EBay's New Shipping-Speed Claims Frustrating Merchants And Customers

When eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) launched a new—more elaborate—mechanism to tell shoppers when they can expect their deliveries, merchants found that their own estimates were being overruled or ignored. In short, a merchant might say that the item will arrive in six days, while eBay will instead tell the customer to expect deliver in three days—and then the merchant gets bad marks for being late when the package arrives in five days, according to a report in Ecommerce Bytes.

"I chose 3 days handling time for a reason, and I want my buyers to receive estimated delivery dates that reflect that. Anything else is just setting me up for disappointed buyers and low DSR ship time ratings," an eBay seller told Ecommerce Bytes.

That merchant elaborated on how she discovered the problem: "I sold an item on May 27 and happened to check the estimated delivery, something I don't normally do. eBay's estimated delivery time to the buyer was on or before May 31. I am telling eBay through my specified handling time that I will not even ship this item until May 30 and they are telling my buyer it will arrive by May 31. What is wrong with this picture? In what universe would my buyer have gotten a first class package in one day?"

For other e-tailers, this has huge potential. It means that eBay's move could unnecessarily cause dissatisfaction among its customers, who might be open to exploring other e-commerce venues. And eBay's merchants—who are quite unhappy about this change—are currently being wooed not just by Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), but also by Japan's Rakuten, which is preparing to make a major U.S. push later this year. Rakuten's merchant-centric approach—in which sellers communicate directly with shoppers and therefore have full control over shipping expectations—might play well against this eBay issue.

The eBay changes are apparently part of the site's Fast 'N Free program. EBay explained it to merchants this way, according to Ecommerce Bytes: "The new way to estimate delivery powering eBay Fast 'N Free gives buyers a personalized delivery date based on historical delivery times to the buyer's area plus other factors, which is more accurate and highlights your fast service. In this example, if your economy shipments are consistently delivered in 3 days to buyers in a particular area, instead of showing a range of 2-14 days your qualified listings would have the Fast 'N Free logo and show an estimated date of 3 days for buyers in that area."

For more:
- See this E-Commerce Bytes story

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