In part one of our report today on the Seller Satisfaction Survey on visibility on eBay that we conducted last week, we provided background on the survey and information on the over 1,000 eBay sellers who responded.
In part two, we take a look at how sellers responded to questions about their satisfaction with how eBay provides them with visibility in search. As we noted in the introduction, seller comments helped us understand what was behind the raw numbers.
We collaborated on this survey with contributing columnist Don Heiden who runs the Auction Professor channel on YouTube for eBay resellers. In addition to publishing the results on EcommerceBytes, Don will analyze them on his YouTube channel – we’ll provide the exact link when it goes live. (Update: Here’s a direct link to Don’s take on YouTube.)
Do you feel that your eBay items are shown to potential buyers fairly, regardless of how big or small a seller you are?
When we asked sellers, “Do you feel that your eBay items are shown to potential buyers fairly, regardless of how big or small a seller you are,” 73% said no, 7% said yes, and 20% said they didn’t know.
The comments exposed deeper issues in how sellers feel about eBay’s search. Some sellers simply felt the search engine itself was flawed (“Best Match is horrible,” wrote one respondent about eBay’s default search).
Some respondents reported inconsistent search results – one seller who said they tested this wrote, “I can search private window VPN 4 accounts and get different results.”
Many reported an inconsistency in sales volume as well as some strange patterns, such as the seller who wrote, “It seems they turn on and off the faucet. And times that I get all my orders from one region in the USA. I’ve had weeks when all my sales were International. Too weird to be coincidence.”
Some seller pointed to sales limits or throttling – “It seems when our sales reach a certain $ amount for the day we get cut off,” one seller wrote. (Note that eBay does have selling limits, and sellers can apply to increase those limits once a month.)
Some sellers pointed to the effects of ads on their visibility. “There are too many unrelated items shown that I assume are paid promotions. This buries legitimate items further down in search. I know that, as an occasional buyer, this is annoying, and I lose interest.”
One seller said the believe eBay throttles sellers to “encourage” them to pay for promoted listing ads. Another wrote, “I believe eBay suppresses listings for those that don’t promote their listings.”
And some sellers felt eBay treated them differently based on their size: “eBay has and always will favor Big Sellers,” one respondent wrote.
Selection of Comments:
I have received messages from repeat customers that my auctions did not appear until the last 24 hours in some states, even when I was a top rated seller.
My sales show a pattern of higher sales followed by little to no activity.
Sales are very up & down.
It’s no almost like I get 3-4 x my costs in bursts of 2-3 sales then it stops
Visibility is inconsistent.
The number of views on my items have dropped dramatically.
I am on the east coast, and 99% of the sales are on the west coast. I assume this is done purposely so eBay collects a bigger fee on the higher shipping rates. In the past, I had several sales per month. Now, I’m lucky to have one sale per month.
eBay obfuscation makes it impossible to tell.
I feel there are preferred stores that get more traffic. This may be due to promoted listings and I prefer to keep my $$ rather than giving eBay any more.
A history of regional sales leads me to believe that randomly my listing are seen in specific areas of the country.
I can see they are shown to only certain areas of the country.
Competing items on same page .
I don’t think eBay does anything fairly.
Mostly because of eBay statements that they don’t have to show them.
I think people are searching for the kind of items I sell so they see me in their searches.
My buy it now prices are better than many other sellers. Friends have searched by the exact title I use and my item never show up.
Search – even within my OWN STORE. DOES NOT WORK. If a buyer searches for “(redacted)” in my store – I have 2 labels with this brand. eBay search results say “ZERO MATCHES” – and brings up a huge CARS and TRUCKS search box – to take them out of my store.
Promoted listings eliminated a level playing field.
Views and sales have dropped since eBay instituted their Promoted Listings (pay to play) program. We refuse to take part in that. The fees charged by eBay are high enough to pay for what was always free and fair. Let your title determine relevancy in search, not how much you are willing to pay for placement.
I pay for a store. My items should be seen.
Google shopping used to show all my items for free since eBay sent them the data. For last year and a half, nothing in Google Shop and hardly anything listed for eBay sellers.
Unless you list new items you get buried.
There is noticable ‘throttling’ of sales on eBay, while all other sales channels are visibly steady throughout the month.
I think so. I do use promoted listings which probably helps!
The “pay to play” scheme is getting out of control – especially now that eBay has plans to charge the fee on TAX (?!) and shipping. The tax part is the most infuriating an unfriendly – money we never handle or see any benefit from.
Foreign sellers with junk come before my fine products
I do not have access to my business policies for past year, When I call eBay for a solution, It is never fixed but my sales drop off for 5-7 days after each call.
Items get buried all the time. Also some sellers get bad feedback cleared making the field not level.
Are you satisfied with your items’ visibility and sales potential on eBay?
When we asked sellers, “Are you satisfied with your items’ visibility and sales potential on eBay,” 76% said no, 12% said yes, and 12% said they didn’t know.
Some of the themes touched on in comments in the prior question were repeated. “There is no consistency at all, its feast or famine,” said one seller of their visibility in eBay search results.
Many sellers reported feeling visibility was tied to a seller’s willingness to spend more on Promoted Listing ads. “The only way to guarantee eyes on your item seems to be using promoted listings, and setting the percentage higher than what eBay recommends, usually 8% or more, on top of the 13% they’re already charging me per sale,” wrote one eBay seller.
eBay has “rolled up” categories and made changes to product attributes (Item Specifics), and some said that negatively impact sales for certain sellers, including changes made in the Collectibles category in October.
“They ruined our store and store searches in October. They destroyed the categories in postcards. Customers tell me it is not fun anymore,” wrote one respondent.
“Thanks, to collectibles category changes my page views have dropped by 80%,” wrote another seller.
“eBay used to have a defined category for what I sell, but now it’s folded into one huge category, with many thousands of items,” wrote another.
Some comments were positive. “Better than 2021 substantially,” wrote one seller. Others were positive with qualifications, such as the seller who wrote, “Visibility not sure, but I still feel there is potential. I just have to work a lot harder than I had to before, even harder than I did the beginning of last year. I know my items came up a lot more early last year.”
Selection of Comments:
Thanks to collectibles category changes my page views have dropped by 80%.
It’s becoming too crowded with merchandise and oriented toward buyers of new items.
I see the same item, in worse condition, selling for more money than I have it listed for. The only explanation that makes any sense is that my item is not visible to buyers. I have a 100% feedback rating, so I do not see poor performance as the reason.
For the most part, yes…we make a good living on eBay. We wonder how much BETTER of a living we could make, though, if our listings were shown to everybody.
I have been getting decent traffic, sometimes better than others.
Can’t see description for all the competing items on the page.
Could always be better.
My sales are still okay – eBay. has the best exposure of any ecommerce site I’ve found. And, as a long time seller, my product placement isn’t too bad – but I still think eBay is kind of a scammy site. I just live with it.
I haven’t found a venue that draws the traffic for my inventory like eBay. Wish there was another choice.
Seems like I only get sales when I cancel listings and delist after a day. It seems to cause interest in my other items. Not sure why.
When someone is searching for collectible labels – and they are directed to eBay Motors… how is that good for me?
Amazon outsells 100 – 1
“Visibility” is more like invisibility. I’ve ended and relisted highly searched items and gotten 10 views after a week. It’s incredibly bad. My items never show up in google searches. Furthermore their item specifics are almost always irrelevant, redundant or what they suggest not only has nothing to do with the current listing I am creating but no listing that I have listed whatsoever. It’s pointless but still they pester us to fill them in.
I don’t know if my items are being shown with any rhyme or reason, since sales vary so wildly.
Sales have declined steadily, year-over-year since about 2018. Organic search is completely broken. I can type in my title verbatim into the search bar, and it won’t even show in the results sometimes. The only way anybody can be “found” is through random ads flashed on other seller’s listings.
Many times my item are listed in 2nd or 3 page. Many more expensive items are more visible than mine.
Way too complicated and secret.
In January I promoted listings at 1%. My listing impressions improved to 800,000. In February I stopped promoting to see the effect. Impressions have dropped by 50%, 400,000 impressions. I resent that I have to pay above my store fees to get my items seen.
Items seem to fall into the abyss after a couple of months it the collectibles category where long tail is the norm.
Not sure. We’re getting about 20% more sales with 2x the items from a year or 2 ago so visibility seems weak.
When you sort lowest to highest, a lot of my items disappear.
If you aren’t able to list daily, sales go down.
The more I refine, the better sales are.
I have found that if my items are not promoted, they are slow to sell. My ratio of Promoted to Organic sales is running about 3 to 1.
It seems like I only get “noticed” if I list items. The more items I list and the more often I list seems to effect my sales. If I miss a few days listing, I get no sales.
Decent amount of “views”, if accurate.
Most searches seem to come from Google, not eBay. Unfortunately, eBay can and should interface better with Google searches.
I’m not greedy, I’m a small seller and my visibility seems ok.
I don’t know how to check that.
I feel my older item are not shown at all. I search them from my other store and some do not show up and some are not even on eBay any longer and I did not remove them.
For the amount of sales you are getting, do you feel that eBay’s fees are:
Too high: 79.44%
About right: 19.81%
A bargain: 0.74%
Sellers had a few issues around fees. “Should not have to pay for a monthly store..if they do not show all my items,” wrote one seller.
There were many comments about eBay charging a commission on not just an item’s selling price, but on shipping and sales tax as well, which sellers object to.
“Basic fees are fine, no sales makes them high,” wrote one seller.
Selection of Comments
About right, but not with the new fees coming. Higher fees should be justified with….this is what we are doing for you with that additional revenue.
If they actually marketed the site to bring in buyers, I may feel different.
I dont mind paying fees if I get results, but it is sad that we moved our exact inventory to Facebook, which has far less fees, and sell 3 times as much.
Since my sales have declined to almost nothing, I don’t see any value for the fee increases.
eBay’s basic fees are not a problem, but the extra costs to promote my items adds up.
Store fee plus fvf are too high considering my low sales
Fees should not be charged on shipping & tax
Don’t appreciate paying fees on taxes.
When eBay went to managed payments fees went up. eBay adjusted their fee to get the fees that PayPal charged.
Fees on books and other media should be the same as other items.
If they concentrated on giving me views I would sell more, it would appear eBay is not interested
Not even six years ago, my total fees were around 13%, including the fees on shipping. Now my fees are between 30-35%, and of course the fact that postage costs have gotten out of control certainly doesn’t help.
Honestly I would be fine with the current fees if I was selling more items consistently. The nickel and dime fees are lame. Promoted listings have no hard data that they actually produce more sales.
As a casual seller, it’s cheaper and easier then going it on my own website.
Provided I don’t get sucked into the 6% penalty group.