eBay is displaying how long it takes a seller to respond to customer inquiries on their listing pages – and as we reported last week, it took a reader by surprise and appeared to be a test eBay was running.
This week, a product manager from eBay’s “buyer experience” team responded to questions in a thread on the eBay discussion boards, explaining it was testing the unannounced feature “because we heard from buyers that they value knowing if they can expect timely responses from a seller, and that it would encourage them to engage more on eBay.”
eBay is testing the new feature with a subset of buyers “to help us understand if it helps with increasing sales for our sellers and trust on the platform.”
The unnamed product manager said eBay calculates the “signal” based on data over the last 12 months and provided the following details:
- Seller has received at least 1 question and answered 60%+ questions over the last 12M
- Only the first question and response in each conversation are included. So not responding to a follow up question or a “thank you very much” response from the buyer would not be factored into this calculation.
- The result is rounded up to the nearest bucket from the list of 7 signals mentioned above
- The signal is not shown if the calculation shows a seller responds in more than 48 hours.
- The signal is also not displayed when a seller has received no questions over the last 12 months or when a seller’s response rate was lower than 60%.
The eBay product manager denied eBay had any plans to add response time as a criterion to qualify as a Top Rated Seller. Interestingly, rival marketplace Etsy requires sellers to respond to messages within 24 hours to become a “Star Seller.”
According to the post, buyers in the test could see one of 7 signals displayed in sellers’ listings depending on eBay’s calculations:
“Responds within 1 hour” OR
“Responds within 3 hours” OR
“Responds within 6 hours” OR
“Responds within 12 hours” OR
“Responds within 24 hours” OR
“Responds within 48 hours” OR
No signal will show up on your listings
The eBay product manager said occasional fluctuations in response time would not considerably impact a seller’s overall performance evaluation.
One reader commenting on the August 23 EcommerceBytes Blog post about the sudden appearance of the response-time feature suggested sellers simply use an auto responder.