Friday, September 05, 2008
Will it be Feast or Famine for eBay Sellers in Q4!
I've written before, about the slowing buyer demand on eBay and that the changes being made do not directly target solving that problem. Instead, eBay appears to be trying to manage the decline, so that the share price doesn't take a major hit, kind of like constantly refilling a tire with a slow leak; at some point the tire will just give out.
As sellers prepare for the 4th quarter, there are many unknowns, especially with the new 30-day Fixed Price listings. Scot Wingo does a great job of explaining the challenges sellers are facing and making suggestions to help them formulate a Q4 strategy, in his most recent blog post.
One thing from Scot's post that stood out as a big concern was: "You may be asking: "why are sellers are so obsessed with this topic?". Since eBay started changing the finding experience with the introduction of BestMatch, sellers have lost more and more control over how their items show up. Buyers seem to no longer be going beyond the first page of results. The first page of results has 50 listings and sellers are limited to 10 items/page now so the BEST case is 20% coverage. The worst case is 0." (bold is mine)
If this is true, listings not on the first page of search results will have little to no exposure and since Fixed Price listings no longer use TES (Time Ending Soonest) in the Best Match sort, there is a real possibility of never showing up on the first page for the entire 30-days of your listing.
If you can find a way to get on the first page and stay there, you will still get sales, but if there is too much competition for a particular search; or your DSRs don't quite measure up; or you don't offer Free Shipping, there is a real likelihood you will never get on the first page.
Now one caveat to the scenario mentioned above, is the use of Auctions: Because eBay is still showing Auctions by TES (Time Ending Soonest) and has rolled back the de-duping of auction listings, the only way to guarantee that your listing will show-up on the first page, at least once during the 7-day listing period, is by listing the item as an auction. Even low DSR sellers will get that much exposure.
There is still a ton of business being done on eBay but it may actually be declining Y/Y, so sellers now will have to fight over those sales and for those that find the right strategy, they will thrive. Those that do not find the right mix will be left out in the cold.
Add the big guys, like Buy.com and others on their way and you add one more level of complexity for the average eBay seller.
So will this be feast or famine for eBay sellers? "You betcha!"
Just my 15%