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Selling on eBay

A Review of Comsulting's
Bulk Reviser for eBay

by Craig Stark

#134, 11 May 2009

Surprise, surprise - more changes from eBay are looming ahead, and booksellers will most certainly be affected. I'll be addressing these changes in more detail in upcoming issues, but today, in the interest of alerting those of you who maintain sizable eBay Stores and may want to get a head start, I'll review a third-party application that might come in very handy very soon as you undertake an editing process that, in some instances, will be mandatory.

One of those editing requirements will be to specify a return policy and handling time in your listings (if you haven't already been doing so). Some applicable elaboration from eBay:

When will my listings be required to include handling time and my return policy?

Starting in mid-June 2009, all new listings and re-listings will be required to specify your handling time and return policy. You'll have until mid-September to update Good 'Til Cancelled listings.

Why do you require handling time and return policy?

We want to help narrow the gap between buyers' expectations and their experiences by providing this information up front. Buyers want to know when they can expect to receive their items and if they can return them. We'll calculate an estimated delivery date (a range of time) using your specified handling time and shipping service.

Do I have to accept returns?

We encourage you to accept returns, as this helps increase buyer satisfaction. However, you are not required to accept returns. You may specify "No Returns Accepted" as your return policy.

What elements of my return policy do I need to specify?

If you choose to accept returns, you'll need to specify the time period in which the item may be returned, how you'll give the refund, and who will pay the return shipping cost.

To the question, "How do I revise my listings to meet the new requirements?" eBay answers:

You can revise your listings in three ways using eBay's tools:

Revise them individually (listing by listing) using Sell Your Item or your favorite listing tool.

Revise them in bulk using our Bulk Edit tool, which is available in My eBay and Selling Manager. The Bulk Edit tool allows you to revise up to 200 listings at one time.

Revise them in bulk using Turbo Lister. Use the Synchronize capability to bring your active listings into Turbo Lister. You can then bulk edit all your active listings. After you have made your change, synchronize your changes back to the site. Can I use these tools to add or update my return policy?

Yes, you can use these tools to specify your return policy or to specify more details about your return policy. You can add the fields using the Sell Your Item Form, in bulk using Bulk Relist, or within Turbo Lister.

What about revising Multi-Quantity Fixed Price and Store Inventory Format items that have a sale?

You can add a shipping service, add quantity, revise price, and add a return policy and handling time for multi-quantity Good 'Til Cancelled listings with a sale. At this time, it is not possible to add item condition, edit your listing description, or modify other Item Specifics on a multi-quantity listing with a sale. We are looking at ways to support this by mid-summer.

You may be ahead of me here. If you've given eBay's "Bulk Edit tool" a test drive, I'm guessing that you've had a few issues. One significant issue I had was that the damn thing didn't work! Or it worked intermittently. Or partially. Granted, this may have been partly due to browser incompatibility, but I'm using the browser I'm using because it's clean, fast, pop-up free - and most importantly free of the deep dark holes that open up from time to time in IE and threaten to bring my entire system down.

In any case, the consensus, anecdotally, even with IE users, seems to be that eBay's bulk editor was a baby that wasn't ready to be born, and if you're staring at thousands of Store Items that need to be revised this summer, a chill may creeping up your spine.

Fortunately, there's a third-party application that does work. So far, Comsulting's Bulk Reviser has done everything I've asked it to do. You simply download your listings, edit them offline, and submit the changes. The speed at which this is accomplished will depend to a great degree, of course, on your computer processor and internet connection speeds, but in my situation, it worked out to be about a half hour per thousand listings from upload to download.

The present version, which was recently released, supports the following elements (I've bolded the two under discussion here):

Best Offer (Including Auto Accept & Auto Decline)
Buy It Now Price
Domestic Handling/Dispatch Time
Domestic Insurance
Domestic Shipping (Flat Rate, Calculated & No Shipping)
End Listing
Get It Fast
Hit/Visitor Counter
International Insurance
International Shipping (Flat Rate & Calculated)
International Site Visibility Upgrade
Item Location
Payment/Additional Checkout Instructions
PayPal Email Address
Payment Methods
Private Listing
Require Immediate Payment
Reserve Price
Return Policy
Start Price
Store Categories
Sub Title

If you've worked with eBay's bulk editor, it's immediately apparent that Comsulting's editor is far more feature rich, so even if eBay does get the bugs out, to my mind CBR still needs to be in my tool kit.

Generally, CBR is a strikingly intuitive and simple application. At the time I purchased it, the 39.95 cost converted to about $60. If you need multiple user ID functionality, you'll have to spend another 10 (about $15). I received an email shortly after my purchase with instructions for download. More information is available here.

And here is a previous review:

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