Making Sense of the Spring 2013 eBay UK Seller Updates

This is likely to be the most comprehensive guide there is to the eBay UK updates that are being released this morning that covers the all the changes that are included in the eBay UK Spring updates and a look on how these are going to impact your business over the next 6 months.

These updates require your full attention, pop the kettle on and pull your chair closer, we’re going to dig in deep and see what these changes are all about and crucially how they impact you and your business and we’ll also be looking at what wasn’t included in this update too.

I’m interested in what you make of these updates and how they’ll impact your business over the rest of the year. You can let me know your thoughts & reactions in the comments section at the bottom of this page. If you’re an eBay Top Rated Seller, then do let me know what you think of the changes you’re about to discover.


So What’s eBay Included in eBay Updates?

Almost across the board the updates are almost all positive and we don’t have any unknown surprises of what’s been included, the writing has been on the wall for the images requirements since last year when eBay US sellers got hit with the update, we have also known for a long time now that the “New eBay” was coming and it’s going to be rolled out in the UK this year and there is one word I know you love the most, “FREE” is included in this update as well.

There is one word I know you love the most, “FREE” is included in this update as well

With the eBay UK site being the most highly penetrated site per head of all the eBay sites (hat tip to Chris @ Tamebay for working this out) there are deeper links into cross-border-trade and eBay are taking the extra steps needed to help expand UK sellers by working with 3rd party companies to offer tracked postage options into the EU with half decent rates too, plus clarity for international buyers from their native sites when selecting postage options.

While this update has to be one of the most positive updates there has been to date by eBay (I even questioned this in the call, “we’re 20 slides in, when to do get to the bad stuff? Come’on there has to be some percentage fee increases in here somewhere?”), we do have category & item specific updates in this update as well, that’s almost a given now. I’ll also be taking a look at what was not included in this update, especially around eBay Shops, for me one of the most undervalued parts of eBay that has been shunned again and got a fee increase too.

eBay’s Theme for the Spring Updates

This update has a theme to it, well three to be precise and they all revolve around those most dear to our hearts, customers and crucially what they are becoming to expect from any retailer out there online and offline.

Visual browsing and inspiration
“Online shoppers want to be able to see an item just like they can in a high street shop. This means lots of high-quality photos and clear item descriptions on every listing, especially for buyers using mobile devices. Buyers also like to be inspired by regular deals and great merchandising”

Fast and flexible fulfilment
“When shopping online, buyers can’t simply walk away with an item as they can on the high street, but they still expect the next best experience. Flexible delivery options, with same day or next day dispatch are standard expectations”

No surprises, no risks
“Online shoppers want the option to return an item, with ‘no questions asked’, just like they can in most high street shops”

What we’re now going to see in these updates are changes & updates that revolve around how businesses with eBay can help deliver these as a high quality package to customers.

Update: A short video from eBay on these changes can be viewed below:

Overly Harsh on Themselves

In the chart below, which was compiled by research by a visually impaired research company (joke, but seriously not sure where or how deep they looked?) multi-category retailers are compared to specialist retailers and to marketplaces such as eBay and rated them on a scoring system from good to bad.

Services provided by retailers and marketplaces

Services provided by retailers and marketplaces

Marketplaces appear to have had a really rough ride in this research, consistently scoring poorly.

Yes, we know that same day delivery & scheduled delivery have never really been part of eBay, but as a whole for customer service, most smaller businesses on eBay believe that outstanding customer service is their primary unique selling point and Amazon even changed the rules last year to penalise businesses that don’t respond questions within 24 hours, even over weekends regardless if you’re open or not with the Amazon Seller Ratings they released last September.

eBay swaps images on colour selection

This is a screenshot from the article I mention in a few moments regarding how listings change images on eBay.

I wish I had finished an article that I have been working on over the gallery options on Magento, in this I look in depth at the gallery options on eBay and Amazon, while neither of them are “perfect”, they are a lot better that what you get in almost ALL shopping cart systems out there, free and paid for!

Both eBay & Amazon marketplaces do a pretty good job at the fly over zoom options when there are larger images available and most serious business sellers on eBay have got excellent images, combine this with outstanding product data and many of you reading this would put large retailers to shame.

Update: Thanks to a nudge from eBay, there is a “Top tips for taking photo’s guide” that you can download here.

We’ll be back to the topic of images shortly as we have some important updates on this topic.

eBay Top Rated Seller Status Changes

This is the biggest change to the eBay Top Rated Seller status since it was brought in (and that includes the discounts going down last time too). In this update, we’re seeing a shift from eBay from looking at your performance overall at an account level, but also focusing at individual listing level as well.

You must offer:  (This is their words, not mine)

  • A minimum returns period of 14  days, using the new way of specifying your returns policy
  • 1-day or same-day dispatch
  • An express delivery option – offering delivery within 1 day
  • A free postage option
eBay Detailed Seller Ratings requirements removed

eBay Detailed Seller Ratings requirements removed

The caveat to this is that you don’t need to meet these requirements for all of your listings, instead you’ll only receive the associated benefits and final value fee discounts on listings that do match these requirements.

While you’re not forced to include these options, I know for several companies same day despatch would be impossible and next day would be a massive challenge, especially if we consider that products need customisations made to them before dispatch and is going to be a challenge for them to maintain the eTRS status levels they have previously enjoyed.

On the flip side to these requirements, the entry level to obtain eTRS (eBay Top Rated Seller) status will have it’s minimum of 4.60% for detailed seller ratings dropped [Update: This is actually an error, these are still required to meet the eTRS status] and the minimum percentage will be 0.5% or 2 (this is the 1 & 2 star ratings for the 4 detailed seller ratings, which is what we have now). Also, the barrier to entry has been halved from a minimum of £2,500 of sales & 100 transactions to just  £1,000 of sales for any the past 12 months.

Does this sound exactly like what happened with the eBay PowerSeller status when it was diluted when eTRS was brought in?

Is this a good or bad move by eBay? Remember you can let me know in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Free Pictures But No Advertising :(

The second most important marketing asset that we have available on eBay is changing (the listing title being first of course).

We saw in the updates that were released on last year where extra marketing information was basically banned from being used in product images (this is extra information such as brand logos and text such as “UK Seller” and so on…), in this update we’re being given advanced notice that in August of this year the same rules are going to be imposed on UK businesses.

Promotional messages & borders are going in August 2013

To sweeten the impact of this, we are going to be given free images, well 12 to be precise and when questioned, this looks like up to 12 images per variation as well (not just the 1st free one like we have now) and access to the zoom feature as well. A side effect of this is that the picture pack is no longer needed and is being retired, but the super-size upgrade option will remain.

To be fair we’re being given a decent amount of time to work on changing any images that we may have up with extra borders, messages and so on in them, even businesses with large amounts of inventory, this should be enough time to make the changes needed (although quite painful if you have +10,000 listings with them). If you’re selling in the vehicle parts & accessories categories, then you’re the exceptions list (again) and won’t be subject to these requirements or restrictions.

eBay are setting some new minimum requirements for when it comes to images, these are as follows:

  • Every listing must have a minimum of 1 image
  • That image must have a minimum width or height of 500 pixels
  • Watermarks are allowed, but under strict guidelines

It’s suggested that any images used are 1600 pixels on their longest side, as this causes the zoom feature to be shown on the listing pages and for refurbished items stock photographs are allowed, but not for used products.

Below I’ve included some images around the new image guidelines to help you:

eBay Reccommended Image Sizes

eBay Recommended Image Sizes. A minimum of 500 pixels on the longest side and a suggested width or height of 1600 pixels, as this makes the zoom feature appear on your listings.

eBay images don't use borders

Borders are going to be disallowed when the image requirements are in-force.

eBay water marking Images

Watermarks are allowed for ownership and attribution, but not for marketing information such as specific details about your item or customer service. Your watermark should be no bigger than 5% of the total image area, have an opacity of no more than 50%, and never obscure the item. Links are not allowed in watermarks.

eBay no text or artwork in gallery pictures

This is the end of using the eBay gallery picture to help promote the product and/or your business and instead to focus purely on the product.

What do you make of these changes? Are they going to dramatically change the way you view eBay over the next 6 months? Let me know in the comments section at the bottom.

eBay Shop Subscription Changes

Did you know that there are approximately 400,000 eBay shops in the UK alone and these make a cool £81.4M per year?

If you’ve got a basic or a featured eBay shop, then the monthly subscription fees are going up. Basic is going up by £5 to £19.99 and a featured eBay Shop is going up £10 to £59.99 per month. For this, we’re getting 20 GTC listings (That’s Good Till Cancelled ) for the basic level and a whopping 60 GTC free listings per month for the featured store.

When we do the maths on this, this equates to 20 listings x 10p = £2.00, so that’s a £3 increase for a basic shop or 20% and 60 listings x 5p = £3 and £7 increase for the featured or 13% more.

It doesn’t matter how we mince this one, we’re going to be paying more for the same under-performing, lonely, forgotten-about-for-years, under-developed, under-promoted, generally-lacking, poorly-design, pants-marketing-tools and unloved eBay Shop. More on this topic later.

The New eBay is going to be Rolled Out This Year

The “New eBay” is more than just a logo change

For those of you that followed the Podcast series that we ran last year, one of them also included a deeper look at what the “New eBay” is. The “New eBay” is more than just a logo change, we have already seen some of these changes, but there are some massive changes coming for buyers this year as part of this and I’ve included the video from the Podcast that covered the changes below, which will take you through the updates that eBay have planned with the “New eBay” below:

Common Sense For eBay Buyer Protection Cases

Not just yet through, but in May when you win a buyer protection case, any feedback that has been left will be removed from your account and crucially excluded from the seller performance evaluation.

Same Day Despatch on the Item Detail Pages

eBay same working day despatch optionIn this update when it’s released, we’ll be able to set a “Same Working Day” option for our despatch times on listings.

I’ll cover this in more detail later in what was missing from this update, but for now you can only set your cut off times for your entire account as a single time user setting in your eBay account settings for all your listings.

Native Shipping Options When Listing on Other eBay Sites Locally

This always was a challenge when listing locally on to other eBay sites, which shipping option do you choose? eBay are adding 3 options for international sellers for Economy, Standard & Express options to the shipping options for international sellers when listing onto foreign sites directly.

If you’re using a third party tool to list with, do make sure that once these are released that these options are available for you, as this will help buyers see a true reflection on the right postage costs and delivery times to them.

Forced Immediate Payment Only on Buy it Now Listings

We’re starting to see the first imposed PayPal that we have seen to date, probably since PayPal nought and favoured over the previous billing system Billpoint (which was ok actually) and for listings that are over £650, PayPal immediate payment is required on buy it Now listings. It’s not clear yet whether this is on all product categories or if there are some exceptions (Motors for example), we’ll know more once the updates are public.

Faster Resolution of Unpaid Items & Feedback Removal

A while back (maybe 18 months or more) eBay lowered the amount of time it would take to open an unpaid item case, from April this year eBay are reducing this by 50% from 4 days to 2 days to expedite the payment process or for you to be able to relist your item more quickly.

Keep this in mind if you’re using third party software to automate your disputes and do nag them to make sure that you can take advantage of the ability to create cases faster, as this ultimately means that you’ll get paid or you can release the inventory back to eBay quicker, either-way this will help cash flow.

Best Offer Changes

In May we’ll be seeing some changes to the “Best Offer” functionality as eBay test over multiple categories the ability to access best offers from multiple buyers for an item, but crucially the item actually only being won by the customer who pays first. That’s an interesting dynamic, which I can see sellers liking, but I’m not entirely sure how much customers will like this. Would you agree?

This is going to be tested in the following categories from May:

  • Computers, Tablets & Networking
  • Jewellery & Watches
  • Art

Category & Item Specific Changes

Ewwwwwwww these fill me with dread.

I’m not sure which categories are changing and how deep the item specifics are changing for the eBay UK category tree yet (I’ll update this article when I know), but any change when it comes to categorisation and item specifics makes me cringe. Data is the live blood of an eCommerce business, if you’ve got more than a handful of listings live, then you’re going to want to check these updates out ASAP.

As with any changes on any marketplace, you can gain a competitive advantage by being first to fully implement changes, this is especially true when it comes to categories and item specifics, unfortunately not everyone will read this site that uses eBay and even with eBay’s messaging over the next few weeks it’ll still be missed, read up on the changes ASAP and take advantage of the headstart on these.

If you’re using third party tools to list onto eBay with review what options you have around item specifics and factor these in as quickly as you can. I’m suspecting that the majority of these changes will be minor, that means within a few exports & imports you can have the majority of these changes licked and your data prepared for the updates.

Update: The categories that have updates are as follows and they’re not that bad on first impressions:

  • Clothes Shoes & Accessories
  • Coins
  • Health & Beauty
  • Home, Furniture & DIY
  • Jewellery & Watches
  • Pet Supplies
  • Sporting Goods
  • Vehicle Parts & Accessories

A by-product of these changes, two leaf categories are seeing an increase in fees, these are:

Current category Current final value fees New category New final value fees from 1 May
Home, Furniture & DIY> Celebrations & Occasions > Christmas > Santa Hats & Costumes (122751) 10% Clothes, Shoes & Accessories> Fancy Dress & Period Costume > Other Fancy Dress & Period (163149) 12%
Home, Furniture & DIY> Celebrations & Occasions > Hallowe’en > Costumes (10944) 10% Clothes, Shoes & Accessories> Fancy Dress & Period Costume > Other Fancy Dress & Period (163149) 12%

Also  the “Other Stuffed Toys” category will no longer receive free pictures:

Home, Furniture & DIY > Celebrations & Occasions > Valentine’s Day > Stuffed Toys (70981) will become
Toys & Games > Soft Toys & Stuffed Animals > Other Soft Toys (68394)

A full list of the category changes can be found here and the PDF downloads are below:

Business Policies Tool Being Launched

Back in the eBay May 2012 updates, one of the updates that wasn’t released was a new tool that that simplifies the policies for businesses and buyers. Sometime between March & July we’re going to see the the business policies section launched, this will allow you to keep manage your own custom settings for returns, postage and payment information in one central location.

With this tool being launched, later in this autumn we’ll be seeing new standard returns policies for the eBay UK site, this will include an expansion on who pays the return postage that we already have to include the number of days that a buyer has to cancel a transaction and implementing a standard returns policy for all business sellers on eBay UK.

eBay Returns Information

The standard returns policy can be updated in your site preferences section in “My eBay”

Note: This one will be interesting to read when it’s released, eBay UK publish that there are now 190,000 registered businesses on eBay UK and trying to cover sooo many different business types with one policy means this is bound to upset someone. We’ll know more later this year on this.

eBay Business Policies

Currently the eBay Business Policies is an invite only, this means you should expect an email when it’s released and you’ll most likely be notified within My eBay too.

When this was originally released, Dave Forest from eBay released the video below. If you’re not using advanced listing tools, this tool could save you a bucket load of time when it comes to these settings and is worth taking a the two minutes to watch this video:

eBay Charity Updates

eBay for Charity LogoeBay are removing the  £1 minimum donation from sellers for charity listings.

For the switched on business owners out there, you’ve gotta be thinking 1 pence is a small price to pay to have the charity logo on your listings and I can see this being heavily abused, sorry “used” when this update comes out.

All Ticket Sales Moving to StubHub

This is more of an informational update than anything. eBay bought StubHub in 2007 a platform dedicated to ticket sales and as StubHub launched in the UK last year, ticket sales are being migrated to the dedicated site and from the week commencing the 13th May 2013 all ticket sellers will be required to list on instead of the site.

So What Was Missing from the Spring Updates?

Now this is where it gets interesting, what did we not see updated or included in this release?

No Updates to eBay Shops Functionality

I just feel that the eBay shops owners like you deserve more

Another update passes and eBay Shops now have a price increase, but no extra functionality or exposure added in return. If there are 400,000 eBay shops in the UK, you would have thought that someone (there has to be someone!!!!) that has worked out that the obscene amount of revenue that these stores generate could be used to really expand on what has been built with the existing eBay shops and build these into proper eCommerce sites with features such as:


  • Domain mapping
  • Better themes
  • More configurable design options that we see in true eCommerce websites
  • Maybe responsive themes as standard
  • More SEO options for the shops
  • Daily or weekly deal widgets
  • Deeper shopping cart functionality
  • More custom pages, with more keywords
  • Maybe a proper content management system to make each business show that they are the experts in their niches



  • Better email marketing tools and a signup page that isn’t absolutely pointless
  • More advance cross promotion tools
  • Discount codes
  • Deeper links back into eBay search results
  • Other payment methods (lol, couldn’t resist)
  • Advanced search options that don’t need 3rd parties to create
  • An online chat system
  • Discounts for businesses that use Google Adwords to promote their eBay shop


eBay is a leader in Marketplaces across the globe, I just feel that the eBay shops owners like you deserve more. Do you feel this way too? Let me know in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

No Delayed Shipping Options

One of the points that were highlighted in the research at the beginning was that even high-street retailers are not really offering same-day or delayed/scheduled delivery options.

If you were looking at that research (and trust what it says), then surely would you not be thinking “We could add this into eBay now and facilitate this before any of the other platforms out there“. I feel eBay missed this one early and we’ve missed out on some cool functionality that could have given an edge over the outside world of eBay.

No Control at Listing Level for Same-Day Despatch

Having a global setting for all listings for a cut off time is nice and it’s s start, but for most business now use a mixture of business models for the supply & distribution of stock, then this is plain useless as some products won’t be despatched until the next day and this could be different options within the very same listing as well.

No Fee Updates

Always a welcome to have no fee changes, but makes you wonder what will be in the Autumn update, are they saving them up?

A Complete Reworking of the Types for Vehicle Parts & Accessories

Have you tried listing into the vehicle parts & accessories categories lately? What a nightmare this has become. I’m not sure, if anything has been planned over the use of the parts compatibilities, but they’re not simple to work with on a massive scale. One update that I didn’t include in the bulk of the article above is that eBay are reworking the parts compatibility tool for listing onto eBay directly, this is welcomed of course, but it’s still not a friendly affair.

No Variation Listing Expansion into More Categories

eBay variations are lethal, we covered these in a Podcast last year called “The 101 of eBay Variations + 7 Tips” which was one of the most listened to Podcasts we created. What was missing from this update was the expansion of variations to even more categories. I know some businesses that are crying out for these. (Are you too? Let me know in the comments section at the bottom)

No GTIN/EAN/Barcodes for Variation Listings

We also didn’t see the ability to set a barcode for each variation listing in this update. This basically means that variation listings on eBay don’t get the exposure they should do in Google Search & shopping, plus in the main eBay search. Think about it, if a customer knows the barcode of an item, do you also think that the customer has a credit card in the other hand waiting to buy the product? I do. So that’s why we should have this in eBay too, we have it everywhere else (*coff* Amazon, Magento…)


Out of all the changes that we have in this update, the one that is most likely to impact your business is the changes to the image requirements. If you’re in the vehicle parts & accessories which have missed this hit, then this is the end of the extra marketing potential of the eBay gallery image.

Personally I’m sad to see this go and I know many of you reading this will be hit hard by this update that will be hitting us in August. With up to 12 images now available for free in listings is a really nice extension to combat this but some categories already had free images, such as the fashion categories…

eBay category & item specifics updates are to be expected, they have been in the last few updates and the reasoning behind this is around the cross border trade into the EU sites, there are multiple sites that need to be aligned to each other and I’m sure we can expect more updates to these over the next year or so. On the bright side is that once they are fully aligned (or as as aligned as possible) then updates for inventory data that is used on multiple eBay sites should become a lot easier for businesses with large amounts of inventory.

I’m a little surprised at the bar for the eBay Top Rated Seller status being reduced by such a considerable amount and that the DSR scores are no longer part of this as well, just the minimums that are always tricky to maintain.

We’ll also be seeing granular control over the eTRS status on listings that don’t conform to eBay’s requirements at a listing level, so if you’re not offering:

  • A minimum of 14 days returns
  • AND 1 day or same day despatch
  • AND an express delivery option
  • AND a free postage option
  • AND meeting the other requirements at account level

Then you’ll not be promoted as an eTRS at listing level, which is a little harsh, but if there are items that cannot match this, then the fairest way is to control this at listing level.

eBay are also working with 3rd parties around delivery options as well in to Europe & beyond. Again I’ve not covered this in the core of the article (mainly due to time restraints), eBay have teamed up with 3rd parties to work out decent shipping rates into these locations and especially around expedited and tracked options. This has to bow well not only for us as business owners (especially around PayPal issues), but crucially for customers too.

If eBay’s focus really is, “fast flexible fulfilment”, “no surprises, no risk” and “visual browsing & inspiration”, these core essentials are an excellent base to work from. We’ve seen them working on all these topics in this update, but also in previous updates as well. Sometimes these updates don’t go as planned like the image swapping and colour swatches that had issues in the run up to Christmas from the Autumn 2012 updates, but that’s OK, we know that sometimes updates won’t always go smoothly, with the customer as the focus point, they really can’t go wrong.

What Do YOU Think of the Updates?

That really is enough from me, what do you think of these updates?

  • How will the images update impact you?
  • Will you gain anything from having free images?
  • What do you make of eTRS being diluted?
  • Do any of these updates change your thoughts on eBay as a marketplace?

You can let me know in the comments box just below this article.

43 replies
  1. Avani
    Avani says:

    Hi Matt

    Thank you for the updates..a bit late in reading your article but I was aware of the changes nevertheless! You mentioned that businesses should get discounts who use Google Adwords to promote their eBay shop..I wanted to know if it really does help you drive more traffic? Doesn’t eBay already do this for you..I thought that was one of the advantages of selling on eBay?

    Thank you.

  2. Jacob
    Jacob says:

    Hi Matt,

    Firstly i’d like to comment on a great round up on all the events affecting users of the ebay platform. I feel that the shipping changes are a step in the right direction for the platform, but I do sympathise with sellers producing custom products who would be unable to meet the policies. May I remind your readers that there are some great fulfillment services out there which can enable this kind of efficiency. With customer satisfaction and expectations constantly rising in online marketplaces, if viable this type of relationship can be very beneficial to a sellers eTRS and subsequently, fee discount level.

  3. Valerie
    Valerie says:

    Hi Matthew,

    Have been reading (and re-reading) the “rules” for the new ebay changes in the Autumn. Does it mean that now the DSRs are completely gone? What is the point of striving to be the best. I sell postcards and postage and packaging is high for individual small items so I probably will not be able to comply and will therefore lose my very good record and top seller status, all for 10 percent off my fees. The most important thing from my point of view is the showing of my products to a wide audience, I can stand on my merit if seen! Do you think they will make any concessions or changes to these new rules? Thanks for all your info, regards Valerie

  4. Jamie
    Jamie says:

    Yep, we’ll be losing Top Rated Seller Status as not all of our products are despatched next working day.

    Irritating, as we only just got it back after changing mail provider.

    I’d imagine a change like this will force many virtual stock providers to start marking items as despatched before they’re actually shipped. Not sure they’re not going to cause themselves more trouble than it’s worth.

    Also we are not set up to offer next day delivery – this would be a difficult system to work and probably not worth the development and logistical costs to set it up.

    Sounds like they’re trying to force people to compete with Amazon Prime here, not realising that it’s not really all that feasible for people selling low cost items as shipping is obscenely expensive for guaranteed next day delivery.

  5. Iain
    Iain says:

    Hi Matt, great article thanks. I have been a TRS from day one. The whole thing looks un-achievable and suspiciously like blackmail. If it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it

  6. Gill McArdle
    Gill McArdle says:

    Oh my Matt – I’ve had a brief skim through the updates and can see the changes will have quite an impact on our top rated seller status. 95% of our sales are for personalised items so same day (or even 1 day) dispatch is not achievable. Ouch!

    Good comprehensive article as always – thanks

  7. Valerie Brooks
    Valerie Brooks says:

    Hi all, I sell postcards on ebay, I charge one postage for any amount of cards bought, when the new rules for Top Rated Sellers come in I will be required to offer free postage, I will then have to integrate postage cost into my cards, as I charge £1 for posting packaging etc. I will add this to the price of each card, this means buyers will get free postage but if they buy more than one card, lets say 3, it will cost them £3 instead of £1. I will not be able to offer free postage abroad, this would be too expensive, and as I do not know which cards will go abroad I will only be able to sell in the U.K. or lose my Top Rated Seller status. Surely the upshot of this is that everyone will be paying more, ebay though will probably not gain because less people will buy multiple items. It will negate the extra potential sales to new markets as I cannot offer free postage. Hope this all makes sense, any comments would be most welcome. Valerie

  8. mark buckingham
    mark buckingham says:

    Great article as normal Matt. Thanks

    Few things.

    1/ Am I correct in thiking we’re having another FVF discount cut to 15% from the current Titanium 20%. Worth quite a chunk each month. :-(

    2/ Regarding the images, do you know if it will still be allowed to show small versions of the alternative colours on each variation image. e.g. If showing the Navy Blue, we can show a small cascaded version of the other colours? This isn’t branding or borders or anything, but might still be deemed as clutter. I like having them for when the customer lands directly on a variation image as it’s nice to show alternatives. I find their swatch tool next to useless.

    3/ Again, on TRS discounts, it will now be done on a per-item basis. And each item must meet all criteria including free shipping to qualify for discount. We currently create listings on eBay UK with free shipping domestically and a small charge for international. Web interpret then pick these up and list on the native international sites directly. These will then have a shipping cost with no free shipping option. I assume then, we’ll miss the FVF discount for these listings? Or will the fact that we list on with free shipping to the UK mean qualification for TRS etc. Confusion reigns on all things international. lol

    Thanks again for the article.

  9. DAL
    DAL says:

    Interesting reading on Intellectual Property Office site re the automatic copyright protection, please see below:

    So long as you have created and fixed, for example in writing, an original work that qualifies for copyright protection, that is it falls into one of the categories of material protected by copyright, you will have copyright protection without having to do anything to establish this. It is a requirement of various international conventions on copyright that copyright should be automatic with no need to register.

    Thought this was relevant as we are allowed to use a watermark on images to protect OUR work……..

  10. Kieran
    Kieran says:

    “Your watermark should be no bigger than 5% of the total image area”

    Is it me or is 5% extremely small? Would you even be able to see the watermark?

    If they are recommending a image size of at least 1600 wide, for arguements sake 1600 x 1600 then 5% is like 80 x 80?

    The watermark in the example above must be alot bigger than 5%?



  11. CJ
    CJ says:

    I believe it’s the policy on almost every eBay site except UK – granted it allows us to save on FVFs but with things like this it makes it a trade off

    Do I want:

    1. TRS logo and related best match benefits

    2. Cheaper looking items and higher profit margins with added P+P

    Most likely i’ll just duplicate every listing with one of each option and take the best of both worlds.

  12. CJ
    CJ says:

    So basically if you don’t offer free P+P your listing is no longer going to show you as a TRS?

    Why don’t they just add a % of postage costs to the FVF and be done with it.

    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Howdy CJ,

      Three letters L + O + L

      You can do very little with multi-item purchases when the base item shipping is free. Making the fees include shipping would allow this not to be a core requirement. That didn’t work with very well did it?


      • phil stradling
        phil stradling says:

        I’m not getting this. Are eBay saying that we have to offer free domestic shipping on each individual item to maintain the TRS? Or will a “combined order above a certain value qualifies for free shipping” option suffice?

        If the former, then our prices will have to rise to reflect the postage and our multi buyers will lose out. (I’d rather be able to “look after” a customer who is spending a few quid, with a postage incentive, but this will be negated by free shipping on all items).

      • Matthew Ogborne
        Matthew Ogborne says:

        Howdy Phil,

        That’s right. The first option should be free for you to maintain eTRS status at a listing level.

        You’re of course right, this is somewhat short sighted both by eBay and the customer as they’re basically paying the postage in the item price. As someone mentioned earlier, why don’t eBay just start making sellers pay fees on the shipping prices as well and get it over with, so that sellers can set their shipping rates to what they feel is appropriate. Maybe the next update? :)


  13. NiteShift
    NiteShift says:

    Read very briefly, we have to hand cut each item and we normally dispatch within 2 days. Surely there has to be sellers who may have a slight exemption from the 0-1 day dispatch times, however I suspect that won’t happen. Will it encourage more sellers to click the dispatch button a day earlier and hope Royal Mail exceed expectations?

    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Howdy Lee,

      Indeed. If you’re running a just-in-time business model, then this is going to hurt, the same if the products are being customised as well.

      Will it encourage more sellers to click the dispatch button a day earlier and hope Royal Mail exceed expectations?

      Absolutely, because that’s exactly what I would do.


  14. Kieran
    Kieran says:


    Thanks for the guide, i have been able to flick through this and basically grasp all the updates very quickly thanks to matthews efforts, i will of course give it some more time later on.

    I expected that the picture changes would be coming, removing the extra advertising does not concern me too much, what does concern me a little is that i know how long it takes us to get really nice pictures made up using £££ of equipment only for some joker to come along a use the same picture on their product listing and undercut you but any amount. This is always a challenge with generic goods of course but still very frustrating.

    The watermark suggestions are ok but it does leave it pretty open to theft of images when the watermark is at the bottom of the image, a bit of cropping and the watermark is gone with most of the image needed still intact for another ebay seller to use.

    I wonder if they will be telling you off for including the product packaging as a kind of backdrop in the pictures, having the packaging sitting to the side of the product so you have both packaging and product in the image, this has become more common on Amazon to brand a picture and prevent other sellers using the same ASIN.

    I think it will be better for us to bit the bullet now and get this started asap accepting any losses in sales we might get, start as we mean to go on as such.


    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Howdy Kieran,

      If there is one thing I’ve learnt in the past 10 years, shutting up and putting up has always been the easier route.

      As I don’t run a product business myself, this does allow me to have a targeted poke at providers around specific topics (such as what I have done with the eBay shops in this article) but can you or I force a change to the marketplaces, probably not. It’s not a defeatist approach, it’s just the one of least resistance, thus top marks for just “getting on”.


  15. Gwyn
    Gwyn says:

    good stuff.. Thank you for taking the time to collate and research this for us.. Will be acting on this info for sure..

    Just wanted to show appreciation..

    Thank you.

  16. Makbul
    Makbul says:

    This is the last thing that i was expecting , Changing the image is really a nightmare

    I failed to understand why ebay is becoming more like amazon. But one thing is for sure if you really want to survive then one should start thinking out of the box and have your online strategy in place where Google / bing should play a major role

    Thanks Matthew for sharing this as i have to start focusing on changing images :(

    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Howdy Makbul,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

      Agreed, it is going to be a challenge to get the images update.

      The main thing is that we’ve been given a couple of months notice to bring them up to the new requirements.


  17. Ben
    Ben says:

    Wow!. Great article Matt. I actually read this before ebay had even emailed me about the changes. The main thing that bugs me is the 20% increase in the featured shops. How do ebay justify this £10/month price increase (and this goes to the basic shop increase as well? There’s been no improvement to the services/features offered for a shop, so to me this is just a stealth fee increase rather than adding it on to fvf or listing fees.

    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Howdy Ben,

      Thank you.

      Yep, that’s why I added in the extra section on what’s missing from this update, we’re going to be paying more, but not actually getting anything back. Let’s hope the comments around the eBay shops aren’t missed :)


  18. theemporiumdirect
    theemporiumdirect says:

    Dear Matt, Thank you for such an informative, well structured and detailed report on these new changes. I will need to re-read again (4+ times) to fully digest and absorb the info. There is one point that sticks out for me, that is the new eTRS requirements – we will have to see what we can implement our end to ensure we maintain our eTRS – we have been eTRS since day one.

    Ultimately, my summary is that: the changes are good. As you stated similar above, “professional” eBay sellers are very, very, very, very good. I have always said that you will get better service from a “small” “professional” eBay seller than you would anywhere else online and it looks like eBay are realising this (finally) and therefore they need to improve their website and selling platform to promote and market this fact so that all consumers know that eBay is a very good place to shop.

    I also like the fact that eBay are looking at ways to increase on a win-win-win basis Cross Border Trade. I know that it has been talked about by like minded people in your industry that surely eBay can use their data, reputation and platform to provide eBayers with low cost and reputable worldwide delivery options.

    Question for you Matt – you know our business quite well, what do you think we should think about the new updates as there is a lot to think about I think??!!!!

    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Howdy Rik,

      For you specifically, make sure the category changes don;t impact you too much and if they do, factor the changes in ASAP as first in normally win when these types of updates come through. Also checking the delivery options as well would be wise.

      Does that help you?


      • theemporiumdirect
        theemporiumdirect says:

        Thank you. I cannot see any category changes that currently affect us (Home & Garden) based on the link and PDF downloads you provided. I understand that you will have more information available in the future, please email when available. Thanks Matt.

        Deliveries – Yes I assume that we apply 1 working day despatch to listings we can despatch in 1 working day and for listings we cannot due to other warehouse restrictions we can apply a 2 working day despatch time.

        Of course, we could move warehouses and stock to ensure all listings are a 1 working day despatch time but this would require investment (not necessarily something we are put off by as I feel that investment is a good thing so long as done correctly) but my understanding is that we will lose eTRS on the listings with a 2 working day despatch time which I feel is “unfair” as the final delivery time to the customers is always A: within the stated ETA dates and B: within 3/4 working days after payment – (quicker than 1 working day despatch with “economy delivery”.

        Yes, customers want their items fast, totally understandable, hence Amazon trialling Same-Day delivery. But to be penalised (losing eTRS) because of a 2 working day despatch time seems unfair – especially in our situation when the actual total delivery time (payment>receipt of items) is very fast.

        Have I understood it correctly Matt?

      • Matthew Ogborne
        Matthew Ogborne says:

        Hi Rik,

        This was my point later on in the article, businesses that are running stocked & virtual products are going to be hit hard by the new eTRS options, this is probably a conversation worth taking offline with you directly.


  19. arista
    arista says:

    Hi Matt.

    New image requirements are good IMO, better images for the customer, and levels the playing field for those that dont add marketing to the images.

    Would still like to see a smarter method of listing products in a similar way to amazon, EAN/UPC matching – unless ive missed that one!

    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Howdy Jason,

      Would still like to see a smarter method of listing products in a similar way to amazon, EAN/UPC matching – unless ive missed that one!

      We have that right now for the media category & some of the products in the tech categories that use the eBay catalogue, just post a generic template for the description. But it’s not as simple as Amazon. That’s got to be a good thing though? As it leaves room for personalisation beyond just one line of text and a logo that we have on Amazon and we’re not purely boiling down to price.


  20. Jonas
    Jonas says:

    I wondered when we would see the changes to the images, why is it that the car parts categories escape another set of updates? Like you say, the Ktype things are a nightmare, but why no images?????????



Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] you thought that the new eBay image requirements were a challenge, then wait until you see the emails from being sent to UK Fashion […]

  2. @AKHosiery says:

    Making sense of the Spring 2013 eBay UK seller updates.

  3. @AKHosiery says:

    Making sense of the Spring 2013 eBay UK seller updates.

  4. Did you miss the #eBay Seller updates yesterday? See what’s going to impact your business here

  5. Making Sense of the #Spring 2013 #eBay UK Seller Updates via @matthewogborne

  6. @pmunden says:

    RT @matthewogborne: Making Sense of the Spring 2013 #eBay UK Seller Updates <= Just posted!!

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