EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 262 - May 02, 2010 - ISSN 1528-6703     2 of 6

AuctionBytes Survey Finds eBay Stores-in-Core Impacts Sales

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eBay's latest changes are having an effect on sellers' sales, but according to an AuctionBytes survey of over 1,200 sellers, they may not be having the effect eBay was hoping for. On March 30, 2010, eBay eliminated the Store Inventory format and converted sellers' Store listings to regular Fixed Price listings. AuctionBytes surveyed readers and found 69% of the eBay sellers surveyed said their sales had decreased overall since March 30; 15% said their eBay sales increased overall, and another 15% said their eBay sales remained stable.

Of the respondents who did not have an eBay Store, 80.6% of them said their sales had decreased since March 30 - an indication that core listings may be overwhelmed with the number of listings that flooded search results.

The survey asked sellers if they had made any changes to their business due to fee and/or policy changes that went into effect on March 30. Six percent said they opened an eBay Store, 25% upgraded their eBay Store, 5.1% closed their eBay Store, and 0.8% downgraded their eBay Store.

In addition, 13.8% said they listed more items on eBay, 29.6% said they listed fewer items on eBay, 4% said they stopped selling on eBay, and 25.4% made no changes.

The survey also asked sellers what changes they planned to make to their eBay business after seeing the effects of the fee and policy changes that went into effect on March 30;

  • 15.4% said they would list more items on eBay, and 38.8% said they would list fewer items on eBay;
  • 0.3% said they would open an eBay Store, 5.5% said they would close their eBay Store, 1.6% said they would upgrade their store, and 3% said they would downgrade their store;
  • 10.3% said they would stop selling on eBay, and 15.7% said they would not make any changes.

Here's a bit about the respondents:

  • 76.5% were PowerSellers in April 2010
  • 57.8% were Top Rated Sellers in April 2010
  • 31.8% had a Basic eBay Store; 44.0% had a Premium eBay Store; and 0.9% had an Anchor eBay Store
  • 37.6% had gross merchandise sales on eBay (annual) of up to $10,000; 37.1% had sales between $10,000 and $50,000; 12.7% had sales between $50,000 and $100,000; and 12.6% had eBay sales over $100,000.
  • The biggest categories were Collectibles; Clothing Shoes & Accessories; Books; Home & Garden; Jewelry & Watches; Crafts; Potttery & Glass; Music; Toys & Hobbies; and Antiques.

In addition to whether they had a Store or not, we looked for other patterns to determine what type of seller was most likely to experience increased sales under the changes - for example, by category, sales volume, PowerSeller status, etc. There were only two common threads we could find:

  • As mentioned above, a higher percentage of those without an eBay Store said their sales had decreased since March 30.

  • And those with a Premium eBay Store were more likely to report increased sales and less likely to report decreased sales (61.9% compared to the 68.5% of all respondents and 69.3% of those with Basic eBay Stores).

It's possible eBay is giving listings from Premium Store owners a boost in search. eBay won't reveal its Best Match algorithm (the factors that boost a particular listing in search results) and it has stated that it makes continual tweaks to Best Match. While PowerSeller and TRS status are likely factored into the algorithm, PowerSellers and Top Rated Sellers reported only slightly better sales than those who were not. (eBay also displays TRS badges in search results, which may also get the attention of shoppers.)

Note that there are barriers to opening a Premium Store on eBay. The monthly subscription fee ($49.95) excludes low-volume sellers, even though the listing fees are lower; and eBay now requires sellers meet higher performance standards in order to qualify for a Premium Store.

And if you are curious on just how much listings increased since the Store in Core change at the end of March, we published some interesting data in the AuctionBytes Blog.

Thanks to the AuctionBytes readers who took the time to take the survey.


About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.


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