Category: New ebay policies and rules

Ebay FAV Double Discounts on Oct 14th – How much can you save?

There’s one thing ebay rules are changing for the better these days. Companies who give great customer service, have great DSR stars and have above average feedback scores will be greatly rewarded with discounts coming in mid October 2008. What does this mean for those who qualify? HUGE discounts (double) in FAV fees that can help your bottom line!

First of all, for those who are so upset with the policy changes this year should really reconsider their operations. Many are saying that reaching 15%-20% off is close to impossible and I was one of them. We are in a cut throat category with lots of competition dealing with used, refurbished and new electronics. Things happen with electronics and you can even experience a 5% defect rate buying directly from manufactures with brand new items.  Currently we qualify for 15% off and our DSR stars are rising to where 20% off is not an impossible reality.

Starting October 14th, Ebay will give double your FAV discount located in your seller dashboard for those who offer free shipping on their items. For those with 5%-%20, this can mean hundreds if not thousands of dollars in savings per month off your bill.

Example: Previous to ebays fee structure change, we were spending $2.50 to list a single item that was $39.99 with some listing upgrades and paying $3.80 for each item that sold totaling $6.30 per item that sold. Now ebay has given us a free gallery image and a free subtitle (with free shipping) reducing this cost by about $.75 cents.

Now, the FAV fee without any discounts is $6.60! That’s a HUGE increase from $3.80. But take into consideration that the insertion fee is now only 35 cents, reducing the front end fee by $2.15 cents per item. With a 15% discount, doubling this so 30% because we offer free shipping on the item, we will only pay $4.62 cents per successful listing saving $1.68 per item from their fee structure before the increase and discounts were announced. Times this by 10 per day and 30 days per month, this one specific line item will save us $504 per month. Now times this by your top 10 line items and you’re sure to save thousands a month, only paying for successful auction with the ebays new successful based pricing tiers.

My take on Ebay’s move: It’s very simple. They want to separate GREAT sellers from average and below average sellers. The thing is, even those who “boycot” ebay or are leaving really make little to no impact on ebays bottom line in most categories.

Example: We monitored a close competitor that was selling the same item as we were. His feedback was 98.2% and was obviously paying squaretrade $10 per negative feedback to be removed. When ebay made the feedback changes, he dropped below 98% (went down to 97.2%) and lost his powerseller status and 2 months later was NARU. (No Longer a Registered User). Does ebay miss his sales? Not really, our sales almost doubled on this item because the buyers were still there! The new rules simply made it harder for someone who did not take care of their customers shut down and threw the sales to someone who did resulting in nearly identical sales being purchased, just spread across fewer sellers.

Also, because the sales are shifting towards a company who offers customer support, longer warranty periods, faster shipping and a great product etc …the buyer will be more likely to revisit ebay because of the buying experience that they had, and hopefully be a return customer of the seller who offered them a prestine buying experience.

Conclusion: It will probably take several months into 09′, but ebay is moving towards Amazonification where just not everyone is allowed to sell on ebay. Those top merchants will be rewarded with search standard exposure rates in the core, double discounts in fees and repeat/more buyers for those with the total buying experience. When someone gets ripped off or even encounters a simple error in their buying experience they hold ebay accountable not the seller. They flock off the ebay to buy elsewhere resulting in less sales potential for legit sellers and then no one gets the sale.

Tip: Take care of your customers. Phone support, email support, clearly stating your return policy and abide  by it 100% if there’s a problem. Get your DSR stars, feedback etc up NOW because those who have done this even before the changes are reaping the benefits in success ratios and increases in sales.

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Fixed Price 30 (FP30) vs Good Till Canceled (GTC)

I was a bit unsure about the differences between Fixed Price 30 and Good Til’ Canceled and how it would effect velocity with your listings so I decided to shoot a call to the powerseller hot-line. In a brief summary, the differences are both obvious but can drastically change velocity and rankings within ebay’s core search results.

 

This blog article received so many hits so It’s moved over to my official blog. Please follow this link to catch up on all your good till cancelled vs fixed price 30 auction listing duration items. And lets get making that money!

Ebay getting rid of Skype? Selling to Google?

Skype was bought by ebay nearly 3 years ago but has since then failed to implement a real advantage within ebay’s core. Ebay saw Skype as a daily function for users to manage customer contacts, answering questions and pre and post sale concerns. However, sellers and buyers have failed to take advantage of this feature within their listings.

CEo John Donahue said to the Financial Times

“What we’re testing this year are the synergies,” Mr Donahoe told the Financial Times this week after Ebay reported its latest earnings. “If the synergies are strong, we’ll keep it in our portfolio. If not, we’ll reassess it.” That could lead to the disposal of the business, he indicated.

This news comes after Skype reported strong Q1 revenue up to $162 million dollars, a 61% increase from the previous year. This year it’s expected Skype will generate $500 million and be profitable. This may lead ebay to sell the VoIP company with the hopes of having a money making buyout. Rumor talks point to Google.com, who would more likely be able to find a better use for it’s services if Ebay users do not hop on the waggon in the next 8 months.

We do not comment on market rumor or speculation regarding acquisitions, Generally speaking we are constantly in discussions about potential partnerships in cases that will be mutually beneficial for users, advertisers, and publishers. – Spokesman for Google

The reasons for the service not being a match on ebay are numerous. Sellers contribute that software advances in auto-answering services and advanced platforms to handle customer service management leave little need for the service. Also many larger sellers that previously used the platform have choosen to host toll free phone lines with other VoIP companies. Every buyer or seller has a phone number when they need to get in touch, but not everyone has a Skype account loaded with cash.

Ebay Live Chicago 2008 – Where are all the participants?

I was pretty surprised by this video. I will admit, Ebay Live Chicago 2008 did seem a bit dead this year. I also noticed vendors brought less employees from the past. Networking is usually a great part of Ebay Live but this years attendance numbers were so low this was very hard. Check out this short clip from a top view of how dead the traffic was! I will say, this was taken at the end of the day when things were winding down and when lots of the seminars were being given but the traffic wasn’t much larger during the peak hours.

Ebay Sellers gets vocal at Ebay Live Chicago 2008

Ebay Live at Chicago this year was a bit dissapointing. For it being my first time going, I was expecting more and felt like I was at geared towards beginners. One guy showed his frustration at one of the siminars and makes for a great video. Where was security?

Ebay Scammers on Judge Judy

Was looking around you tube killing some time and I found a funny ebay video. Aparently two women from Orlando bought two cell phones but were scammed by another woman and her husband for sending two pictures of cell phones. The scammers even admitted to going on a shipping spre with the extra cash. Personally, I think Judge Judy needs to be in charge of the fraud department for ebay and paypal.

Ebay’s Sept. 20th Announcment Re-Cap on Policy Changes

  • Recent sales of multi-quantity listings
  • Reasonable and free shipping – Mainly for the media category.
  • Significant Incentives for free shipping – increased visibility, free subtitle and double FAV fee discount. (Changes made October 1st)
  • No Money Orders or Checks – Must use paypal or propay for easy checkout experience
  • Sellers Must have 4.3 DSR stars to sell on ebay after October 1st

  • Moving to successful based pricing – Low insertion fees for those selling “like” items over and over. Really important that they consolidate their listings with multi quantity listings. As people buy, listing will be rewarded with more exposure and savings on fees.
  • Now that time ending soonest is not a factor in Best Match, 30 day FP makes sense to keep up for as long as possible.
  • A good time to move Ebay Store inventory to FP30 listings
  • No changes to auction style fees
  • Ebay’s take on Best Practices to improve DSR ratings
  • Communication DSR – Communicate post sale with tracking, thank them for the purchase and handle any post sales concerns.
  • Leave positive Feedback after you have accepted payment! Not after they’ve left it. Builds communication early and gives a positive tone.
  • By October 5th, revise shipping cost to market average or free shipping
  • Specify return policy on all templates in ebays format, not just in your listing template.

Questions and Answers:

1) Why did you increase the FAV in media category compared to other categories?

Drastically reduce upfront fees. If you use the catalogue you only pay 5 cents.

2) How is ebay educating buyers on DSR and feedback comments and remarks?

New format for leaving feedback asking buyer if they have tried to resolve and leave accurate feedback.

3) What happens if the shipping calculator shows a higher price than the average cost in my cateogory?

If item is heavier, mult-quantity use flat rate shipping at or below the shipping cap.

4) Why have you required Paypal and electronic payment?

We are offering more options and it gives more visibility when you offer these options. In the future we will integrate 3rd party and other applications in the checkout process as an alternative method. Propay is also an option and is competitive.

5) Will the recent sales carry over when I relist my item?

Yes

6) Whats the future of stores if you want me to move my items to FP30?

Still important, you’re able to drive more traffic by offering them on the core results. Stores are still important for internal traffic transfer of similar items and getting customers once in your listing to go to your store. Most traffic to stores comes from clicking within the auctions.

7) Will auctions and BIN rotate in the core results?

Ebay is using “intermingle” as their term. They will be rotated but be specific for trends with DSR, past sales and maximum exposure for increase sales price and turn over percentage.

8) I heard that the Uk is going to get rid of stores. Does that mean it will be gone in the USA as well?

It will not be removed in the Uk and the USA and we think it’s very important in both markets.

9) Some sellers are listing ipods in flower category to avoid FAV fees. What are you doing to address this?

These listings will take advantage of relevancy policies. They will get a negative mark and receive less exposure.

10) When is ebay express closing?

Ebay express will close on September 18th.

11) When you integrate merchant Credit Card options in the checkout, will the credit card information be transferred to the sellers?

Yes

12) Will the credit card integration be available to Canadian’s in January.

Probably not, but looking for options.

13) International orders have concerns for DSR stars with shipping and transit times. What steps are you making to set realistic expectations for buyers with Shipping and Handling DSR stars?

We will reinforce longer transit times and buyers should as well. Let the buyers know realistic transit time, leave feedback when checkout is complete and not only let them know how long it will take to ship, but highlight how long it took you to get it out the door and offer to stay in constant contact after the sale.

14) Will setting “Standard Flat Rate Shipping” count as offering a shipping option?

Yes

15) Are pre-orders still valid?

Yes up to 30 days. Nothing has changed.

There seemed to be alot more questions on media, feedback DSR abuse by buyers and other questions that revolved around the above. What I took away is sellers need to communicate, specify shipping options and realistic expectations and optimizing listings for the new format. Most of these questions came from the message boards and even after this announcement video the vibe is that even with ebay’s explanations, members are still frustrated with the changes.

You can listing/view this entire macromedia flash session here.

Are Ebays Policy Changes Worth it?

There comes a time for all to seriously consider what it would be like if they didn’t sell on Ebay. For some, it would mean the end of business. For others, it might be the best decision you ever made. Ebay’s consistent and “for the better” changes in 2008 have left sellers using lots more resources to try and achieve the same margins as they were used to.

The plain of the fact is that all these rules are geared at long term changes within their marketplace.

  • Feedback – I just checked our feedback and the results are black and white. Out of a toolhaus feedback search, 48/56 negative feedbacks have come from users with under 50 feedbacks. Of the 48 who left feedback, half were new users within the last year or so with under 10 feedbacks. That’s 85% of negative feedback is from this trend. The others who left negative feedback were varied (ill call it ebay experience).

This type of ratio shows a real problem where these new buyers have unrealistic expectations in the buying process. Many leave negative feedbacks because the item was lost in the mail (and they declined shipping insurance), failed to read the full item description for something that was spelled out in the clear and have fail to abide by your return policy that they accepted. It just seems those veterans who have have bought or sold in any quantity from the first days realize they can take advantage of a good customer service department without throwing in the towel and neggin someone. — Especially for those company’s who truly pride them selves in customer service and would of made the customer happy.

  • For volume sellers or those who make a living on ebay, the changes have hurt their business in one way or another. Weather it’s fees, feedback, search standard etc …the changes have effected a large portion of sellers to some extent.  To alot of sellers, spending lots of resources on man-power or new internal processes to implement the new changes can be very time consuming and costly. The big thing is we haven’t seen any REAL changes yet – only suggestions with the promise that a better market place awaits us. This has left many companies frustrated with the lack of an inconsistent marketplace.

Scot wingo, CEO of Channeladvisor had a very good perspective on this fatigue at his blog.

Part of what’s going on with the seller base is, for lack of a better word, eBay fatigue.  Sellers feel their businesses have changes so much (DSRs, BestMatch, etc..)  for so little/no/decline in sales that eBay is increasingly becoming a lower priority for them and thus they will tend to be reactive vs. proactive as they would have been as recently as 6 months ago.  To be honest, most of our larger sellers are spending their time getting their websites and other channels ready for the holidays and eBay just isn’t a priority.  Of course this doesn’t bode well for eBay, but it’s the reality of what is going on in the grassroots of e-commerce.

These comments hit home for many sellers who feel they should be able to market their product and the customer will decide on price, reputation, transit-time and customer service.  Ebay now feels like a mathematical equation that requires a MBA in Amazonification to sell sell sell when they feel their business is reputable and legit.

Without a doubt, E-bay’s changes have and will change the way we do business on the giant. For now, it seems like a struggle to keep up and myself and other sellers are reluctantly putting our faith in ebay to see things on the upswing in the near future.  Hang on for the ride if you so dare!

Ebay Fee Changes – September 16th 2008

Ebay has drastically lowered listing fees across the board for Fixed-Price listings. The great thing is that for most categories, the fee is just .35 cents regardless of the start price or how many pieces you have within each listing. (Mainly used for Dutch Listings).

Insertion Fees will be just 15¢ for Fixed Price listings in Books, Music, DVDs & Movies and Video Games categories—and for the holidays, starting September 16 and through the end of the year, just 5¢ when you use pre-filled item information. Now you can list more of your inventory with less upfront cost. We’re also offering 30-day duration for no extra cost—that’s 4 times the exposure for about a penny a day!

The 5 cents for using prefilled information strongly suggest that these changes are being made so that inventory across ebay can be categorized within their catalogue. One more step towards Amazonification for sure! But don’t let these discounts fool you, some Final Auction Value fees have gone up! However this should allow people to list more freely and not be scared away by unsuccessful fees and be charged more when your item actually sells.

Basic Fee Structure if you are not in one of the categories that has an adjustment (Electronics, DVD’s and clothing)

For many sellers with success ratios under 50%, this could be a sign of relief from the staggering fees were used to paying before. For me personally and the margins im used to I wouldnt mind paying more on the post sale with FAV fee and worry less about over listing and paying money for items that do not move! Those will less margins this probably will counteract and could increase your fees by a SMALL margin!

For a full description of these fee changes you can visit ebays announcment board on fees.

Fixed Price 30 and Good Til Canceled Explained

Today is one of those days I just really regret. With Ebay’s new policies and FP 30 going into effect about 12 hours ago, I am having to change 270 templates to reflect a Fixed Price 30 duration if the quantity and success ratio represents a case for this listing type. One thing I was confused about was the “Good Til Canceled” feature in addition with Fixed Price 30.I called our Powerseller representative and she clarified what Good Til Canceled means for your auctions.

Basically, if you set a 30 day duration it will list the item for 30 days and then END. I highly suggest this for right now as no one really knows how well these Fixed Price 30’s will work.

If you select Good Til Canceled, this is the same as listing a 30 day duration listing but will re list after it is finished and carry over your “Velocity”. This is very important for those who have consistent large lots of stock. If your listing was highly successful, Good Til Canceled is a great feature that requires no relisting strategies till your inventory reaches a certain level.

Also remember that it will RECHARGE you the fees. This is why I called because I am spending the $100 for the new featured 30 day auction. To date, I am not sure how these will go and if it’s worth the money. I only assigned them to our top sellers or consistant movers. In doing so I put them all on 30 day durations and if t hey are successful I will go back and change them to Good til Canceled. This might not seem like a big deal but after a months time I would forget to back and check the sales for these listing upgrades and wouldnt want to incur the $100 fee if the listing broke even or lost money.

You can change your auction from 30 Day Fixed price to Good Til Canceled in your templates but not as an active listing. I was also told by our powerseller represenative that choosing Good TIl Cancelled will also give your listing the best chance of carrying over the velocity that it earned from the previous listing to the new one. She explained that after a certain amount of days pass without a relist, you could potentially lose all of the velocity your FP30 listing had so keep on top of these during the next 30 days.

Major Updates to finding about FP30 and GTC on a more recent post!