The Need to Know About eBay’s New Service Metrics Program

Announced in the 2018 Summer Update, eBay describes service metrics as being part of a new competitive insights program to help sellers understand and manage buyers’ ‘item not as described’ and ‘item not received’ requests better. For sellers, it is another service standards measurement designed to improve buyer satisfaction and, hopefully, increase repeat sales. Keep reading for the lowdown on eBay’s brand new service metrics program.

What are ‘service metrics’?

Service metrics provide sellers with confidential statistics and information on:

  • How often a seller is receiving buyer requests for ‘items not as described’ (shown as a percentage)
  • How often a seller receives buyer requests for ‘items not received’ (shown as a percentage)
  • A comparison of the above two rates compared to similar sellers, called peer benchmarks
  • Possible reasons why buyers are making these requests and advice to decrease the rate of these type of requests

Service metrics can be found via Seller Hub, eBay’s dedicated seller dashboard on participating eBay websites. As the time of writing, service metrics are available to view for sellers using eBay.com, eBay.ca, cafr.ebay.ca eBay.co.uk, eBay.com.au, eBay.de, eBay.es, eBay.it and eBay.fr.

The purpose of service metrics

With an ever-growing online marketplace, eBay is always looking to improve the buyer experience on the site. Just like the majority of online users, eBay buyers want to receive items as described in the listing, within the time advertised. This, of course, doesn’t always happen, and eBay wants to reduce this occurrence. Higher buyer satisfaction leads to repeat sales and more overall profit for eBay.

Consequently, the use of service metrics is eBay’s new method to penalize sellers who have high rates of buyer issues, specifically concerning items not arriving on time or being described accurately in the listing.

How service metrics work

Made simple, the most important features of service metrics are the two percentage scores for buyer requests and the corresponding peer benchmarks.

  • The rate of buyer requests for ‘items not as described’ is shown as a percentage of total transactions where buyers have asked for a return due to items not working, being defective, missing a part/piece, arriving damaged or not matching the item listing.
  • The rate of buyer requests for ‘items not received’ is shown as a percentage of total transactions where tracking shows the item has been delivered but the buyer has not received it OR when a buyer requests information about an item that was expected to have already arrived.
  • Peer benchmarks are a comparison of the above two percentages compared to similar sellers offering similar products with a similar selling price, sale terms and shipping destination. Sellers are evaluated on a sliding scale from ‘low’ to ‘very high.’ A ‘low’ evaluation means that a seller is performing better than most other sellers who are offering similar products. A ‘very high’ evaluation means that a seller is not performing well compared to other similar sellers, and may face penalization from eBay.

The consequences of eBay’s new service metrics program

eBay appears to be taking a fairly firm line concerning sellers who are evaluated with a ‘very high’ ratings. The following service metric consequences apply:

  • Items not as described – Additional 4% Final Value Fees (on total amount of the sale, including shipping) in the categories where sellers are evaluated as a ‘very high’ peer benchmark.
  • Item not delivered – Time is automatically added to delivery estimates for buyers for each shipping category where a seller is evaluated as having a ‘very high’ peer benchmark.

The small print about service metrics and peer benchmarks

  • Seller performance standards are not impacted by service metrics.
  • If a seller improves their peer benchmark rating from ‘very high,’ consequences will not be applied.
  • Service metrics are evaluated on the 20th day of each month. Sellers with more than 400 transactions over the last three months will be evaluated over the last 3 months only. Sellers with less than 400 transactions over the same time period will be evaluated on transactions over the last 12 months instead.
  • eBay.com sellers will not be evaluated on the time period prior to June 1st 2018, no matter how many transactions they have conducted over the last 3 months.
  • Sellers who are rated ‘very high’ in a category, but had fewer than 10 return requests overall will not be subject to consequences at this time.
  • Starting October 1st, service metrics (with consequences for sellers with ‘very high’ ratings) for eBay.com and eBay.ca sellers will be in force. Dates for implementation on international eBay sites vary – eBay.co.uk sellers, for example, will not face any consequences for ‘very high’ ratings until February 1st 2019.

The impact of service metrics

At the time of writing (pre-October 1st 2018), it is difficult to say what the impact of eBay’s new service metrics will be for sellers. The postponement of the UK rollout of the program does perhaps indicate some potential issues in the administration but this remains speculation since eBay did not clarify the reasons for the delay. The general reception to service metrics, like many other seller orientated updates, has been largely negative so far but most would agree that eBay is not a company to bow down to seller discontent. Some argue that eBay is looking only to penalize only scam artists and hence most honest eBay sellers will not even notice any impact. As with so many eBay updates and developments, only time will reveal the full story.

What do you think of the new service metrics?

Gemma
Gemma
Gemma is our all things eBay expert. Originally from the UK, she now lives in Canada and travels extensively. You can read about her travels at her blog Off Track Travel.