Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Best Match Roll Call!

I am hearing conflicting accounts about the effect "Best Match" is having on eBay seller's businesses and I would like to get your feedback. Some sellers I've spoken with have seen a 30 - 40% drop in business, some are maintaining the same sales and others have done significantly better than before the launch of "Best Match".

Scot Wingo, recently posted on his blog that the data he was seeing suggested that things were improving. "... on March 3rd when eBay rolled BestMatch we saw an even larger and more across-the-board conversion bump. We've got some sellers seeing a 10-20% increase in conversions. I haven't seen anything this dramatically positive on eBay in a LOOOOOONGGGG time."

So, I thought we could just do a quick and dirty assessment of your business and whether you have seen an increase in sales, decrease in sales, or if your sales have remained constant. There are a number of factors that may account for these changes, but I'm specifically looking for information beginning with the 3rd of March.

Please comment about what you have been seeing in your business. Be honest and if you choose, use the Anonymous login to post. This is not a scientific survey, but I wanted to test the temperature of "Best Match" is having on your business. If you normally don't comment on Blog Utopia, please consider adding you 12% about Best Match (Good or bad).

I'm agnostic when it comes to "Best Match". I can see where it has been beneficial for individual sellers, yet detrimental to others. Please post about what you are personally seeing not what you are hearing.

20 comments:

Gary said...

I haven't seen any significant changes. My sell-through rate continues to hover between 70 to 80 percent, right where it was prior to the implementation of 'Best Match'.

However, I sell primarily antiques/collectibles and I never thought those categories would be affected as much as others might be.

Anonymous said...

So far not so good Randy. 33% drop in sales overnight right from the beginning. Some items went way up, but more went way down. At first I was freaking out a bit, but not anymore. I'm not worried, it's just a matter of learning how to game the system, err I mean "optimize your listings for best match."

The fact is that the system will continue to be gamed. Sellers will do whatever possible to get on the first page, because let's face it, if you aren't on the first or maybe 2nd page, your item will NOT be seen.

I like the idea of best match, how it learns over time, etc... One problem is that if you game the system from the beginning, the system will take a very long time to correct itself.

I think in the long run having a relevancy algorithim (be it best match or otherwise) will be good for the site and the best way to get customers back buying again. In fact it was the only way for eBay to sort out the clutter, so to speak. But that's long term. Short-term might be rough for a while...

Anonymous said...

Hi Randy, On March 3rd I thought they disconnected my eBay account for search. Total nothing for a whole week. Then around the 10th things started to pick up. And now, on the 19th, they are back to normal.

I don't know why, but that's what my results have been.

Great blog, by the way.

Ken

Anonymous said...

I have seen about a 10-15% rise in conversion from the first day in electronics categories despite also listing 10-15% more. So for me the change has been great.

I have to say I always had among the best DSRs in my category though and I have always prided myself in offering the best customer service I can. The problem for me is now finding enough product supply to sell.

Anonymous said...

Randy do you happen to know when DSR's are going to affect Best Match search results? I'm not doing well right now but I think when DSR's come into play that will change.

Anonymous said...

My sales have just about DIED since Best March started. I have great DSRs, so am not sure what is going on.

Randy Smythe said...

Thanks for the info, keep it coming!

Randy Smythe said...

I believe DSR's are already part of the calculation for Best Match right now.

I've also heard that some categories are feeling the DSR pinch more than others.

In the commodity categories, eBay is relying on DSR's because there are plenty of good sellers selling lots of product.

In those categories that have fewer items DSR's may not way as heavily.

The problem is that each seller is going to have to find what works for their items and in their categories.

I don't have any huge problems with the concept behind Best Match but I do find it really bad that sellers pay the same listing fee and get drastically different exposure.

eBay would say, the good sellers are getting advantaged and the bad sellers are getting disadvantaged. I guess once Seller Dashboards are available we will have a better idea where each seller stands.

Anonymous said...

Industrial is bone dry. I mean dead. This is specialized stuff. Some obsolete. It will never make it into the catalog. My buyers have $$$ from their bosses budgets. Lots of dough. One of the few categories left with bidding wars. Not no more. Ebay blew the whole thing away. You are right why not do a Classic. It makes so obvious sense. Last minute split decision the new ebay president is... RKS

Anonymous said...

Randy are you able to get a written or verbal confirmation that DSR's are officially part of the Best Match search results? I have heard from high sources that this has NOT gone into effect yet, and will sometime in April.

Randy Smythe said...

Everybody, this is the quote from Jamie Iannone, Vice President, Buyer Experience from the Best Match announcement on March 3rd

Effective now:
Reducing bad buying experiences with Best Match.

When Best Match is made the new default this week, sellers with buyer dissatisfaction rates greater than 5% in the last 30 days will experience decreased exposure for their listings in search results. This affects only a small percentage of all sellers and listings, but will make a big difference for our buyers.

In addition, to reduce the negative impact of excessive Shipping & Handling on the buying experience, sellers with the lowest Detailed Seller Ratings for Shipping & Handling Charges will also see a decrease in the exposure that their listings receive in search results.

Randy Smythe said...

It looks like they are specifically targeting only low DSR's for S&H Charges not the others.

Anonymous said...

That's what I thought - for those sellers that have high DSR's (above 4.6 in all I believe), their listings have NOT yet been given higher search results rankings

Anonymous said...

Mine were doing terrible and started to pick up around the 14th.

So far so good I am near the top of the searches usually.

My dsrs are

4.9
4.7
4.6
4.4

How does this compare with everyone?

Cliff said...

I'm coming off as good a week as I've ever had on eBay, and my past 30 days are getting up there too. I think it has more to do with doubling my inventory since the New Year than anything else, but my current inventory count is at about 40% of where I kept it back when I was getting this kind of action.

My DSR's are 4.9. 4.9, 4.8, 4.8.

I've scaled back auctions since the holidays, being more selective and getting better action on them. I didn't used to use Fixed Price until after all auctions passed, but now I'm listing most items as either Fixed Price or as an auction with BIN attached the first time through and that's improved sell-through rate as well.

My fees for March (the first full month with the new rates) is going to be similar to Jan. & Feb. which is fantastic for me because of the extra business.

As of today I think this has more to do with some of my own changes than anything eBay has done. I'm really waiting until the summer to draw any kind of verdict on their changes.

Anonymous said...

The punishment for low (4.2 or lower) shipping and handling DSRs are very severe

For an example do a search for 'bird feeder' and go to the last page

Or do a search for 'new webkinz' and you may only need to go to page two to see listings that have a few hours remaining above listings that have less than ten minutes remaining. I checked and these items aren't even getting to the first page of this search before they end!

Cliff said...

Anonymous, that was pretty severe! Thanks for pointing those out, I haven't really seen anything that extreme. Of course when I'm really shopping I still use Newly Listed and Ending Soonest more often than not, but I have done some test phrases and hadn't seen anything like "Bird Feeders." I guess this will put some folks out of business.

John said...

Randy,

I have seen a significant upswing in sell through rates beginning the first of the month. The average prior to 3/3 was around 40%. Since 3/3 sell through rate jumped to 52%.

I have already surpassed my monthly March totals from last year by the 13th of the month. Also my store sales are increasing nicely as well. Not bad.

Also my ebay fees for this month is just shy of 10% from last month.

I have done nothing different in my auction listings. My DSRs are 4.9, 4.9, 4.8 and 4.8.

Truly enjoy reading your blog. Keep up the good work.

Randy Smythe said...

Thanks to everybody who has commented.

I sensing a theme here, maybe its time to start over. Many of you have built a brand on eBay but it may make sense for your long-term viability to start a new ID now that you understnd the Best Match rules a little.

If you have an ID that has good FB and great DSR's already, you might consider rolling your litings into that ID.

The visibility rules are based on a 30 day rolling avg. so it you can get ahead of the curve a little you might find some success.

Just my 12%

Joey said...

As a buyer I hate this new best match feature. I get less results which means I have to look harder for the best deal or just the right item. Sellers have different skills for marketing and listing items and this best match leaves out some of the items I could buy for less money from a weak listing.

Plus the drill downs are terrible when searching for items especially ones that can cross over several categories.

In the last year I have closed my store and moved most of my listings to other platforms and I have also moved my buying to other platforms. Ebay is losing the battle for my buying and selling dollars.