The Web Retailer News Digest for November 12th, 2021

Amazon is encroaching into an area where sellers used to have complete freedom: pricing.

Lesley Hensell has written an article for us about Amazon’s new Standards for Brands and price competitiveness policies. She highlights a new policy meaning that sellers are expected to offer a competitive price 95% of the time, or they may have their selling privileges suspended.

What is a competitive price? It doesn’t mean competitive against other Amazon sellers, but against other online retailers outside Amazon. This puts sellers at the mercy of error-prone page scraping technology that can identify prices incorrectly and lead to unreasonable demands being made.

Amazon sellers are losing control of pricing

The new pricing policy seems to go hand-in-hand with the re-launch of Amazon Standards for Brands (ASB) in January this year. This has targeted Vendors – companies selling directly to Amazon on a wholesale basis – who have then left the Vendor program to sell through the Amazon marketplace instead.

Until recently, the marketplace offered companies greater control over how their products are sold, particularly in regard to pricing. But the trend of brands switching from being Vendors to third-party sellers seems to have upset Amazon. It now appears that if a brand has ever offered products via the Vendor program that Amazon now wants to take permanent control of pricing.

But this is not the only group being targeted by Amazon. Larger third-party resellers, who do not have their own brands and have never been Vendors, are also being affected.

See Amazon Sellers Are Losing Control of Pricing Due to “Standards for Brands” for more on this new development.

New eBay Stores features go live

New features for eBay Store owners, announced in eBay’s Fall seller update, have now gone live on the site. This includes:

  • A dedicated Store tab in Seller Hub to help sellers set up and manage their Store.
  • A Store About tab for sellers to tell buyers about themselves.
  • Store policies on shipping and returns. 
  • Inventory Strip mini product galleries based around different topics.
  • Categories with custom images for a visual “shop by category” section.
  • Marketing banners to highlight products, sales, or promotions.

The Store search feature has been brought into line with the standard eBay search, showing the same filters and other search tools.

eBay has also made updates to how seller information is displayed on mobile, showing the seller name, logo and feedback rating under the listing title and providing a link to the seller’s eBay Store in the “About this seller” section.

eBay mobile changes
eBay mobile UI changes. Source: eBay

Read more at eBay Community.

Facebook Marketplace starts charging fees

Facebook’s Marketplace is best known for person-to-person transactions, but does also provide access for ecommerce businesses via a selection of third-party software providers. Unlike Amazon and eBay, Facebook has never charged fees for selling on its marketplace.

From January 2022, however, Facebook will start charging a 2% fee to UK sellers who want to ship their items rather than rely on collection in person. The fee will be based on the total selling price including delivery, and Facebook says it will help cover the cost of customer support and purchase protection.

Will Facebook’s new willingness to charge fees expand beyond the UK? Will the low 2% fee be ratcheted up to the 10%-15% levels that are typical on other marketplaces?

Free marketplaces never seem to last long, and it looks like Facebook is no exception.

Read more at The Guardian.

Also in the news

  • Amazon UK increases FBA restock limits. Amazon Seller Forums.
  • Etsy introduces community ranks and badges. Etsy.
  • Amazon to add Venmo as a payment option. The Verge.
  • eBay launches refurbished website section. eBay Inc.
  • Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator program opens for applications. Amazon Seller Forums.
  • Amazon and Weber file joint lawsuit against counterfeiters. Amazon.
  • eBay collectibles exec leaves for competitor. Value Added Resource.

Webinars in the week ahead

For everyone

Various dates: Amazon advertising’s global webinar program rolls on with 20+ webinars scheduled, covering Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, reporting, optimization and tips. Amazon.

For US sellers

November 16: How to Level Up Your eCommerce Reputation. Seller Labs.

Various dates: Amazon Small Business Academy Pathways series. Amazon.


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