eBay examines how much seller feedback matters to buyers

May 12, 2015 10:04 AM

Change may be coming to how eBay Inc. displays seller feedback ratings, and some sellers are already voicing their displeasure.

The online marketplace is testing whether the visibility of feedback information on item pages influence shoppers’ buying behaviors.

EBay launched the test late last week. It is randomly selecting buyers to see how they respond to the information, a spokeswoman says.

The goal, writes Jeff Terrell, eBay's head of community, is to see if providing buyers with information about seller ratings is a distraction. “The buyer should trust that seller, and if the seller fails to perform, eBay's money-back guarantee is there to take care of the buyer.” The guarantees assures buyers that they can get their money back if they do not receive the item they purchased or if the item is not as described in the listing.

If eBay moves feedback away from featuring seller ratings on item pages, it would be making a move that is in line with e-commerce norms, he writes. “It's something not found on most of the other major e-commerce sites,” he writes. To get seller feedback ratings on Amazon, for instance, he says a shopper has to click on a seller’s name.

Terrell notes that eBay is running the test before making any changes and that the online marketplace is not making any presumptions. “We run tests such as this one to find out what actually happens,” he writes.

Many sellers shared their displeasure at the move on an eBay forum. For instance, one seller wrote: “This idea is horrible!  Where is eBay's common sense?  EBay has been suffering from buyer erosion for the last two years. Is it your intention to drive even more buyers away? Because making it hard to find feedback is going to completely alienate buyers who are already fed up... Are you trying to destroy this site completely?  Lately it looks to me that that is what this management is trying to do.”
Another buyer wrote: “This is just silly and it is not going to change buyer perception of eBay the way whoever thought this up seems to think it is.”




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