Wednesday, March 16, 2011

eBay 2011 Spring Seller Update

I can safely state that eBay's 2011 Spring Seller Update is the most controversial update in at least one year, perhaps in two years.  People are so hysterical over one change in particular that I find their messages on eBay's message boards to be rather incoherent and too difficult to read.  I am having to skim most comments, and normally, I enjoy reading people's responses to eBay's updates.

The first change has very few people upset. Those of us who do not have an eBay store will now be guaranteed 50 free auction listings at any starting price per month from now on.  Or, at least we will have them until eBay changes direction at some point in the future.  With eBay, nothing good lasts forever.

I now only sell on eBay when the fee to list is waived, so this change is good for me.  I have a pile of Nancy Drew library discards that I want to sell fast and cheap, and eBay is where they need to be listed.  I will have to wait another month before I can list them, but I am willing to do that.  The final value fees are so extreme that those fees pay for the the listing fee. eBay has no business charging me to list when they get so much from the final value fees.

eBay will be introducing a shopping cart.  This could be either good or bad.  If the cart works properly, it will be good.  If the cart does not work, then it will be bad.  I will reserve judgment until I see what happens.

The change that has everyone in hysterics is the change to the final value fee structure.  The final value fee will be decreased slightly but will be instead applied to both the item's price and the shipping charge.  Some sellers cheated eBay out of final value fees by listing items for $0.99 and then charging $100 shipping.  eBay will be charging the final value fee on the shipping charge as well in order to prevent sellers from avoiding final value fees.

What will likely happen is that most sellers will raise their shipping costs in order to cover the additional final value fee.  By the way, eBay is spinning this change as a fee decrease, since eBay states that fees will decrease for sellers who offer free shipping, which as we all know means that the item's price includes the shipping charge.  Those sellers were already charged a final value fee on the shipping, so eBay reasons that those sellers will see a fee decrease.  eBay can spin it however they want, but a large percentage of sellers will be seeing a fee increase.

eBay is also eliminating the power seller discount for sellers who are not top-rated sellers.  I'm sure those sellers are unhappy.  It seems that their fees are increasing as well, even though eBay claims this update is a fee decrease.

I am interested to read what you think of the shipping charge final value fee.  Will your strategy change?  Will you raise your shipping and/or your prices?

My fear, as a buyer, is that prices will go higher than ever.  Many of the prices on eBay are quite high.  As I wrote in a recent post, several series book buyers have complained of high prices on Bonanza.  The books that are priced high on Bonanza are also priced high on eBay, which makes it unfair to single Bonanza out.  The high prices began on eBay and have spilled over into the other venues.  Many sellers have not figured out that they can charge less on Bonanza due to the low fees.


Paula said...

I was disappointed with the announcement. The way I read it, for sellers like me, who do not have ebay stores, the Final Value Fee is *not* being reduced, but will now apply to the shipping charges also. Since the shipping charges are usually around $4.00, that is another 40 cent fee for an auction listing. Since I seldom listed on ebay unless the listing fee was free, this is a fee increase. With postal rates rising again, selling fees, and Paypal/Google Checkout fees, it is getting harder and harder to be a small online seller, or buyer for that matter. It just makes everything more expensive. If I do sell on ebay in the future, I will probably add the fee increase to the shipping cost, as that is what it is dependent on.

I truly wish Bonanza would advertise the marketplace as a place to buy unusual items. We need more buyers to think of checking out Bonanza!

Jennifer said...

It is definitely a fee increase for me as well. When I list on eBay, I may very well also add a little to the shipping cost. Or, I will price my books higher. I intend to keep the book prices and shipping prices separate, regardless of how I deal with the extra final value fee. I don't like having them combined under the guise of "free shipping."

It is disappointing that eBay continues down this path. After reading more about the changes, I am now concerned about the catalog requirement for the books category. They claim that the requirement will not apply to the "Books: Antiquarian & Collectible" category, so I may have to list all books in that category.

My concern with the catalog requirement is primarily as a buyer. I fear that eBay will make the search results more difficult to navigate by grouping books under one heading. I hope that "ending soonest" is not affected. As long as eBay leaves "ending soonest" alone, I will be fine.

As a seller, the catalog requirement will likely make it harder to sell vintage books. What else is new?

I am still heavily invested in eBay as a buyer, since I do nearly ALL of my buying on eBay. These changes make the buyer experience worse and worse as the inventory gets worse and worse and prices continue to rise.

I wish buyers would look outside eBay. I have very little luck getting buyers to visit me on Bonanza after they have purchased from me on eBay. They just won't do it. I do understand, in a sense, but I accept PayPal on Bonanza. It is no harder.

As a buyer, I do balk when I am confronted with having to use a money order or email a credit card number, since I would rather use PayPal. I just passed on a listing this week because I didn't feel like getting $300 out of the bank and buying a money order. That's why I partly understand, but on the other hand, I accept PayPal. How hard is it?