eBay..er FeeBay Gone Mad
I started eliminating personnel inventory some years ago using eBay. It's my opinion that sellers and buyers made eBay what it is today. They went from a message board to a thriving business at the forefront of business news. eBay has become a generic term similar to Xerox. eBay sellers offered valued advice, which eBay used to improve the venue. The message boards and input by merchants are the key reason eBay built a useful and productive business. Period.
- Core listings (auction-style, auction-style with Buy It Now, and Fixed Price) deliver the signature eBay buying experience. For sellers, they're the fastest way to sell inventory on the Internet -- the only place where items typically sell within about two weeks.
- Store Inventory listings were introduced in 2001 and intended as a low-risk way for sellers to display large amounts of product in their eBay Store. This format employs low insertion fees and higher final value fees to encourage an abundance of inventory on the site.
If eBay new "Core" listings were the fastest method to sell inventory then why promote stores? How do you employ lower insertion fees when you keep raising them and implement a higher fixed monthly rent? eBay is exercising "double-talk" and treating sellers as if they are stupid. In some cases they are correct, because sellers keep eating the fees.
eBay admits guilt.
Amid all this change, one thing has remained constant: auction-style listings are the foundation of eBay. Auction-style and other core listings made eBay what it is today -- and they'll always be front and center on eBay.com. They account for about 91% of the gross merchandise value sold on eBay.com. But recently, we've been wrestling with some troubling facts:
- Store Inventory listings now comprise about 83% of active eBay.com listings on average.
- While eBay.com core listings typically sell in about two weeks, Store Inventory listings on average take 14 times longer to sell. In some media categories, Store Inventory listings take more than 40 times longer to sell than core listings.
- And, when you compare our operations costs for an average Store Inventory listing and an average core listing - factoring in the duration of each - our cost to host a Store Inventory listing is more than 50% higher than for a core listing. In fact, current Store Inventory insertion fees don't cover eBay's costs for hosting them.
"Build it and they won't come" is the new motto for eBay stores. This is what eBay promoted in email and at eBay.com. There is another saying: "Plan your work and work your plan." At eBay they assume the seller will gladly follow their advice and eat the fees. BUT WAIT! eBay miscalculated, must backtrack and capture their losses by charging the sellers who either pay up or dump their inventory and close their stores, the same stores eBay encouraged you to open.
Raising the inventory cost is not an option since eBay admits their stores don't sell. Switching to auctions will provide eBay with increase cash flow in addition to the store fees they already received. This is a form of "double-dipping." eBay also controls the search features at their site and stores suffer because the engines aren't set up to place your inventory into the results.
Of course eBay merchants can pay a very formidable fee to have a featured store. This is eBay holding a gun to your head and standing outside your store with gasoline and matches.
The hammer falls:
Today, I want to inform you of changes we're making to eBay.com -- changes intended to rebalance the overall eBay marketplace by further distinguishing the roles of core listing formats and our Store Inventory format. In short, we're improving the advantages of selling in core listing formats -- and taking action to manage the proportion of Store Inventory listings -- to ensure that the buying experience on eBay stays true to shoppers' expectations.
For those of you who operate an eBay Store, we're making changes to Store Inventory listing fees, as well as to the on-site exposure we provide for this listing format.
The Final Analysis.
Merchant product exposure is at the bottom of the eBay totem pole. In another words it will take a very persistent buyer to click your items if they are able to find them. In addition to less exposure your fees will take on a very new look.
For items selling for $0.01 -- $24.99 their will be a 150% increase in fees. Items selling for $25.00 and higher the fee increase is 400%. Vaseline not included.
Thanks for the email FeeBay....er..uh...eBay! I will continue to build it, promote it and stock it, just not at eBay.