eBay came in 3rd place in the 2019 Sellers Choice Awards and picked up an award for Profitability for the 6th straight year. Many sellers rely on revenue generated by their eBay sales despite some challenges.
In January 2019, EcommerceBytes surveyed over 13,000 online sellers and asked them to rate the marketplaces on which they had experience selling. An introduction to the Sellers Choice survey along with a summary of the overall ratings can be found here, along with links to results for each of the 11 online marketplaces included in the survey.
Ease of Use:
Would you recommend:
eBay came in 3rd place in the 2019 Sellers Choice Awards and picked up an award for Profitability for the 6th straight year.
There were many positives comments about volume of sales relative to other sites, some sellers made a point of saying they rely on eBay for revenue, such as the seller who wrote, “This is my main income and how I support my family. I have tried others but do not see the sales that I get on eBay.”
One seller liked eBay’s practice of following up with shoppers who had viewed their items or added them to their Watch lists. They also commented on a new practice launched last year: “It reminds you as a Seller that buyers are watching your items and encourages you to lower the price by 5% & then they’ll send the watchers or viewers an email informing them of a price drop. THIS IS EXCELLENT ! I’ve closed many sales with this help!!!”
Ease of listing and availability of selling tools was cited by some. “I have had nothing but positive results from eBay, and I didn’t have to pay extra for advertising,” wrote one seller.
eBay offers Concierge customer service to some sellers, and those who have access (including attendees of eBay seller events) sung its praises. “I have a Concierge Customer Service number from attending eBay Open. No comparison to the regular number experience, but with it – amazing service,” one seller wrote.
eBay fees were definitely an issue on sellers’ minds. “It would be nice if eBay offered a smaller final value fee below a certain price point,” wrote one seller. “As it stands right now, when I have something priced below a certain price point, I do not list it on eBay due to the higher FVFs.”
“My one complaint are the ever-increasing fees for everything. The insertion fees and final value fees are way too high and cut deeply into my profits. For some items, the total of all fees are at the point of just breaking even, or worse, having a net negative sale. This forces raising prices and passing the fees on to the buyers, which results in much fewer buyers.”
The practice of charging a commission fee on shipping was also mentioned – one seller called the practice “indefensible.” Another wrote in obvious frustration, “I can’t change an item’s weight, size or the location of the buyer.” And a seller said the added 4% for not meeting their seller standards “is theft.”
“eBay has decided it has the right to alter private sellers listings, adding unwanted features such as BO (Best Offer) or compulsory re-lists,” one seller said.
Another seller said it was difficult for them to scale from their current level of sales, having reached a plateau.
Fixing the eBay Store tiers would help sellers grow sales, said one seller: “I think that there is quite a jump in cost and amount of potential business between Store subscription tiers, and if they added a couple in between, I think they would see people move up more quickly in growing their businesses.”
“eBay, with all of its faults, still brings in the sales. They aren’t always as many as I hope, but there is enough traffic on the site that if you have what people are looking for it will sell. I don’t really like all of the fees, of course, but I’m not having to pay for my own website and I’m not having to do my own SEO, which I don’t know enough about to do well. I get traffic for the fees I pay. I get sales. I just have to find the right stuff to sell.”
But some sellers said eBay needed to do more advertising.
Some sellers felt eBay frequently changed things. “One frustrating thing about eBay is they frequently change formats. The latest is the shipping label creation page. It is inferior to the previous format. eBay seems to make changes just to make a change, thinking that “different” is better. It’s not!!”
One seller said eBay makes changes too quickly – sometimes without notification – and without fixing bugs and glitches. “I have also found eBay quick to come to conclusions or decisions that require their intervention without gathering and collecting all the relevant information before coming to a decision,” the seller said.
One seller described how sometimes eBay policies get in the way of providing good service to buyers: “We can’t delay shipping by request of the Buyer (may be traveling), without being penalized. Penalties add up an affect overall rating (and by consequence, discount), so a seller may have to cancel the sale.”
In addition to fees, some sellers said the eBay Money Back Guarantee program could be costly. “No real protection for sellers if encounter fraud buyers, liars & scammers stealing from sellers using/abusing eBay Money Back Guarantee,” wrote one seller.
And some said visibility was lower than in the past – some said due to eBay search, some sellers said due to an influx of overseas sellers.
eBay received a 6.65 in Profitability; a 6.41 in Customer Service; a 5.85 in Communication; and a 6.78 in Ease of Use. It received a 5.79 from sellers when asked, “How likely are you to Recommend eBay as a selling venue to a friend or colleague?”
Reader Comments:The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
eBay is a great, easy place to get started as an online seller.
Since I’ve been selling on eBay past 15 years, eBay has never give me a headache. Of course you get the occasional scammer, but other than that, selling on eBay is great. They’re always fair to their Sellers and customers.
This is our main source of income.
I love eBay. They are great for a seller just beginning. I have been with them for a year and a half. I learned so much. I love I can talk to them on the phone that is how I was able to become a Seller. I now am meeting other sellers and it’s such a great community. Very helpful! This is where I have done small but steady sales! I have loads of medical books to sell as well but, as an Independent Seller and 6 books sold for 9 yrs with Amazon, I am going to list them on eBay. It’s worth a shot. Unsure if they will sell on Amazon. eBay is phenomenal for me. I love them!
eBay has always been fair when I have had any issues and has always been available when needed. Once you are accustomed to it, it is easy to use. My only concern sometimes is the costs associated with sales.
I am very satisfied and happy selling on EBAY!!!
I love that eBay now has phone customer service for sellers. I had to call twice, and my inquiry was taken care of expeditiously. This is a big plus in my book.
I have been selling on eBay since the late 90’s-early 2000’s. At first, it was just my children’s clothing that they had outgrown. I sold every item I listed! I now buy pallets of goods, and make a living selling on eBay. Although it has become more competitive, I am still able to make sales regularly, and highly recommend selling on eBay.
They were spot on when a fraudulent action occurred with a quick response and fast reimbursement.
Easy to use. Only use buy it now, and for new, not vintage items.
It’s nice to be able to communicate by phone instead of just an impersonal email.
eBay is my first choice for selling because if the amount of traffic I receive and the ease of using the site.
Still the best platform for used and collectible merchandise.
Great brand management tools, easy enough to use after you get the hang of it, top notch customer service. If you have a unique service concept (not necessarily unique product) eBay is my #1 choice.
I have sold on eBay for many years and have been a Top Rated seller. I have had more profitable periods of time, however, than I am experiencing this past year. It’s a user friendly venue. eBay stays on top of what’s going on with the sellers account. Will continue to use, but branching out also. Getting more into using my Social Media sites with large followings to advertise.
It’s still my main sales channel, sell there for more than 10 years and now everything simple and easy. Good customer service, high traffic, acceptable selling fees.
eBay charges less fees than Amazon. Selling/adding items is easy because does not require gtin. Integration with PayPal for shipping works well.
eBay sales do well. It is not always easy to use, especially in the area of managing/setting up your store with categories. Many things to check and recheck that can be easily missed if you are not careful. Overall I have had a pleasant experience selling on eBay since beginning there two years ago.
They provide good tools and great traffic.
I’ve sold on eBay for 18 years. $250,000 on average per year in sales. eBay treats me well as a seller and you can actually speak to a person who will help you, unlike Amazon.
We have been selling on eBay for more that 18 years. We recently went full time and it works well for us. The only drawback for eBay is it is difficult to scale beyond where we are now.
I have been on eBay for over 12 years and my personal experience as to selling my products is good. The fact remains that eBay carries a vast amount of consumers for my products, but on the negative side it has taken quite a long time to build up my feedback score as a seller due in part to my customers not submitting positive feedback, but all in all eBay provides the best benefits of selling online and exposure for my business. The seller fees can be a bit high otherwise eBay is a good choice.
eBay offers a lot of promotions, which mitigate the high store fees. The free non-store accounts are good, but don’t offer a vacation setting, which is completely obnoxious. However, seller service is A+. Short wait time, almost always helpful.
Like the fact of bidding at times. Wish it would automatic re-list items without fee. Like that they give us promotional deals.
I think you can sell anything on eBay! The best thing about eBay is its HUGE audience. It’s also excellent in helping to market your items. eBay also helps you to sell your items. eBay follows up w/ buyers who VIEWED or are WATCHING your items and tries to help close a sale. Meanwhile, it reminds you as a Seller that buyers are watching your items and encourages you to lower the price by 5% & then they’ll send the watchers or viewers an email informing them of a price drop. THIS IS EXCELLENT ! I’ve closed many sales with this help!!! Customer Service involves too many phone transfers, disconnects and untrained reps! One frustrating thing about eBay is they frequently change formats. The latest is the shipping label creation page. It is inferior to the previous format. eBay seems to make changes just to make a change.. thinking that “different” is better. It’s not !! It’s as if someone comes up w/ a bright idea and convinces his boss that it’s brilliant because of a few plus factors, so they do away with a completely wonderful, functioning & effective method … and 9 out of 10 times the new way is inferior to the previous or existing method. Someone should explain to eBay that different is not better … it’s simply different. ” if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it “
PROFITABILITY: Selling on eBay during the Christmas season was excellent all the way around other than their final value fees are a little too high. It would be nice if eBay offered a smaller final value fee below a certain price point. As it stands right now, when I have something priced below a certain price point, I do not list it on eBay due to the higher FVFs. CUSTOMER SERVICE: Having a customer service phone number to be able to call is priceless. eBay is 100% on top of their customer service in offering phone support not to mention the hours of availability to speak with.
eBay is a great site for my selling. The best for buyer traffic and spending. The best of all site for Customer Service and ease of use. eBay Customer Service are very polite, professional and always have the best advice. My one complaint are the ever-increasing fees for everything. The insertion fees and final value fees are way too high and cut deeply into my profits. For some items, the total of all fees are at the point of just breaking even, or worse, having a net negative sale. This forces raising prices and passing the fees on to the buyers, which results in much fewer buyers.
My main selling site, I soooo want it to be better, it DESPERATELY needs new management and it needs to get back in its “lane” and be the original eBay we all knew and loved where things would get hundreds of views and sell in a few days and STOP with the stupidity of “disrupting” ecommerce and saying things like they own the products that their sellers ship out – these are just a few of the changes it needs but I don’t want it to go under or disappear, just improve and grow.
eBay is still the premier marketplace for online sales. They take a higher ratio than most and try to draw people into paying monthly for a storefront, and so conduct limited “promotions” for free listings. Or maybe it’s just Canada. Since Canada split from the main group, eBay fee have become most costly (charging GST for their seller fees and shipping fees). Although they have great customer service by phone – sometimes when we get an outsourced agent they can have difficulty dealing with more complex issues that are pertinent to the country from which the sale occurred. After many years, they still haven’t fixed their refund issue and unwitting sellers wind up paying excess fees when they have refunded the buyer (example: combined shipping) on an overpayment. I have friends that get confused while creating their listings. I often have to go into their account and create a template they can follow. We can’t delay shipping by request of the Buyer (may be traveling), without being penalized. Penalties add up an affect overall rating (and by consequence, discount), so a seller may have to cancel the sale.
eBay to date has been the most profitable for me. I am seeing some beginning signs of eBay growing too large too quickly and losing site that their sellers are the ones who brought them their success. They are becoming more restrictive as Amazon did when they became too big. There is good support from the eBay staff, although I have had a number of occasions where the representative couldn’t answer my questions or provided answers that didn’t make sense. The computer system/computer software is continuously having many glitches and problems. Changes in the software are continuously being updated so quickly that they are rolling out new things without communication and before they have fixed the bugs and glitches that exist in other previously rolled out changes. I have also found eBay quick to come to conclusions or decisions that require their intervention without gathering and collecting all the relevant information before coming to a decision. They have been respectful and supportive for the most part but I have become concerned about some recent decisions and how they are being made and who is making those decisions and how are they including their sellers voice in the decision making process. They do have a good incentive program with eBay bucks and offer other promotions that benefit the sellers and their customers. I do most of my shopping on eBay so I have a perspective from both ends. The last thing I will say is their subscription program could provide more incentives, especially with the prices they charge. I also think that there is quite a jump in cost and amount of potential business between Store subscription tiers, and if they added a couple in between I think they would see people move up more quickly in growing their businesses. To date my best experience has been with eBay.
Seller-initiated support has improved a bit recently. I’ve sold on eBay since 1999, and since then the increased fees have cut into profitability. The fee on shipping/postage is indefensible. Most of my listings sell, slowly, and I only use free listings since the fee on shipping. eBay gets seen, and rarely interferes with my listings.
I have had great success with listing and selling on EBAY, great customer service. My only complaint is that the fees are very high.
eBay is expensive. Finally caved in and subscribed to a store this year. Yes, my subscription covered the “free” 500 listing and I did sell more as a result. However, they are always increasing their fees, carving into my meager profits. I do the free shipping, so I eat the cost of sending it to the buyer. I did that when eBay decided to charge FVFs on shipping as well, which I have no control over. I can’t change an item’s weight, size or the location of the buyer. To be competitive, you’ve got to go for the slim margins. Once I sell out of my inventory, I’m done selling on eBay. I used to look forward to the free promotions, the advertising on TV and radio. Don’t see much of that anymore, even during the holidays. I’m a small seller, selling collectibles out of my home, collectibles that either I or my family purchased. It’s not the auction site that it used to be. If you’re not a high volume seller with hot electronics or toys, you can’t bring in the profits like we once did when eBay first started out.
Fees are high, but one can profit from the volume of sales since eBay does get excellent customer traffic. Sellers are able to contact customer service easily by phone and can usually get answers to questions quickly. On the negative side, when it comes to selling digital goods, eBay’s policies are so far behind other marketplaces by insisting on charging exorbitant fees to list these goods. This is why vendors who sell these type goods leave eBay and go elsewhere to sell. If eBay would catch up with the digital age and not worry so much about their profit on these goods, everyone would be happier, even eBay!
Low sales, low profit, sellers at high risk here due to eBay Money Back Guarantee, so no real protection for sellers if encounter fraud buyers, liars & scammers stealing from sellers using/abusing eBay money back guarantee.
eBay is my main selling point. When I started, they would have had very high ratings, but the changes they’ve been making lately don’t seem to be very good for anyone except possibly the buyers. As sales have been dropping, I’m not sure about that either. There seem to be a lot of alternate sites growing, and I’m concerned they’re growing because eBay is dropping the ball and thus creating the space for competition to flourish.
eBay has the best customer service of anyone bar none. Drawback is that eBay’s fees are high and they charge you at the end of the month vs taking it out at the time of the sale like Amazon does. Most people don’t like having to pay a large eBay bill at the end of the month.
Still one of the easiest sites to list on, but their search engines is too unreliable for consistent sales.
Been selling on eBay for a decade. Sales have continued to decline. Worse January ever. Barely made store fees. Search/visibility is horrible. Customer service reps say “try promoted listings.” It’s not enough to pay for a store, have 100% feedback, great photos and titles, free returns, free shipping, 30 day returns. No, eBay continues to move the goal post. Selling on eBay is an emotional roller coaster. If someone else offered a similar venue that respected the seller, and produced sales, I’d be gone in a heartbeat.
eBay’s customer service is poor, I do think they communicate well with their sellers. But about changes they are implementing that don’t benefit us. For the last 5 years it seems everything they do, makes things worse and worse. It all started with that stupid Cassini search.
The fees are higher than what I pay on Ruby or Etsy, and I have less control over what I sell and how I sell it and even less control on contact with my buyers. There also seem to be more nasty customers and would-be extortionists on eBay. I do have very excellent feedback, but the comments buyers give, the lack of reading a description, and the offensive offers = a lot of rudeness and hassle to work out.
My last few experiences selling on eBay have resulted in almost no views and no sales. My perception is that the occasional seller is now ignored by eBay in favor of the Power Sellers. eBay has also instituted many rules that are unfavorable to sellers.
This has become a very difficult site as a buyer. It has become the most anti-seller site on the internet! It would help if they split into 2 companies, New eBay (with only new inventory) and eBay Original for the unique, one of a kind, and/or used with rules that apply to the sale of used goods.
There are too many Chinese sellers flooding the marketplace, fees continue to increase and there are way too many glitches.
There are a few things that happen that darken my experience selling on eBay. Sold listings remaining on my active list being one of them, MAJOR problem, and it will be me getting the backlash if I don’t remember I sold an item. PLUS, I have to END the item manually every time. As far as service, I have had great service, BUT, I don’t call customer service that often, and when I do, it is fine. However, I have seen and heard otherwise from “bigger” sellers. One other thing that bothers me is, it seems to be that they make some of your listings FREE SHIPPING, again, if this was just me, I would think I forgot something. BUT, it has happened to me and a few sellers I know. They never do free shipping and low and behold, they find items with free shipping, sometimes it is after they have had an offer on a selling item!!! THEN it is too late.
eBay is still our most productive site but it is now just one of 4 sites. We are expanding to other sites with the expectation that eBay is one or two changes away from being untenable. The sales are declining, after years of being a TRS I can’t offer free shipping (paintings cost as much as $175 to ship to CA) and I don’t see how they can grow fast enough to continue to feed their shareholders without taking more and more from my little pie. There is a breaking point. I’m just laying the foundation for an easier transition.
eBay is not the site it was. It concentrates on promoting the listings of multi-national/large sellers at the expense of the small business (not what it was originally set up to do). In addition, some years ago, we were told that if you sell online to make a profit you are a business seller, and were encouraged to open a shop. Now private sellers have way more benefits/promotions than business sellers do – but, making not enough profit now to call myself a business, I find I can’t go back to listing as a private seller without losing ALL the feedback I accrued. Frankly, eBay is a dying company.
eBay is more buyer friendly and you run a risk if you are selling luxury items because buyers have been known to scream “fake” in order to keep the item as eBay orders them to destroy the supposed counterfeit and you are out of a whole lot of money.
eBay fees are too high, too many standards, has opened the door to scammers, no options for returns, and added 4% for not meeting their seller standards is theft.
They keep changing stuff and make it harder for sellers. The feedback system only helps buyers and doesn’t warn other sellers of problematic buyers. Features disappear like the search within your seller portal.
I sell on eBay but if a buyer files a item not as described but it is, eBay ALWAYS finds in favor of the buyer. So I have to refund the item price, original shipping and return shipping. I would have been $ ahead to just throw it away. Too many people expecting champagne but on a beer budget=buying a used pre-owned item and expecting it to be NEW!
The only objection I have is that when I go on vacation and want to keep my items active, I have to edit EACH item individually instead of being able to make the change to my whole inventory at once.
eBay is best in marketability as they as widely known in all circles, however the eBay selling fees are outrageous. Fess for businesses to sell their own goods from their bankroll should never be more than 5% profit to the marketplace. Example. if you sell a $5000.00 item on eBay they get 12% or greater which comes to $600. Doesn’t leave room to the seller to give a good deal and make reasonable profit himself.
eBay continues to have problems delivering a reliable system (i.e, bugs and errors), constant changes in policies and practices, and even though they are a “venue” (their words, not ours), they keep meddling in every one’s business instead of paying attention to their own.
Fix the broken search already. My sales are down 60% from the previous year, sadly I know I’m not the only one. eBay has become a complete wreck
So far, eBay C.S. try to help, but, wait times are upwards of hours to get to a Supervisor. Also, new insistence on UPC, etc. is annoying for old, vintage, used. Fees are too high. And, NEW Sellers will have funds HELD or may get scammed. Not a safe place for high priced items.
We do A LOT of sales across 6 eBay portals. It is annoying to have to log in and out of each one as we view sales. Ridiculous that eBay sends us a message that someone wants to cancel or return an item, and thinks we know which order it is by the item. We sell dozens a week of some. We have to copy paste the username into All Orders (after waiting for it to load) to get the sales record ID and the person’s name so we can look in our system for which order. Ridiculous. We hate that eBay looks after the buyer way more than the seller, so we get screwed by customers who claim an item was not as described, when it is dead on as described, they just don’t want to pay for a return label. We are actively building our organic SEO on the sites so that we don’t rely as much on eBay. We will be DELIGHTED when we no longer need them. Will leave all items up, only marked ‘no return’ and then obviously still handle returns for honest folks that contact us.
File exchange is complicated, but worth learning. Constantly changing, so we’re always making adjustments. ‘Fast & Free’ is BS…So is the new merchant processing. Hate the return process.
They seem to be catering to sellers with Brand NEW items or Foreign sellers selling cheap knock offs and forget about the sellers that sell older rare vintage and antique items. They penalize you in the search results when something doesn’t sell within a month. This makes sense for new items, but not vintage items. Overall profit is pretty good, but many sellers have been moving to other venues because of frustrations on multiple levels.
Often get misinformation from service reps; too many quirks on site re: listing, setting default shipping policy; app is slow and not comprehensive; automatically approved returns are unfair to sellers; selling is not at all as easy as eBay says it is.
Cassini search engine was a huge and costly mistake. eBay executives are out of touch with buyers and sellers. The changes they make to the site make eBay less user friendly for buyers and sellers. Should do away with listing fees.
eBay has recently began sending customers to other sellers who have clicked on my listings in my eBay Store. My customers choose me but are sent to someone else. Then they contact me if they have a problem believing they purchased from me, when in fact they did not. So I work hard creating the listing, promoting the listing on social media and then end up doing the customer service solely for the benefit of another seller. I get nothing. They need to re-think this strategy before all the sellers figure this out and stop doing business with eBay. They are tainting their relationships with their sellers and confusing their buyers. It makes no sense. If it ain’t broke, leave it alone!
My sales have decreased pretty steadily the past 4 years. I used to make a living on eBay, and although I work just as hard, my profits continue to decrease. International sellers, particularly Japan, have completely cornered our category, which are vintage handbags. After being a trs for 9 years, I have finally lost my standing because I am unwilling to offer free returns for my preowned Chanel handbags. I shop quite a bit online, especially this past Xmas, and I didn’t find 1 site that offered free shipping unless spending a minimum amount. Free returns were almost non-existent with exception of some very high end department stores. Obviously they can afford that.
Fees are high and payments limited to PayPal only are now clearly one reason for declining sales, as other seller sites offer alternative methods of payment that allow choice to buyers who refuse to use PayPal due to that platforms well know reputation for payment holds and account freezes.
I have sold on eBay for 14 years & I am getting tired of the percentage they take out plus they will nickle & dime you to death. Sellers have NO RIGHTS OR CHOICES anymore for Returns or No Returns. I have lost so much money since they have changed this & I have been scammed out of a lot of money due to Buyers know how they can get their money back & still keep the item & EBay always settles with the Buyer no matter how hard you try. Cannot get a hold of them for matter in hand. They changed their policy on the Returns & Refunds where the Seller really has no choice. Many other things also.
I have 3,100 items listed in my eBay store. The eBay search engine Cassini is a joke and a disaster, in that changes in the search algorithm seem to emphasize and show only items that have been initially listed during the past month with good visibility in search. If an item has been listed on eBay more than 30 days, it seems to drop off a cliff in terms on visibility to potential customers. But eBay has no problem charging a listing fee every 30 days, for the 2,100 items that I must pay to relist as good until canceled. I believe that I am paying for a service that eBay does not provide with any reliability or consistency: i.e. Search Visibility. And eBay is not promoting seller listings on google, as they should be doing. Most searches are done on the eBay site. The list is long. There are many other problems with EBay management’s direction. The stagnant sales results, I predict, for eBay’s 4th quarter will reflect these problems.
eBay continues to change aspects of the site with little or no notice. Even if notice is given the info. is patchy and unhelpful. The Community Team rarely clarifies anything for months after a change has happened. eBay has decided it has the right to alter private sellers listings, adding unwanted features such as BO (Best Offer) or compulsory re-lists. Yes, they can be removed but not easily and often are re-applied on editing or re-listing. If they have been removed once eBay are going against the expressed wishes of the seller by reinstating them. Yet still claim the listing details are the sole responsibility of the seller.
Customer Service has actually improved some. Glitches and changes have been rampant this last year, worse in 20 years of selling on eBay. Have had to branch out to other venues to sell, eBay will continue as our main venue for our 2 sites, but sales are half what they were just a few years back, and other sites are easier to list on and have better sales volume. Just twice the work needing to double list items and being sure to remove sold items from either site, but Mercari is winning out in sales in all categories.
Sellers Choice Awards:
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