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Sun Dec 16 2012 21:27:04

What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?

By: Reader
Sponsored Link
Dear Ina,
I frequently read your articles and have just recently signed up to receive them via email. I'm simply wondering, like SO many other eBay sellers WHAT is going on in the past several weeks with slow or no sales, and WHY they insist on hurting small sellers over and over again.

I have read so much information my head is spinning and I do actually attempt to jump through all of the hoops the hold up for us although I'm not always happy about it.

I generally do well considering what I sell and the amount of money I need to live - but November has hit me like a ton of bricks. I am roughly $800 down from where I was this time in October. Just when this should be my busiest season - everyone's busiest season.

I am not behind on all of my bills with no relief in sight. I use facebook, pinterest and twitter to try to get new customers but when eBay only makes certain things available for viewing - nothing much helps.

I am a single mom with a family of 5 to support and thus far I've managed. Now, however, the rules have apparently changed again and no one informed me.

Yesterday I sold a grand total of $20! The day before that, I sold $50. HOW does eBay continue to get away with this?




Comments (34) | Permalink
Readers Comments

What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?   What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?
by: Truk This user has validated their user name.
       
Sun Dec 16 22:21:55 2012
Ebay sales overall this year have been pretty strong for us

That said we have had our worst month ever and our best month ever in the same calendar year on ebay
We are also a brick and motar store our sales out the door do not follow the trends on ebay
Clearly when search results on ebay are not the same day to day this has to have an effect
What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?   What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Sun Dec 16 22:36:46 2012
My dear, OP... I'm sorry that you're having to go through this. I know how frightening it can be to be in the situation you describe. I do hope it gets better for you soon.
What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?   What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?
by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.
       
Sun Dec 16 23:13:47 2012
I think clearly it has been shown that ebay is manipulating their search results.  Some of what I have seen, *no one* would do that intentionally.  I think a good part of it is just mistakes.

It's all done by programmers that are way in over their heads.

In the last year we have had 10 day periods where we sold nothing. Not one item.  We lowered prices, tried everything. Nothing changed because it must be that *no one* could see our items on ebay so no sales.

We could have lowered everything to a penny and it would have been either the same or we'd have sold everything for that or maybe $1.05 as long as we had free shipping.  Clearly not a good solution if you have bills to pay.

I hope ebay hires a new architect to fix that thing before we are all out of business.

Best of luck to you.
What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?   What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?
by: AuctionMonkey This user has validated their user name.
       
Sun Dec 16 23:15:48 2012
So sorry to hear you're suffering too!! As a long time seller we've had sales drop by over 50% in the last 12 months... Incredible, as we doubled the amount of listings, with updated designs, more answers and even faster customer service. Even with 100% positive feedback well over 10,000 we never show up in Best Match.

The best thing to do is what everyone here seems to be doing - Use what money you can to develop your own site and direct any new customers (if they ever find you!) to your site instead. It's unfortunate, but they really don't seem interested in looking after anyone at all now.

I naturally assume the site is only going to get worse, I rarely hear a positive or happy eBay story.

I simply cannot wait to escape the constant fear of someone who can't read a simple listing ruining my business because they have no idea what's going on. :)

OP, you never mentioned what you are selling, so it's hard to give any constructive tips apart from RUNNNNNN!
What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?   What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?
by: alaska This user has validated their user name.
       
Sun Dec 16 23:52:42 2012
What eBay doesn't understand is that favoring mega sellers over small sellers is bad business, because there are many more small sellers out there. By chasing away so many small sellers eBay ends up with fewer overall sales.
What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?   What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?
by: HereInMinnesota This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Dec 17 00:11:08 2012
I'm wondering if the drop in sales (mine, too) is due to changes in Google.  My traffic reports used to show most of my visits came via Google.  Of course now I don't have a traffic report so I can't verify the changes.
What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?   What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?
by: genejhsn This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Dec 17 01:24:45 2012
I'm a small seller and getting smaller. I'm down 66% from last year at this time. I've jumped through every hoop eBay has.  
What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?   What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?
by: traceyg This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Dec 17 02:03:29 2012


I think all the huge free listing have a lot to do with it also. The site is saturated. I used to sell only on ebay but over the last 5 years I have changed as ebay has become unfriendly to the small seller. I list things on Amazon. I list books mostly. I have started listing on Etsy and have sold a few things. I think it is .25 cents for a listing that stays up 3 months. You have to have a lot on your store though to keep them interested. I sell at a coop and I have a booth at Renningers in Adamstown Pa. During the nice weather I sell at local flea markets. I have my own website. I have been selling less and less on ebay and more and more other places. I have found that it is best not to put your eggs all on one nest. This time next year I think e-bay will be a very small part of my sales.

I also buy a lot less on ebay. I like the Gaither dvds but ebay has actually gotten more expensive then most other sites. I can get them and a lot of other things so much cheaper else where why should I shop on ebay. Shipping is to high  on ebay for most things. The ones that are forced into free shipping well most of the items arrives in really shoty packing. I understand  they are trying to hard to abide by ebays rules so people find them in the search. However it does me no good to have an item arrived damaged because of free shipping. As a buyer I think free shipping  is the worst thing  ebay has ever offered. I would rather pay a reasonable amount for shipping and get the items I order in one piece. There are a lot of problems with ebay. I don't think we can say it is one thing is is many. Ebay isnt their money maker anymore. Paypal is but I think that will come to an end soon also as more and more places like etsy offer their own pay services.

Most people are used to paypals fast way of delivering the money. I have to wait a little longer to get the money on my website  I use CCNow. Amazon you can't get the money instantly but you get it pretty quick. Some with etsy's new pay system. The fast pay through paypal makes ebay more addicting I guess but after you establish yourself on the other sites the money follows in a pattern like a pay check your get used to it. However it takes time to sell on these sites. It is not over night it is a lot of work and it isn't instant. In the good old days of ebay we were used to pretty easy  and instant. I think those days or over pretty much unless you are setting up at an outside flea antique market.  You have to have a lot of inventory etc for Amazon etsy. It is a different pace and stlye. . . but it does work. . . Ebay doesn't seem to work as well anymore. I think it is only going to get worse. . .  
What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?   What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?
This user has validated their user name. by: Basset
       
Mon Dec 17 08:57:06 2012
@TracyG - there is a lot to what you posted.

As a buyer, I have noticed the same thing in your second paragraph. I recently received a nice vintage glass item - unpadded - in a FLAT rate, flat cardboard Priority envelope mailer. The kind that ships for about $4.95! No bubble wrap! Just jammed in a flat cardboard mailer. I was incredulous - no damage but that WAS a miracle! I do think people are cutting back on shipping expenses.

OP - I had record months for every month up until September. I had messed with doing free shipping , but had to back off after a couple months as it apparently did not work for my buyers who do a lot of combined purchases. Now that I am back to separated shipping, sales are coming back, but not close to the record sales I had for most of last year.  

Aside from that, I do notice views are WAY down from what they were. It is amazing to see all those ''0''s on the views! Fiscal cliff, New eBay search visibility issues, Google, or all of the above - it is disconcerting.

I DO believe people should branch out, but the two other venues I use get views, but not any recent sales. Reality is, my only sales come from eBay.
What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?   What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?
by: tree This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Mon Dec 17 10:37:57 2012
Getting your own web site is the answer...or so I've been told by many like us.  But getting people to come to it is the next trick I've got to learn.  Mainly, don't give up.  Keep going not matter what.  
What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?   What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?
by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Mon Dec 17 11:08:31 2012
Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Not sure what you sell, but you might want to look into a combo of sites to help you get sales, because frankly, ebay doesn't care 2 cents if you make sales or not. Those guys aren't there for you, they are there to collect big fat checks with stocks options. They don't care about single moms with 5 kids to support. I sell on ecrater and our sales have tumbled this year in response to changes google has made (yet another site that apparently is only concerned with padding their own pockets), so you really need two sites. Once I got another site going, our sales bring in our minimum monthly sales goal again after a dreadful summer. What you are seeing now is what many of us saw and experienced years ago and we jumped ship at that time.
What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?   What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?
This user has validated their user name. by: DonC
       Web Site
Mon Dec 17 13:00:33 2012
Hi,

I am very sorry to hear about your situation. As others have stated it is apparent that eBay's search engine is not sending buyers your way.

None of us know exactly how or if it is even possible to optimize our listings to be found by eBay's search engine. Google's switch to paid Google shopping is probably another factor.

Consider building your own site and optimizing your listings there and in eBay for organic search. I have found SEO Doctor Firefox add on to be helpful.

I wish you the very best and hope that your sales improve soon.

Don

What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?   What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?
This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow
       
Mon Dec 17 13:16:14 2012
@Moonwishes

I'm sorry to hear your eCrater sales have gone down. I'm still doing great there. May I ask what additional site you are selling on? I'm always interested in hearing what other sites are generating sales.
What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?   What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?
by: gutspiller This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Dec 17 13:24:54 2012
Yet the so maniest story that confirms my own experience. The last few months my Ebay sales are 50% of what they used to be. Time of listing, lowering prices, I've tried about everything.

I ran out of stock of one of my best sellers. I relisted when I had the item back in stock. After a few days I sold it on my website. When I terminated the listing on Ebay it had an incredible 5 pageviews.

Now I've just relisted the same item and it already has a few pageviews after just a few minutes.

As mentionned above Ebay doesn't follow the trend of non Ebaysales. The traffic to my website is considerably up and so are my website sales. Ebay is just the same every single day: a lot less traffic and a lot less sales.

At same time my competitor is making record sales. Items he sells by the dozens, and mine end after a month with hardly any page views. Even undercutting him doesn't make any difference. The last 2 year my Ebay traffic has halved. Seeing the number of sales my competitor is making his traffic must be huge.

1 year ago my sales were 100% Ebay. In the meantime I have my own website. After just 6 months this was making 30% of my profit. For the moment it's already 50%. If things keep changing the way they are within a year website sales will have completely overtaken Ebay.

It's as all of a sudden I no longer exist on Ebay. I have more and more items on Ebay that end after a month and that have less than 5 pageviews.

Some of the items that have no pageviews whatsoever on Ebay, are the most viewed on my website.

Another thing I notice. At about 19:30 PM Ebay hits a switch and the few sales I still make completely stop. When I take a look at my competitors it's at that time they make most of their sales. At the very same moment my main competitor makes more than 20 sales in just 1 hour.

As so many other sellers have said the last 2 years I've increase my range of goods an prices have never been lower. And the result it that sales go down by the day.

This cassini is like the devil. My experience is that in each category Ebay picks 1 chosen seller. This seller will see an incredible increase in sales with a 80% sell through rate (which is incredible as you see the see of red). If you're this lucky bastard Ebay will be great. Other sellers will suffer. No traffic, no sales, no profit.

I'm no small seller. I used run he second biggest shop in my category. Ebay has decided to favour my competitor. As a result his sales have doubled and mine have halve and there is nothing I can do about it. Price, description, feedback, it no longer matters.

Ebay gives me only 1 option and that is completely focus on my website. 1 year ago my sales where 100% Ebay. The month isn't over yet, but it seems this month will be the first month my website generates enough money to make a living.

Just the f*ck*ng proof of how rotten Ebay has become. On my site I sell exactly the same items. On Ebay I'm forced to lower prices and still I don't sell. I've maintained a lot of prices on the website and here I still sell these items.

Last year during the holiday season I had 1200 items on Ebay. This year it are 900 and it would have been less if sales had been better.

The number of items will just keep going down. For more and more items I no longer make the effort to list them on Ebay. And as a seller Ebay also looses my as a buyer. 90% of the items I sell, I used to buy on Ebay. Seeing the threatment Ebay gives me, I try to source the items more and more outside of Ebay.

Ebay is going the same way as big companies as Yahoo. Within a few years Ebay will not have disappeared but it will become a site with no a lot of importance. There is already a mass exodus. The items I used to buy on Ebay I can no longer find. Sellers may disapppear, but if buyers can no longer find the items they are looking for they will also disappear. No buyers, no sellers = no Ebay.

I've been a golden powerseller, 100% feedback and top rated since this status has been introduced. Nevertheless I fell out of Ebays grace.

When I look at others sellers, when I look at my other sales I can ony conclude Ebay no longer wants me to sell.

Well, it seems they will get what they want. I'm so sick and tired of this whole Ebaything, I no longer see me an Ebayseller within a year.
What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?   What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?
by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Dec 17 13:43:31 2012
This topic has been covered ad nauseum .... but to anyone who just ''started feeling the effects'' its a very real and scary topic.

Ive been a seller on eBay since 1998 - and Ive seen quite a few changes. NONE have been for the good of sellers, just buyers and eBays pockets.

If you are a seller on eBay and you arent on of the beloved big boys - you will get squeezed and squeezed - the question becomes, can you sit down and find a formula that works for you so that you can continue to sell on eBay and make money.

That last bit is harder then it sounds, with eBay each and every day making it harder to survive, making you jump through hoops others dont have to, and just being plain and outright unfair and in some cases - doing quasi-illegal things to help those the care about.

There are alot of factors - most have been repeated over and over and you can even get as good or better advise by reading back issues of Ina's site - look for posts from such posters as RIC or Annie or Mass Howler. Each of them in thier own way have spoken jewels about how to deal with the broken eBay system.

I think though that we can all agree to:

1) do NOT ONLY sell on eBay. That strategy may have worked a few yrs back but not any more. Amazon, Buy.com, Sears, Etsy, Pintrest, Blogs, Pricegrabber all exist for a reason - use them. ''For gd's sake'' use Craigs List if you have to, but do NOT sit around waiting for an eBay sales email.

2) Make every sale count. Use eBay as a tool to convert what ever sales you do have to your own site, or where ever you are making sales. Include a flyer, get an seperate phone # for customers, get a booth at a local flea market - take those incomming sales and make those customers YOURS (NOT EBAYS). Offer them discounts, promotions, specials, offer to obtain hard to get items, offer custom work - work smarter not harder!

3) eBay ONLY looks out for you - NEVER think otherwise. They are the last to help when theres an issue and the last to refund you if theres a problem. Be PROACTIVE not REACTIVE. Understand that they want to seperate YOU from your wallet and will use Buyer Protection, Paypal gimmicks and other methods to do so.

4) Since you are still selling on eBay - maximize the listings. Use AMAZING pics. Invest in a small photo studio ($50) and a decent camera and take alot of pics. Use all 12 pics they offer - and make your pics and listings stand out. Big guys put up (1) oic - out do them - show people your heart and soul is in each listing.

eBay has ALOT of problems ..... hey pulled ot of this years CES, their strategy of gaining ''alot'' of manufactorers on thier site hasnt happened (they did get a few), they cant raise rates as much as they would like to (they are waiting for Amazon to do it first) and they dont get the traffic they used to (thank you Google and JD for being a cheap @$$ and not paying for the feeds. All that coupled with eBay actively manipulationg search (not to mention breaking it even more then it was before) to thier buddies ... and that leaves you in a BAD position.

Try some of these steps and see how they work. Im sure others here will also have some other good ideas to help you weather the eBay storm.
What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?   What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?
by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Dec 17 13:45:30 2012
3) eBay ONLY looks out for you - NEVER think otherwise

oops that should read:

3) eBay doesnt ever look out for you - NEVER think otherwise
What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?   What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?
This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow
       
Mon Dec 17 17:47:23 2012
@pace306

Or

"3)eBay ONLY looks out for eBay."
What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?   What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?
by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Dec 17 18:02:28 2012
I sell my artwork and after 14+ years on Ebay I have nothing listed there.  Truth is, I'm doing well on other sites.  I need my stock for those sites and cannot spare them on a site that has no views and no bids for me.  I don't know what Ebay is doing and as the days go by I worry about it less and less.  I'm making my way without them.

OP hard as it may seem you must start spreading your stock to other venues.  I don't know what you sell but its the only way to get out from under Ebay.
What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?   What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?
by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Dec 17 18:04:36 2012
something is definitely broken.  my sales the past 2 months have been down 30% from last year.  it's VERY disconcerting, i sell on several sites, but ebay has always been the money maker.
What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?   What's Behind eBay Sales Slump?
This user has validated their user name. by: Ric
       
Mon Dec 17 20:34:30 2012
There can be any number of reasons for the ebay sales slump many sellers are experiencing.

1) Search visibility - eBay favors the big box sellers - all other sellers are simply holding up the bottom of search.

2) ebay Buyer apathy - eBay keeps changing the visual experience buyers see, and buyers are simply sick of it. When you reuna search, clear cookies in your browser then go back to search again on eBay, the likelihood is that the search result page will be different. Base enough there is a different look depending on what browser you use. Buyers are simply sick of eBay playing musical chairs with search result pages.

3) eBay buyer confusion - eBay keeps testing different view item pages and layouts the same way they are testing new search result pages. This frustrates and confuses buyers all over again - that is if they stuck around long enough to actually view any items after being confused by the different search result pages.

4) Cassini Search - eBay is testing the new Cassini search engine in some categories and refuses to say which categories are effected. Given that Cassini's mission is to present fewer search results thus narrowing buyer options ( and seller's sell through rates), it is likely buyers are not seeing the listings from many sellers.  eBay does not guarantee that any one listing is visible in search results. If they can not see your listing, they are not buying your listing.

5) eBay advertising - Those inane quirky ads that eBay started running before Thanksgiving were enough to turn off buyers who do not associate themselves the vapid shoppers portrayed in the ads eBay flooded networks with. If I see an ad that does not skew to me, I instantly tune out just as the majority of viewers did with eBay's advertising.

6) eBay message censorship -  If sellers are lucky enough to get buyers to actually look at their listing and that buyer still has questions, eBay has been censoring and interfering with seller to buyer communications. I know this first hand as I has a buyer ask about the cost saving if they picked up an item instead of having it delivered. I responded via eBay messages with a great price and did not hear back from the buyer for days. I emailed the buyer again only to find out that the buyer never received the quote in their eBay messages.
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