marketplace updates faqs

Discogs Marketplace Updates Announcement FAQ: Your Questions Answered

Earlier this week, we made an announcement about upcoming updates to the Discogs Marketplace, including the requirement for sellers to have Shipping Policies set up for all orders by November 1, 2020 (please note, this timeline was recently adjusted from October 1. Read more about this update here), and make changes to payment options. Understandably, as with all change, this prompted a lot of questions and concerns from sellers and buyers alike about how this would affect the way they transact in the Marketplace and how to protect their stores on Discogs.

We hear your feedback and want to assure you that we’re taking it on board. We’ve put together our responses to some of the most commonly asked questions and concerns around the announcement.

Discogs now caters to hundreds of thousands of music sellers of all sizes, from record shops to private sellers with warehouses-worth of inventory to passionate collectors wanting to offer a few records to make space for new finds. We understand that adding Shipping Policies may not seamlessly fit into the current habits of all sellers, but evidence of the benefits is undeniable. By appealing to the way buyers are used to — and generally prefer — shopping online, you will keep customers coming back and reduce the number of canceled orders, abandoned transactions, and non-paying buyers.

These changes help us ensure the sustainability and longevity of Discogs so we can continue to support the biggest network of music buyers and sellers on the internet, as well as allow us to continue improving the platform and keep music data open, free, and archived forever.

We’ve recently launched some changes to the Shipping Policy editor make them easier to set up while ensuring the most comprehensive coverage for your orders. You can find all our guides and templates on setting up your Shipping Policies here, as well as regular product updates around Shipping Policies.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. We’ll be adding and addressing more common questions here as we see them come in. We’ve separated FAQs into Shipping Policy, Payments, and General.

Shipping Policy FAQs

My favorite thing about Discogs is the interaction I get with customers. Will this be lost with shipping rates automatically applied?

That interaction and communication is one of our favorite things about Discogs, too, and we hope you continue to have those conversations. By automating the shipping you’ll be able to spend less time negotiating shipping rates or awaiting payment so you can spend more time connecting over the music you love.

You’ll likely still get messages from buyers before they decide to proceed with their order or payment, it’ll just be structured a bit differently.

How does it work for larger orders with combined formats? Will Shipping Policies automatically add all the shipping amounts together?

The first Shipping Policy you create will cover all items in your inventory by default. Each Policy must have at least one method that covers ‘All Formats’, values, and ranges. This method will enable orders of different formats to be calculated automatically. You can find a more in-depth definition of a complete Policy here.

Default weights offered in Discogs are not totally accurate.

As with all averages, the default weights will never be 100% accurate, but you can edit item weights to ensure they match your inventory more closely. Bulk-updating weights via a CSV upload is also super simple.

Default weights were updated in September (and added for commonly requested SACD, Shellac, and other rarer formats), and are assigned to all formats at time of listing. See a table of default weights and how you can apply them to your inventory in our help document.

Will Shipping Policies be applied to merged orders?

Yes! Shipping Policies apply to merged orders and orders generated after accepting an offer. The policy automatically applies to the merged order (where one is applicable).

I like to offer discounts to buyers I have a relationship with or when a large order is placed. Will this still be possible with Shipping Policies?

The buyer can place an order without paying immediately. If you and the buyer have a shared understanding, they can hold off on payment after placing an order and you can override the Shipping Policy to set a discounted rate.

If you’d like to give your buyer a discount after they’ve paid, you’ll be able to give partial refunds on shipping so you can still pass on discounts to buyers (Discogs fees are credited on all refunds). If you’re concerned about losing out on PayPal fees when you offer a partial refund, you can adjust the refunded amount to factor this in.

You can also set up Free Shipping for orders over an amount determined by you in your Shipping Policies. This is a real driver for buyers. Sellers who offer Free Shipping have a banner displayed at the top of their Seller Profile with the amount a buyer needs to spend with them to qualify for free shipping. It’s indicated on the seller’s marketplace listings, and in the cart when free shipping is offered by the seller.

I offer my customers multiple options for Shipping in my Seller Terms and after they check out at the moment. Will I still be able to do this?

Yes, Shipping Policies can be as detailed as you want. Besides having one complete method that covers all order possibilities, you can set up as many additional methods, like for a single format, or for orders over a certain value. For example, you might want to offer a fast but expensive option, and a cheap but slower option for shipping — you can set these up as separate methods within your Shipping Policies. With our recent update, you can also label your methods whatever you like so they’re crystal clear to your buyer. The buyer can choose which they prefer in a dropdown at the checkout.

Shipping Policies allow set rates for a whole country. How does this work for price variances within the same country?

We don’t have a simple solution for countries with multiple zones and rates that vary by postcode. We understand that no Shipping Policy is ever going to be perfect for every situation, and while many sellers are used to a one-to-one approach to formulating shipping prices, we encourage you to view your orders over a set amount of time (e.g. a month or year) and find average pricing for a region.

If you’re concerned about losing out on shipping costs and you’re not comfortable with charging an average rate, you can charge the highest shipping cost and offer a partial refund to buyers who may be overcharged on postage.

As a CD seller, I often (though not always) prefer to ship without jewel cases. How is this possible with Shipping Policies?

Besides your one method that covers all potential orders, you can set up an additional shipping method with lower rates for shipping without jewel cases. With the ‘Service Name’ free text field, you can label this ‘Shipping Without Jewel Cases’ or similar so it’s clear to the buyer. They’ll be able to select their preferred shipping method in the checkout.

If the buyer makes an order and requests you send their CDs without jewel cases before payment, you can override your Shipping Policy to adjust the amount you charge for shipping without cases as long as payment hasn’t already been made. If the payment has already been made, you can offer a partial refund on shipping.

I like to offer insurance on some orders. Can I still do this?

There’s no feature planned for this right now. You can set up a method for alternate rates that include insurance in your Shipping Policies to apply to orders over a certain amount. You can set this method to apply on orders over a certain amount (e.g. orders over $50 get the option of insurance) and label clearly with the free text field (e.g. PostNL Insured).

Will buyers be more likely to bypass Seller Terms?

We’re not moving or removing Seller Terms. They’ll still be present on all listings pages, and we continue to recommend that all buyers view Seller Terms before placing an order.

Will the option “shipping costs determined by you” be removed?

Not entirely. You’ll need at least a basic Shipping Policy that covers all your listings. However, while we’re aiming for every listing in the marketplace to be covered by Shipping Policies, there may be instances where they cannot be applied (e.g. some formats or orders with combinations of formats) where you may still see “Shipping costs determined by you” appear.

As a seller, can I still opt out of a sale? How can I avoid buyers with low feedback ratings?

You can get ahead of this in your Seller Settings by setting a Minimum Buyer Rating or block certain buyers if you know their username. You can also set a Minimum Order Total threshold to ensure you’re not packaging for peanuts (this is a new feature in the Seller Settings. You can learn more about it here).

If an order comes through and you want to opt-out, there is always the option to cancel the order and offer a refund.

How do I ensure packaging is covered in my policy?

Setting up your Shipping Policies by weight is the best way to account for packaging. If your packaging weight is about 200g, set your rate for 800g of items in your method to 1000g. You can also ensure it’s included in your pricing (e.g. if it generally costs $7 to ship one LP but the packaging for that LP adds $4 once you account for bubble wrap, stiffeners, etc., then the shipping cost is $11).

I like to have time to double-check that I have the item in stock before finalizing an order.

This buffer isn’t available with Shipping Policies, but one of the requirements of selling on Discogs has always been that you have the item available for sale available for immediate purchase and part of a confirmed inventory, as per our Sales Transaction Policy.

We understand many sellers manage inventory across several platforms (including in-store). We’re working on removing the option to leave feedback when an order is refunded.

Why don’t you have templates for inputting shipping rates or integrate with local postal services? 

There are a few reasons for this. Part of it comes down to being a small team on a global shipping feature; we simply don’t have the resources to collaborate with and integrate all postal services around the world. Another is that within any given country, while there’s usually one primary postal service, sellers have different preferences for the postage providers they use and can get better deals through different services. As well as that, due to the many variables in the way sellers set their shipping costs, such as factoring in packaging, handling, insurance, and possibly other costs, we want to give you the freedom to set your own rates.
However, we have documented local shipping rates from local postal services from over 10 countries to make it easier to find this information. Scroll down on this page to find ‘Shipping Rates in Your Country’.

Is Discogs’ fee structure changing to also charge on shipping? 

There’s no plan for Discogs to charge fees on shipping.

Setting up Shipping Policies creates more work for me.

Shipping rates are far from the most fun part of selling online, but they are a necessity, whether you do it at the start or the end. By inputting your Shipping Policies upfront, you avoid the manual work of adding, weighing, and adjusting the shipping for every single order. While we understand this doesn’t scale completely for all sellers, for most, it saves a lot of time and effort compared to managing the shipping for each order individually.

What happens if something goes wrong with my Shipping Policies and I get negative feedback from a buyer?

We understand that Shipping Policies are a big change for a lot of sellers and will take a bit of getting used to. To help relieve some of the pressure of implementing Shipping Policies, we’re offering some leniency when negative feedback is incurred due to a Shipping Policies mishap. In the event this occurs, please file a Feedback Removal Request and be sure to include this information in the report. Our Feedback Review team will be happy to take this into consideration when making their decision.

Why do my items read as ’No Extra Shipping’ in the Marketplace?

This will appear if your Shipping Method range allows the buyer to add an item to their cart without incurring extra shipping costs (e.g. the buyer has one LP from your shop in their cart and your Shipping Policy for that region states 1-2 LPs items for $5).

If you’re seeing ‘No Extra Shipping’ in your shop when/where you don’t want it to, please double-check your policies to make sure they’re set up as you want them to be – check that you’ve selected the right option for Quantity or Weight (make sure your method for 200 grams for $5 isn’t accidentally set to Quantity – 200 items for $5).

If I have multiple Shipping Methods, which one is shown on the listing? Is the buyer given the choice from my methods? 

Within a Shipping Policy, it’s essential to have one method that covers all formats, order values, and ranges, as defined in more detail here, but you can set up as many additional shipping methods as you want to give your buyers more choice (for example, you could set up an additional insured method to be applied on orders over $50, or Track and Traced). Shipping costs are displayed in the marketplace according to how they’re ordered in the Shipping Policy editor – the first relevant method in your policy will be applied to your listing. You can drag-and-drop these to reposition so they’re ordered as you see fit.

When the buyer adds an item from your store to their cart, they’ll see a list of all your methods at the checkout and be able to select their preferred method offered by you.

My Shipping Policies aren’t being applied to my orders/listed items. What’s going wrong?

This could be an issue with the default weight or quantity of the item. In your Manage Inventory page, next to With entire inventory (below listings) click ‘Show actions’, then check ‘Estimate shipping weights’ or Estimate shipping quantities’ to apply a default weight or quantity to all your items. These can be adjusted manually by editing the item, or in bulk via CSV.

Payments FAQs

How will refunds work if the buyer changes their mind after payment, if the seller can’t find the record, or if the item is returned for a refund?

This will work much the same as now: the seller issues a refund, then the portion of the fee and taxes will be recalculated and returned back to the buyer.

Why is Discogs partnering with PayPal?

We have explored expanding a managed payments platform with Discogs Payments, but have identified several fraud and security risks that put both our sellers and Discogs at risk for collecting payment. We will continue to evaluate solutions that allow us to provide safe, secure transactions for everybody.

PayPal also covers (close to) worldwide payments. Other payment providers simply do not have the same coverage, security, and flexibility to allow us to eliminate invoicing. With PayPal, you can pay with a credit or debit card without having an account.

PayPal also ensures that we are compliant with financial regulation around marketplaces. Discogs, as a marketplace facilitator, is expected to collect taxes and know all finances coming through. This creates the potential for us to face high financial penalties. We’ve also found it’s putting a burden on our engineering team to develop finance tools instead of working on improvements to the Discogs platform itself.

Will a deeper integration with PayPal mean that there will only be one shipping address to follow (e.g. not different shipping addresses on PayPal and in Discogs Buyer Settings)?

This won’t be immediately addressed with the upcoming changes, but we’re aware this is an urgent issue, and we intend to address it very soon.

In the meantime, we’ll be redoubling our efforts to ensure buyers are aware how important it is for their PayPal and Discogs addresses to be correct and match. We’ll also ensure any negative feedback incurred by the seller as a result of address discrepancies between the buyers’ Discogs and PayPal accounts (from the buyer to seller) is reviewed and removed.

Looking for more Shipping Policy info? Find everything you need, from set-up guides with video walk-throughs, shipping rate templates, webinar recordings, FAQs, and more here.

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