Monday, April 21, 2008

How's Business?

Ina Steiner's Auctionbytes Blog has a post up discussing sales volume. I enjoy Auctionbytes, it is a very useful source of information; not much in the e-auction world gets past Ina and it saves a lot of time.

There are quite a few responses. I usually respond too but mine turned into a blog post so it is here.

Background: That was then

I joined eBay in October 1999. My first purchase was a creamer, that seller is still registered on eBay but has no items for sale. I bought 108 items over 8-1/2 years, that translates on average four items a month on that ID. When I started selling I bought almost all my shipping supplies etc. on eBay on my sales ID. When I bought the B&M building in SD in 2006 I bought duplicate supplies (scales, computer etc.) for that location, all on eBay. My last purchase was February 15th. Between 2004 - 2006 my average monthly eBay bill (not purchases) was $475.

and Now

The last big ticket item I listed, after the boycott, did not even appear in a search on the exact title for five days! Using Best Match and three words from the title it was not in the first five pages the day it ended. The only views it got were mine and its maker, you can see it here. It is a unique item.

I had planned to list on eBay after the first boycott from the end of February through the end of April. My experience with the quilt made me realize it was pointless. Historically eBay has been the venue with highest traffic, but with Best Match that is no longer valid.

I blame a combination of Detailed Seller Ratings and Best Match. I had a buyer who wanted a refund on one item. This is not a problem; I have always offered 100% satisfaction guarantee. Not unreasonably I do require the item be returned in resalable condition. This nice lady did not want to return the item so she gave me DSR scores of 1 on every star, dropping my overall score below acceptable levels.


Is my experience unique to me?

Not according to what I read on the boards. Posts are running 9:1 business decline versus increase. Seller after seller cites less traffic and lower Average Sales Price, on eBay.

Many sellers who have opened new sales channels are getting higher sell through off eBay. This would seem to indicate that declining sales and lower ASP on eBay should not be attributed solely to the economy. In a slowing economy sales of quality used clothing usually rise, yet a PowerSeller of used women's clothing with excellent prices and feedback reports her sales declined 40% from the same period last year. Most Sellers blame Best Match or to use Bayspeak 'Finding' is not successful.


Featured Fixed Price listings

are no longer featured. Sellers report that the $29.00 fee for this service does not guarantee you will get what you are paying for. This is standard on eBay today. Any Seller paying a basic fee to list an item should have a reasonable expectation to receive equal exposure with all other items paying the same basic fee. I predict this single issue will drive more Sellers off eBay in the next few months than any other.

Successful Sellers, those who keep books and end the year with black ink know that the keys to avoiding red ink are:

Give customers value for their money,
excellent service,
communicate,
show each customer that you care.

eBay Really Really Cares About YOU

Here is how they are showing IT

PowerSellers rank among the most successful eBay sellers in terms of sales volume and customer satisfaction, and I'm excited to recognize their contributions to the marketplace through this promotion.


And I would like to sell you a lovely bridge which I received as an inheritance. You can pay me by Western Union!

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Next post . . . The BIG picture! Y'all come back, and be sure to click VICTORIOUSLY on any interesting links in the sidebar!

1 comment:

The Harmony Collection said...

*nodding vigorously* in agreement