The eBay Flip Flop

Wasn’t it just 2 years ago that eBay wanted to bring back the “vibrancy” to core by encouraging 99 cent starting bids? In 2006 they decreased the listing fee for the 99 cent starting bid while increasing the costs for eBay store listings. eBay felt the need to go back to their roots – the auction format.

So it was with shock that I read the new fee structure. eBay’s 99 cent auction sellers are no longer the darlings of eBay. They have been hit the hardest by the new fee structure. Because the traditional 99 cent auction sellers generally have a very high sell through rate, they are being hit hardest by the large increase in Final Value Fees.  Although their insertion fee has decreased by 5 cents it’s nowhere large enough to make up for the 3.5% increase on the backend.

Yet Fixed Price sellers, who generally have a low sell through rate, have seen their insertion fees decrease greatly, especially the majority who use gallery.  They still pay the increased FVF, but the decreased insertion fees will more than make up for the increase in FVF’s for those seller with sell through rates below 50%.

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Ebay ’08’ & 3 Stages of Major Change! Will Your Business Survive?

This week Ebay announced several major changes to their platform that will go into effect over the next 5 months. The first change starts February 20th and will affect Ebay fees. The second change comes in March 08 when ebay makes “best match” the default search, which I beleive includes “finding 2.0″. The third change is planned for May 08 when Ebay will restrict sellers mutual feedback privileges.

It is impossible to tell how the overall combination of changes will have affected the majority of Ebay sellers 6 months from now, but some guesses can be made about the impact of each individual change and anyone who is concerned will find many more discussions on the topics on the IMA member forum. The initial opinion of some IMA members is that the fee increases will cause a 0-25% increase in fees. Twelve members have stated their overall fees will decrease. The sellers who estimate a decrease are those with a lower sell through rate (10-40% sell through), and a typical selling price between $1.00 to $25.00. Those hardest hit on fee increases typically have a high sell through rate, and higher average sale price. The Auctionbytes blog has a very good article where numbers show everyone’s fees will increase.

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eBay Changes in the Marketplace

Written by Cathy, Visibility Unlimited

I had the opportunity to go to eBays ecomm program and I want to thank those who were a part of my invitation. And like everyone else, waited patiently for the announcement and I knew my business had to adjust again if I wanted to continue to sell on eBay. As soon as ebay announced the changes that they were going to implement in the next few months, all negative emotions poured out with eBays top sellers. Thoughout the day and evening I listened and observed, the complaints that all sellers had. Speaking to over 50 businesses, only 1 (an IMA member) said the changes would not hurt him. His DSR was so good in shipping that he will receive the 15% rebate on his FVF and this covered his additional fees.

That afternoon there was a Q&A and you can hear the complete session here. Click here to watch video

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In the Beginning, ………Starting New Again

One day my curiousity got the better of my common sense. I decided to find out if running only Ebay auctions with low shipping would put me higher in the ebay search, and increase my sales. So I started a brand new Ebay selling account, and tweaked some things.

The new account has core auction listings only. I lowered my shipping from $4.00 to $2.75, and offered free shipping with the purchase of two items. I ship items the day after they are paid for instead of my normal two days a week. Otherwise, the level of communication is the same, and the auction format is the same. In other words, I made sure I was doing everything in the recommended Ebay 5 star way of thinking.

I found out that my placement in search is not better. My Detailed Sellers Ratings (DSRs) are lower on the new selling ID even though I am offering better service and lower shipping. And Ebay needs to work on the tools available to new sellers.

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The Walmart / Ebay Connection

PricesI recently discovered that the Walmart employee who developed the statistical analysis packages that put Walmart at the top of the discount retailer heap, is working on the same type of statistical analysis for Ebay. This started me thinking about comparisons that can be made between Walmart business policy and Ebay business policy. What is the same about both corporations, and what is not?

For starters, both corporations are concerned with profit above all else, and bringing products to the consumer at the cheapest possible price. Both have a reputation for offering products at rock bottom prices. Walmart is known for taking advantage of manufacturers to get the best deal.

I got that far, and an interesting comparision came to mind. Suppose Ebay saw all the sellers on their platform as manufacturers? Say we Ebay sellers were considered the same commodity to corporate Ebay as the manufacturers of goods are to Walmart? Walmart is known to have broken many a manufacturer by refusing to sell their product until they lowered their price. Walmart can get away with this because they have gained control over so many small town retail markets. It hurts not to have your product sold at Walmart.

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Discrimination & Anonymity in Internet Selling

Ebay Amazon LogoOne of the most interesting aspects of internet selling is anonymity.  The mild mannered insurance salesman sells hardline harley motorcycle gear on the internet.  The shy Ohio housewife sells racy red silk lingerie as Mimi an immigrant from Paris France.  Because the buyer on the internet can’t see a balding head, or mousy dress, and make any assumptions.  This type of anonymity has positive and negative consequences to an internet business.

The positive consequence of anonymity is that discrimination, or generalization due to a sellers appearance is all but eliminated, but it also creates a problem.  It is difficult to create buyer trust for an internet product, or seller.  In a typical brick and mortar store a wary customer can converse freely, and develop a bond with a seller leading to a purchase.  On the internet, there are very few opportunities for conversation and/or communication of any kind before purchasing.  So, for an internet seller, the buyer will trust you as much as they trust the venue you sell in.  In other words, we internet sellers are at the mercy of the reputation of the venue we sell in.

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Finding eBay 2.0, Have you played in the playground?

Written by Steve Grossberg, IMA President

If you listened to the BSC/IMA conference call on eBay you would have heard us talk about finding 2.0 on ebay. This will be a huge change for buyers and sellers on eBay. Ebay is still doing a lot of A-B testing and now is the time for us to do our own testing and make some noise on the good and the bad we see so far.

If you have not tested this find 2.0 for your own items, I encourage you to do so as soon as possible. You can get to the ebay playground by clicking here.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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Looking at eBays DSR (Detailed Seller Ratings) – I am concerned

written by Steve Grossberg, IMA President

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I was looking at eBays DSR’s this morning. I pulled up the top 100 active ebay sellers in the USA and compiled a list of their respective DSR’s

Here are my findings

Item as described – average score 4.79
Communication – average score 4.66
Shipping Time- average score 4.58
Shipping Fee- average score 4.41

Below is percentage of top 100 scoring 4.5 or better in the respective category

Item as described – 99% scoring 4.5 or better
Communication – 93% scoring 4.5 or better
Shipping Time- 81% scoring 4.5 or better
Shipping Fee- 44% scoring 4.5 or better

What is really disturbing here is looking at the shipping and handling. When eBay announced the DSR strategy, sellers were voicing concern that eBay was going to use shipping and handling as a rating category.

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The “e” in eBay

written by the Lively Prognosticator

When I got suckered in, I mean asked to write a blog, the first thing I had to do was select a subject. Initially, I thought to myself that I would keep it positive, and pick a topic where maybe I could give some great suggestions on how to increase effectiveness as an internet marketer. But a couple of mojitos later, I said naaahhh, what fun is that? So I decided to go for the gusto, pick a topic, and share my thoughts in a manner reminiscent of Bill Maher, with a little Geraldo Rivera thrown in. Not that I’m as witty or talented as either of them, but I gotta aim high, ya know?

Just a few more things about me before we get started. I choose to remain anonymous. I’ve been told by many naysayers that eBay doesn’t get mad, they get even. But many of you know me. I have been selling items in my category for over 25 years, using many different methods, including mail order, face to face sales, and ecommerce. For many of those years, I was also a senior manager for a Fortune 500 company. I’ve been selling on ebay for almost 10 years, and became a PowerSeller almost immediately. I’ve got a wealth of knowledge, and people often seek out my opinions on a variety of subjects. OK, enough said. Let’s get into it.

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