Thursday, September 18, 2008

eBay's 30-Day Fixed Price Format -- Success or Failure?

It is still too early to tell if the new 30-day Fixed price format is a success or a failure, but as of today, it looks like it is slow going.
According to Medved, listings are just north of 17 million which is 2 million more than before the launch, but that number seems to be lower than expected -- at least from analysts who have contacted me and asked "why the reluctance from sellers" to adopt the new format.
So why hasn't this new format taken off?
  • Technical problems: eBay's own Turbo-Lister software was not ready for the new 30-day listing format, at the time of launch. [According to the Announcement board this was resolved later in the day on the 16th.]
  • Wait and see: Sellers are very cautious these days and want to see how the new format works before they jump in.
  • Testing, testing, Testing: I've seen a number of tests using 3, 7, 10 day FP listings as well as Free Shipping on 30-day listings, but very few sellers have committed to anything yet.
  • Sellers are not dumb. They realize that until CORE gets flooded with listings, there store inventory will still get exposure and they pay less to sell in stores, than they would with the new format.
  • Many sellers have just moved on. They are sticking with what they know works on eBay and putting all of their energy into other marketplaces or their own websites.
This is going to be very interesting to watch because eBay can't afford to wait this out. If their metrics don't improve they are in trouble and if they can't get sellers to adopt this new format, it will be a difficult Q4
Just my 15%

36 comments:

Ted said...

Quite a few sellers haven't even realized it exists yet. There have been two posts on the announcement boards, and an email or two about it, but that's it. There's nothing that pops up in the selling form that says "hey check out this new option".

Randy Smythe said...

Ted,

Yeah, that is another problem. I hope ebay wasn't counting on a flood of 30-day FP listings to make their Q3 numbers

Anonymous said...

I've been very selective. I've always used FP, but I also use store and auctions too. Nothing for me has really changed although I've sold a bit more with the FP format since it started. So far so good.

I wish they'd put a moratorium on changes for a while.

Beady Eye Guy said...

I bet they can stores to push people to this new format. If they do that, they will find the ultimate resistance.

Beady Eye Guy said...

They are also smoking some bad stuff if they think .15 + 15% is a good deal.

Beth in NY said...

I also think that the financial mess that is going on with Wall Street has folks minds pre-occupied. They might just be on the sidelilnes waiting it out a week or two before spending ANY more money.

Tony P. said...

One titanium seller's opinion...

http://forums.ebay.com/db1/thread.jspa?messageID=510287850&forumID=80&x#510287850


Ebay has actually went the 'extra mile' (for them anyway) to get the word out on this newfangled option.

I'm opted out of all communications from ebay, except for an alert of imminent death from a meteor strike. Still, ebay sent me one on this 30D FP.

I see only one incentive to use it - cheaper cost. However, I do see many reasons to NOT use it and they all involve less visibility.

Spend less to sell less???

If that's the logic, why not just cut to the chase and spend zero?

Randy Smythe said...

Hi All,

I think the uncertainty of what would happen in Best Match has also slowed things down. Most of the big guys are not going to commit a lot of resources to this until they can see how it works.

Beady,

Yeah, SIF is a gonner if 30-day FP is a failure. Look at the UK.

Anonymous said...

The people I talk to say they are impressed so far with the 30 day listings. Also Medved is not updating as you can see by looking at the chart. Wait till they update then talk to your insiders!!!!!

Ajay Agrawal said...

"Technical problems: eBay's own Turbo-Lister software was not ready for the new 30-day listing format, at the time of launch"

Hi Randy, Turbo Lister, and other eBay Tools were enabled for the 30-day listing format

-Ajay Agrawal
eBay Sellers Tool, Product Development

ms.pat said...

There is still money out there. I've sold 3 large paintings this week with a large commission being negotiated right now. None of these sales were made on Ebay. I've had particular interest from people in the UK because the dollar is even weaker against the british pound (as one shopper told me your paintings are now a bargain for us). I find on Ebay there are few views and folks just put you on watch and then forget to come back and bid. The sell-thru rate (at least in the arts categories) is miserable! This leads me to believe that sellers have had it with manipulative searches and don't want to waste their time with this new way of listing...the buyers simply are not there on Ebay the way they were before! ....and yes, I believe they will eliminate stores in favor of forcing store items into core. In that respect this 35 cent 30 day deal is no deal at all...its yet another increase. Just my opinion.

Randy Smythe said...

Anonymous,

Yea, I am hearing the same thing, but they may not know until the 30-days are up whether their STR (Sell-thru Rate) was high enough to make the cost worth it.

The jury is still out.

nadine said...

Yes, if the revenues from FP30 aren't looking like enough to make their numbers, they will have to kill SIF to force people to pay the higher FP30 rates. Truth be told, having both FP and Store never made sense to me from the start. But since it's becoming clear even to Wall Street (always the last to know) that eBay is being run by the keystone cops these days (not a good sign when your CTO jumps ship in the midst of slew of massive format changes), people will do as little as possible to keep selling on ebay, and only what they see pays off in the short term. Because who knows what the long term will be?

Anonymous said...

Randy, I sell Clothing, Shoes & Accessories and I'm a Silver Power Seller. I spent over 50 hours getting my current listings ready for all of the eBay changes. Then on the big day (Sept 16th), I was ready to send all (1600) of my Store Inventory listings to FP30. I only use TurboLister to initially list my items, but once listed, I manage my listings with Selling Manager Pro. When I began to send my store items to FP30 I discovered that I couldn't because the "Item Specifics Have Changed" error message prevented me from doing so. I then had to "Revise" my items (without actually changing anything, but going thru 2 screens). Only then could I send the item to FP30. This had to be manually done one by one. I began the miserable task of "Revising and FP30 Listing", and did this for about 4 hours. Then eBay must have changed something, because all of a sudden, I was able to send to FP30 in bulk without the "Item Specific" error. I was now on my way to listing all 1600 Store items. Almost immediately, sales and activity started booming and haven't stopped. At this time I'm pleased with FP30, although I've seen my margine declilne on these new sales. The 15% FVF is pretty steep. Right now I have plenty of inventory between what I currently have listed and still to do. My goal is to sell what I have and bail out of eBay. That should be awhile, maybe through next year, but they (eBay) have put me through too much lately and it's not something I look forward to everyday. I just wanted to let you and your readers know what some of us have gone through. Thanks and keep up your good writing.

KenM

Anonymous said...

i havent even had more than 7 looks with FTP30, i have some new dvd box sets of current tv shows at 25%-35% less than buy.com, but no one can see them. if i pull them right now and put them on amazon they will all be gone within 2 days and at a better price. Plus Amazons bank transfers are lightning fast now, if i transfer tonight or tommorrow night, it wll be in my account monday or tuesday. eBay stock will be $5 after Q4.

PUT A FORK IN EBAY BECAUSE THEY ARE DONE!

Paul said...

We transferred 25% of our store items to core on this new deal. Not a massive number of items but still a good sample.

Results: We have a few people watching our listings and we took an offer of 50% of our asking price on one item.

Things do not look very hopeful right now. In fact, we're especially worried since the income we hoped for is very important to us, necessity income, not luxury income.

David said...

This is the problem with eBay. They put way too much stock into the "noise" and the message boards and ignore the sellers who are too busy making money to complain about the fee structure.

eBay is listening to the sellers that are making the most "noise".

Unsuccessful sellers that have crappy products that nobody wanted have complained for years about the up front fees. Instead of taking a hard look at their business, they cry about the fees.

Successful sellers that have high demand products are usually too busy managing their own business to make "noise". These sellers are working so hard that they have better things to do than cry in eBay message boards.

Now eBay is catering to the unsuccesful sellers, and screwing the succesful sellers by significantly boosting FVF's.

The new fees favor less succesful sellers. I think that's the problem.

I don't have a problem with stores in search for categories such as media but SIF sucks. I am a collector of musical instruments and every musical instrument that's in the SIF is priced at MSRP. They do that because the fees are so high.

I would hate to see eBay nolonger be the place to find deals and become cluttered with overpriced garbage.

Even the people at the musical instruments message boards I frequent such as the les paul forum, and harmony central are complaining about the new fees.

In short: If you have good products that people want, these fees suck.

If you have crappy products that nobody wants these fees are great.

Anonymous said...

My friend who is a titanium power seller thinks that this is going to kill off eBay. He thinks the market is going to be so flooded that nobody is going to make any money.

ms.pat said...

Right now, Medved is showing about an 18 percent STR for art. Are they all selling crappy products? That's one point I will never believe...sorry. My items are selling well - off-Ebay but not on Ebay! Truth is since Best Match and all the search manipulation went into effect - sales have dropped for a LOT of sellers. Seems for every success story you hear there are 10 others losing their shirt. Something stinks!

Anonymous said...

Best Match is killing Ebay. Friends of mine, who are NOT sellers say they hate the new search system. That tells me everything.

Anonymous said...

Well at least for now eBay isn't using the one-size-fits-all mentality. I am sure the new 30 day fixed price listing option is a very welcomed option.

However....it can't and won’t fit all sellers best marketing strategy. I know it will work great for some of my inventory but would be a disaster for others. As long as eBay is giving us more options and not eliminating them I feel it is moving forward

Randy Smythe said...

I agree, that having more options makes sense. It is just more to manage. Sellers should identify what product works best in what format, including SIF while it is still available.

David said...

Here's something I contacted Randy about.

I think lots of buyers don't like this whole "Best match" and have changed their defaults to "Time Ending Soonest".

If you do a 30 day fixed price and a certain segment prefers "time ending soonest", you are screwed!

sunk818 said...

Listed 2,500 items first day via eBay File Exchange. Cost me $875. I'm happy with results. I was hoping for FP30 to be $0.10, but I guess $0.35 will have to do. Its still too high, but I am getting results ... although the fees are still cutting into my profits more than I would like.

David said...

Randy, I still have my doubts about 30 day listings

Lets say I'm selling a guitar

If you are looking to buy this cool looking guitar in sea foam green, and the auction ends in 29 days and theirs a quantity of 80 of them, you might bookmark it and never come back, thinking it will be still be there in 28 days.

If the auction is ending in 12 hours and 6 people have bought one and there is only 1 left, you are more likely to "buy it now"

The only major change I see is the upfront fees are lower, and they've added

That's where Randy and I disagree. I think "Time Ending Soonest" is still a major factor in fixed price.

I think people view the "Time Ending Soonest" and "Time Newly Listed" auctions to see what's new and what is ending.

Fixed Price 30 days gives you minimal exposure on "Time Ending Soonest" and "Time Newly Listed"

Now common sense would tell you to launch several identical fixed price 30 day auctions, but eBay's killed that with finding 2.0

Anonymous said...

I am a gold powerseller and have had much success with the changes. I think ebay is headed in the right direction

Anonymous said...

This is a horrible change. Ebay must think sellers are idiots, 15 % commision on all fixed priced media dvds is horrible, I can't make money with that formula.

Also with there new "BEST MATCH" feature, a brand new ebay seller can get ahead of me inlistings because his DSRS are a tiny bit better then mine, absolute bs! Karma is a nice thing, Ebay will go down along with all of his corporate cronies!

nadine said...

david, when ebay 'opts me into' the new search experience, I find that my preferences are set to Best Match, and I can't change them. The menu that is supposed to let me change doesn't work most of the time. Does anybody else have this experience (I'm using IE7, so it's not the browswer)?

Anonymous said...

My wife was searching for cosmetics the other night. She couldn't figure out why shopping on eBay was such a horrible experience but it was due to "best match".

She finally declared that the items just weren't there anymore.
I kept my mouth shut and she ended up shopping elsewhere.

I think of my silence this way, it directed her to a better buying experience. Leaving eBay victoriously!

Anonymous said...

Many of my fixed price items sell the last day of the listing. I am concerned that sales will drop with a 30 day listing because of the number of buyers that buy on the last day of fixed price listings.

David said...

I disagree that eBay hasn't done enough to get the word out.

Besides the fact that their has been tons of media attention, they called me every single morning for a week to tell me the news.

The one thing I do find interesting though is that they seemed to do a better job breaking the news that "Sellers can nolonger leave negative feedback" than they did with the new fee structure.

Miss Understanding said...

Well, it looks like Eric Shoup head of ebay/prostores is leaving for greener pastures. Randy care to comment? Looks like the plan to get rid of stores is in the works. Maybe ebay is also going to throw in the towel on pro-stores, or launch it into a completely seperate entity?

Randy Smythe said...

Miss Understanding,

They have already ended SIF (Store Inventory Format) on the UK site and I would guess that come Q1 od 2009 they will do the same in the US. They will still keep stores as a collection point but more than likely they will end SIF

Anonymous said...

Randy,

I know you've already addressed the issue, but I'm seeing more conflicting information about whether fixed-price single-item listings are or are not eligible for the free relist credit.

According to the Help page on fees (http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/fees.html), fixed-price listings are not eligible for relist credit, however, the information page on relists (http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/relist.html) states that single-item fixed-price listings ARE ELIGIBLE for relist credit.

I assumed that eBay just hadn't gotten around to updating the relist credit info page to exclude fixed-price listings, but then I noticed that all of the fixed-price listings (single-item) I started on September 16 are showing up in my "Eligible for Relist Fee Credit" folder in My eBay. It made me wonder if the mistake was not eBay failing to update the relist info page, but that the fees page should read "multiple-item fixed-price listings" are not eligible.

Relist eligibility obviously plays a major role in our listing strategy so I'm tentative to list anything while this issue is up in the air. I have the question in to our TSAM but you seem to be able to get questions answered more quickly and accurately.

Anonymous said...

Some people are just never happy.

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