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Why eBay Anchor Stores May Be Worth Another Look

Lynn Dralle is excited about eBay Stores – specifically, the highest level eBay Anchor Store – thanks to the perks she receives through the paid subscription program. That became clear during a recent phone conversation, so she agreed to tell us about her experience with the “new” Anchor Store. She shared the top five ways she benefits from the program along with a few suggestions for eBay.

eBay’s new management changed the Stores program this year. In the announcement, eBay stated, “If you are an Anchor Store subscriber on an annual subscription, you will pay an additional $360 per quarter, and the value of the benefits that you will receive, excluding the value of new, dedicated customer service, is worth up to $1,495 per quarter.”

The monthly cost is likely an immediate turnoff for many sellers – $349.95/month or $299.95 if you sign up for a yearly subscription. But Dralle outlined some benefits that she says makes it worth the cost for sellers like herself.

Lynn Dralle has been selling on eBay for over 18 years and is an eBay consultant and author of seven books. She’s also a third-generation antiques dealer – she began helping her grandmother in her antique store and at shows at the age of 5. The family operated Cheryl Leaf Antiques & Gifts in Bellingham Washington from 1950 to 2002.

“I have to admit, I haven’t been this excited and optimistic about eBay in a long time,” Dralle said. “Probably not since hearing Devin Wenig speak at last year’s eBay 20 and before that it was years back when Meg Whitman was at the helm. I feel that not only has eBay come full circle (going back to what made them successful in the first place…auctions & catering to Unique OOAK One of a Kind Sellers like us) but they are really listening. I almost feel like Sally Field when she accepted that Oscar – “You like me. You really like me!”

“I feel like eBay is telling us as sellers that not only do they “really like us” but they truly “love us” and have been listening. The changes that were talked about back at eBay ‘s 20th celebration have actually taken place. I am not kidding….they are LIVE and working.”

Dralle sells on eBay as The Queen of Auctions, and she is the founder of a private paid membership site called the Queen’s Court, where eBay seller’s network and help one another. In 2015, she sold $98,900 worth of unique items on eBay.

Perk #1: Dedicated Phone Support 
Dralle raved about a new perk available only to Anchor Store sellers who are located in the US: free dedicated phone service seven days a week from 6AM-11PM Mountain Daylight Time. “No more customer service reps that don’t understand English much less understand our complex problems and questions,” she said.

She recently sold some items for her brother, including DVDs, books, and electronics. One of those items was a Nintendo vintage game cube. When it sold for over $147.50, Dralle’s assistant told her they weren’t worth more than $50 and advised her to be careful with the sale. She explained what happened next:

“The high bidder was from New Zealand. That would mean another $60 plus in shipping and the fact that it probably wouldn’t work in that country. Then I got an email from the buyer asking for free shipping. I said “NO WAY” and then I got this email (I have not corrected any of the typos in the email):

“”Ok I will still buy it but since you won t let me get free shipping you will have to wate for me to get payed next week around 7 days intill I have enough in my acounnt to pay for it So let me know if you change your mind and let me have free shipping so I can pay now. I have us power stepdown for NZ so it will work in NZ thanks”

“When I saw the email, my brain said “Danger, Danger.” It was at that point that I called the eBay Anchor Store Hot line. Right on! The awesome US eBay customer service rep said that the buyer was basically threatening me and that I could cancel the sale and sell it to the second highest bidder (with a second chance offer) with NO penalty. Seriously! NO penalty. No ding for not delivering, no ding for bad feedback…no repercussions and I could do that immediately.”

Dralle explained she took the rep’s advice and did a Second Chance Offer to the second highest bidder (it was $145.00).

“They accepted and I shipped the next day,” she said. “I love eBay and this new amazing feature. That one sale makes me believe that the Anchor Store extra price is worth it whether or not you have enough listings…so don’t just rely on that fee illustrator.”

Perk #2: Shipping Supply Coupons: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 
eBay gives Anchor Stores a $75 shipping supply coupon per quarter. “I am a fan of this shipping supply coupon because I think the eBay branded boxes and shipping tape are HUGE in helping us advertise our brand as eBay sellers,” she said.

“My USPS driver mentioned to me that now my packages look “so happy” and I take that as a huge compliment, and huge Kudos to eBay for finally helping to brand themselves and compete against Amazon.”

She does have some minor complaints about the supplies, however, as she explains:

“I think the shipping tape is of sub-par quality. It often doesn’t stick (unless you make each section overlap-which I do anyway) but if I leave a package overnight in my office, the tape can sometimes even unstick itself even when overlapped. It may be the heat because it is 115 degrees here in the summer but the tape I used to buy for $1.10 per 2 mil 100 yard roll did not do that.

“Second minor complaint, I know these shipping supplies are kind of free, well sort of, but the prices are pretty high. Let’s do some comparisons on the items I have ordered recently. I am comparing these using the minimum purchase. If you purchase in higher quantities, the prices do drop on eBay branded supplies, but they are still higher than my local supplier.”

She also noted that both eBay and her local supplier offer free shipping. She provided the following comparisons:

Packing Tape 
My supplier: $1.10 per Roll 2 mil 100 yards
eBay: $1.99 per Roll 2 ml 75 yards

“eBay’s branded tape is more expensive and a PAIN. I would much rather use a 100 yard roll so I don’t have to change my tape gun every day because eBay’s rolls are only 75 yards. However, I do think the advertising is important. eBay Hello! Kick in some money and make the eBay tape higher quality, in longer rolls and CHEAPER.”

An 8″ by 8″ by 8″ box
My supplier: $10.75 for 25 boxes
eBay: $16.42 for 25 boxes

A 10″ by 10″ by 10″ box
My supplier: $13.25 for 25 boxes
eBay: $19.42 for 25 boxes

A 12″ by 6″ by 6″ box
My supplier: $10.50 for 25 boxes
eBay: $15.64 for 25 boxes

“Also, the eBay branded supplier doesn’t carry the box sizes I use the most. I would request a 12″ by 12″ by 4″ box, a 6″ by 6″ by 6″ box, a 4″ by 4″ by 4″ box, and a 9″ by 9″ by 4″ box. I am guessing that as eBay rolls out this program they will add extra sizes, so this is not a huge concern at this point.”

Perk #3: eBay Promoted Listings 
eBay provides Anchor Stores with a $25 coupon to use towards its Promoted Listings advertising program that sellers can use once a quarter.

“I love promoted listings,” Dralle said. However, she noted sellers can only use Promoted Listings on multiple quantity listings.

“I have 16,664 listings, and approximately 2,344 are eligible to be promoted because they are multiple quantity listings. In the past 30 days, I have sold over $400 using this tool and it has only cost $33.62 for the added bump in sales. And don’t forget, every 90 days $25 will be deducted from these fees.”

She added, “However, I must add that I don’t like paying eBay extra money (on top of our listing, selling, and Anchor Store fees).”

Dralle described an example of how Promoted Listings helped her make a sale. She had some bags listed on eBay since January 4, 2014 and had not sold one of them. “With the new promoted listings tool, I took a best offer of $75 for this bag, and the extra fee to eBay was $6.38. Much better than not selling it at all!”

Perk #4: Free Listings That Come with an Anchor Store
eBay provides Anchor Stores with 10,000 free fixed price listings and 1,000 free auction listings in certain categories. “Before this new pricing structure, we got 2,500 free fixed price listings per month and 100 free auction listings in collectibles,” she said.

She did the math back when eBay announced the changes:

“A former Anchor Store subscription fee on a yearly basis was $179.95 per month. Current Anchor Store subscription fee on a yearly basis are $299.95 per month. Sounds like a huge difference but let’s break it down. This is assuming you use all 10,000 free fixed priced listing and all 1,000 free “collectible” category auction listings.

“Fixed price listings for an Anchor store cost 5 cents each. The extra 7500 fixed price listings adds $375 worth of benefit (7500 x $.05). Auction Listings for an Anchor store cost 10 cents each. The extra 900 auction listings in CERTAIN categories adds $90 worth of benefit (900 x $.10). This is $465 worth of new listing benefits less the additional $120 which yields $345 in actual fee benefits. Please keep in mind that this is ONLY true if you USE all of those listings. As an example, I NEVER use 1,000 of the free auction listings but always use the 10,000 free store listings.

“However, that being said, $345 in saved fees and all of the other wonderful benefits are a huge bonus.”

Perk #5: A 48-Hour Warning Prior to MC099 Listing Removal 
A brand new feature just rolling out now is a 48-hour advance warning for listing removals for MC099 violations, she said, noting that the new perk does not apply to VeRO violations or prohibited items violations.

That means before eBay removes listings for policy violations, it gives Anchor Store sellers 48 hours to fix them before it removes the listings. Examples: Accepted Payments, Links, Fee Circumvention, Miscategorization, and Keyword Spamming.

“This is a huge olive leaf being handed to all Anchor Store subscribers. Seriously! I am so happy with these new eBay changes, and while I may have had some minor complaints, trust me…they are minor. eBay is headed in a new and very awesome direction and no one will benefit more at this time than an Anchor Store subscriber.”

Dralle said sellers shouldn’t rely solely on the eBay fee illustrator to determine whether or not to sign up for an Anchor or Premium level eBay Store. “Think about all of these incredible features and reach for the top,” she said.

“eBay is totally coming around to the OOAK unique seller’s and is rallying around us! Believe it or not! I choose to believe and my sales have been OFF the CHARTS (think navigation)! Another nautical theme here – Anchors away, my friends!”

Find more information about eBay Stores on the eBay website.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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.