Image representing eBay as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

On March 19th, eBay announced the 2013 Spring Seller Update. The biggest news out of that day was the sweeping changes they made to the fee structure which I covered over in this post. But, as always, they slid some other things in as well and I wanted to take a look at those one by one.

Reducing the impact of unpaid items: Over the coming months, to reduce the occurrence of unpaid items, eligible fixed price, Best Offer and Buy It Now items will continue to be available for sale until a buyer commits and/or pays. If you do get an unpaid item, you can file a case as early as two days after the item sold.

I like this as a seller but I can see buyers not liking it at all. Firstly, having to wait to file a case was always stupid so I’m glad that can be done sooner. But the bigger deal is this new thing where the item hasn’t officially sold until it’s paid for. In other words, the buyer “buys” it on eBay as before but it isn’t actually sold (and someone else can still buy it out from under them) until it has been paid for.

As a seller, I love this because I have frequently had buyers “buy” an item thus removing it from my store and then ultimately never pay such that, by the time I can relist it, it’s no longer worth the same. That said, I know of many buyers through the years who have bought an item because they wanted to make sure they reserved it but waited a week to pay until a check came in or similar. Buyers with those habits are going to HATE this new policy and feel cheated and likely take it out on the sellers but I don’t know what to do about that. In the end, it should definitely mean less unpaid items and a more efficient marketplace since items will be able to ship sooner.

As a seller, I’m calling this one very good news.

Buyer feedback on a transaction with an eBay Buyer Protection case will be removed when the case is found in your favor.

I like this too on paper but, like most eBay Protection polices, I need to see it in action first. But the fact that this is now automatic instead of your having to get them to remove it manually is great.

Business policies: In June, all sellers will be automatically opted in to the easy way to define your shipping, return, and payment policies. Next year this will be the way to define your policies, so get started now!

This will likely piss a lot of sellers off, especially since they are being forced into it, but, as I’m already in this program, this is fine by me. Honestly, I think the more standardized they can make things like returns, payments and shipping, the better the marketplace will be for everyone so I’m all for this.

Picture quality: High quality pictures are key to getting your items sold, and your listings optimized for both mobile buyers and the new personalized home page. Picture quality requirements announced last year will be enforced starting in July—be sure your pictures comply.

This was a change that was supposed to go into effect last year and never really did. I don’t have a problem with this policy in theory as I am all for bigger and better pictures on eBay, but I have a suspicion that some of my older recurring listings don’t comply and that’s going to be a pain to correct. Honestly, I’m annoyed that they don’t have some kind of compliance tool to let me see at a glance which of my images need to be redone. So, while I’m irritated that this means some pointless extra work, I do think it’s a good thing in the long term. But ask me again the first time they take one of my listings down for seemingly no reason. 😉

Same day handling: If you routinely ship the same day you get the order, starting in late May, you’ll be able to specify same business day handling to highlight this benefit to buyers.

The buyer in me loves this. The seller in me often ships same day but I can’t see myself promising it every time. That said, it’s nice to know it’s an option.

Category updates: As with previous updates, some categories have been updated to keep them up-to-date with evolving shopping experiences and to help interested buyers find your items. Category updates may also impact your fees. Check the updates coming in April and May to see if your categories are affected.

This is one of those things where it could barely effect you at all (as it does me) or it could totally screw you up depending on what you sell so there’s no real way to review it.

So now we’ve covered everything from the newest update. What do you think? Overall good stuff or a nightmare update?