers. I think the most important part that we should all take from his post (and why I agreed with it), is exactly what your last line asked for.
“we need Top Rated Sellers such as yourself to objectively examine the practices and policies of eBay and provide input that is not just from a corporation standpoint but from a perspective of what is best overall.”
I think the main point of his post is doing exactly that: As a TRS+ seller, he is adjusting and moving on. He feels that the changes are exactly where the Marketplace is moving. He may not like it, but his job isn’t to like it, it is to adjust to it.
It was similar for us. We were a little ticked about forcing Free Returns. Then 5 minutes later, we put in a plan to adjust. We might voice some displeasure with eBay about how it impacts us later, but for now, we know that the rules have changed, we kind of saw this coming, we adjusted, and moved on.
03/01/2018 at 3:11 pm #34161
Amen T-Satt. You can fill in the pulpit anytime.
yep.. We are all in this together and SL has been a great place to learn from, iron out the kinks and even just to get a pat on the back and words from those experienced TRS+ guys that say, get up, dust off, get over it, embrace it and keep moving forward.
In golf and business a very basic rule is to just keep the ball moving forward toward the hole! 🙂
03/01/2018 at 3:20 pm #34162
My problem in Golf is same in life…LOFT!
(I’m sure you know what LOFT stands for…). 😀
I agree on the value of what Jay and Ryanne have here on Scavenger Life. Lots of perspectives on selling (and life). We shouldn’t have an echo chamber of everyone saying the same thing, or we get nowhere.
So I will say for everyone on these forums, always know that Mike (and I) are coming from a place of love in the advice and perspective we give. It isn’t the same as everyone, and we aren’t always smooth in how we say it, but it never has malice or ill intent.
03/01/2018 at 4:41 pm #34181
MDC and T-Satt,
There are three parts of business:
1. The business of business (customer service, sales, revenue)
2. The practices of business (what needs to get done in order to bring the business to fruition, what needs to get done to run the business, and what needs to happen in order to maintain and grow the business)
3. The discussion of business -the stating of business concepts, philosophies, and practices of business in oral or written form.
The both of you are highly equipped and skilled in all three areas which gives you and other Top Rated Sellers who are like you enormous leveraging power within eBay. While the concept of “getting on with it” was expressed, (or engage in the business and practice of business) and simply adapt to the changes, what is missed with such an approach is the opportunity for shifting the corporate imposed changes. As we all know, money and status talk. Top Rated Sellers have both-they have the title and the ability to bring in large amounts of money for eBay. I think it is up to them to reach out to eBay and let them know when certain stipulations and practices are not okay. eBay has made it very clear that Top Rated Sellers have their ear. While adapting is important in business, having an active voice that keeps a system of checks and balances in place is just as important.
I think there needs to be a thread directed by Top Rated Sellers that just focuses on the business of business and the practice of business where one can go as a seller to find ideas and structure based in practicality. While it can be frustrating to hear sellers voice their upsetment and/or frustration, one of the ways sellers grow is to have Top Rated Sellers identify the practicality after the frustration and/or upsetment. We all learn and perform at different levels and in different ways, so it can be really important to have a place that allows for the expression of “what the heck” while also providing the opportunity for answering of the question now what? This is the practice of business at its best.
03/01/2018 at 4:11 pm #34168
02/28/2018 at 8:04 pm #34089
I get so few returns and my ROI is pretty good so it shouldn’t hurt my bottom line to do free returns. But eBay annoys me by saying it’s the retail standard, because it ain’t. Years ago everyone jumped on the free shipping and free returns bandwagon but they’ve backed off on that. My family orders lots of things from Amazon and independent sites and they’re always returning stuff because they changed their mind or whatever. Since I’m the shipping nerd of the household, I get to make the returns happen and I always read the fine print before I ship. I want to do the math to see if it’s more cost effective for me to resell the item on eBay instead because there is more often than not they paid for shipping in the first place (unless Amazon Prime, which costs money) and there is a restocking fee, and/or a return shipping fee, and/or they won’t return original shipping paid.
My family is oblivious to these costs for returns. No site makes it as clear as eBay does right on the item listing page what the returns policy is for an item. I think the clarity alone should be a big competitive advantage but I don’t think eBay mentions it at all in its advertising.
02/28/2018 at 8:55 pm #34093
Like most other updates, we’ll probably add free return shipping just to evolve.
Everyone sharing their numbers make sense. We have a low return rate (under 3%). Its not about money.
I love what Temudgin says “eBay annoys me by saying it’s the retail standard, because it ain’t. Years ago everyone jumped on the free shipping and free returns bandwagon but they’ve backed off on that.” Unless I lie about my reason to return, Amazon doesnt offer free returns.
I just don’t like being part of the process of babying buyers. Keep an item for 30 days and then return for free? It’s just kooky.
02/28/2018 at 9:25 pm #34096
Yeah, but it sure is great to be a babied buyer. That’s why I love Zappos! Or I used to, when I had a high paying job and would buy new shoes regularly. The best way to think about it IMHO is that the cost of the free return (which is not just free return shipping, but also means original shipping gets refunded) is built into the price. In the Zappos case, they definitely win by selling a LOT more shoes than they would if returns weren’t free.
That said, it’s still going to be a bitter pill when those first few free returns come in. Ending up selling nothing and being out $15-20 for shipping x 2!? Eek. Here’s hoping it’s an easily acquired taste…
02/28/2018 at 9:43 pm #34097
When eBay tries to push sellers to offer Free Shipping, the idea died on the vine pretty quickly. The sellers who did offer free shipping just jacked up their price. Just a dumb bait and switch.
If eBay really does police buyers who abuse the return system, Free Returns wont hurt us because most people who buy want the item.
But that’s the key: eBay really has to show that they are willing to stop abusive buyers. “I’ll just buy all five items, choose the one I want and return the rest for free!” Might work for Zappos, but thats a much different business model.
02/28/2018 at 10:19 pm #34099
I disagree that Free Shipping is a dumb bait and switch. Everyone (buyers and sellers) knows that there’s no such thing as free shipping and it’s just clever marketing speak for “Shipping included”. Buyers (myself included) just happen to prefer to see a single combined price as they shop around, and we’re not interested in the details of shipping costs. I don’t like (and don’t offer) it as a seller, b/c I’m too lazy to figure out (and track) by how much I would have to increase prices overall to cover the cost of shipping cross country once in a while. Plus I didn’t want to have to refund the initial cost of shipping on a buyer’s remorse return. But if I move to free returns, then I won’t be able to avoid that issue anyway, so Free Shipping (ie Shipping Included) becomes a less unattractive option to me as a seller.
02/28/2018 at 10:21 pm #34101
–Free shipping is great for the buyer.
–Bad for the seller.
03/01/2018 at 8:20 am #34105
I just signed up for an ebay for business webinar “The Future of Payments” through Facebook.
If that link doesn’t work, try going to the ebay for business Facebook group and scroll until you get to the webinar signup:
03/01/2018 at 10:38 am #34129
Thanks for that link. I signed up for that Webinar as well.
03/01/2018 at 8:32 am #34106
Ok, I went through all of my returns in the past 365 days. In total I had 99 returns ( I sell a lot of clothes and shoes). I would’ve paid $662 in returns if they had been “free returns”, which is about $55 a month. My 10% TRS+ FVF gave me about $60 a month off my bill. So a wash if I go ahead and offer free returns IF my returns don’t skyrocket due to the rise of returns. My solution? I am going to add $1 to each and every order on the shipping side. I sell 250-300 items a month and this will be my “insurance” to cover possible skyrocketing returns if that were to happen.
03/01/2018 at 8:35 am #34109
Since eBay won’t allow a restocking fee, that’s an interesting idea: just add a $1 handling fee on all items to spread out the cost.
03/01/2018 at 5:44 pm #34188
Exactly right Jay. You do the same thing with any return costs. You build it into your pricing model and spread it out across all sales.
That little concept sometimes slips by, but it is important. I have seen many new sellers worry about “winning” on every transaction. Making sure that they don’t lose any money on an individual sale, whether it is on a return, shipping cost, whatever. When you view any issue in relation to the whole of your business, it isn’t very big. So you have to pay for return shipping? Increase your price. Have to cover shrinkage (as Mike talked about)? Increase your price. Petty buyer being a PITA and files and INAD and you have to eat it? Take it and move on (it isn’t worth the stress). That type of cost will happen, and one or two “losing” transactions in a blue moon won’t hurt your business. And if you can’t increase your price because the market won’t bear the increase? Decrease other costs (mostly purchase of inventory) or find different items to sell.
That is why your model is great. When you are looking at a 10x return on your inventory cost, you have the margins to move. It isn’t like we are Wal-Mart squeaking out 3%-4% margins…
03/01/2018 at 8:43 am #34111
Jay, right. I already sell a little lower than the competition. So adding a dollar to shipping won’t hurt me, I don’t think. My only exception to this is jeans which I sell at a shipping rate of $6.99. I’ll keep jeans at that price for shipping and raise everything else up by $1.
03/01/2018 at 8:54 am #34113Julie BParticipant
- Location: Georgia
T-Satt’s calculations have me strongly considering adding free shipping to my clothing and lighter weight items. My return rate is already high, 3.73% according to my dashboard. This is due almost entirely to the large cache of 100s of NWT swimsuits I’ve been selling since last summer. Women’s swimsuits will always = higher rate of return.
I wonder what effect, if any free returns will have on the price of used clothing on Ebay. A segment of sellers who source from bins follow a churn and burn model making less than $1/item. My clothing items will never follow that model but hopefully by offering free returns, my clothing listings can compete against the churn & burners who probably won’t be offering it at their prices.
03/01/2018 at 10:52 am #34131
Julie B: A little caution on going that route. I was a Free Shipping advocate on clothing for a while, but I decided to run a test. Starting in 2017, I started charging for shipping and lowered the cost of the item to compensate. So rather than $20 + Free Shipping, I went $16 + $4 shipping. I didn’t see a difference in my Sell Thru Rate when I started charging for shipping. However, when I did have a return, I didn’t have to pay for the original shipping.
Like you, all of our returns are clothing and shoes. But using my numbers above, if you are doing free shipping on the original sale, you need to double the cost of the shipping on free returns. When you offer $20 + Free Shipping, when you process the refund, you are refunding $20. With $16 + $4 Shipping, the refund is only $16.
Free shipping on the original sale may still work for you, but just factor that in when you run your numbers for you. Again, you are only looking at 3%-4% returns, but each return will cost more. And based on my experiment, the STR did not increase when I started charging for shipping again (and I got more international sales, since the original price was lower).
I have toyed with trying Free Shipping again in 2020, to see if the STR is better (I feel I have to try over a year to eliminate the seasonality effect), but still just a thought.
Agree on the low end. Last I heard, Casey Parris (Rockstarflipper) was thinking about not doing free returns. It makes sense. He seems to be buy at $1 and sell at $15 + Free Shipping. Not as much margin there for the time to list when he is starting at about a $8 Gross Margin, and Free Returns would cut another $3-$4 into that.
03/01/2018 at 11:17 am #34142
“He seems to be buy at $1 and sell at $15 + Free Shipping”
How does anyone have the stomach for that kind of business. I just imagine a life chained to a table constantly photographing, listing and shipping crappy clothes all day long
03/01/2018 at 11:21 am #34143
Agree. That is why I won’t go down that road. Plus…I HATE the bins…
That is why our focus is on upping our output about 20%, while looking to increase selling price. We want to cash flow up to higher returns per hour, and using the current model to do it.
Then look to outsource and automate, freeing up time for another income stream.
03/01/2018 at 8:57 am #34114
No restocking fee and seller paid return shipping means buyers will be more apt to return an item for buyers remorse. I dont believe more scammers will come out of the woodwork, we will just see more returns, and eat more cost. I use the restocking fee to deter buyers from utilizing my 30 day return policy. I sell approx 200-300 items a month, mostly clothing. I already have a 5% return rate. I am adding a small handling fee of 25-50 cents to every sale to offset the cost of the free returns. I have already added this to my 2nd store and it doesnt even show on the buyers end they will be charged. It can only be done with calculated shipping and it is lumped into the calculated shipping price. Ebay makes the rules, we just need to get creative and roll with the punches.
03/01/2018 at 9:07 am #34115
I agree with Tina. And by adding $1 per item sold, I’ll actually come out way ahead.
And to Julie’s post, I think this will greatly impact those churn and burn sellers. There’s no way they will be able to offer free returns and keep their prices that low. This could greatly help raise the bottom line for clothing sellers by weeding out the bottom priced sellers.
Looking back at my returns, all 99 of them from the last 365 days, not a single collectible or art piece was returned. All my returns were clothing and shoes. 25% of my inventory is hard goods, some rather heavy. They have never been returned, so there’s that.
And yet another thought, so many people are talking about just dropping back to TRS and not TRS+. I cannot find anything on eBay in writing about the benefits of being TRS. There is no badge, no increase in shipping discounts, no higher placement in search, so what the heck is it for?
03/01/2018 at 9:54 am #34127
TRS (not TRS Plus) status gets you the highest shipping discount with ebay labels. I think, but I’m not sure, it also gets you the higher automatic insurance on Priority packages when using ebay labels ($100 instead of $50).
I’ve been using Promoted Listings with some success. TRS status means I get a $30 credit for promoted Listing fees each quarter, which I have found to be a useful perk.
Also, I think TRS status is a prerequisite for TRS PLus listings?
03/01/2018 at 9:08 am #34116
Yet another thought, there should be a filter for TRS+ sellers. What an easy bone to throw to sellers.
03/01/2018 at 2:13 pm #34154AmatinoParticipant
- Location: Texas
eBay’s Help pages aren’t helpful, but I believe TRS+ get an additional discount on FVF, and higher rankings and the “badge” on search.
I’m consistently TRS and often TRS+ and Ive not noticed that much of a difference, although I’ve not deliberately tracked it to date. However, it’s a lot more work to meet the standards. I lose my “plus” annoyingly often, mostly for stuff I can’t control (Post Office doesn’t scan on time, or whatever.)
03/01/2018 at 4:11 pm #34169
Not actually about the Seller Release, but coming on the heels of the Seller Release:
Read about it here:
- This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by MyCottage.
03/01/2018 at 4:23 pm #34173
Enjoying the discussion and reflecting back to all the changes since I started on Ebay. The ease of listing these days I do enjoy and has improved. I just don’t have time for Etsy level presentation, networking, and longer listing time. I’m also pleased that they have stepped up advertising.
I think what bothers me about this seller update is that Ebay is finding a bunch of different ways to chip away at seller profit. A little bit here, a little bit there. Try promotions, try free shipping, try free returns, reduce the prices on these listings, reduced TRS discounts, etc. all with the implied threat of being pushed down in search. Then there is the steady march toward more and more expensive shipping cost. It makes me wonder if there are just certain things that won’t or don’t make sense to sell on Ebay, especially if you are not sourcing inexpensively in your area. I think purchases need to be thoughtful and one needs to keep an eye on the bottom line and fees graph, even if you are not a spreadsheet person.
03/01/2018 at 4:37 pm #34179
ChristineR: Someone once said, ..”your profit is in your buying”. That seems to be true in a lot of our sold items. If the market will only bare about a $50 dollar price on something, then better to have bought at $5 than $22 dollars. I know it seems basic but many vendors out at those antique malls we used to have booths at still think they are doing just fine buying at $10 and selling for $20. Little do they know.
Oh by the way… you asked me months ago to let you know how the Etsy transition [cross posting would go]. Well very slowly we have cross posted about 190 items into the Etsy Store. It is the quickest by far because we primarily just do a cut and paste for now until WonderLister gets their Etsy interface completedand we do a fairly detailed Ebay listing which contains almost everything we need for Etsy listing form anyway. We have made a few sales, better than Bonanza and Truegether and the such, but not on fire. We still need to begin to work within the teams and groups, but we are also working on our Shopify Store with the WonderLister Tech team and will be going live with that not too much longer.
thought I would just let you know.
Mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta
- This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by MDC Galleries & Fine Art.
03/01/2018 at 5:14 pm #34186
Mike: Agree with your thoughts. You buy your profit, straight up. Part of my strategy this year is reducing that cost with better and smarter decisions, and strategically timing my purchases to get the best deal possible. Even to the point of starting to use my Reseller Certificate to stop paying sales tax at the Thrift Stores. Veronica and I are going to York, Nebraska for our oldest son’s Baptism and watch him Pitch, and we will be doing some more strategizing on the trip.
Christine: To expand on Mike’s thoughts, yes, some of the profit is getting squeezed in eCommerce. In the “old days”, there weren’t as many sellers, and the only things out there were the unique items we could buy for $1 and sell for $100. Now many things (and services) are getting commoditized, and that is squeezing out the easy profits. Every industry goes through this. I love that EBay knows that part of it’s appeal is the millions of small and unique sellers, but at the end of the day, 80% of the items sold are New. That means they have to compete with Amazon and Wal-Mart for Marketshare. And we want them to do that, because WE are competing with Amazon and Wal-Mart too (if new stuff on there is cheap, free shipping and free returns, why shop on EBay?). There will still be a market for the unique and vintage, but it is having to play by the rules of the eCommerce world. Our buyers are changing, and we have to change too.
03/01/2018 at 5:48 pm #34189
“WE are competing with Amazon and Wal-Mart too (if new stuff on there is cheap, free shipping and free returns, why shop on EBay?”
I think everyone is making a lot of assumptions that aren’t true. Temugdin smartly said that free shipping isn’t actually the “retail standard”. It may be the perception, but is it true?
–Amazon: free shipping IF you pay a yearly membership free for Prime, or purchase $35 of items. Not true if you buy from a third party seller. Plus returns are NOT free unless there’s a problem with the item.
–Walmart: Shipping is not free unless you buy $35 of items. You can have it shipped free to the store if you want to go pick it up. No free returns.
So eBay’s Free 30-day returns is a new thing. Maybe its the way eBay will stand out? But you cannot say its a retail standard.
03/01/2018 at 4:23 pm #34174
03/01/2018 at 4:39 pm #34180
Matt, Let me add something to that, which I haven’t seen mentioned too often in any discussions about the TRS PLus free return shipping requirement. There are a few categories that do NOT require this (I think auto parts and accessories is one) Also, the following categories DO require free return shipping for TRS PLus, but you will have the option of going with 14 day rather than 30 day (beginning June 1st I think):
Antiques is one of them. It also includes:
Coins & Paper Money
Pottery & Glass
Sports Memorabilia, Fan Shop & Sports Cards
(Together, ebay calls these the Arts and Collectibles categories)
And in those categories, you also will be able to offer 14 day returns without free return shipping, however, you will not get the TRS PLus designation in that case.
As I’ve said before, I’ve been 30 day free returns for a few years now, so this won’t impact me…I’m not going to go back to 14 day returns in these categories….but others might be interested.
03/01/2018 at 5:40 pm #34187
For folks like myself and a lot of others on the forum it seems like ‘the devil will be in the details’ around the free returns. I can see it making sense for shirts but i am having a difficult time wrapping my head around the benefit / risks with more high dollar sales / big shipping stuff.
I am sure Ebay will adapt as well shortly after all of this really kicks into gear. An example comes to mind — in the coins / bullion space if you sell gold, silver, as opposed to a coin that has numismatic value alone, you are exempt from TRS requirements around the 30 day return due to fluctuation in silver and gold price / ebay protects sellers from folks hedging and scamming around these price changes. These days Ebay seems to be taking the competition to retain sellers almost as seriously as buyers and preach making ebay the most “profitable platform to sell on” — so the amendments to the new rules that surely will follow initial rollout likely will be seller friendly to account for seller backlash. For this reason i am going to take a bit of a wait and see approach.
03/01/2018 at 6:07 pm #34191
Geoff, As I note above, starting in June, coins and currency can go to a 14 day return policy without free return shipping (but no TRS Plus status) , or 14 days with free return shipping and they will qualify for TRS Plus. So, to some extent, they’ve already made some adjustments.
03/02/2018 at 7:11 am #34215
yes thanks for pointing that out. Looks like the are holding over their previous understanding about the requirements for this one segment. I am hopeful that their will be a lot more detail regarding specific segments and that Ebay will avoid making large sweeping assumptions for the market at large. Traditionally Ebay is very aware that each category is its own beast.
03/01/2018 at 7:21 pm #34194
Geoff: Here is my advice. Even on your larger items that have higher shipping, look at what your return rate is on those items. Then you can see what your potential cost would be if you had to accept the return shipping. Then you can see if you can spread that cost across all items with an increase in price.
The main thing is, get an idea of what your return percentage is and what your return shipping cost would be. Then you have an idea in whole dollars what your cost would be compared to all of your sales.
03/01/2018 at 7:49 pm #34197
However we assume that current return rates will remain the same. Maybe they will. But maybe return rates will be higher since buyers can now return items for free if they have buyer’s remorse. Before the return shipping + restocking fee might have kept returns lowers.
Again, we can all keep an eye on the numbers.
03/02/2018 at 6:35 am #34214
T-Salt, as usual you are giving very sound advise. And to Jay’s point about return rates, I think your earlier assumption of looking at a 2x sceneries is prudent. My concerns are the following.
Right after I earned top rated EBay cut the discount from 20 percent to ten. Now EBay is making this sweeping change that, from what I can tell, will lead to unknown results. For my business what does a free return look like on a vintage stereo cabinet or receiver or a mid modern table? My return rates are very low now, but what if they jump 3x or 4x? What does one really bad free return do to one months cash flow in my young business? Right now it’s all about cash flow without room to spare.
I totally agree that looking at empirical data is the first step. But based on what I understand now this is rocky and I cannot see a great option. Ultimately, EBay may be forcing me largely out of top rated. If that is the case I will want to hear from EBay executives how they really are a partner with my business as they claim.
So yes, I will take your advise on the numbers but I am not ready to make sweeping and major changes based on EBay “having my back”. Frankly this shows me why it may be sound to be on multiple platforms and gives the impression of EBay being all over the place with the frequent changes, but I’ll have to see how the next few months unfold and don’t want to be too reactionary.
03/02/2018 at 7:19 am #34217
One other thing to consider. You can be a Top Rated Seller, but Top Rated Plus (for 10% discounts on FVF fees) is at the listing level. So if you have an item that is $40+ for shipping, you don’t have to offer free return shipping in that item.
So this is not all or nothing. You can do this item by item. You don’t get the 10% discount on that listing, but you also don’t have to pay for return shipping.
03/02/2018 at 7:28 am #34218
Yes good point. Much like how local pickup now does not qualify for top rated.
03/01/2018 at 6:05 pm #34190
Jay, I’m not sure why you see free shipping on ebay as a bust. Despite what some on the Boards have claimed for years, eBay never set out to force free shipping on everyone. I always said they were aiming for a percentage of sales with free shipping, probably broken down by categories. For, I think ,several years now, ebay’s quarterly reports have indicated somewhere north of 60% of sales on ebay have free shipping. Since they haven’t really been pushing too hard to increase that, I assume they are pretty comfortable with that percentage. But there is, IMHO, just no way they would have ever gotten to 60+% without pushing sellers. Just as they aren’t going to get a lot of people to sign up for free return shipping by trying to “convince” them it’s a good idea. They need to use a carrot or stick or both.
Is free return shipping the “norm”? Maybe not. But when I read a Seller Release, I generally ignore what I consider the superfluous stuff—such as the FAQs that ask Why is eBay doing this or that? Because, for my business, it simply doesn’t matter WHY, it only matters that they ARE, and I need to figure out how it impacts me.
03/01/2018 at 7:46 pm #34195
I think we’re talking past each other. eBay is a publicly held company that I appreciate. They have a bunch of MBA’s up in the castle who are always trying to find ways to boost profits. As sellers we’re their little village people working in the fields. We’ll try our ideas we like and leave the rest. As I’ve said, we’ll try Free Returns. Why not?
But too many times on this thread I’ve read that Free Shipping is the norm. It’s not. Free Shipping is not inevitable. We also must remember that out little corner of eBay (weird vintage stuff) is a tiny portion of the site and operate on different rules since our buyers are different.
Let’s do this: in one year, let’s see how all this plays out. Maybe it’s a big hit.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by Jay.
03/02/2018 at 7:52 am #34221
I listened to the 10 K on the Bay guy the other day while having my AM coffee and thought it was interesting that he was saying he was an “Ebay infulencer” – which apparently means he talks with Ebay management and stuff and Ebay spends time learning about what he things etc… to help shape policy. As far as what he was saying anyway he seemed to feel like it had pull with Ebay.
Anyway — reading the post about the village and the kingdom made me feel like someone from this community should be an infulencer, if such a thing exists. No disrespect to the 10 K as he clearly is a bright guy, but i would think Ebay would want SL type of infulence as well given that Ebay does have a large segment of small business people selling vintage stuff. I would think Ebay policy would have a lot to learn from folks doing this for so long and not just listening to newer people from more of the mainstream lines of business.
03/02/2018 at 8:50 am #34224
I often wish that eBay would break off our weird vintage corner of eBay into a separate site rather than trying to repeatedly jam all of us round pegs into their square, Amazon-fighting holes designed for new merchandise. I know they won’t do it because it won’t make them money but I can dream.
03/02/2018 at 8:55 am #34225
I’m not sure we would want that. We would lose a lot of traffic if that happened.
Etsy, Bonanza, TrueGether…similar to what you are discussing, and MUCH less traffic.
03/02/2018 at 9:24 am #34228
Much less traffic now, yes. But looking at the bigger picture down the road these platforms are very much serious. Even more so, Facebook. I love ebay personally. I believe all of this competition is great and should cause ebay to improve continuously. I actually believe we will see the days where fee’s drop in exchange for competition over growing volume.
03/02/2018 at 10:02 am #34231
You hit the one platform that might do it…Facebook/Instagram. In fact, I bought Veronica’s Christmas present through Instagram (check out Thrash & Clang…Awesome work!). They have the traffic, if they get a serious payment and shipping platform, they could do damage.
03/02/2018 at 11:28 am #34239
I’m not on Instagram, but agree with the potential there. I’m a member of a bunch of FB groups that are based on a certain theme, and allow buying and selling. Plan on getting my toes wet there (while still selling on ebay). I see a LOT of sales being made on these FB groups.
Also, as I posted above, ebay just opened a “portal” with pre-set filters for certain new items, all under $10. THis is probably an attempt to counter successful apps like Wish, which seems to be doing very well with low dollar stuff. Even Amazon has done something similar. So, no question all these sites are responding to competition. I would love to see ebay set up portals for various vintage items, etc…and go further, including content from collectors and experts etc. I suggested something like this many years ago, but of course was ignored LOL Still, I live in hope.
03/02/2018 at 7:18 am #34216
For those of us who are going to bite the bullet and try this “free” returns out, does anyone know when we have to convert our listings over? And if we have a restocking fee on items, will they be automatically removed?
03/02/2018 at 7:31 am #34219
Starting in May 2018, we will streamline our returns policy options. Buyers’ expectations are continuously evolving and we strive to deliver a returns experience that is consistent and competitive with the changing marketplace. Our simplified return policy options will help drive a retail-standard returns experience for buyers and may boost your sales. We recommend that you begin changing your returns policies now.
Regarding the automation of removal of restocking fee’s — my guess is since it will no longer be an option we would not have to do anything but I would assume no one has a way of really knowing for sure at this point.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by Geoff.
03/02/2018 at 6:50 pm #34259
Changed my business policies this afternoon. Only took about 15 to 20 minutes. Clciked on Free returns and also un-clicked the restocking fee button. We have already had 30 day returns for about a year. So now, free returns, no re-stocking fee and just like Jay and Ryanne, will just wait it out, keep tracking the numbers and see.
We are also moving more toward free shipping on things under 3 pounds or so. We just use the zone 8 amount, then mark that up to account for Sales and offers and letting it fly.
we will just see how it goes.
Mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta
03/02/2018 at 7:38 pm #34261
Mike: Is that free return shipping box for domestic shipping only? Want to make sure we aren’t including free return shipping on international shipments.
03/02/2018 at 8:30 pm #34270
I don’t think you can exclude international from free return shipping just yet. I asked them to do it a couple years ago, but they are only now doing it when they might have to pay out their own money LOL I think they said the option will be in place by May sometime. Would be nice if it was already an option, but I don’t think it is. I’ve been lucky, haven’t had any international returns using the free return shipping. But as soon as the option appears, I’m going to domestic only.
03/02/2018 at 8:35 pm #34271
That is my concern. I will have to look. GSP may cover us, but not sure.
03/03/2018 at 12:14 am #34276
MIke, I do free shipping on some things, but most things, no. I’m on the east coast. I know you crunch numbers far better than I, so can I ask: how did you decide on 3 pounds as the cut off for free shipping? I might try something like that…
03/02/2018 at 8:06 am #34223
Of course they recommend changing our return policies now. Sigh.
03/02/2018 at 7:23 pm #34260
Atomic Star, The TRS Plus requirement for free return shipping kicks in June 1st.
03/02/2018 at 12:23 pm #34244mom42terrificgirlsParticipant
I will try free returns but here is my situation I’m going to have to call eBay about. Most of my items are blue jeans. I ship them in a priority flat rate envelope. Costs me $6.90 with my discount. If the buyer wants to return the item, they don’t usually have the envelope. They are not available to the public; you have to order them. Is eBay going to send them a padded flat rate envelope return label and I pay the difference once I receive it? Or is eBay going to send them priority mail return label calculated on weight and location? Seems confusing to me. I will let you know what I find out.
03/02/2018 at 12:37 pm #34247
We have had returns of jeans, and most just reuse the PFR (Padded Flat Rate). Tape is wonky sometimes, but it works. Others send in other packages with an EBay Return Label. Never checked the cost.
03/02/2018 at 4:55 pm #34255
The original postage paid is what will be charged for return shipping. I have seen buyers return a first class item in a box to me that weighs well over a pound. The label just says postage paid on it. I dont think it will be an issue.
03/02/2018 at 4:59 pm #34256
Tina: Thanks for that. I’m going to have to pay more attention on future returns and see how they work.
03/02/2018 at 6:38 pm #34258
Tina: Just thinking… what about items with free shipping. What will be the rate for the return, especially since the buyer will probably not have a scale to use or if they let the post office weigh it, what about an over size box being used that may push it into DIM Weight costs. Just thinking out loud! Hhmmm.
03/02/2018 at 10:35 pm #34273
The original shipping cost whether paid by buyer or seller will be the return shipping cost. I have seen this on my end on the ebay itemized bill when the item was shipped back because of INAD cases.
03/03/2018 at 9:22 am #34295
Think u missed the “free” shipping. If I charged a buyer $30 for something with free shipping. Ebay has no way to know if I sold a $1 item with a $29 shipping charge built in or a $29 item with a $1 dollar shipping cost built in. So what is Ebay going to charge me for the return of the item?
With free shipping how does Ebay decide on what the costs will be for shipping.
03/03/2018 at 9:27 am #34297
Mike, since you;re going all in on the free shipping (and keep good numbers), I’m interested to see if you get more sales.
That’s the promise, but I’ve never seen concrete info. My fear is that you sell the same amount but are eating more cost.
03/03/2018 at 10:07 am #34305
Jay, that’s the rub to this whole thing. I am going to quote you… ” when we do an experiment, who’s to say that what we did actualy caused a sales increase or would the increase in Sales have happened anyway due to other factors” or something like that.
We also have started Promoted Listings this year, and doing much better on SEO phrasings and key words and there placement, we also have been taking the weight of an item, looking at shipping it to Zone 8 then marking that up 35% more and adding it to the price, we also are having 15% and 20% Sales running every five days, we are now nameing all of our photos and when they are being used in other places is google crawling the photos, I sure see a lot showing up now in Google images and some being picked up on Pinterest [funny that when we are doing research on some of our items we are seeing our own past sales coming up as benchmarks..[haha], we are starting to use the MDC Galleries name on almost everything we write, so who knows what will be the one driving force that increases sales. Add in the plain fact we had thousands of items pulled from closing down those booths and now we are starting to mfg. a few of own own products and art work plus now opening up those art portfolios of prints I made for dozens of New England artists.
So keeping good numbers or not, it would be impossible to nail down exactly what will be the increase in Sales. Now if no increase in Sales, that would surely point to the fact that “NONE” of the above would have helped, but I really doubt that will be the case. We are at approx. 920 items and by fourth quarter expect to be at around 1,500, 1,750 or more [hopefully]. That alone will surely drive Sales up by using your own mantra. List it and surely somebody will come if unqiue enough. There is a buyer for everything at some price, sooner or later.
So I hear what you are asking, but unsure if there will be anything to report other than Sales have increased, and if we do everything listed up above, I think, with fair sureity, that Sales will increase… even if we have to eat a few returns. Like I said in another post about employees who used to steal anything not nailed down, that a 1% loss on 18 million dollars in Sales was a $180,000 loss and that was off the bottom line. Also we had quality control issues that resulted in returns and re-prints. We always priced our proposals for our world class accounts high enough that if we had to reprint there whole job we still would win. America..What a Country!! We had to produce almost $720,000 or more to make that up. It was a fact of life, it is in all retail and mfg. formulas, and a fact of life.
So I probably can tell you right now, we will have an increase in Sales, how much unsure, but we will. But what will be the actual manuvers we are taking that will drive those Sales, may not be able to say.
I used to love our one salesman in charge of the Walmart account. It was over 1 million dollars per year and his annual commission was $100k plus and he claimed landing the account was due to the fact he was a 10 handicap golfer but always lost to them when he played. his charm and personality. LOL. But I fired Walmart as a customer, too demanding and we lost money on them. Operations 101 and the salesman, he was gone also. But what was it that made Walmart come to us, price, quick turn around, capability and large capacity.
So if we figure out what are the real driving forces in Sales increases during the coming year you and the SL community will be the first to know, for sure.
Mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta
03/03/2018 at 10:35 am #34312
Mike, I definitely agree about measuring the impact of things like free shipping. Scavenger sellers have a far harder time than commodity sellers, because we can’t set up those nice A/B tests very effectively: I’ll list half with free ship, half without…..because our stuff is so varied, it’s hard to make an accurate comparison. I’ve been using PL a lot….a number of my sales have been PLs (still within my quarterly credit, so no cost to me)…but, would they have sold without the PL? No way to really know for sure. The best I can usually say about something we try is: Well, it may have helped, and I don’t think it hurt. LOL So, we just plod along, trying this and that and following Jay’s dicta: List. Then list some more.
03/03/2018 at 10:54 am #34323
You hit the nail on the head.. Jay’s dicta. “LIst, then list some more”!
03/03/2018 at 10:38 am #34314
Fair enough. I agree that a rise in sales could be any number of reasons since we’re always tweaking things to be a better seller.
I really think adding “free shipping” (better name would be “shipping included”) is a philosophical decision.
03/03/2018 at 10:47 am #34320
Jay, I agree to some extent it’s a question of philosophy. I don’t use it much, for a number of reasons, but I might start using it more. I wish we had more data from ebay on this. For example, what percentage of clothing buyers routinely use the free shipping filter? What percentage of book buyers, or antique buyers do? What percentage of clothing items are offered with free shipping? If I knew that most people searching for mens ties, for example, use the free ship filter, I might decide to list all my ties with free ship. But I have no way to know that, so I have to guess.
I also consider that for some things, like mens ties, would it be better to charge shipping on the listing, but run promos (Buy 3, get free shipping)” to encourage multiple purchases? I have a huge backlog of ties, if I ever get them all up, that might be the way to go….
For most of my stuff, I am guessing buyers aren’t using the filter, and are less worried about free and/or fast shipping. It would be different if I were selling mostly new stuff….
03/03/2018 at 9:38 am #34299
Mike – When you set up your listing, you should still have the weight and size of box in the usual place. When the item sells, you have that information in there to print out a label. If the item is returned, Ebay would print out the label using those parameters.
03/03/2018 at 10:47 am #34318
Well that is true. But we also bump those up so high and that we use a special “cocoon” process to package and wrap most of our items that the weight is fairly high also.
As an example.. if an item comes in at 15 ozs. with our packaging we usually push that to 1# 2 ozs. That makes the cost go from $5.50 USPS to up to $8.45 Priority zone 8. BUT we then ship out First Class at 15 ozs. at $5.50, then less our discount for about $4 and change and we make $3 to $4 on the shipping and 1st class will get to far out zones just about as fast and in many cases faster.
So now, if returned, Ebay will use the heavier weight and create a label for $8.45. Remember the Ebay fields for weight, is for Shipping weight, not actual scale weight.
So just interesting on how they are going to do it on items that have Free Shipping on them. But as said, now with Free Shipping a seller and make a whole lot more money, even with Sales and Best Offers.
I suggest looking up two videos by Danni Ackerman with the title Free Shipping in the title and watch those. They outline the money making method of Free Shipping. She Ships everything Free Shipping, lamps, large and heavy, etc. upwards of $40, $50 dollars and also will pay to have FedEx pack it for her and still makes money.
It is not too many items we are offering for free shipping that range between 2 lbs. to6 lbs. that we don’t have $12 up to $25 plus a 35% M/U on top of that that is not built in and we are still selling those.
What Danni Ackerman says is that most people are buying on their phones and they don’t want to take the time to do the math to add the cost of the item together with the shipping. New age buyers, look at the picture and total price and buy. Almost to the tune of 65% of the buyers. I can’t tell you how many buyer messages we get asking questions and when we mention those are already answered in item specifics, they message back and ask what are Item Specifics, or I can find that on my phone. So, much I have a short text message on my desktop to just click and paste into my reply box.
New age customers hate doing the math. They just want a total price, they mostly now expect it.
Example… I have two vintage Hull vases on my desk. Magnolia relief design. Beautiful. Fairly hard to find style and design. They have a Sold History on several platforms we use to rpice with of approx. $85 each. We got them for $3.25 each at an auction. the scale weight is 2.6 lbs. and the “cocoon-double box” method of our packaging we will list it at another 2 lbs.So this is how I am going to price each. 12x10x8 box at 4.6 lbs. That rounds up to 5 lbs. in USPS charts. Now with how we are doing free shipping. we don’t know where it is going so we take worse case scenario and use Zone 8 price column. That shows at $23 at over the counter rates. So, $23+$85×1.35% M/U= $145 that we will list this at and include Free shipping in the listing and Make an Offer. Now to arrive at the actual selling price.. We are almost always running a Sale so let’s use 20% off Sale and we will in most cases go another 15%-20% off on make an offer or if low balled counter offer back upwards to around the 30%-40% off total. So now, starting at $145 we will be at approx. $102.00 to $87.00. Now we are back to what the item sold for at the higest price we researched out. And in 85% of the time we don’t go to the 40% level, it is more like the 30% level.
Now the question is how much was the real shipping by the time we actually “cocooned” the vase and shipped and knowing that the actual box size is approx. correct, what about the real weight?
Will a return buyer actually re-create the cocoon, use the same box within a box, will it be lighter or heavier than originally sent. Interesting bundle of hidden factors BUT with such mark-ups as we get on vintage, rarer-harder to find collectors pieces we are OK with Ebay charging use a return fee based on whatever they want to use because we in this cases have 27 to 31 times our money return on the investment.
Just an opinion, but when something will sell at a known range and you build in the highest cost shipping you can and allow discounts and room to haggle-bargain the customer get’s his “percieved” WIN [bargain-deal] and we still smile all the way to the bank.
Take a few of Jay and Ryanne’s Sales on the extreme high end items they sold, just the Louis Vitton suitcase had enough profit in it to pay for all of their returns for a year [just a WAG – wild ass guess] but that sort of how we are looking at it.
Now this will not work on common, commodity, well available type of products. When we start listing the original artwork we have, the returns are going to be extremely high. But we will see.
Mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta
03/03/2018 at 9:41 am #34301
If you print a label through ebay, they will know what the original shipping cost was.
03/03/2018 at 10:22 am #34308
Mike, I think a requirement for the buyer to be able to use an ebay return shipping label is that the original label be an ebay label. ebay doesn’t really care what you charged the buyer in shipping, they just need to know what the original shipping cost was and the method.
03/03/2018 at 10:51 am #34322
Yeah that is what we all kind of figured at this mornings production meeting. And at the mark up rates we use and by buying as low as we can, we figure those margins and pricing spreads will cover what few returns we would ever have. Again since 2002 we naybe have had 3 or 4 returns and also only 3 or 4 breakages and we ship tons of glass, crystal, pottery. 7 Dinner plates going out in a few minutes.
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