eBay for Business
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Why Holiday is the Perfect Time to Aim for Top Rated Seller Status

Share Post
Verified Blogger
Verified Blogger
Last Edited 08:56:02 AM

This holiday season, you’re probably going to be shipping more orders to more buyers than at any other time of the year.


As buyers shop, they’re looking for signals of reliable, trustworthy, and customer-focused sellers. The Top Rated Seller (TRS) designation is an instant sign for buyers of a seller with demonstrated success.


Sellers earn TRS status by consistently delivering the great customer service buyers expect.


If you’re not yet a Top Rated Seller, Q4 is the perfect time to make it your goal to become one, especially because eBay is doing lots of marketing to bring buyers to the site. To qualify, you’ve got to have at least 100 transactions and $1,000 in sales to US buyers over the last 12 months, and good holiday sales can certainly help you get there.


If you’re already a Top Rated Seller, stay focused on delivering great service to each customer, and don’t put yourself at risk of losing that TRS status because of a few transactions that missed the mark.


We’ve got four simple tips to make sure you reach your goal of becoming and staying a TRS.


  • Upload tracking information. 

For a buyer, perhaps nothing has more potential to create online-shopping anxiety than the possibility that the item she ordered isn’t going to arrive on time. Uploading tracking information goes a long way to relieving that stress because it allows your buyers to see when the item shipped and its stops along the way. One of the requirements for Top Rated Sellers is to have tracking information uploaded within your promised handling time for 95% of transactions to US buyers.


Using eBay labels is the easiest way to make that happen. When you use eBay labels to create your shipping labels, tracking information is automatically uploaded to My eBay and forwarded to your buyer. If you’re not using eBay labels, add tracking info to each item in the ‘Sold’ section of My eBay. Your buyer will be glad you did! Because your handling time ends only once your carrier scans the item, we encourage sellers to work with their carriers to ensure each item is scanned.


  • Keep your inventory stocked.

Imagine how thrilled a buyer would be to find your listing for just the item they’re looking for this holiday. They click ‘Buy It Now’ and pay, excited to have found the perfect gift for their family or friends. Now imagine how the buyer would feel if they later received a message that the item is out of stock and won’t ship in time for the holiday. They’d likely feel a mix of emotions—and none of them good!


Canceling orders because the item is out of stock is one way a seller will earn a defect, which is the term for a transaction that creates a bad shopping experience for buyers. Top Rated Sellers must have a defect rate equal to or less than 0.5%, with three or fewer defects from unique buyers.


You can avoid running out of stock by managing your inventory accurately, and Seller Hub can help you do that. If you sell multi-SKU items—in other words, multiples of the same item within one listing— the Growth tab can give you both restock advice for items likely to sell out soon and sourcing guidance to find new inventory. If you don’t sell multi-SKU items, track your inventory levels in the Listings tab. 


  • Resolve cases quickly. 

If a buyer never receives their item or they receive something that doesn’t match what was described in the listing, they use the Resolution Center to communicate with the seller.


Sellers earn a defect when they’re unable to resolve a problem through the Resolution Center, eBay has to step in, and the seller is found responsible. Be sure you respond to any Resolution Center communications within three business days. If you and your buyer can’t to come to a resolution that way, the buyer can escalate the case for eBay to review.


  • Communicate with customers. 

You probably know from experience that the key to satisfying a customer, especially when something goes wrong, is good communication. Being responsive and understanding is often an easy fix for what may seem like some of the most difficult customer-service situations, and small touches like a handwritten thank you on a packing slip can go a long way to delighting buyers.


Your selling activity is evaluated on the complete requirements to become a TRS over a rolling three-month window, and you can track your performance in your Seller Standards dashboard. Great service in November and December can do a lot to help you become or stay a TRS and to help create customers who will want to buy from you again.


Since the author has never sold anything on eBay and will never be a TRS,  I think it's worth pointing out that:


1.  the TRS fee discount was recently cut to 10% and is no longer worth all the extra effort

2. there is a one month lag before the discount takes effect.


Thanks anyway for ennumerating the obvious things that almost everyone has been doing for the past 10+ years.


Bobby Van..... Make me LaughSmiley Very Happy

by willyb15020 · Scout

top rated status means absolutely nothing and is not worth even worrying about. The sales here are so few and far between and im doing so much better somewhere else.

by ebetsy · Rockstar

I believe there may be an error in this post. The author writes, "Top Rated Sellers must have a defect rate equal to or less than 0.5%, with three or fewer defects from unique buyers."


However, according to the Seller performance standards Help page at http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/seller-non-performance.html:


"To qualify as a Top Rated Seller, you can only have up to 0.5% of transactions with one or more defects over the most recent evaluation period. Only your transactions with US buyers count toward your seller performance rating on eBay.com.


The defect rate won't affect your seller performance status until you have transactions with defects with at least 5 different buyers, or at least 4 different buyers to impact Top Rated status, within your evaluation period."


I cannot find a reference to "three or fewer defects from unique buyers" anywhere. In fact, the "Becoming a Top Rated Seller and qualifying for Top Rated Plus benefits" help page at http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/top-rated.html doesn't even include the information that "The defect rate won't affect your seller performance status until you have transactions with defects with…at least 4 different buyers to impact Top Rated status…within your evaluation period."


That seems to me like a pretty significant omission!


All it says on that page is, "Transaction defect rate: To qualify as a Top Rated Seller, you can have a maximum of 0.5% of your transactions with one or more defects over the most recent evaluation period. Only transactions with US buyers count toward your seller performance on eBay.com."


But "three or fewer defects from unique buyers" as stated in this post? I don't find that requirement stated anywhere.

by ebetsy · Rockstar

p.s. I must respectfully disagree with previous comments made here. Achieving and maintaining Top Rated Seller status is absolutely worthwhile, and if you're already taking good care of your customers and running your business efficiently, it shouldn't require much if any extra effort on your part, unless it's to bump up your number of sales and/or amount sold to meet the 100 sales/$1,000 minimum.


Shipping within your stated handling time, uploading tracking, not cancelling transactions and responding to cases are all things you should already be doing in any case.


And to clarify: You don't get a 10% fee discount just for achieving Top Rated Seller status. You only get that discount on listings that qualify for the Top Rated Plus seal, which requires that (1) the seller is Top Rated; and (2) the listing offers these 2 premium services:

  • Same- or one-business-day handling, and

  • A 30-day or longer return period with money back option