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 October 1, 2020, and make adjustments 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’re continuing to make improvements to Shipping Policies — including the editor and the way shipping is calculated — to ensure the best, most comprehensive coverage for your orders. In August 2020, we’ll be introducing more improvements to the editor which will allow more flexibility to how you set up your 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 are also some of our favorite things about Discogs, too, and we hope you continue to have those conversations. By automating the shipping, the other hope is that 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 upcoming product improvement in August will help calculate combining formats in a single order better.
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.
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 but opt-out of direct payment, so 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 will be credited on all refunds). If you’re concerned about losing out on PayPal fees when you offer a partial refund, you can adjust the 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. We’re increasing the visibility of free shipping in the Marketplace over the coming weeks.
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. For example, you might want to offer a fast but expensive option, and a cheap but slower option for shipping — you can set up your Shipping Policies. 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.
We’re talking to sellers who’ve successfully implemented Shipping Policies in and for countries where this is an issue, and we hope to offer guidance on this soon.
As a CD seller, I often (though not always) prefer to ship without jewel cases. How is this possible with Shipping Policies?
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. 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.
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?
Yes. You’ll need at least a basic Shipping Policy that covers all your listings.
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. You can also set a Minimum Order Total threshold to ensure you’re not packaging for peanuts (the feature will be available soon).
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 1kg rate up to 800g. 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 $13).
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.
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.
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 narrowing down payment options to 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.
Is Discogs preparing to sell?
No. Discogs is not interested in selling or becoming absorbed by another company. These changes are being introduced to ensure the longevity of the marketplace and database, as well as make sure we can keep improving the experience for buyers, sellers, collectors, casual music fans, and all browsers who come to the site.