Skip to main content

2010 Fall Seller Update

Fall 2010 Update
Overview
Stay on top
Shipping enhancements
Buyer communications
Category, Item Specifics & Item Condition updates
Seller checklist
Tips & tools to edit listings
eBay.com announcement
Buyer question update

Streamline the way you deal with buyer questions

Quick answers to buyer questions can be key to making the sale - and to delivering great customer service. Changes on the item page will help you field questions more efficiently and better set buyer expectations by encouraging buyers to read your description, showing automated answers to the most routine questions, and preventing blocked buyers from contacting you at all.

Highlights
Take Action
Frequently Asked Questions


HIGHLIGHTS

Automated Answers enabled for all sellers. Starting in early August, Automated Answers (also known as Smart FAQs) will be switched on for all sellers automatically. When buyers click the Ask a question link, Automated Answers uses information from your listing to answer commonly asked questions. If they don't find the answer to their question, buyers can still send you a question.

Prevent blocked buyers from contacting you. If you've already blocked certain buyers from purchasing your items, with a new option coming in early August, you can also prevent them from contacting you from the Automated Answers page.

"Ask a question" link moving further down the item page. Sellers report that a large percentage of questions they receive are in fact answered in the item description. To encourage buyers to read your description before clicking the Ask a question link, a test is being conducted to move the link further down on the item page. The link is already being seen in this new position by about a quarter of buyers now. If it continues to be successful in reducing questions and setting the right buyer expectations upfront without negative impact on purchases, it will be launched for all buyers by the end of 2010.


TAKE ACTION
  • If you are not already using Automated Answers to answer routine buyer questions, you may want to customize this feature for your business when it is switched on for you in August.

  • If you are already using the Automated Answers feature, using a third-party solution, or have already opted out of using Automated Answers, there's no further action you need to take as a result of this update.

  • If you have already blocked certain members or groups of members from bidding on or buying your listings (e.g., buyers from specific countries or with very low Feedback) and you want to prevent them from contacting you, you'll need to change your preference in My eBay. See instructions below.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Automated Answers

What is Automated Answers?
Automated Answers (also known as Smart FAQs) is a free feature that draws live information from your listings to answer the most common buyer questions before buyers email you through the "Ask a question" or "Contact seller" links.
What's changing with Automated Answers?
Starting in early August, Automated Answers will be automatically enabled for all sellers.
I previously opted out of Automated Answers. Will it be turned on automatically for me?
No, if you previously opted out of Automated Answers, it will remain turned off.
I previously opted into Automated Answers. Will this change affect how it works for me now?
No, if you already opted into this feature, this change will not affect you. Note this feature is already turned on automatically for all PowerSellers.
Do Automated Answers prevent prospective buyers from emailing me if they have a question?
No. When buyers click the Ask a question link on the item page, they are taken to a "Get Answers" page where they see frequently asked questions with answers drawn from your listing. If they don't find the answer, buyers can click on the Contact seller link at the bottom of this page and submit their question to you as usual.


When a buyer clicks the Ask a question link, they will be taken to the Get Answers page where they will see answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
Why is the feature being turned on for all sellers?
Some sellers using Automated Answers have reported buyer questions reduced in half - with no negative impact on sales. Getting an immediate answer is more satisfying to buyers than having to wait for an email answer. As a result, sellers may see an improvement in communication DSRs. We're making this change for the benefit of sellers and buyers. However, if for some reason you don't want to use the Automated Answers, you can always opt out.
Do I need to edit my listings to make Automated Answers work for me?
No, you do not need to edit your listings to make this feature work. The answers will be populated automatically using information you include in the listing.
What kinds of questions are included in Automated Answers?
Automated Answers are based on the information you put into your listing about item details, shipping, payment and refunds. For example, if you specify a return policy (regardless of whether your policy is to accept returns or not to accept them), the system will automatically show the question "Do you take returns?" The answer will be populated using the information you enter into the listing form regarding your return policy.
Can I edit the automatic questions and answers shown on the Get Answers page?
No, you can't edit the automatic questions and answers since they are drawn from information on your listing page. Editing them could create inconsistencies between the Get Answers page and the information in your listing. However, you can turn off individual questions and add your own.
Can I turn off individual questions and answers?
Yes, you can turn individual questions on or off. Just follow these steps:
  1. Click on the Account tab in My eBay.
  2. Go to Site Preferences.
  3. Under the Selling Preferences section, click on the "Show" link next to "Manage communications with buyers" to expand the section.
  4. Click the "Edit" link, then check the Show Q&A box. A box will appear showing available questions and answers.
  5. Click the "Don't show to buyers" link under any question you wish to remove from your Get Answers page.
  6. Submit your changes.
Can I create my own FAQs? How do I do this?
Yes, you can add your own customized FAQs in addition to the standard questions that are automatically featured on the Get Answers page. These are particularly helpful if you receive the same question over and over about your product or service. To add a customized question, just follow these steps:
  1. Click on the Account tab in My eBay.
  2. Go to Site Preferences.
  3. Under the Selling Preferences section, click on the "Show" link next to "Manage communications with buyers" to expand the section.
  4. Click the "Edit" link, then check the Show Q&A box. A box will appear showing available questions and answers. At the bottom of this screen, click on the "Add a question" link in the "Your Q&A" section.
  5. In the "Add your own Q&A" pop-up box, input your customized question and answer. You can select the relevant topic from the drop-down menu.
  6. Submit your changes.

Customized questions and answers make your Get Answers page more relevant to prospective buyers.
Can I opt out of Automated Answers?
Yes. If you prefer not to have Automated Answers on, you can follow these steps to opt out:
  1. Click on the Account tab in My eBay.
  2. Go to Site Preferences.
  3. Under the Selling Preferences section, click on the "Show" link next to "Manage communications with buyers" to expand the section.
  4. Click the "Edit" link, then uncheck the Show Q&A box.
  5. Submit your changes.
If you opt out of Automated Answers, potential buyers will be able to email you directly from the item page without seeing any questions and answers first.

Blocked buyers

What's changing about blocked buyers?
Starting in September 2010, a new preference in My eBay will allow you to prevent members from contacting you from the Get Answers page if you've already blocked them from bidding on or buying your listings.
How do I block members from bidding on or buying from my listings?
There are several things you can do to control who can bid on or buy from your listings:
  • Block specific members by adding their user IDs to a list of blocked bidders or buyers.
  • Exclude certain groups of users - for example, buyers who do not have a PayPal account, buyers from specific countries, or buyers with very low Feedback or high Unpaid Item strikes - by creating buyer requirements in My eBay. If you have one or two individual buyers you want to exempt from these blocked groups, you can use your buyer exemption list to make exceptions to your rules.
Get more information about how to control who can bid on or buy your listings.
What do I have to do to prevent blocked buyers from contacting me?
If you do NOT have any blocked buyers when this preference is added to My eBay in September, you don't have to anything. This new preference will automatically be turned ON, and any members you block subsequently will be prevented from contacting you unless you turn this preference OFF.

If you DO you have any users blocked or exempted, this preference will be automatically switched OFF. If you wish to prevent these buyers from asking you a question through the Get Answers page, you'll need to change your preference in My eBay.
How do I change this preference?
  1. Click on the Account tab in My eBay.
  2. Under Selling Preferences section, click on the "Show" link next to Buyer requirements to expand the section.
  3. Click the "Edit" link to go to Buyer Requirements page.
  4. Select or de-select the option "Do not allow blocked buyers to contact me."
  5. Click Submit.


Choose whether buyers and groups of buyers that you have blocked can contact you through the Ask a question link.
Can I prevent only certain blocked buyers or groups of buyers from contacting me?
No, choosing this preference prevents all the buyers you block from bidding on or buying your listings from contacting you. You cannot select some and not others.
I use the ship-to exclusion list. Can I block buyers in countries to which I do not ship?
Yes, if you choose. You have the ability to either allow blocked buyers to contact you or to not allow them to contact you through a preference on the Buyer Requirements page.
Can I prevent buyers from contacting me at all prior to completing a purchase with me?
Yes, you can shut off the ability for prospective buyers to contact you via the Get Answers page. However, we strongly recommend you carefully consider the impact this may have to your business - including your sales and your communications DSR. This option makes sense for very few sellers since it will prevent all prospective buyers from emailing you from the item page before a purchase.

Steps to shut off the ability for any potential buyers to contact you from the Get Answers page prior to the transaction:
  1. Click on the Account tab in My eBay.
  2. Go to Site Preferences.
  3. Under the Selling Preferences section, click on the "Show" link next to "Manage communications with buyers" to expand the section.
  4. Click the "Edit" link, then uncheck the "Allow buyers to contact you from your active listings" box.
  5. Submit your changes.

Ask a question link

What's changing with the Ask a question link?
We are testing moving the Ask a question link lower on the item page. The link is already being seen in this new position by about one-quarter of all buyers. If it continues to be successful in reducing questions without negative impact on purchases, it will be launched for all buyers the end of 2010.

Why is this link being moved to this new position?
Sellers report that a large percentage of buyer questions are answered by information in the listing. Moving the link lower on the page encourages buyers to read the full listing before writing to you, making the shopping process faster, easier and more efficient for both buyers and sellers.
Why is this change being made in stages instead of all at once?
Introducing this change gradually over the next several months allows us to monitor the impact, and serves as an extra measure to ensure this change delivers the desired result.
Can I choose to keep this link in the current position at the top of the page?
No, the position of this link cannot be changed by sellers or buyers, ensuring that buyers have a more consistent shopping experience.