In February eBay announced the first of three major Seller Updates for 2010. Many of these changes are due to come into effect this April, so now is the time to be prepared for the changes and understand how they will affect you as a seller.
Minimum Seller Standards are measured based on the number of low (1 or 2 star) DSRs received from buyers. Currently acceptable levels are 3% or 3 low DSRs for Item As Described, and 4% or 4 low DSRs for the Communication, Dispatch Time and P&P Charges. These will be lowered to 1% or 3 low DSRs for Item As Described and 2% or 3 low DSRs for the other three DSRs. That’s an increase in the minimum standard of 50%.
The effect of this is that many sellers meeting the current minimum standards will face sanctions, which can include loss of PowerSeller status, listings lowered in search results and restrictions on selling activity.
Currently there are four levels of seller – Top Rated, Above Standard, Standard and Below Standard. The effect of the changes will be to remove the Standard seller level – Sellers will now either be Top Rated or Above Standard, or they’ll be Below Standard – There will be no more standard sellers. This is potentially serious as eBay themselves say that on average you’ll experience a 20% drop in sales if your listings are lowered in search. It’s a significant disadvantage, especially if combined with a selling restriction at the same time.
“The effect of the changes will be to remove the Standard seller level – Sellers will now either be Top Rated or Above Standard, or they’ll be Below Standard – There will be no more standard sellers.”
PowerSellers will have to adhere to the minimum Seller Standards, as well as maintaining an average detailed seller rating of 4.6 across all four DSR requirements. They will need to maintain 100 sales per year with £2000 in sales per annum. Other PowerSeller requirements are to be a business seller, have 100 or more feedback of at least 98% positive, have been an eBay member for 90 days and have no policy breaches in the last 90 days and no Feedback Manipulation, Shill Bidding and Counterfeits policy breaches in the last 180 days.
The other major change to the PowerSeller is to lower the selling volumes to enable smaller sellers to qualify and achieve Top Rated Seller status, which will now be just £2000 sales per year.
There is no question but that sellers will have to work harder to meet buyer expectations as defined by eBay, and for high volume sellers it’s an easier task as they are measured over the last three months. Low volume sellers (less than 400 transactions per quarter) have a harder task as they are measured over the previous 12 months. If possible the best way for low volume sellers to improve DSRs is to increase sales to become a high volume seller, this automatically removes any low DSR scores over three months old from the assessment so a short term increase in selling performance can make a big impact on DSRs.