Thursday, July 20, 2006

Change. Again.

By August 22 our eBay bookstore will have to become very lean and mean. eBay announced yesterday that it will raise insertion fees and commissions for store inventory.

I will get the whining out of the way at the beginning of this post. The eBay announcement said this: "A typical eBay Stores seller who uses Store Inventory format -- making no adjustments to his or her selling strategy following these changes -- will experience an overall fee increase of less than six percent." I don't get it. The insertion fees for each item will increase from two cents per month to five cents per month. Isn't that an almost 300% increase? The commission will increase from 8% to 10%. Isn't that more than a 20% increase? How is this a six percent increase? Maybe some smart person out there can explain that to me.

eBay will now list items on eBay. Some sellers are squawking about this but I'm not. The listings won't be intermingled with the regular eBay listings. There will be a box at the bottom of the search results. We list our inventory on through Valore Books with no monthly fee. Our books will now appear on eBay this way at no charge. Perhaps we'll see increased sales as a result.

Obviously eBay is infatuated with its "core listings" (auctions and Buy It Now items) and not so happy with the store format. OK. Fine. Maybe I'll try playing their game. While studying completed auctions over the last few months I've found a seller that lists 5-10 auctions per day and does not have an eBay store. This seller is a Power Seller, which means he/she has at least $1000 in sales per month with only 150-300 listings per month. Hmmm. I like that kind of efficiency. I will now study this seller's listings and completed auctions more closely. His listings are simple. No template. The photos aren't professional quality. The books are mostly non-fiction. After a few weeks of of studying this approach, who knows, maybe we'll shut down our store in August and simply list a few auctions per day and see what happens.

These changes will also weed out the mega listers (I hope) and get rid of some of the clutter on eBay. Only the strong survive change. For some sellers, ditching eBay and focusing on other venues will be the way to keep their business strong. For others, a revised eBay strategy will be necessary. By August 22 most of us will be doing business differently on eBay, until eBay throws the next curve ball at us. But we booksellers are a tough lot. We can handle it.
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Blogger Mimi said...

Gah. That does sound annoying. I'm sorry.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Steve Weber said...

I think eBay has just gotten things too complicated. There's auction listings, Buy it Now listings, Express listings, listings...

Sure, they make most of their money with auction listings today. But if they want to grow long-term, I think they've got to have a cheap way for sellers to list things at a fixed price at no cost or very low cost.

eBay has done very well with collectibles auctions. And I'm sure they'll continue to do well with it, and sellers who specialize with unique items will continue doing well there. But if they want to expand into regular non-collectible stuff, it's got to be at fixed-price listings with low listing fees (or free). Just my opinion.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

I just read your comment on my blog and found YOUR blog. Nice to meet a fellow seller.
I don't have an ebay store. I tried a couple of times, but it just didn't work for me. I am happy about them integrating into their system more, as they did in the past. Once they stopped that, my sales plummeted. So hopefully, we'll both be seeing an increase.
Sometimes, ebay just stinks.

4:29 PM  

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