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Tue Sept 18 2012 15:37:57

eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into September

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I am fairly new to eBay selling as I just started in January this year as a side income. The winter and spring sales were fantastic, but I was naive about the summer slump.

After some research (and common sense when I thought about it), I saw that sales do trend downward in July and August, but pick-up in Sept. Well, Sept is more than halfway over and I am not understanding why sales haven't rebounded! They are still down by over 50%.

I am wondering if it is the "new" eBay having some effect?

I am a power seller, but no longer a top seller rating b/c I do not (can not and choose not to) do free shipping (though my turnaround is a quick 1 day for my customers). Are my listings not getting greater attention because I am not a top seller? Or is it just a matter of timing/slump - maybe the fall sales will pick up soon again? Or maybe it's just simply bad luck!

It just seems like there has been a big change - and also curious if others are experiencing this too?

Any insight you have to what may be happening from the eBay standpoint would be great.
Thanks,
Marybeth



Comments (32) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe   eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe

by: Frump This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 18 16:32:37 2012

Something's wrong here. You don't need to have free shipping to be a Top Rated Seller.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe   eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe

by: rqtball This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 18 16:43:40 2012

I have noticed that auctions that I have my normal 3 day handling does not do as well as my auctions that I have been putting 1 day handling on.

free shipping gives you a boost also

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe   eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Sep 18 16:58:11 2012

We are Top Rated Sellers and had average sales for July and August.

Since the first week of September sales have been atrocious and it is hard to understand why...

Is eBay's constant testing of new search result pages confusing buyers to the point that they are disgusted with having to get used to a different search result format every time they sign in?

They rarely if ever admit it, but are they monkeying around with search algorithms...AGAIN or is search just plain broken from all the tinkering eBay has done?

eBay is currently running quirky situational ads on network television during prime time... is it possible the ads and their off beat portrayal of eBay buyers is serving to alienate buyers instead of attracting them?

Has eBay ticked off so many sellers with constant system and policy changes that negative word of mouth about eBay has now reached critical mass?

Is the service issue that effected mobile last week still ongoing despite eBay's claims to have resolved the undisclosed issue?

Has eBay simply taken all the fun out of buying on the site?

Has eBay's concentration on appeasing Wall Street created mass dis-interest on Main Street?

Has the change with Google shopping to a paid format hit eBay particularly hard?

Has consumer confidence in the economy deteriorated to the point that people just stopped buying? Perhaps buyers have no confidence that either Presidential candidate will be right for the economy and are now hording money.

Any one of these factors, or a combination there of
could account for the horrendous depression on  sales across eBay.

We placed a call to eBay customer service regarding the sudden decline in sales.

The CS rep we got would not detail any changes made by eBay that may be negatively effecting sales.

All the CS rep would say is that they checked and found out listings were visible on the site. Every question we asked generated the same uninformed response, so we just gave up attempting to get any answers out of eBay.

Apparently, Mr Donahoe's statement during the Q2 financial report that third quarter sales were being revised downward was a self fulfilling prophecy. eBay knew they would be tinkering with just about everything and this translates into a decline in sales every time.

For some reason, eBay continues to spit into the wind regarding constant changes and does not care if and when these changes negatively impact sellers or even alienates buyers.

The most important thing to eBay's executives is that they do whatever they can to get Wall Street to recommend eBay as an investment, drive up share prices, and enable the executives to reap millions when they dump their gifted shares.


Perminate Link for eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe   eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe

by: mylifeisgood This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 18 17:26:37 2012

@Ric

And the real problem is Ebay has wall street convinced and Ebay shares are at a 52 week high. So something must be working for them.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe   eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe

This user has validated their user name. by: WOODJUNGLE! ON EBAY

Tue Sep 18 19:50:56 2012

My sales have been trending down  since January. The last 2 months were so so. September is much slower than normal as September here is usually the rebound month after summer.  Ebay's world ranking is now down to 24.  Their traffic has been trending down the entire year also, down 3.5% over the past 3 months.  They are either making more money with less traffic or snowing Wall Street.  My guess is the latter.  

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe   eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Tue Sep 18 20:32:00 2012

One thought, could  your inventory be considered seasonal ?  Like Ric said, it could be any or all of his listed possibilities. I have had an eBay store several years but I am writing most of this with my buyer hat on.

eBay's new search so far has not inspired my confidence. I don't get anywhere near the search results that I used to. I usually search across a variety of categories but seem to turn up less and less results. Knowing that they are tinkering with search, I figure a lot of the results are MIA . It is hard to sit & think up the magic words, find the right drop-down, try to outsmart what the software is thinking that I am looking for & delete part of  what was pre-filled.  It is just too darn much work & I usually end up giving up in frustration. Search used to be SO simple.  They are still working on it, I notice they now flag ''newly listed'' items with a green drape. I guess the sunshine icon has officially ''set''.  

We used to spend about $1000 or more per month on eBay - lately it is more like $100 per month.  Mr. Basset & myself HATE to shop so we buy most non-grocery items online. If something broke or needed updating, we headed to eBay. Lately what we seek is just too hard to find or not on eBay to begin with. Frustrating, because we would like to support our fellow eBay sellers.  Tonight I made a simple household purchase at walmart.com - the shipping was like a dollar. I don't think eBay can compete with Walmart - I'm not sure Amazon can.

*OP, If you have an eBay store - put your store name in front of buyers as much as you can to try to get them to ''Save'' your store.  If it makes sense for your business, use the ''markdown manager'' to do %off sales every so often. Your buyers that have saved you will get a notice about your sale. It is a way to put yourself in front of them.

Good luck, OP!

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe   eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Sep 18 20:44:22 2012

Woodjungle! on eBay said "They are either making more money with less traffic or snowing Wall Street"

eBay does not deduct returns from GMV figures.

eBay essentially demands a 45 day return policy, when returned goods are relisted and sold,  eBay counts the item towards their GMV again even though they did not deduct the return from GMV.  Theoretically, if the same item sells and is returned 10 times eBay counts all 10 sales as part of GMV.

eBay has pushed sellers to list with free shipping so that shipping costs would be counted as part of GMV.  When eBay found they needed a new shot of revenue, they simply imposed a penalty fee on all calculated shipping costs to once again boost revenue without actually increasing sales.

eBay is implementing an automated return policy. Presently sellers have the option to opt into the plan. This is designed to increase the number of returned items and benefits eBay GMV as detailed above without any increase in sales.

As part of the automated return process, eBay will collect the sale price and return shipping costs from sellers in the form of fees. This disingenuous handling of returns is designed to artificially increase eBay revenues again without any increase in sales.

eBay has also announced plans to collect Final Value Fees when sellers take down a live auction that has bids. Even though no sale has taken place, by imposing this penalty fee on sellers, eBay is artificially inflating revenue receipts again without any increase in completed sales.

eBay is supposed to be a retail site that connects buyers and sellers who complete transactions. However, eBay executives have changed that model so that actual sales are of secondary importance to eBay.

eBay's primary goal is to string sellers along to have them continue listing items on the site while siphoning as much revenue as possible from those sellers. The actual sale of goods is of secondary importance to the company.

So yes, eBay IS intentionally snowing Wall Street. Wall Street is a willing participant as they tolerate and reward companies like eBay that employ underhanded tactics and creative accounting to inflate sales and revenue figures all so that they can have a stock for analysts to recommend to investors that generate sales of shares and commissions for those share purchases.

It is a game where the winners are eBay executives who accumulate gifted shares of stock as part of their compensation packages. They then build systems and policies designed to mislead Wall Street and inflate share values with revenue figures that do not honestly reflect genuine sales of goods. Their questionable bookkeeping and accounting measures perpetuate for as long as possible to keep the shell game going as long as possible before someone wakes up and realizes it is a house of cards.

The way eBay is currently managed may not withstand scrutiny if and when the corporate subterfuge is widely exposed for the scam it has become.



Perminate Link for eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe   eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Tue Sep 18 22:56:28 2012

The fact is, the eBafia marketplace has been effectively stagnant since the Ho took the helm. All the “national brands” that he has replaced auctions with have made little difference, even in the fifth year of this turkey’s “three year turnaround” plan. …

The third quarter financials should be interesting; surely by then they will have exhausted the supply of hot air that they have been using to inflate the two recent quarters (and their stock price) …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe   eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe

by: adrian44 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Sep 18 23:13:23 2012

I may be wrong but several years ago I was told in an election year the closer it gets to the election the slower sales are. Can anyone yea or nay that?

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe   eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe

by: sueb22 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 18 23:14:48 2012

My sales are terrible and I attribute this to my loss of Top Rated Seller status.  I had a bad year taking care of my elderly parents and my number of sales reflects this.  I saw an immediate drop in sales after the TRS was taken away.  I am now throwing everything at Ebay at low prices and with free shipping to get to the number of sales I need for their silly TSR status. I've been selling for 13 years, and this is my worst 6 months ever.  

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe   eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe

by: JackieBlue This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 18 23:28:54 2012

We are TRS, last year about $500k. Down 30% since May.  Even worse in September. My current theory is that eBay lost the "free" product listing they were getting on Google shopping.  No "new" search traffic so you are only getting the eBay customers that are regularly on the platform.  I bet that their new member numbers are way down.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe   eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 18 23:34:52 2012

I  use two accounts to sell essentialy the SAME type items to take advantage of the "Free 50".  

I WAS a TSR on the older account.  But I am not going to run a "rental" place so I lost TSR based on my idea that I should not be FORCED to accept a return for any reason.

And even tho I do not have at this moment 100% PFB I still get about the SAME number of sale on BOTH of these accounts.  

So--there might be "something" to the TSR loss theory but I don't really think so.

I think all this tinkering is ruining what was left of the  useable SEARCH feature.  

And if Wall street is toooo stoooopid to SEE this well-----

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe   eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Sep 19 00:18:10 2012

Ric says: "eBay's primary goal is to string sellers along to have them continue listing items on the site while siphoning as much revenue as possible from those sellers. The actual sale of goods is of secondary importance to the company."

And that is the main reason I will never sell there again.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe   eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Wed Sep 19 02:32:35 2012

What Ric stated was right on the money.
''eBay essentially demands a 45 day return policy, when returned goods are relisted and sold,  eBay counts the item towards their GMV again even though they did not deduct the return from GMV.  Theoretically, if the same item sells and is returned 10 times eBay counts all 10 sales as part of GMV.''

I noticed this on a recent return after I did the refund. Looking in the listing under order details the item with shipping was doubled. Ebay counted the sale price and shipping twice instead of showing the refund.

It was very hard to find but I discovered it by accident. Probably ebay is counting on nobody finding this since how many sellers look at the listing after refunding?

Anytime I have done a return or even a partial return, ebay places the item in my Selling Manager as Awaiting Payment.

Anyone else notice this or is it just another glitch?

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe   eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe

by: andanotherthing This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 19 04:26:11 2012

I buy on eBay as well as sell - usually hard to find items which I can't get locally (I live on an Island). My searches are therefore quite specific.  However, more and more I have noticed that even though I type in as much detail as I can and/or use specific words, the results of the search throw a whole load of seemingly unrelated listings that I am not remotely interested in.

I think the search algorithms are well and truly b......d. eBay needs a total rethink but PLEASE don't implement any more changes during the selling season.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe   eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 19 07:31:45 2012

No one has a clue what eBay may be doing behind the scenes that can impact selling. I still like the rolling black out theory :) You aren't alone in wondering--but we are all at the mercy of eBay's profound lack of transparency and communication when it comes to performance questions. Hang it there--your sales will likely pick up again. eBay is still better than doing a bad show!!!

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe   eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe

by: JB This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 19 08:47:28 2012

Said it before. Economy will depict  commercial markets. Collectibles/commodities will sell in a poor economy, always has. Poor decision making can have drastic effects in a particular market. Once sellers leave a venue because of poor decision making, it is harder to get them back.


Changing the business model which ends up in less profits to the business's that employee eBay to list their items. Effecting both collectible/commodity, and widget sellers.

Changing search to accommodate more so only some sellers. Their were a couple of sellers who recently posted in ECB's. Who through policy/search/and poor customer support have left eBay. It makes me wonder how many more who does not post here may have the same problems..

So I believe it is safe to say a number of factors have  effected sales. I no longer shop eBay. Their policy changes, and venue hippocracy is a big factor to my decision.

I like to think I am an educated consumer. I like dealing with an educated company. I don't like glitches or policy change's which happen so regularly on eBay.

It concerns my leaving personal info on a site that has so many glitches. Because of this I buy elsewhere, where I feel comfortable leaving my personal information. When sellers were allowed to advertise the payment options there would take I would buy on eBay. since I never minded waiting for an item, it at least gave me the option of limiting my personal info on eBay. The fact that they will not allow all forms of payment concerns me greatly.

I could understand them making limitations to payment if they were selling like Amazon, but they are not.  

Sadly all of what eBay does ends up effecting the sellers on the site, which in the end effects eBay.

This is just my opinion.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe   eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe

by: Fun & Games This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 19 09:45:34 2012

I am confused...  what summer slump?  My sales have been through the roof. In fact, the summer months were some of the best I have had.  I am doing at least $12,000 a month in sales all out of my store.  I am top rated but do not offer a return policy so no discount which is not a big deal.

maybe if you sold things people wanted, your sales wouldn't slump.  

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe   eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe

by: JoJo This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 19 10:53:37 2012

Some of you have speculated about the loss of Google traffic.  There's another factor that might contribute and that's the ebay affiliate traffic.  They have been running that program into the ground for a few years now.  I know that on my various websites I have removed all of my ebay ads and replaced them with ones that pay better... so no more traffic to ebay sellers from my sites.  I'm probably not alone.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe   eBay Seller Says Summer Slump Continues into Septe

by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 19 11:03:17 2012

"Summer slump" is a myth... the real issue is that with all of the "free" listings and chinese sellers, eBay is clogged up with "crap" , who can navigate through that.....

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