eBay used to have 1.3 million evangelists (sellers) singing their praises, now they have half that many villagers with pitch forks hoping they fail miserably.
And its not just dislike or distrust anymore, for many it is outright hatred, yet they still sell on the site.
Here are some quotes I've heard recently, from sellers who are upset but don't leave the site:
- "Unfortunately I am in a shitty situation and its going to be hard to get away from eBay.. ugh"
- "I still have a year left of Law School"
- "Where do you go to replace $500k a month in cash flow, without laying off everybody and starting over again."
- "I have my family and 6 other families counting on me. I can't just leave."
These are just a few of the things that I've been hearing. Many of these sellers can't find a way to get off of eBay, or the fear of leaving is worse than the pain of staying. So what happens when they feel they can't leave but they dread staying; they begin to hate eBay for putting them in this position. Now instead of a once loyal customer they have a customer that actually hates them.
Companies re-organize all the time, so the fact that eBay is re-organizing doesn't surprise anyone, but normally a re-organization affects only a small percentage of employees via layoffs, it rarely includes systematically removing customers, in eBay's case 10s of thousands of customers -- real people who use eBay to make ends meet or real businesses that have grown to a size that requires the revenue that eBay generates for them even if it is not profitable any longer.
I've written about this before, with my post Sellers and eBay in a Bad Marriage - Where's Dr. Phil? It is simple for me to say "get out", but not easy for any of them to do.
So what happens when your customers hate you?
- The levers you once were able to pull to manipulate behaviour, no longer work.
- The changes you make, regardless of how much sense they make, are protested.
- When you lose a lawsuit, your customers cheer.
- Nobody beleives anything you say, no matter how sincere.
- Your customers are actually hoping the company share price will sink like a rock.
- Bloggers like me get a lot of attention and now you can't even control the message.
- Instead of spreading the "good news" of eBay these customers bad mouth the company every chance they get.
- There isn't an avalanche of sellers leaving, but there is a slow leak in the dam that may soon be too difficult to fix.
- Sellers who are profitable start making exit plans just in case.
- I could go on and on ...
My suggestion for every seller on eBay is to start making your plans to leave eBay, even sellers who are still successfully selling on the site. You have 6 months left in the year, make your plans now to be off eBay, at least get enough of your business elsewhere so eBay's problems can't hurt your business any longer. Don't delay in the hope it will get better, if you don't act quickly you won't have anybody to blame but yourself.Just my 12%