Thursday, February 12, 2009

Half.com Comes to eBay!


I started hearing rumblings of changes coming to eBay's media category, during the summer of 2008, those changes are now live on the site and all I have to say is... they just turned eBay Media into half.com.
  1. Listings grouped by item condition
    Brand New, Like New, Very Good, Good, and Acceptable. I like this idea because I sell used product but if you are not in the top 4-5 items in a search you might as well kiss sales goodbye. If they go to free listings (I think they will) at least you won't lose money listing stuff that won't be seen.
  2. Standout with Sub-title
    Sub-title is now prominently displayed on the left had side of the screen, so make sure to use it to draw attention tom your listing
  3. Best value box 
    "Best Value" box shows 1 item representing the best value for the buyer. The item is selected via Best Match, considering total price (including shipping) and the seller’s track record—seller’s search standing must be "Raised". This is eBay's version of Amazon's Buy Box but they I don't trust eBay to select the "Best Match" let alone the "Best Value" My first search had a "used good" item in the Best Value box but you didn't know that until you clicked on the listing itself.
  4. Formats mixed
    Buyers see a mix of Best Match Auction-style and Fixed Price listings. They are only showing 4-5 items per condition so the buyers choices are limited. Used items are most likely to be auctioned so auctions should dominate the items displayed in search.
  5. Shipping revealed
    Buyers see shipping charges right up front. 
Media sellers should be watching things closely over the next couple of weeks as this new sort display takes hold. Remember you are still paying listing fee's (even if only 5 cents) but if you don't get into the top 4-5 items for your condition you will probably never be seen.

Certain sellers will dominate the "New" media category now, but used items will get more prominence and be easier to find. 

Some observations
  • This move effectively kills the SIF (Store Inventory Format) format in media -- it was on life-support anyway. 
  • If you are smart and have raised standing you can dominate the media category for your sku's. A lot of sellers will see their sales drop substantially. eBay needs to repeal listing fees on media items immediately.
  • This is a very good move for sellers who sell used items and opens the door for improved bids on auctions if you can get raised standing in search.
  • It will take some time to sort this all out, but it looks like it will soon be feast or famine for ebay media sellers.

Just my 15%

8 comments:

Mitzi said...

Hey Randy, I'm a little confused, I'm only seeing something that looks like the new format results if I search for a specific ISBN, if I search for a general book, like "Hull Pottery Book" the results have 5 books across the top, then the normal list of results below. When you click one of the 5 top books, it takes you to the new results page.

Makes it hard to figure out the best way to approach things, any tips?

Randy Smythe said...

Hi Mitzi,

It is confusing because every buyer searches in a different way.

Because the Matching Products is so prominently displayed at the top on the search page, my guess is over time buyers will get used to clicking on that, especially if they like the new display but not everybody will search that way.

Seller's may optimize their listings for that display and mis out on the buyers who look at the traditional list.

If you are raised in search and have low prices though you will probably show-up high enough in both displays

garth said...

Ever since 2001 eBay has been itching to axe half.com. Good for them they finally did it. Although they should have just let it be and it would have continued to thrive.

Randy Smythe said...

Garth,

It looks like Half.com will still continue, they just updated the eBay display to mimic half.com

Half is not growing but it is very profitable.

Who knows, maybe one day eBay will shut half down, just not yet.

BMX said...

Kind of defeats the purpose of 'free gallery' listings.

Anonymous said...

The choice of selection, Parachutes, was interesting. Do you think they have Flushed Away ?

Bob said...

It also looks very similar to Ebay Express, as well as the Half.com format.

My gut instinct is that it won't really improve ebay's overall media catagory GMV in the long wrong. Sales will simply shift from seller A to seller B.

Best Match as default search is a bust, a year from now will ebay really be doing any better? I don't see it coming...

Hillary said...

Maybe I am playing the old eBay game differently than everyone else but when I priced it out, it was still cheaper for me to list my Media in eBay format so if they show in the same place, why would I use Half.com over listing on eBay?

Also, a lot of how we sell store inventory is by sending people there through auctions so Half.com listings aren't going to help us there either.

To me, this is all good news. If you like listing on Half.com, you get better exposure. If you like listing on eBay better (or it is cheaper, as it is for us) then nothing really changed for you.

In the end, the more selection buyers have, the more likely they will come back to shop so I welcome this in the long run.