Friday, July 25, 2008

Changes Coming to eBay's Media Category!

eBay announced yesterday that they would be changing some item specifics for the Media Category:

"... we will introduce Condition values "Brand New", "Like New", "Very Good", "Good" and "Acceptable" in place of the current values "New" and "Used"...

... These changes won't affect items currently listed on the site. However, during the relist or revise process, items that currently have their Condition as "New" will be defaulted to the "Brand New" value and items with the condition "Used" will be defaulted to "Acceptable". Sellers may of course change the Condition value for their item at any point after these changes are introduced. Condition will also be defaulted to "Acceptable" on new listings if the seller has not selected a condition value
."

Based on this announcement and what I've been hearing will be happening this fall, it looks like the media category on eBay will be soon be looking a lot like half.com. I'm not sure what this means for the future of half.com, but here are some of the changes you should expect:
  • 30-day Fixed Price listings in the 3 cents per listing range. This would replace the SIF format (Store Inventory Format) for media.
  • Single Item Detail page for each SKU with listings underneath the item description.
  • Listings will be sorted by product condition: Brand New, Like New, Very Good, Good and Acceptable and I'm hearing that there will only be 5 listings per condition with a link to additional items for that condition. I'm hoping they choose the Amazon model of new and used condition tabs rather than the half.com model.
  • I'm still not sure if they will sort by Best Match or by lowest price, but lowest price makes more sense. It could also be lowest total price, including S&H.
  • I am hearing rumblings that they will also require limits to the S&H fee a seller can charge for standard shipping.
  • There may also be some requirements in regards to "time to ship"; something like must ship within 2-3 business days.
  • No word yet on FVF increase but if they are charging a 3 cent per 30-day listing fee then expect the FVF for media to rise to at least 12% plus PayPal fees.
  • Haven't heard yet whether PayPal will be required.

I actually don't have many problems with these proposed changes as long as they don't stop there. I would also like them to:

  • Add a shopping cart. I realize that the cart wouldn't work site wide at this point, but at least make it work for the media category.
  • If the item goes out of stock during the 30 day listing, sellers should be able to change quantity to zero so that it doesn't show in search until more inventory is added. As long as these inventory updates are completed within the original 30-day listing time frame, there should be no additional listing fees. This will insure that the "buyer experience" is improved and that inventory can be managed more effectively.

I'm not sure what effect these changes will have on the auction business in the media category and it is possible that eBay will display auction listings within these same results but it is clear the advantage will go to Fixed Price listings.

The reason these changes won't happen until the fall, is because eBay does not want to rock the boat during Textbook season on half.com, which ends in mid Sept. Waiting until then to implement these changes doesn't give sellers much time to prepare for Christmas and is a signal that half.com will close, though I haven't heard anything about that.

I am also hearing that similar changes are planned for the Consumer Electronics and Motors -Parts and Accessories categories, but media seems to be the perfect test category.

I'll write more as I get some more detail.

Just my 12%

6 comments:

Cliff Aliperti said...

Thanks, Randy, not my category as a seller, but as a shopper here's what I'm thinking:

If they're going to make fees/presentation/etc. different across categories as it seems they are, and start with Media, then okay, how about doing away with auctions for new media? Perhaps for everything except wholesale lots and used/OOP which should probably be renamed collectible.

Perhaps they could set up the system to have a free 2nd category upgrade for these listings to allow the auction format...in other words, list lots in a 2nd cat under the Wholesale Lots banner and collectible in a 2nd cat. under Collectibles. That way they could shut off auctions for the rest, items appearing only in the Media category.

Then assuming you can do that perhaps a cart could be implemented for those remaining items, those appearing only in the single Media category with Fixed Price.

Sounds like I'm in fantasy-land, but that's what I'm picturing (today) as the best buying and best selling scenarios.

ms.pat said...

You don't suppose they're still trying to emulate Amazon???? I think they need far far bigger changes then these piddling little ones. LOL I would love to have been a fly on the wall in Donahoe's office when Amazon's Q2 report came out. :-O

Anonymous said...

Randy,

Thanks for staying on the beat with the ebay media catagory.

As you well know, several of your longtime readers make their full-time living as online media sellers, so we are awaiting this fall's news with baited breath (and updating our resumes)! Every year over year, I have to sell twice the items, to come close to what I earned the year before, and you can only scale so much with vendors and shippers. This fall may be the end for alot of us...
Stephen

nadine said...

The condition for used items will default to "Acceptable"?! Do they have any idea how a used DVD described as "Acceptable" will be interpreted, especially by an ebay buyer? How would you interpret it? "If you're real lucky, it will run" would be my interpretation.

Sheesh, has any of these clowns ever worked a day in retail? They couldn't default the condition to "Good" at least? Will they offer a bulk editing tool in time for Christmas?

I'm glad I don't sell media. I feel for you guys.

Amy said...

An astute observation, Ms. Pat. That was my first thought too, RE them attempting to "amazonize".

My second thought. Does this mean that they have conceded that "Like new" is NOT keyword spam, but an actual grade used by booksellers?

I shudder at the thought of ebay defaulting ANY kind of condition grade at all into auctions. If they do that, somebody please remind me not to buy anything on ebay if/when this starts rolling out. Not that I've been buying on ebay lately, everything about the search system is too messed up to bother with trying to shop there any more.

Henrietta said...

Cliff you are in fantasy land! Randy one day if you have time I would love to hear about the nuts and bolts of selling used media (CDs DVDs) on Amazon compared to eBay. How can a seller charge 1c?

As a buyer I know this is bad news for eBay media sellers but I no longer buy media there because (a)I have to be careful to check the shipping on each item and (b) it is getting so darned hard to find what you are looking for.

When I go to Amazon I can see every item and make my own decision as to what is acceptable in terms of price vs condition & seller reputation, without worrying about shipping costs. Then I can pay by the method I choose without being hassled.