New! Chip In On Gifts With eBay Group Gifts was the big news out of eBay yesterday and it’s obviously geared towards buyers. Now, as a buyer, I have to admit that it seems like an interesting idea, even if I can’t think of a single time I’d use it. You can play around with this service in Beta here. But I like that they are trying some new things.
But as a seller, I immediately have questions and concerns about how this will work on my listings and how it will effect me and the release ignores the seller’s end entirely. Even the FAQ on the Beta testing page is only geared towards buyer questions. If you are a seller wanting to know more about this service, it’s an informational black hole.
Am I going to be paying fees on all those little transactions for my big ticket item? What happens if not everyone has paid yet and the item is bought out from under the group? Will sellers know which items have this feature enabled so they can adjust expectations accordingly? Those are just the first three that come into my head, you probably have more.
I think this is a perfect example of what’s wrong with the way eBay rolls out announcements. They seem to gear every announcement towards only one group or the other. Announcements like this are written like they are meant for buyer’s eyes only and other announcements, like fee changes, read as if they only expect sellers to read them. In the end, that’s a ridiculous way to do it because every change affects both groups in some way.
I think one of eBay’s biggest weaknesses in recent years is that they insist on treating buyers and seller like two totally different groups when, most of the time, they are the same people. Nearly every eBay seller has bought on eBay and most eBay buyers have sold at least an item or two. Even with something like this where they are introducing a feature only geared towards buyers, it’s still a point of curiosity for sellers. Most sellers like to stay educated about the platform where they sell and are going to want to know what changes mean for them, that’s just good business. It’s like eBay wants only buyers to look at a release like this and wishes the sellers would ignore it.
What I wish eBay would do is show both perspectives in every news release. If the announcement is directed mostly towards buyers, then make that the default view but then give us some kind of tab that shows us sellers at least a few sentences about what this means for us. If its an announcement about something that is geared to sellers, such as a fee increase, then have a flip side that is the buyer’s perspective (Buying on eBay is free as it has always been, this increase is only an increase in the fees for seller… etc).
I understand that sometimes the gap between buyers and sellers seems very wide but I really think the way information is rolled out is part of the problem. If you roll out sweeping changes that effect a seller’s business down to the core and you deliberately steer buyers away from that information, you make the situation worse. If buyers really truly understood what DSRs were like for sellers, feedback would be very different. By the same token, if sellers understood how some of the site changes have effected the average buyer they could provide better service by adjusting to fill needs. If you show every news item from the perspective of both sides, you make a better and more informed marketplace and help buyers and sellers to work together instead of us vs them.
What do you guys think?