eBay Fall 2016 Seller Update

eBay Fall Update 2016
Read the complete eBay Fall 2016 Update for full details. Getty Images

eBay's Fall Seller update was released in late September, 2016. There are six major issues discussed in the update. Some of them won't apply to sellers who only sell used or vintage items. Here is a summary of the changes, what sellers need to know, and what actions sellers need to take either now or in the near future.

Structured Data

eBay is building a catalog like Amazon's based on UPCs. If you sell new or refurbished items, UPCs will be required on your listings.

eBay calls these numbers product identifiers, and they include UPCs, GTINs, Amazon ASINs, and private label product identifiers. The exact verbiage from eBay:

"For new or manufacturer refurbished items, eBay will accept non-standard product identifiers. We will make selling even easier by enabling merchants to list using a wider range of product identifiers beginning February 2017, including:

  • Amazon standard identification numbers (ASIN)
  • Google product identifiers 
  • Private label product identifiers (seller-generated product identifiers)"

Sellers should be aware that by February 2017, listings for new or refurbished items will require a minimum of one product identifier. Sellers will no longer be able to get away with the options "does not apply" or "NA" in the product identifier box. Remember, product identifiers are only for new or manufacturer refurbished items. If you sell thrifted or vintage items in used condition, such as clothing, shoes, linens, toys, handmade items, or kitchen items, no changes are necessary.

eBay will keep us in the loop about what categories and types of items will be exempt from this requirement. Updates will continue to post on the eBay Announcement Board through January of 2017. 

Shipping and Returns

Starting in October, eBay will allow sellers to offer a replacement or exchange an item instead of a refund.

Sellers will need to set up this option on your listings. This is a good option for sellers who offer quantities of an item and can send a replacement. Replacement or exchange option won't work well for vintage or collectible items since many are one of a kind.

Active Content

As explained in this video, eBay will block listings with active content starting in July 2017. Most sellers are ok on this issue since the majority of sellers don't use third party tools or add-ons with iFrame, moving GIFs, or streaming audio or video. All eBay third party partners are diligently working to make sure their tools and plug-ins are eBay compliant and sellers won't have any issues with active content. 

Seller Tools

Make sure you are using eBay's Seller Hub as it is a comprehensive dashboard of everything a seller needs in one place. Here is a complete review of eBay's Seller Hub and how to activate it if you have not done so yet. Turbo Lister will be phased out in June 2017.

eBay Seller Performance Standards

eBay is providing more explanation about why seller standards are below standard. Make sure to check your seller dashboard regularly. Some sellers are still blindsided when their accounts drop below standard and they experience listing restrictions.

eBay wants sellers to be successful and understand how, why, and when transactions are not satisfactory. eBay is actually spoon-feeding sellers this information in a very clear and concise way so sellers can take action immediately to rectify any situation that may cause their account status to slip. There are several ways to recover from below standard status.

eBay Category Classification

eBay is re-arranging the categories, subcategories, and item specifics again. If you have an item listed in an affected category / subcategory, it will automatically move to the next most relevant category. This category update doesn't seem as labor intensive as some that sellers have seen over the years.

Many veteran sellers will remember when eBay completely restructured the clothing categories, specifically, the children's clothing categories, and added subcategories for sizing.

That was a time-consuming nightmare for children's clothing sellers. 

Overall, no huge life-shattering changes. Read the full update here. Please take your time to read the updates so your business isn't adversely affected.