Ina Steiner hat gestern in ihrem paid Newsletter 411 meinen Kommentar zu den eBay-Änderungen veröffentlicht. Credits: Andreas von Lochow

New eBay Restrictions on Sellers Could Increase Returns

by Ina Steiner, ecommercebytes.com

Mark Steier’s blog post about eBay’s seller update on the German site Wortfilter.de caught our attention last week. The former eBay seller zeroed on the challenges of the new links and communications restrictions and talked about the ramifications for sellers in Germany, many of which apply to all eBay sellers around the world.

The changes the company announced last week will result in a loss of an important differentiation feature for eBay and its sellers, he told EcommerceBytes. He cited usability experts who said the ability for consumers to easily contact their preferred dealers has long been one of the most important usability requirements of ecommerce sites.

„Through the loss of a direct and easy contact between Dealers and consumers, the marketplace is losing an important differentiating feature,“ he said.

Sellers have been buzzing about the changes coming as a result of the new Summer Seller Update. „The following pro and con list came out of numerous dealer conversations over the past several days,“ he said:

Pro for Sellers

  • less effort in customer service
  • shift to mails

Cons for Sellers

  • some dealer contracts cannot be fulfilled if a customer service line is required
  • customer advice for the right product is not guaranteed
  • no possibility to confirm the buying decision, potential missing communication on suitable accessories which the consumer needs
  • no possibility to manage expectations ex. delivery timelines
  • no possibility to avoid cancellations and no venue to reduce return rates
  • no further information for after sales support, which sometimes legally cannot be given (keyword Warning guarantee)
  • no avoiding email pingpong
  • escalating situations cannot be intercepted, negative ratings will be avoided
    burdening of the eBay-Hotline

He cited sellers who believe the more expensive the item, the more often a buyer was likely to call. Andreas Müller from deltatecc, Europe’s largest eBay dealer for televisions and TV-accessories, said being able to include a telephone number in listings for expensive items helps sellers „strengthen the buyers purchase decision and answer product support questions.“

He quoted another seller who said including phone numbers in listings allowed buyers to verify that a seller actually existed.

„Many marketplace dealers are expecting – in my opinion rightly so – an increase in returns,“ Steier said. „Because the ease of contact to dealers meant consultations and fewer bad buying experiences, many eBay dealers report a much lower return rate through eBay that in other ecommerce sites that discourage buyer/seller contact. These experiences make dealer fears understandable.“

He also said that many brands require dealers to offer shoppers easy and direct communication. „This requirement will no longer be fulfilled. This means there is potential that those dealers will no longer be allowed to sell (those brands) on eBay.“

Germans sellers must also communicate with US shoppers to explain the „many particularities of German ecommerce“ that are the result of German and European laws.

He expects a substantial reduction in GMV, an increase in returns, and selected dealer contract voidings as a result of the new restrictions on eBay sellers. „These are not good signs,“ he said.

Steier, one of eBay Motors largest sellers until his retirement, now writes about ecommerce as Editor of Wortfilter.de. You can find his blog post about the eBay Summer Update on this page (German language).

And you can comment on the eBay Summer Seller Release on the EcommerceBytes Blog.