Saturday, October 20, 2018

New Listings on eBay and Etsy + Site Strong-Arm Tactics

I moved a bunch of books into bulk lots on eBay.  Some of the books came from existing listings on eBay and Etsy, and others are books that I had not previously listed anywhere.  Since some of the bulk lots came from existing listings, not all of them are showing as new listings.  Take a look at the "Bulk Lots" category to see all of the bulk lots, and be sure to check the lots that are down near the bottom of the page, since some of them are new.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

Some of the books listed in the eBay bulk lots came from Etsy.  I deactivated those Etsy listings when I placed the books in the bulk lots.  Some of the deactivated listings still had a month to go, and I did not wish to lose those listings completely.  I have changed the deactivated listings to other books and have reactivated them.  This means that I have a number of new books listed on Etsy that are not showing as new listings.

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

Check the following categories in my Etsy shop to find the new listings, and keep in mind that they may be showing towards the bottom of the category pages.

Nancy Drew Blue/PB/Other
Nancy Drew Library Ed
Old Girls' Series

On June 1, I wrote about how eBay was tightening control of whether sellers could run promotions.
As is typical, eBay is tightening its control over sellers, ostensibly to give buyers a better experience.  Beginning in late June, eBay will only allow sales to be run on items that have been listed for at least 14 days.  eBay says that this is so that buyers will have price transparency.

New items cannot be included in a sale, because the buyer doesn't know if the seller artificially raised the price before listing it.  So eBay feels it is better for new items not to be on sale, since the seller might be trying to pull a scam.  How about letting buyers make the decision on whether the seller's price was artificially raised before the item was put on sale?  But then, eBay doesn't think buyers are smart enough to figure that out.

I do not use eBay's "Good 'Til Canceled" option for my listings.  This is because I typically float more than 250 listings each month on my allotted 250 free listings.  If I were to use "Good 'Til Canceled," then I would lose control on when my items get relisted, since eBay would do it for me.  This would cause me to pay listing fees on some items where I can avoid the fees.
I was amused this week to learn that eBay backed off that promotion policy for now.  According to eCommerceBytes, The policy has been reversed at least through the holiday season.  I still probably will not run any eBay promotions for the foreseeable future.

I mentioned on June 1 that I float more than 250 listings per month and that I cannot use "Good 'Til Canceled" for that reason.  There is a rumor that eBay is trying to force all sellers to switch to "Good 'Til Canceled."  Apparently on the mobile app, sellers now must use "Good 'Til Canceled," and many sellers are concerned that eBay will soon force PC users to switch to "Good 'Til Canceled."  eBay always has a plot afoot.

eBay isn't the only site using strong-arm tactics.  Etsy has begun to implement some of the same restrictive policies that eBay has had in place for years.  I find the messages that display on my Etsy Dashboard to be somewhat concerning.

The middle message is the one that concerns me.  Etsy is now giving better placement to listings with lower shipping prices.  I notice that the message "Lower your shipping prices" is grayed out for me, so I may not be impacted.  However, I am still concerned about what this could mean in the future, especially should Etsy ever decide to take it further.

My listings are set at $3.95 shipping, but I do have a free shipping promotion on orders of $35 or more.  I feel like my shipping promotion is good and does bring results.  I am concerned that in the future Etsy could insist on free shipping like eBay does.  That would not work for me with my pricing method on Etsy.

I have some books priced as low as $1.99 plus $3.95 shipping.  If the books are purchased in an order of $35 or more, then those books would cost only $1.99.  If Etsy were to insist on free shipping, then the $1.99 books would have to be priced at no less than $5.99, which means that the shipping wouldn't be free when part of an order of $35 or more.  I hope I don't ever have to change my pricing method on Etsy.

Finally, some of us have seen the end of our Internet tax-free experience, and I have no doubt that the rest of you will follow in the next few years, so prepare yourselves.  Those of us who live in Washington, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma now pay state sales tax on most all online purchases.  eBay is pretty much the lone holdout.  However, eBay will start charging sales tax for buyers from those three states beginning in 2019. 

I have to pay 9.1% sales tax on my online purchases, and I must say that it hurts a bit.  Midwest City, Oklahoma, has the highest city sales tax in the state of Oklahoma.  It really hurts when the book costs over $100.  Ouch.  I keep reminding myself, though, that the Oklahoma Internet sales tax law is paying for my own pay raise of $6,657.  I am still ahead by quite a bit.  I remind myself of that each time I see 9.1% added to an online purchase.

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