Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Spring 2017 eBay Seller Update

As long-time readers know, I quit eBay in early 2009 and opened a booth on Bonanza. I sold exclusively on Bonanza from January 2009 through July 2013.  In July 2013, I opened an eBay store since Bonanza sales were on the decline.  My Bonanza sales declined even further once I opened the eBay store.  Some of my Bonanza buyers may have quit purchasing on Bonanza in hopes that I would list the books they wanted on eBay. More likely, the Amazon referral links placed all through Bonanza's search results were continuing to erode away my Bonanza sales.

Regardless, I finally closed my Bonanza booth in May 2016 and opened an Etsy shop. Meanwhile, I continued my eBay store subscription.  eBay has been good to me the last few years, and Etsy has also been good to me during the time I have sold there.

Unfortunately, eBay is now playing around with its store subscribers and top-rated sellers, and I am beginning to feel like I did in late 2008 when I quit eBay.  Do you hear that, eBay?  You are screwing up again.  It's not just me.  eBay store subscribers are complaining all over the Internet right now, and eBay is giving empty responses to the complaints.

eBay is making its top-rated seller program more strict.  Top-rated sellers must currently upload a tracking number that is validated by the carrier with a scan during the seller's handling time for 90% of transactions.  The new policy increases the percent to 95%.  This shouldn't be a problem for me, but it very well could be.

My post office does the acceptance scan for most of my packages, but they always miss doing a few.  They usually miss around 3-4% of them.  This means that I am close to the 95% and could easily lose the top-rated seller status due to postal workers not scanning packages when dropped off.

eBay is also raising fees to store subscribers and to top-rated sellers.  Top-rated sellers get a 20% discount on fees, which is being reduced to 10%.  On top of that, the fees for store subscribers are increasing. Curiously, fees are not increasing for those who don't have eBay stores.  eBay is raising fees only to the customers who also pay a subscription fee.  How nice.

This next part is what bothers me the most, even though it will seem silly to many people.  As a store subscriber, I get 250 free fixed-price listings per month.  I also get 250 free auctions.  The free auctions are useless to me, since the auctions can only be used in the collectibles and fashion categories.  This means that books are excluded from the free auctions, but I only sell books.  So while eBay proudly tells me that my subscription gets me 500 free listings per month, I can only use 250 of them.

I have been okay with that, since eBay has consistently given most all sellers extra listing promotions on a regular basis.  That is, eBay did give all sellers extra promotions until sometime last year.  eBay now excludes many sellers from those promotions, and nobody knows the criteria used.  I have not received a promotion in close to four months.  Some sellers report that they have not received a promotion in over a year.

My conclusion is that eBay does not value my business.

I decided in late 2008 that I would never pay an eBay listing fee again.  I refuse to pay $0.20 per item to list any items above my allotted 250 free items.  If eBay doesn't want to give me extra listings, then I'm not going to pay for them.

Some sellers say that sellers should be willing to pay $0.20 per extra listing and that the extra fee would be covered by raising the price of the item.  This is logical, but I must sell many of my books at or slightly below cost due to the continuing deflation of series book prices.  I cannot see paying $0.20 per month to list a book that might not sell for a year or so.  It can take a couple of years for many books to finally find a buyer.

Since I refuse to pay listing fees on eBay, I must decide how to proceed.  I have to be more careful about what I list on eBay and will have to use bulk lots more often.  Those who follow me closely may notice that I currently have fewer than 150 listings on eBay. I am allowing around 80 items to remain inactive until a few days from now when I have more time to determine which ones to remove and which ones to relist.  At that time, I will also list new items to use up my 250 allotted free listings for the month.

I still have my Etsy shop, in which I can list an item for $0.20 for a duration of four months.  That's $0.05 per month.  Even though I must pay a fee for each Etsy item, the final value fees are much lower on Etsy.  In the end, I save money.  I will most likely end up listing more books on Etsy than I have in recent months.

I have also sold over half the items that I have listed on Etsy in the last year.  I don't have the data for eBay, but I have to relist a large number of eBay items each month. In fact, most of them get relisted month after month.  I am certain that I have sold no more than half of the items I have listed on eBay in the last year.  I may even have sold less than half of them.

Etsy is looking more and more attractive.  I only have to pay $0.05 per item per month with no store subscription fee.  Final value fees are lower, and I probably sell about the same percentage of items with respect to the number of items listed.

The bottom line is that eBay will lose some revenue, albeit quite small, due to it blacklisting my account for free listing promotions.  I will not pay the listing fees, so Etsy will get some of the revenue that eBay has been getting.

The loss of some of my business will not hurt eBay in the slightest.  If many thousands of other sellers should happen to take similar action, then eBay might see a loss in revenue. That is what happened in 2008, and eBay did notice.

1 comment:

Homeschoolmom said...

As a buyer, I have really liked dealing with Etsy.
I have bought from you before, I think from Bonanza, but it was a while back.
You are a GREAT seller. Ebay should be grateful to have someone like you making
their business work.