eBay Unveils New Fees, Shopping Cart

Changes aimed at attracting buyers, but many sellers object.

by Auctiva.com staff writer
- Mar 15, 2011

eBay will lower the percentage sellers will have to pay as part of their final values fees, but now these fees will be based on both an item's final sale price plus the cost of shipping, eBay announced today.

This was just one of many upcoming changes eBay disclosed in its spring Seller Update, the first of this year's policy changes for eBay merchants.

eBay is also giving non-Store owners 50 free auction-style listings per month, regardless of start price, as long as the listing includes a Buy It Now option. Other changes include the addition of a shopping cart, shipping and handling requirements for eBay Motors, items specifics and more. eBay says the changes—which will roll out between mid-April and early July—will benefit sellers who offer low-cost shipping, and attract more buyers to the site.

"Updates for sellers coming this spring and summer will give buyers more reasons than ever to shop on eBay—a handy, familiar shopping cart, confidence in reasonably priced shipping, easier shopping for popular products in many categories and more," says Danish Lathi, vice president of eBay's Seller Experience.

For the vast majority of eBay sellers, overall fees will be reduced or stay about the same

A new take on fees

While the free auction listings will begin April 19, the new final value fees will take effect on July 6. At this time final values fees will be based on a transaction's total amount—final sale price plus shipping costs. This will mean final value fees for fixed-price listings will range from 2 percent to 13 percent of the entire transaction. A detailed fee schedule can be found here.

"For the vast majority of eBay sellers, especially those already offering free or low-cost shipping, these updates mean overall fees will be reduced or stay about the same," Lathi says.

Auctiva Product Analyst Rebecca Miller disagrees. She says including shipping costs in the final values fee may force sellers to cover more of the shipping costs to keep their fees down.

"Sellers will essentially have to pay an additional fee on shipping," she says. "I think all this will do is make sellers raise their shipping cost, or the item cost, to make up for it."

However, casual sellers will probably appreciate the ability to list 50 auctions every month without paying insertion fees, Miller notes.

Another adjustment to fees will affect PowerSellers. While Top-rated sellers will continue to receive a 20-percent discount on final value fees, PowerSellers who are not Top-rated sellers will lose their 5-percent discount beginning June 1.

New shopping experience

But fees aren't the only things changing on eBay. Sellers will also notice that eBay has introduced a shopping cart that will let shoppers buy fixed-price and auction-style listings from multiple sellers. This will simplify the buyer experience, according to Lathi.

The cart initially will support only PayPal payments, but will eventually work with all supported payment methods on eBay. The shopping cart feature is currently available to a limited number of buyers but it will be rolled out to more in the coming weeks, eBay says.

eBay began testing the shopping cart on its U.K. site last year, and the reviews have been largely positive. But some still question its effectiveness, particularly when mixing fixed-price with auction-style.

"A lot of the comments on the U.K. seller boards are all for the shopping cart, but including auctions in these carts can make things tricky," Miller says. "It's fine for fixed price, but once a buyer puts an auction listing in their cart it just sits there, even if they get outbid. I'm not sure how beneficial that is."

eBay will now put a hold on payments to sellers with little or no sales history

Sellers react

Many sellers posted unhappy reactions on eBay's forums today—some even calling for a sellers' strike.

"You have raised our fees while offering nothing in return to help us offset overhead," writes one seller.

Despite the skepticism surrounding the announced changes, eBay says the adjustments should make the site a better destination for buyers.

For instance, requiring items specifics in Clothing, Shoes & Accessories will make it easier for shoppers to find what they want, eBay says, so this will now become a requirement. Requiring shipping and handling times, a return policy and item condition will also "reduce buyer questions" on eBay Motors, Lathi notes.

eBay is making still another adjustment to ensure good transactions between buyers and sellers: The marketplace will now put a hold on payments to sellers with little or no sales history, Lathi notes. Sellers will be able access this money three days after the item's delivery is confirmed if they upload tracking information, or seven days after the estimated delivery date if no tracking is uploaded but the item is marked as shipped.

eBay is holding a Webinar to discuss the upcoming changes on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. PST. Further details on the changes can be found on eBay's General Announcements board.

About the Author

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.

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