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From the Editor – May 12, 2019

EcommerceBytes Editor Ina Steiner
EcommerceBytes Editor Ina Steiner

How well you did in the first three months of the year depends on where you were selling. eBay executives made a “significant reduction” in marketing in the first quarter that resulted in a drop in GMV (the value of goods sold on its marketplace). US sellers took the biggest hit – GMV dropped 6% in the US in Q1.

But while sellers sold less, eBay made more, seeing an increase in revenue of 4%. How? In part by taking more fees from sellers: CEO Devin Wenig said sellers were “flocking” to Promoted Listings, for example.

Etsy sellers had a better quarter as the company reported 19% growth in sales on its marketplace (GMS). It grew its own revenues by a whopping 40%.

Sellers on the two marketplaces should brace themselves after Amazon announced a move to next-day delivery for Prime members. Executives at eBay and Etsy were already pushing sellers to offer fast and cheap shipping, and the pressure will only intensify.

Many small sellers rely on the USPS to deliver their packages, and one of our most popular stories in the past month was, “USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad” – it clearly struck a nerve!

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All too often, shipping costs are a double-whammy for sellers thanks to returns. In today’s issue, we look at a brand new offering designed to prevent returns abuse. We were really intrigued by the concept, and what’s more, it was invented by an eBay seller. Let us know what you think of it!

Also in today’s issue we present the Online Sellers Guide to eBay’s Spring Seller Update. Today’s Collector’s Corner column covers the first-ever Great American Coin Hunt, and we end with letters to the editor.

Thanks for reading.

UPDATE: We got word today about PayPal’s policy on refunding fees for cancelled orders and refunds – see the blog post here.

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.

2 thoughts on “From the Editor – May 12, 2019”

  1. His statement: Sales down: Wenig states, “despite the decline in dollar sales for its sellers
    This helped drive over $65 million of revenue this quarter, up nearly a 110%.” BRAGS while sales are down, the result of sellers having to compete more fiercely for sales, finding themselves having to sacrifice profit margin by paying for visibility through Promoted Listing ads.

    How can he be proud of his failed sales overall, but brag that he is stealing money from sellers with even MORE fees? On listings I have figured up, it is up to 24% taken from me for sales.

    He should be very ashamed of himself! In fact, here’s an example: I sold an item with the promotion settings and the “ad fees” were higher than FVF. I have found this to be the case in my sold items.

    What Wenig does NOT realize is sellers are “flocking”, but it’s not to promotions. It’s to other platforms in which to sell our products. I have my own store on Shopify, but I also added Etsy & Amazon (for the past month) and my sales are up 75% compared to sales on eBay.

    Seasoned sellers will NOT tolerate this behavior and Wenig will NOT have promotions to help his major increase in revenue as days go by. I think the worst thing for Wenig is sellers who are videotaping their fees for promotions, but yet when you do sell something it’s not the price you agreed to. I do believe this is an anti-trust issue? I have been videotaping my promotions and it has caused me to back off fiercely regarding his promotions.

    Wenig runs off good sellers and he can get more, but there is no consistency for buyers to rely on.

  2. Interestingly enough I was up 29% from Jan 1st to March 31st this year compared to the same period October to December 2018. Now that period was absolute devastation. Since the beginning of the year I am back to what I normally sell per month. I have no idea why. I haven’t changed what I’ve been doing. I pretty much always do BIN’s than auctions. Auctions are completely showing that the drop in buyers is severe.

    As I mentioned in a post, I purchased a 1 carat 18K White Gold Diamond Band for $178.00 and free shipping. It was signed “Ed” in a diamond mark. I’ve seen a few pieces by this designer but have yet to find out exactly who he is. Some of his jewelry has sold on Christie’s and Bonhams. A few years ago that would have been so incredibly rare to happen. The last auctions I ran, I ended them three days before the finish. Watchers yes, but no bids. That told me it was going to sell for a song. I am not doing that anymore.

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