This magazine is just one that we subscribe to in order to keep up to date with what's happening in the online world of retailing.
Today I want to share excerpts from a special article inside this magazine, while making comments inbetween paragraphs. Then I'll list the link that You can read the full article at:
"eBay tries a new tack"
Finally picking up speed, eBay is enticing merchants to list more inventory with lower rates and new shopper-friendly features - By Zak Stambor
Since taking over as CEO from Meg Whitman two years ago, John Donahoe has changed course several times, trying to put some wind into the sales of eBay Inc. Even as once-mighty eBay showed signs of finally getting back into the race, the captain made more significant course corrections this year.
Some of the changes aim to improve the sometimes confusing experience of shopping on eBay.com. And a new pricing schedule is designed to lure more merchants, including larger ones, to list lots of items at fixed price.
The theory is that more consumers will shop at eBay if they find a lot of deeply discounted items, and that requires making eBay a more attractive option for retailers, especially those seeking to dispose of excess and out-of-season items. EBay made similar changes in its fee structure in Europe in 2008 and doubled the number of listings on its sites in the United Kingdom and Germany, says Dinesh Lathi, eBay vice president of seller and buyer experience.
I can definitely vouch for all the changes that have been made in the last two years. As a buyer / seller on eBay since 1999, I had never seen so many changes, so many changes of course, and so many other eBay sellers become frustrated enough to actually post comments and blog their frustrations on eBay... Oh, did I say "blog"? eBay even started up their own blog format and then shut it down the end of October of 2009. We are still recovering from that!
"The desired impact"
The new fees likely will have the desired impact on OpticsPlanet Inc., which now lists more than 10,000 products on eBay. OpticsPlanet will save $4,400 a month under the new pricing plan, and that will lead it to offer many more products on eBay, says Andrew Mironov..."
“Not only will it be cheaper but those savings will allow us to expand our product offerings to see what works and doesn’t work on eBay,” Mironov says. The savings come because the retailer, after paying a $299.95 monthly Premium-level subscription fee, will be able to list each item for 3 cents, instead of 50 cents.
You'll notice that in order to pay the 3 cents for each listing an eBay Store owner would have to pay the $299.95 Anchor Store rent. Before this change a Store owner at Basic / Premium / Anchor Store level could pay the 3 cents up to a certain price point.
While the new prices benefit merchants with a lot of merchandise to sell, it could hurt smaller sellers who are likely to face stiffer competition from bigger merchants. And merchants that specialize in auction-format sales could see their fees go up.
The above is key to YOU, the small part time or small 'Basic Store' owner. Currently there are only 2 sellers on eBay that have over 100,000 comics listings on eBay. Click here to see the sellers with the most comics items. Please note: Our store 'Make It So Marketing / ComicBooksCircus.com is usually higher in the rankings, but we are revising our expired listings with our new logo and tweaking other things on the new 'fixed price' format eBay has changed to. As of this posting our store is listed on page 5 out of 678 pages of listings of comics sellers. That's a LOT of comics sellers!
But Donahoe recognizes eBay needs to become more than just a place to sell items gathering dust in the basement if it is to compete with the top online retailers, notably Amazon.com Inc., but also the new online marketplaces that giant retail chains Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Sears Holdings Corp. have added to their web sites in recent months.
Of late, Donahoe has taken to comparing eBay to the bricks-and-mortar warehouse clubs that have carved out a successful niche in offline discount retailing.
“If you take a look at the offline retailer world discount-market segment, look at Wal-Mart,” Donahoe told attendees at a conference this year organized by investment bank Goldman Sachs. “Costco is another winner in the offline retail segment. [They have a] slightly different business model. They co-exist very successfully with Wal-Mart.”
The above is exactly why there has been frustration on the part of smaller sellers of comics and other collectibles on eBay IMO. Notice the names of the companies mentioned in the above paragraphs, and then compare yourself, the small part-time seller of collectible on eBay, especially you comics sellers. Unless you are selling mostly brand new comics, how can you exist / compete in that type of online world that eBay has been 'evolving' to?!
Sales pick up
Donahoe finally can point to some evidence that the changes he’s made in course and crew since 2008 are showing results. The company’s Net Promoter score, a measure of the degree to which customers promote or disparage a site, improved from 61% in 2008 to 65% in 2009...(continued).
Some Wall Street analysts remain skeptical...(continued).
And eBay still must make a stronger case to consumers, says Colin Sebastian of Lazard Capital Markets. “There’s still some confusion among buyers about what eBay is useful for,” he says.
Evidence of that consumer ambivalence about eBay shows up in traffic statistics for 2009: while eBay was the most-visited retail site for much of the early part of the year, Amazon surged ahead in the crucial final four months of the year. In December, Amazon’s 66.47 million unique visitors were 30% greater than eBay’s total of 51.02 million, and Amazon’s December traffic grew 9% year over year, while eBay’s declined 11%, according to Nielsen Online, which tracks web traffic.
Wooing more consumers to eBay is the ultimate goal. To accomplish that, eBay implemented significant changes in two areas: revising the merchant pricing structure to broaden the selection on eBay, and taking steps to address shortcomings in the consumer experience.
The above definitely reflects what has gone wrong with eBay in the last two years. We couldn't keep up with all of the changes ourselves, and thus usually kept about 5,000 listings up at any one time, versus the 7,500 listings level we had reached. Plus with the lower level of visitors to our eBay site, we cut back accordingly.
A new pricing plan
The fee changes, which were to take effect March 30, somewhat simplify the complex price options available to merchants selling on eBay. The changes reflect eBay’s attempt to appeal to two distinct types of sellers—professional merchants who generally use the site’s fixed- price format and hobbyists who are more likely to use its auction feature—on its online marketplace, says Scot Wingo, CEO of ChannelAdvisor Corp., which provides technology and services that help retailers sell through eBay and other online channels.
EBay is raising the cost to insert any fixed-price item from 15 cents (for a book, music, DVD, movie or video game) or 35 cents (for everything else) to 50 cents...(continued).
But just because Beadaholique will have more listings on eBay, Bellomo and his partner Sarah Diamond aren’t sure that its sales will increase. In fact, Diamond says that the fee changes may encourage Beadaholique competitors that don’t now sell on eBay to begin, and those that already sell on eBay to add more listings. “With more items on eBay, I’m concerned we might actually sell even fewer items,” Diamond says.
But competition is exactly what eBay wants, says eBay’s Lathi. “Competition is healthy for the marketplace,” he says. “EBay’s marketplace is designed so that the merchants who can deliver quality and value will thrive.”
I cut most of the paragraphs in this section because of space limitations in this bloggin format. But I kept the last two paragraphs. Look at what Sarah Diamond says about her thoughts of future sales because of increased competition!
At the same time as it appeals to retailers with a lot of stock, eBay also wants to retain the occasional hobbyist seller. That’s why sellers will now be able to auction up to 100 items for free every 30 days. When an item sells, eBay will take 9% of the sale price or $50, whichever is less.
EBay currently allows sellers to auction up to five items for free every 30 days and charges the lower of 8.75% of the sale price or $20. After exceeding 100 free listings, sellers are subject to new listing fees and commissions that vary depending on the item’s starting and sale prices. The fees range from 15 cents to $2, depending on the item’s starting price. EBay’s current range is 15 cents to $4.
EBay is eliminating its third listing option, its Store Inventory Format, which offered merchants a store within eBay where they could pay a subscription fee to receive discounted fixed-price listings, but those listings did not appear in eBay search results. Since those listing were difficult to find, the format was “pretty useless,” says ChannelAdvisor’s Wingo.
Again, I cut out several paragraphs. What I kept is meant for the readers of my Blog. All comics readers / accumulators / collectors ende up with either 'doubles' or comics that they no longer want to keep because of space limitations. The above section is the most important to them.
While introducing new fees aimed at altering merchants’ views of eBay, the company is also trying to change shoppers’ impressions of the eBay brand...(continued.)
The above section is not directed to the eBay comics seller, but more toward the eBay comics buyer. Please see the link provided at the end of this feature for the full article.
Shoppers also expect to be able to find what they’re looking for in a search. But that wasn’t the case with items listed in the Store Inventory Format not showing up in searches and a lack of structured data that grouped like items together.
“There are times when our search works well and other times where it doesn’t,” says Christopher Payne, eBay vice president of search. “We want to reduce the number of times it doesn’t.”
To fix those problems eBay is...(continued).
And going in the right direction is a good start for eBay. The changes it’s implemented don’t guarantee smooth sailing, but at least eBay seems to know where it’s headed.
The above section definitely shows that eBay once again is changing direction. I really love the image that the author of this article aludes to. Instead of forging ahead like an ocean liner with a full passenger list and charting new waters, the company has been back and forth attempting to make headway, even before Meg Whitman left the company, IMO.
Also please note: I am not recommending that YOU, the possible comics seller start an eBay Store or even sell your comics on eBay at this time of change, if you already are not doing so. Like with the other changes in the past three years, this one will have to be worked out. I'm just suggesting that you read the whole article and decide for yourself.
The above sections / pararaphs were excerpts from the article featured in 'Internet Retailer', the April 2010 issue. For the full article, please see this link:
While you are there, you might check to see what other articles there are that could be of import to you!
My thanks to Zak Stambor for such a well written feature article!
AND...My thanks again to all of YOU reading this blog and our archived blog posts, now almost at the 3,100 total posts in number! We'll be at that number this upcoming week!