eBay Increases Seller Fees, Amazon Has Trouble With Drones, and More News

February is here! Even though it’s a short month, there’s plenty of time to optimize your ecommerce site in Q1. Last month’s Tuesday newsletter featured tips on how to maximize your revenue through the summer and beyond. Be sure to subscribe for more insights this month as we dig deep on sourcing products. 

Today’s news is 1,341 words and takes 5 ½ minutes to read.

eBay announces seller fee increase

Effective February 15th, eBay seller fees will increase in a variety of categories. The company announced the increase this week as part of their 2023 Winter Seller Update


Detailing the fee hike

Some categories will see no effect from the increase, while most categories will see increases ranging from 12.9% to 13.25%. For example, the fee for sellers of books and media will increase from 14.6% to 14.95%. The company stated ‘Final Value Fees’ — a combo of payment-processing and commission fees — won’t increase over 0.35% and some categories won’t be affected at all. 

On the brighter side….

On a positive note, eBay will refund its 30-cent per-order fee in more situations when sellers voluntarily refund a buyer. The company will refund the fee when the seller approves a buyer’s cancellation request before shipping or if the seller provides excellent service to the buyer by issuing a full refund. They’ll also refund the 30-cent fee when a buyer returns an item because:

  • Ordered by mistake 
  • Doesn’t like it 
  • Changed their mind 
  • Doesn’t fit 
  • Found a better price 

More positive eBay News

EBay will stop charging for Buy It Now listing upgrades for auction-format listings and its “Scheduled listing” upgrade. The company is also changing how it charges for certain optional upgrade fees, such as the “Bold and Gallery Plus listing upgrade fees,” which will no longer be based on the auction starting price or Buy It Now item price.

eBay sellers can voice their thoughts on the 2023 Winter Update Seller Update forum.

Big Retailer News

Amazon’s drone delivery program has a slow start

A recap: Last month, we highlighted drone delivery as one of the top trends sellers can expect in 2023. Just a week before posting our list, Amazon announced the official launch of its drone delivery program in California and Texas. 

But this week, reports are coming out that Amazon only delivered products via drone to less than 10 houses since its launch. And the company has already laid off half of the staff at both launch sites. And Amazon doesn’t deny the reports

Strangled by the FAA

Amazon’s drone delivery service isn’t taking off due to lack of funds or inefficiencies. It turns out, because of FAA regulations, the drone cannot fly over a road on its own. Meaning Amazon employees have to physically go to a road and act as a spotter before the drone can legally cross the road. 

And there are loads of other regulations that prohibit the drones from flying:

  • Over people, power plants, or schools while in session.
  • Over any area deemed high-risk during the flight route design process.
  • In a sustained lateral path of a roadway within 250 ft.
  • Over or within 250 ft laterally of moving vehicles.

Drone must also remain “remain at least 100 ft. laterally from any person during all phases of flight, unless otherwise approved by the Administrator.”

Two sides to the FAA story

Before screaming, “The FAA is stifling economic progress!” (How diplomatic…), you need to understand the process the FAA uses for drone regulation. They don’t actually create new rules for the company, they’re following the rules already in place. Then, they make exemptions for the program to operate in certain areas. 

It’s a wise decision to do things this way considering Amazon was crashing drones in the experimental phases last Spring. But that’s why you test. 

Final thoughts

The FAA is slowly making exemptions for Amazon. And the teams in California and Texas are consistently working with the agency to get more. However, they’ll need to speed things up if they want to take the US drone delivery market before Walmart

Wish launches flat rate shipping

US-based ecommerce platform Wish announced they’re implementing a new $2.99 flat rate shipping fee that applies to all ‘flat rate eligible’ orders over $10. The plan will roll out in the States this month and to other key markets by the end of March.

The company stated, “The move is part of a broader effort to improve the shipping experience on Wish which has, in the past 6 months alone, seen a dramatic improvement in on-time delivery rates (94%) and a significant reduction in time to door (15 days in key markets).

Managing ecommerce shipping

Companies across the world are doing everything they can to balance their profit margins with what they can charge for shipping without alienating the customer. Flat shipping rates are a solid way sellers can mitigate this balance, but there are more techniques.

If you’re having issues with shipping rates, we layed out some tips last month to help you navigate this trouble spot. And if you need top-notch shipping software, review our list of top Product Sourcing Tools and Services

Also in the News

International Retailer News

JD.com shuts down sites in Indonesia and Thailand

JD.com announced the shutdown of its ecommerce services in Thailand and Indonesia this week. Both sites will discontinue taking orders as of February 15th. The company gave no reason for the shut-downs, but with tech and retail taking big in Southeast Asia taking hits, the move makes sense. 

Final Thoughts

There are big players in Southeast Asia with Lazada, Shopee, and Tokopedia all seeking the top spot. A quote from Reuters sums up the situation on the ground:  

“Online platforms don’t only compete with each other but also local operators, small business which have risen as payments become simpler, using social media like TikTok and Instagram as customer touch points.” – Nattabhorn Buamahakul, a Bangkok-based partner at Asia Group Advisors.

Ultimately, JD.com was more conservative in their investment in the region from a marketing standpoint. There’s nothing wrong with being a little prudent with the books.

Google Shopping declining in Germany

According to a recent Statista Global Consumer Outlook report, shoppers in Germany are turning away from Google Shopping before making a purchase. Instead, they’re going to social media and YouTube to get information about products and run price comparisons. 

Running the numbers

Back in 2019, nearly 70 percent of German shoppers used search engines like Google before making a purchase. But that number has since dropped 10%. Google Shopping is still king, but it seems other platforms are chipping away at its top spot. Product research on social media increased by 7% in that time frame and survey numbers indicate that German favor for Google Shopping dropped from 33 to 28%. 

Consumer habits around the world

Germany isn’t the only country where Google is losing some footing in the ecommerce world. Its ad business is taking a hit and is under threat from the US Department of Justice. 

If you’re a seller wholly reliant on everything Google-related, it’s time to dip your toe into other channels and see how they can increase your revenue. Review our list of top Multichannel Management Software to kick start your online store. 

Also in the News


For everyone 

Various dates: Amazon advertising’s global webinar program continues with 20+ webinars scheduled, covering Prime Day Preparation, Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, reporting, optimization, and other tips. Amazon.

For US sellers

Slow week for ecommerce webinars in the US.

For UK sellers

Various dates: Amazon advertising’s global webinar program continues with 20+ webinars scheduled, covering Prime Day Preparation, Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, reporting, optimization, and other tips. Amazon.


Jake Pool

Jake Pool

A content writer in the SaaS, FinTech, and eCommerce spaces, Jake Pool has written hundreds of articles and reviews for dozens of corporate blogs and online publications. With four years under his wing, readers can expect many more informative articles in the future.

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