Becoming an eBay Top Rated Seller, and earning the Top Rated Plus status for your listings used to be a shifting target for sellers. But, thanks to recent retooling of the Top Rated program, eBay has made it much easier to achieve while also benefitting your customers. Top Rated Seller status will decrease your final value fees by 10% and significantly increase your eBay search rankings, and well as offer other great perks. With more sales and lower transaction cost, the benefits are too good to pass up. If you’ve not looked at the program since the days of “DSR’s and Defects” you should look again.
For sellers in 2018, eBay has really hit the mark by focusing in on some very easy to reach benchmarks. Returns no longer play a factor, as they did previously, and with customer-focused metrics being an eBay Top Rate Seller now is really is just about being a naturally good eBay seller. Let’s focus in on some of the program’s details that will not only earn you the benefits of the TRS program but will help build a strong base of customers who love your products and service.
What Is An eBay Top Rated Seller vs. eBay Top Rated Plus Listing?
eBay Top Rated Seller, is the status you reach for your account to be eligible to receive the benefits of the program. Once you are in that program, your individual listings can qualify to receive the Top Rated Plus badge provided they meet the requirements. It’s a small distinction but gets easily confused. They are essentially the same program, the Top Rated Plus Badge is the qualification for the listing itself. The program benefits are divided between the account level and individual listing benefits.
Here are some of the main benefits of the Top Rated Seller eBay program applied account wide:
- Shipping discounts when using eBay Labels
- Improved eBay Cassini search ranking in ‘Best Match’
- Top Rated Seller status is shown on Feedback Profile page
These are the benefits applied to the listing itself if it qualifies for Top Rated Plus:
- Eligible listings display a Top Rated Plus seal and receive a 10% discount on Final Value Fees.
- Top Rated Plus listings receive an increased Best Match search result due to the short handling time and generous return policy.
- The seal is displayed prominently on listings and int the search results.
How Do I Become An eBay Top Rated Seller?.
The short answer is by just being an awesome seller. If you handle your items quickly to shipping and respond to customer service emails as soon as you get them, then you are already 90% of the way there. Here are the specifics of the program:
Account must be active for at least 90 days
- You must have a minimum of 100 or more transactions and more than $1000 in sales over the last 12 months.
- No more than 0.30% of Money Back Guarantee and PayPal Protection cases closed without a seller resolution.
- A maximum 0.5% of transactions with one or more transaction-related defects for last 3 months (12 months for sellers with less than 400 transactions.)
- Upload tracking within your promised handling time for 90% of transactions during past 3 consecutive months.
- Less than 3% of transactions with late shipping.
I know “transaction-related defects” and “cases closed without seller resolution” may sound a little scary but trust me they are not. In the old days avoiding defects was nearly impossible but changes since the Fall 2105 Seller Update have made it very easy to keep these numbers at zero year-round.
Cases closed without seller resolution
To stay clear of poorly closed cases, eBay just requires that you keep talking. There’s always a solution to be had with your buyer, and more often than not if you just communicate timely and with a positive attitude things can be worked out without escalation. Even in the event a case is escalated a simple call to eBay is going to inform you of your options. The circumstance where eBay will close without resolution is not if you are in disagreement with your customer, but if you do not act within the bounds of the options eBay has given you. Good communication will make this one a no-brainer. Just stay in touch with eBay and your customer and you’ll have no problems.
Likewise, defects are fairly easy to avoid altogether now. As above a case closed without seller resolution will trigger a defect. The other two situations where you could receive a defect are: canceling a transaction for being out of stock and late shipment of the item. We have found that in the unlikely circumstance you need to cancel an order before shipment, eBay buyer prefer you ask their permission first. We’ll send a message asking if it’s “Ok to cancel” and after receiving a confirmation select “Buyer request to cancel order”. This avoids the defect and keeps your customer in control which makes them happy. We’ve never had a bad interaction doing it this way.
I can’t say it enough, fast professional, and positive communication with your buyer will keep you in Top Rated Status without even trying.
How Do My Listings Qualify for Top Rated Plus
We all want a stress free eBay transaction. The Top Rated Plus badge is not only going to qualify you for the discount, it’s just going to make your life easier. Buyers that receive their products fast will always be the easiest to work with. Even if there’s a problem, if the item was delivered fast, the conversation or return will generally be a more positive process for both parties.
Here’s what eBay specifically requires to qualify each listing:
- Fast Handling (same day or 1 business day)
- 30-day return policy
The truth is whether you offer a 30-day return policy or not, on eBay you already have one. eBay has long made clear to sellers that when it comes to returns they will always side with the buyer. A not as described case can be open on an item for 30 days, regardless of the time set in the return policy. In other words, even on a no return policy if a buyer wants to return an item bad enough, eBay is going to side with them. So you may as well offer it. I know it seems intimidating, but you’re likely not going to receive any more returns than you would have. More importantly, buyer confidence and sales are going to go up, your feedback will rise to near perfect and you’ll have happier customer communication. Do you want a happier workday and a friendlier email inbox? Handing one or two more returns a month is a small price to pay and will return it’s minimal cost to you tenfold.
Tips For Being An eBay Top Rated Seller
So here’s the breakdown. You need your items to rank on the first page in eBay search, and a %10 discount on final value fees is going to have a big effect on your bottom line. We’ve gathered up the most important tips to focus on that will get your there all while making your customers happy as a corgi on a trip to the park.
- Set a 30-day return policy on your items.
- Choose 1-day handling.
- Pre-box your large, or harder to ship items so they are ready to go on sale day.
- Upload your tracking in the 24 hour (business day ) time frame.
- Use USPS Priority whenever possible. No one beats the time and low cost of the flat rate services anyways.
- Know your local drop off times. If you can get it not just picked up but departing the same day
- Avoid canceling a transaction at all costs. If you are selling in more than one channel, consider using an inventory management solution like my app KickSync.com to avoid overselling.
- Communicate with your buyers as soon as they have a request. A few hours makes a difference. We keep a google doc with ready-to-go responses we then tailor to each issue.
- Always stay positive and professional, never allow a buyer to drag you off that voice. Be clear and kind to a fault and things will always calm down. Be the calm.
- If you get into a situation, call eBay and know where you stand. Don’t put it off. Resolve any dispute before eBay resolves it for you.
- Accept that sometimes you will write off a transaction or return. Buy yourself some peace of mind and move on. Your feedback and business will prosper by your happiness.
Summary: Don’t wait to work on your eBay Top Rated Seller Status.
With the focus now on providing a good experience for both buyer and seller at eBay, if you try your best to offer your customers a great delivery time and rapid, positive communication, eBay’s Top Rated Status will soon follow. It’s now easier than ever to achieve and will benefit your brand, your employees and most importantly your customer.