Thursday, March 27, 2008

eBay Sure is a lot of Work!

eBay still drives a ton of sales for small businesses, but from my viewpoint it appears to be getting more and more difficult to operate an eBay business. From the customer service requirements to the constant changes. many eBay sellers are asking the question "is it worth it?

With the launch of Best Match, sellers are going to have to assess whether the effort to optimize their business for Best Match is worth the sales, that effort will generate. It appears to me that many would be better off buying Yahoo sponsored ads and paying to drive eBay traffic to their websites.

It becomes a trade off for me: Learn BMO to "hopefully" make eBay work or learn SEO and make my website work. If you are spending a ton of time learning something new, why not put that effort into your own website.

Obviuosly many of you can't just shut off the eBay spigot, but you can move to a marketplace that charges only when you sell something and then ween yourself off of eBay and use the money you are saving to drive traffic to your website. Think about how much simpler your business would be, if you didn't have the eBay hoops to jump through.

Is it worth it?


Cliff said...

It's all a lot of work. With as much time as I spend on eBay I probably spend about 75% of my time on my own site. Attaching a store to your site is even more work. Right now I'm shutting one down and opening another up. There's a huge learning curve with every platform you use. Unless you're very lucky no platform is perfect for you out of the box (my problems usually come with shipping modules), and customization only goes as far as you're willing to open your wallet.

Excellent article today from E-Commerce Guide pointing out what kind of money trap the type of site I had been running can become.

The costs caught up with me on that one, so I've moved to something simpler...and begun the learning process all over again.

Don't get me wrong, it's very worthwhile, you get your own brand, your own customers, you own sales, but you find your listing fees replaced by entirely new catalog of fees.

I still think the way to go is to have your own site/store/blog/etc., but keep your eBay sales running too. And your Amazon sales, and whatever other third party venue you find profitable.

Randy Smythe said...

Thanks for the perspective Cliff. I think it comes down to who benefits from your hard work.

IMO, eBay used to be worth the hard work, maybe now a website is worth the hard work.

The reality is you may need everything (website, ebay, Amazon, etc.) like you suggested.

Cliff said...

That's what I'm shooting for!

I'm just happy that all of the hard work is usually interesting, for me at least. Except I could really do without putting together all those packages. C'mon FBA!

Randy Smythe said...

Yeah, FBA is the only way I would do this, when I'm the one doing all the work.

I got real tired of all the packing and running to the post office.