No matter the amount of new online marketplaces that pop up, one thing remains true: it’s imperative to provide great customer service to become a top-rated eBay seller in 2019.
This standard is set on the marketplaces you shop at most, including Amazon and eBay. In fact, if sellers on these marketplaces don’t meet customer service standards, they could be kicked off the platform entirely.
Of course there’s layers to this.
Is your inventory managed properly? Did you ship out the wrong item? Did the item arrive on time? These variables come together to create what is known in the industry as “seller performance ratings or standards.”
In this post we’ll look at eBay seller performance standards in particular and what it takes to become a top-rated eBay seller in 2019.
Here’s a hint: it’s not all about creating a flashy listing. The real work starts with implementing inventory management software.
How eBay Determines Seller Levels
eBay’s seller levels are based on your sales history and quality of service you provide to your customer base. Pretty straightforward. Sellers are assessed on this the 20th of each month.
Upon that, eBay categorizes you into one of three seller ratings:
- Top Rated: you’re the cream of the crop. Your quality of customer service is top notch and you’ve met the minimum sales requirements for the Top Rated Seller level. At this point you’re also eligible for the coveted Top Rated Plus listing benefits so long as you can meet the listing qualifications.
- Above Standard: you’re still meeting the minimum standard for sellers and looking after your customers, but you’re now just a touch below Top Rated.
- Below Standard: you’ve dropped the ball and aren’t meeting one or more of their minimum requirements for customer service quality. Your transaction defect rate is above 2% or your cases closed without seller resolution is above 0.3%. (We’ll get into these details in the next section.)
eBay takes their performance standards seriously, and if you fail to comply, your listings will drop in search results. Or worse, you could be restricted from selling on their platform entirely.
How Your eBay Performance is Calculated
eBay clearly defines the parameters around how seller performance is calculated. They look at your transaction rate, cases closed without seller resolution, late shipments, and tracking validation.
Let’s examine each of these a bit closer.
Transaction defect rates and cases closed without seller resolution
Transaction defect rates are one of the biggest measurements of great seller performance. A defect rate is added to your account for one of the following reasons:
- You cancel a buyer’s purchase because you no longer have the item in stock or you chose not to send it
- An item not received or not described as a request from a buyer is closed without seller resolution
To avoid situations like this and the loss of loyal customers, take a look at the health of your inventory. If your stock levels are changing, it’s best to end or update the listing quantity as soon as you can.
Sellers can also seek help in the Seller Hub to see which listings are running low, or enable the out-of-stock feature for multi-quantity items.
When eBay is asked to step in and help, take this as a sign that things are not in your favor.
For example, if a seller is found to be responsible for an eBay Money Back Guarantee issue, the case will be concluded as a “case closed without seller resolution.”
This rule is counted as not only a transaction defect rate, but also a percentage of your transactions closed without resolve.
To avoid these cases:
- Describe your item accurately using pictures and product specifics so your buyers know exactly what to expect
- Use tracking when possible
- Respond to the buyer’s request promptly
- Provide clear return and payment policies in each listing
Number of defect rates that will affect your seller rating
Transaction Defect Rate
Cases closed without seller resolution
In the on-demand world we live in, everyone expects to receive their orders on time and in good condition.
eBay determines a late shipment as the percentage of transactions sent after the handling time stated on the listing, or those that were not delivered by the estimated delivery date.
More specifically, a shipment is late if:
- Tracking shows the item was delivered after the estimated delivery date
- The buyer confirms the item was delivered after the estimated delivery date
If 10% or more of your transactions classify as late shipments, eBay may limit some of the shipping options available to you.
This warning means less choice for your customers to get their items in the delivery time they expect.
When you limit the amount of shipping options, you lose potential sales and garner a hit to your reputation. Reviews spread fast, so make sure to get your shipments out on time to avoid losing your number one listing spot.
Late Shipment Rate
Seller Ratings Continued
Similarly to Amazon, it’s easy for buyers to see your seller performance on product listings.
eBay breaks down your ratings from previous buyers in the following four categories:
- Item description – how well is the item for sale described?
- Communication – have you communicated well with other buyers?
- Shipping time – was the item shipped quickly and on time?
- Shipping and handling charges – are the costs reasonable?
Sellers can view their ratings in each category with a 1-5 star rating in the Feedback Forum. Closely monitoring this gives you a better handle on where exactly you need to improve your seller performance.
How to Become a Top-Rated eBay Seller in 2019
There’s no secret formula to become a Top Rated eBay seller. No magic wand to be waved or cheat sheet to follow.
It comes down to hard work and strategic inventory management.
If your warehouse is disorganized, or you’re still managing inventory from a spreadsheet, lost inventory and inaccurate quantities are inevitable. You can never reach Top Rated eBay seller level running a business like that.
Let’s look at each seller performance category and how you can avoid defect rates with an inventory management software.
Transaction defect rates
Nobody wants a cancelled order. Not the customer and not the seller.
To prevent purchase cancellations due to out of stocks, implement reporting tools inside an inventory management software. You probably ran out of stock because you don’t have great visibility on inventory quantities.
With an inventory software, you can house all your inventory in one place and generate reports that provide transaction history or purchasing history (to name a few).
With reports you’re not only able to see inventory quantities in real-time, but you’re also able to make smart purchasing and forecasting decisions.
When you forecast inventory based on data, you eliminate the risk of out of stocks, overstocks, and dead stock, thus eliminating the risk of racking up transaction defect rates.
Late shipment rates
A late shipment equals a one star rating. When you manage inventory from a spreadsheet, it’s easy to lose track of which shipments have been sent out, if at all, and even easier to rack up bad ratings.
An inventory management system’s key design is the ability to create a streamlined pick/pack/ship process. Inventory activity is monitored for accuracy from the time it hits your door, until it’s ready for shipment.
Utilize paperless, or digital, picking solutions. Digital pick lists reduce the risk of human error and can keep better track of inventory levels as you walk along the pick route.
Or better yet, you can change direction in real-time based on pick list adjustments or a spike in demand.
Once you hand the pick list off to the pack and ship stage, send items through quality control to check for purchase order discrepancies.
With QC you can check items against their purchase order and ensure the correct order is sent out on time, the first time.
If you want to run a successful eCommerce business, you’ll need more than just a stack of inventory. It takes a great tech stack to support it’s every function too, and that includes an inventory management software.
With inventory management software you will become a Top-Rated eBay Seller in 2019 because your inventory is organized and monitored properly from start to finish.
It all starts with great inventory organization. Once you have that down, you can provide on-time shipments, eliminate out of socks and overstocks, and deliver outstanding customer service.