Monday, September 08, 2008

What Are Your eBay Plans this 4th Quarter?

eBay sellers are only 8 days away from the new fee structure and there is huge concern regarding the new 30-day Fixed Price listings and how they will be displayed in search. Add to this the speculation about a raft of large sellers coming to the site in Oct. and you can imagine the fear gripping regular eBay sellers who make their living on eBay.

What are you planning to do this 4th Quarter? 
  • Are you curtailing your eBay listings and moving inventory to other sites?
  • Are you shutting down your eBay business and going back to the weekend flea markets and swap meets?
  • Are you just plain quitting selling online?
  • Are you increasing you eBay listings because of the new lower insertion fees?
  • Are you just trying to survive the quarter in hope that the changes will be positive?
  • Many of you can't just leave, how are you coping?
I can't imagine trying to plan your business around eBay this 4th quarter; there is so much uncertainty.

Please use the comments section to tell me what you are thinking. If nothing else, it will help you get it off your chest and may help others to know they are not alone. If you see positives in the changes then let me know that as well -- It doesn't all have to be gloom and doom.

Just my 15%

25 comments:

Mitzi said...

Hi Randy, yes the uncertainty is driving me crazy! I sell vintage collectibles so the large sellers coming on site probably won't affect me much. I am more interested to see what happens with the new FP30 flood of listings!

I am also worried about my eBay store. To move all my items out to FP30 would cost way more than what I pay in listing fees now, and I think eBay knows that - so I wouldn't be surprised if they eliminated the stores format all together.

I am going to back up my store listings on BuyItSellIt, as a "just in case" measure.

Cliff Aliperti said...

Mitzi--

How is the BuyItSellIt store? I've been talking up Inkfrog lately and decided to take a look at the stores last night--didn't get there yet, but with what they're doing w/IF 2.0 I thought maybe they'd be worth a look. Are they?

At least the price is right.

Randy--

I'm sprucing up my listings since I have to edit them all (again!) anyway. Also working some shipping deals into the equation, but would prefer for 9/16 to get here already so I can execute the "Free" shipping parts of my plan.

Like Mitzi, and you know this, I'm vintage collectibles, so I'm hoping this turns out to be a personal positive. Of course, the best positive of all would be for eBay to somehow enter a positive PR cycle and start bringing in some new buyers.

As for FP, I've worked out the # of listings I have and costs of moving everything for $X and over to FP (and then $X + $1; $X + 2, etc.). I've been running 150-200 FP per week since January, I figure on bumping that to 800-1,200 items. If sales are there I'll gladly pay more in net FVF and then move more...there's not much of a quantity count on any of my specific items, so I figure the FP move should increase sales. But, we'll see.

[Of course there's also the problem of eBay messing with Item Specs, making it impossible to transfer Store to FP, at least in my categories. That's going to make the transition slower for me.]

The last couple of weeks have not been good for sales. What has sold has been the $5 junk rather than my better stuff in the $15-$20 and up range. Since so many sellers are such good buyers, I'm hoping this is a calm before a buying storm. Again, we'll see.

Thanks for the post,
Cliff

Mitzi said...

Hey Cliff, I like BISI so far, I have my store set up and have been working on how my categories are going to be. I looked at eCrater also, but decided I liked the look/feel of BISI better - plus no feedback to worry about! :)

Randy Smythe said...

Mitzi,

I think the uncertainty is what most sellers are feeling. I'm hopeful the changes work just like Cliff is.

Cliff,

My suggestion is to not over-commit to 30-day FP until you get a feel for how it is working.

Henrietta said...

I am a boycotter so am able to watch this debacle from a position where I am in control of my business.

I don't see the advantage of 30FP over SIF for any seller who does not have multiple quantity product.

My prediction is Stores monthly subscriptions will increase significantly with substantial IF discounts for higher level stores.

I built my website after the SIS reversal in 06 and business has been building slowly but steadily there.

For added exposure I have listings on Bonanzle.com which is only just out of beta but vibrant and moving up in the Alexa ratings (from 1,857,292 on August 2nd to 428,781 on September 7th 2008).

I have had more sales on Bonanzle than any other venue since February, other than my website that is.

No Bonanzle is probably not ready for JayandMarie at this point but for the niche seller it is a solution to the stresses of trying to do business in the quicksands of eBay.

Randy Smythe said...

Henrietta,

I registered with Bonanzle over the weekend to check things out. I love the idea of the Bonanza'a and it does have some of the community aspects that were there at the beginning of eBay with some nice Web. 2.0 touches. Looks like the inventory and users are growing on the site as well.

I'll look at it more closely in the next week or so and then do a post on it.

Mitzi said...

Hmmm, I will check out Bonanzle also - they have the eBay importing option which would save me a TON of time moving listings! Thanks for the heads up Henrietta!

Cliff Aliperti said...

Mitzi--

I was going to ask you about eBay import. BuyItSellIt? Have it?

Henrietta--

I've been bad at Bonanzle, I need to go in and clear any listings that sold on eBay. Trying to figure if I should take an hour and scroll through them all individually, or risk pissing the guys off, doing a bulk delete and another bulk add from eBay.

I definitely want to clean up and schedule another Bonanze though, as there are another 700-800 users since my first!

Randy--

eBay is de facto forcing me to move slow due to the Item Specs problem I've been whining about. Like I've said, I suspect they worked this little change so the Red Sea doesn't close over them come 9/16

Thanks all,
Cliff

Mitzi said...

I don't think BISI has an importer, but they do have a button you can add to your store that will link to your eBay items.

Cliff Aliperti said...

Thanks Mitzi. Just one more thing for me to check out during downtime in the wee hours of the night! Hopefully it's a fit, like I said, price is right (which is the scary part!)

Anonymous said...

If Ebay's glut the core plan fails, then Bonanzle and other venues might see a huge increase. That could just be a really good thing.

A lot of people listen to you, Ina, Brews, Henrietta and others, maybe you guys could help direct a big flow to a new site???

Ebay doesn't want the small seller. It's pretty clear.

Dave W said...

Randy

I have seen reports of a planned exodus of sellers from eBay on Oct 1. Have you heard any such rumors?

Anonymous said...

i've been dragging all of the items, (vintage toys/paintings/classic surf items) i used to sell on eBay out to the swaps. the problem is their are far fewer buyers at all the major southern cal swaps, the combination of the gas rise and the eBay collapse has significantly changed the dynamics of the flea and swaps. the pcc flea market in pasadena has significantly less foot traffic than it did a year ago. i used to do $500 to 600 at pcc in my first few hours, now i'm lucky to do $200 in 8 hours and i have the same items as always. long beach veterans has been dismal for the last 6 months, even the people from oc with disposable income have not been buying.

Robyn said...

The heightened uncertainty is certainly nerve-wracking! The abysmal sell-through at eBay is a major problem.

That said, eBay is still one of the two the biggest and best known games in town. And I sell in a closed category so Amazon doesn't want to play with me.

So, I do need to ride it out. I will do a normal amount of listing (all my items are FP anyway) and see how it goes. And hope that my next application to Amazon will let me in!

My back-end provider does not sync with any other venues other than eBay, Overstock and Amazon. The idea of trying to manage inventory for new selling sites (while updating my my own websites and launching new ones for niche products) is simply too daunting for this one-woman show. I've got too many balls in the air as it is. :)

Randy Smythe said...

Dave, W. I don't think that anything planned will work. Trying to get independent sellers to join forces is tough, at least enough to make an impact.

I haven't heard anything either.

Anonymous,

Yeah, that is the double whammy with those who are trying to liquidate their inventory at the swap meets etc. Gas prices will keep buyers away.

ms.pat said...

I've kind of disqualified myself from ebay's games - at least for awhile. My last auction ends tomorrow and then that's it. I've finally accepted the fact sales are just NOT going to be what they were last year. I'm trying Overstock again and Etsy of course and a few other new ones like Bonangle. At this point, they can't possibly be any worse. There have been no sales for me in Ebay's art categories lately so I have nothing to lose except a lot of useless stress. ;-)

Rich said...

I'll wait a month or so to see how others are doing. By then it will have been 7 months since I listed anything.

Before the said month is up they will have done something else real stupid.

Rich said...

I registered at Bonanzle also.

a_luddite said...

for the 4th quarter on ebay we're going to try out 200-300 media items to see how it works. if it works well maybe we'll try to increase it to 500 items (and have amazon FBA ship some for us since its too hard to maintain 2 warehouses.

its a shame ebay increased their prices to be higher than amazon; i was just getting to like their lower than amazon FVF. as media sellers the 30 day no qty limit listings are great but i'm sure the duplication of large vendors selling the same items might be hard to get our listings seen...

the bottom line is that after going from 100% ebay in 1997 to 1% in 2007 we started rebuilding ebay and as long as there are customers that shop ebay we'll do well, or at least that's how its worked out pre the big ebay big change

tula said...

I'm ramping up my sales on eBay, since my vintage items have started selling well recently. I'm not limiting myself, though. I'm listing on several other venues to try them out (eBid, ecrater, bonanzle, AtomicMall, my own web site). Later, I'll be listing some new niche items on all of the above, plus Amazon.

Basically, I need to see which venues will work out and which won't, but I'm still focusing most efforts on eBay, since I'm more established there than anywhere else. 4th quarter isn't the time for major business plan changes, anyway. I'll save that for 1st and 2nd quarters next year, after analyzing the 4th quarter performance of each venue.

Stefan said...

Don't worry about the 4th quarter everyone

If eBay has a bad Q4, and if you lose a bunch of money or your business goes under, maybe you can try to get the federal government to take control! ;)

Randy Smythe said...

Stefan,

Thanks for such a helpful idea :)

Anonymous said...

Fannie Bae ????

Henrietta said...

LOL @ Fannie Bae!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have had an ebay store for just a year, which has done well until this past summer. I would love some advice (I won't say "feedback":) from some seasoned sellers before my head explodes from thinking about the best move.
To date - I have 100%+ and great DSR, but recently lost my powerseller status due to low sales over the summer although I did nothing differently, and I fear the worst is yet to come.

I presently just sell on ebay, plus have my own website. I am considering moving all of my IF listings to FP,(some 30, others 7) as IF listings are not getting any exposure, (although miraculously what little sales I get these days comes from my store.) I plan on culling items that do not move (mostly because they cannot be found in a few glutted categories) and leave them on my own site. Only the very best sellers will remain. Any thoughts on this move before I wipe out my inventory?

Next step in the plan is to ditch the store altogether, as it has the same name and competes with my own site in google searches. I'm just basic, so unless somebody searches exactly the right item, my store never shows up. By the way, I'm good at keywords with average 25% click through on Adwords, so that's not the problem. I do sometimes drive traffic to my store with my sub-titles in auctions.

Like many of you, I am getting tired of spending so much time on ebay, trying to keep listings current with changes, and meanwhile neglecting my own site. Just want to streamline the whole thing to be less time-intensive, and less expensive with better ROI, even if sales aren't stellar. At this rate, there is no profit for me on ebay as so little sells these days, I feel as though I am beating my head against the wall trying to figure out why stuff that sold like crazy a few months ago now just sits there.

To store, or not to have a store -- that is the question ...

Any thoughts, O eBay elders? I can take it straight.
Much appreciated. LR