New Emails eBay Sends for You (the Seller)

Posted on November 9, 2009. Filed under: eBay | Tags: , , , |

In the Summer 2009 eBay Announcements, eBay made a general announcement about some “improvements” they had planned for implementation in the Fall.  One such enhancement was described as follows:

“Buyer communications will be faster and easier to manage with enhancements to My Messages and streamlined post-transaction emails.”

Sometime between the summer and today there was additional detailed information added about the “streamlined post-transaction emails” on the July 2009 Update FAQ page .  The following is copied directly from that page:

Streamlining post-transaction emails

What changes are you making?
In October, we will be consolidating and improving some of the eBay emails that a buyer gets after a transaction is complete. These include emails like the order confirmation, order update/shipping notices, and payment reminders. As a result, buyers will get fewer—but more relevant—emails.

Are you including emails from PayPal, third parties and other sources?
No. This project only impacts the emails that eBay sends the buyer after a transaction. Emails from other sources are not included.

How are the post-transaction emails changing?

  • Payment Reminder: This email will only go out if your buyer doesn’t pay after 48 hours of hitting the “commit to buy” button. Note: This is not an additional message to what is already being sent to buyers today (the “You’ve Won email”). Instead, we are delaying delivery of this message to 48 hours, and only sending it if the buyer hasn’t paid.
  • Order Confirmation: This email is sent after your buyer goes through checkout and serves as a receipt of their order. You can do limited customization of this email through Selling Manager Pro.
  • Order Update: This email will be sent when the status of any item in the buyer’s order changes (i.e., either their payment status or shipping status has changed). You can customize this email through Selling Manager Pro.

We will examine the remaining post-transaction emails, such as the Buyer Success, Buying Notification and Feedback Reminder emails, for possible revisions in the near future.

ebayemails

The emails sent by eBay “for you” cannot be disabled.  There is no choice to opt out of the dunning emails or the other two automated emails.  So, with the new “improvement” in communications,  my buyer is now receiving definitely one, and possibly two, additional emails than they were receiving before.   (For those who are not great in math — that would be MORE emails than before, not less)

Previously, I used the eBay Selling Manager Pro automated email system to send my buyers an email when their package was enroute.  The email was customizable and I spent a great deal of time crafting a really nice email message which included things like my phone number so the buyer could contact me if there was a problem.  Now, of course, eBay removed my automated email capability and replaced it with some really cheesy email and didn’t even bother to import the customized portion of my previous email.  Instead, they just deleted it without notifying me either before or after they did so.  The “order update” email looks something like this now:

orderupdate

And now there is a new “order confirmation” email that is sent to a buyer after they proceed through checkout. 

orderconfirmation

The automated email choice I have been able to use is titled “Automatically send Payment Received email when payment has been received” and the buyer is sent an email when I am actually paid by PayPal — either through an instant transfer (from a buyer’s PayPal balance or funded with a credit card) or when the buyer’s check has cleared.  But the new order confirmation email sends the buyer a confirmation email of their order when they submit payment whether it has cleared or not.  So, a buyer who pays via echeck receives an order confirmation and, thus, expects their item to be shipped. 

And, I guess someone forgot to share some important information with the programmers — the Powerseller icon no longer appears next to a seller’s name AND there is no insurance cost that sellers are supposed to be charging to buyers so it would probably be a good idea to lose the line that lists the insurance cost since its only purpose would be to confuse the buyer.

eBay’s new dunning email is not customizable and sellers cannot opt out.  Previously, sellers using Selling Manager Pro could use a fully customizable email which was sent to a buyer after a certain period of time that was chosen by the seller.  So, for example, if a buyer didn’t pay within 5 days (or 7 days or 10 days) the seller could automatically send a nice email letting the buyer know that payment had not yet been received and that the seller was available if the buyer had any questions about what payment was due or how to make payment.  The subject line of the email was customizable as well as the body of the email. 

We previously used the automated email and included our phone number and asked the buyer to let us know if they were having problems paying or needed more time.  Now, that capability is no longer available to us. 

If eBay is going to send out dunning emails on our behalf without allowing us to customize the message then eBay needs to put something more substantive than “Thanks for your recent purchase on eBay! Please remember to pay your item so that the seller can ship it to you as soon as possible.”  How about including a phone number to eBay customer service so that the buyer can contact eBay when they can’t figure out how to pay.  Or, how about including a link where the buyer can contact the seller by email? 

eBay claims their changes are “improvements” in communications.  According to eBay, the result of streamlining post transaction emails is that  buyers will get fewer—but more relevant—emails.  I just don’t see that happening.  I think now, after the changes in post transaction emails, that buyers are receiving MORE emails and they are definitely less relevant emails than before.  That is definitely true for sellers such as myself who took advantage of the Selling Manager Pro automation emails. 

Yet, instead of making the automation emails available to all sellers which would have allowed sellers to provide the BEST customer service, eBay instead created a generic email notification system required for everyone.  That might not have been quite so bad if the email communications were even halfway well-written and included even some relevant information.  As it stands now, though, the emails sent by eBay on behalf of sellers are not an improvement.

And to further add insult to injury, sellers who do not subscribe to the Selling Manager Pro cannot view the automated emails being sent.  eBay’s Help Pages make note of the fact that automated emails can only be viewed by SM Pro subscribers.  Of course, I think that all sellers should at least be able to view the emails that eBay is sending “on their behalf” .  eBay sellers are graded by buyers on their Communication yet sellers are not given the opportunity to opt out of these automated communications and many sellers can’t even view the emails being sent to buyers yet are being held accountable for the content.

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9 Responses to “New Emails eBay Sends for You (the Seller)”

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I will have to take the opposing view and say that eBay is RIGHT in doing what they are doing.

The experience of buying on the platform needs to be consistent for all shoppers no matter WHO they buy from. In order to do this eBay needs to control that conversation between its buyers on their platform.

If you sell on other platforms (i.e. Amazon, Buy.com, Overstock, Sears, etc) this is standard operating proceedure in the industry. eBay has NOT been standard and I see that as part of the problem with eBay of the past.

Customers need to have the same experience no matter who they purchase from. The communication and verification should all be coming from eBay and NOT the individual seller.

That’s my 2 cents and I know others will disagree, but that is the beauty of opinions right?!?

John (ColderICE)
http://www.ColderICE.com

I’ve already had one buyer complain about the Automated Payment Reminder. Makes me crazy! Can’t they just leave well enough alone?

Another demonstration of:

a) eBay misrepresenting the promise that the last of the 2009 changes happened, and NOT making multiple unannounced changes during the year.
b) the code monkeys, and not IT management, are in charge.

//

“You’ve got mail.”
Joe Fox, You’ve Got Mail (1998)

“Come to think of it, I’ll have a Heineken.”
Heineken (1981)

Hi Brews,

I’m sorry this post is off-topic but I don’t know how to contact you outside of your blog.

I’m off to a great start with Amazon, I finally found a micro-niche over there for myself that works. A stable and relatively bottom-feeder free catagory (if there is such a thing anymore)…

I’m wondering if you have found any great tools for doing Amazon research. Obviously, we all use Terapeak for eBay but I’m not sure if there is anything comparable for Amazon yet.

Hope you are well!

Dan

Sorry! Guess ebay/LiveWorld is as reliable as ever: it unpoofed. Actually if they had deleted it then at least we’d know they were paying attention.

Touchy touchy ebay: at least they’re listening: the most comprehensive thread on the Seller Central discussion board just went poof!

I can be reached via email : thebrewsnews @ aol.com

John,

(1) Other sites, like Amazon, control the communication (as you pointed out)and yet Amazon doesn’t hold me responsible for the emails they send to the buyers. Why should the buyer be allowed to rate me on communication if eBay is controlling the communication? I know… because eBay says they can. I got it.

(2) Amazon buyers don’t need to be sent dunning emails because they pay when they order.

(3) Amazon buyers don’t receive multiple emails from multiple email addresses telling them that their order has shipped because of two major reasons — an Amazon seller has to mark the order as shipped within the Amazon system or they won’t be paid AND Amazon doesn’t give sellers a buyer’s email address because it is not a necessary requirement to do so in order to complete the transaction on Amazon. Unfortunately for eBay, when a buyer pays with PayPal the email address can’t be withheld.

(4) Buyers on eBay will never receive a consistent experience. I liken Amazon sellers to franchisees where quality is overseen. With eBay, it’s more like the IGA – Independent Grocer’s Association. The ever-constant McDonald’s french fry concept just aint gonna happen with eBay sellers. And, even if it could and did, the buyer’s experiences would be different on eBay because of the fact that auctions and fixed price items are mixed together. There is inherently a different “experience” with an auction purchase versus a fixed price purchase.

(5) Let’s just say for the sake of argument that it is in the best interest of the eBay buyer for eBay to control the conversation… it is certainly not in the best interest of the buyer when eBay fails to educate the seller about the changes. As a result, many sellers are sending out duplicate emails and are not understanding why buyers are frustrated or confused since most sellers are not even aware of the new emails being sent out. eBay “forgets” that they actually need sellers — heck, somebody has to give eBay buyers that good experience and it eBay certainly isn’t gonna pick, pack, and ship. And eBay’s lack of seller education only sets everybody up for failure.

Just ran into this today and it occurred to me… if I tell the buyer to ignore these emails and not take them to heart, that would come across as scammy.

I thought one of the supposed benefits of Mandatory Paypal Only was that they were going to simply direct debit buyers’ Paypal accounts for any purchases made. Whatever happened to that?

Guess it would have discouraged random bidding, cat bidding, etc

Can’t go killing those page views I suppose, can’t have that 🙂


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