eBay has decided to give merchants more insight into specific factors that are impacting their performance ratings.
Starting in February, eBay will provide the ability to generate reports based on buyer location, category, date range, shipping service and item numbers as a way to understand which types of transactions are helpingor hurtingtheir performance.
For example, sellers will be able to find out whether buyers rated them higher on transactions that included free shippinga service eBay is heavily promoting as a way to receive increased visibility in item searches.
"We're not enabling a seller to look at individual transactions, but rather giving them a tool to see how they performed for a particular category or time frame, for instance," reports Brian Burke, eBay's director of global feedback policy.
Seller performance on the e-commerce site is measured by a five-star rating system known as Detailed Seller Ratings, which allows buyers to grade sellers on four aspects of a transaction: accuracy of item description, communication, shipping time and shipping and handling cost. These scores have a direct impact on sellers' success on eBay, factoring into such things as visibility in search results and PowerSeller fee discountsand even determining whether a seller may continue listing items on the site.
As a result, merchants have been clamoring for more granularity of information in order to refine their selling strategies.
"We agree our sellers need (this capability) to help them manage their businesses, and it is a priority for us," Burke says.
At the same time, eBay is building in protections to help prevent sellers from retaliating against individual buyers who negatively impacted their scores. Protections include limiting the number of reports a seller may generate per week, requiring a minimum of 10 item numbers for item number-based reports as well as other mechanisms to make it more difficult for sellers to pinpoint a particular buyer.
"Someone who really wants to can figure it out, but these reports won't make it easier to do so," Burke notes.
eBay says it will monitor how sellers construct reportsand how oftento detect possible abuses of the system.
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.