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Seller Satisfaction Survey: Visibility on eBay – Part 3

Seller Satisfaction Survey: Visibility on eBay - Part 3

In Part 3 of the Seller Satisfaction survey on eBay visibility, EcommerceBytes presents the findings on the tools sellers use to increase traffic to their listings.

eBay sellers had quite a bit to say about tools in our recent Seller Satisfaction survey conducted in February, which we cover here in Part 3. We asked sellers about tools provided by eBay directly (covered here), as well as tools provided by third-party services and the strategies sellers use to increase traffic to their listings (coming up in Part 4).


We collaborated with contributing columnist Don Heiden who runs the Auction Professor channel on YouTube for eBay resellers. He came up with the topic and together we crafted the survey questions and invited our respective audiences to participate.

In part one of the survey, we provided information about the over 1,000 eBay sellers who participated over a 5-day period. Half of the respondents (51%) were fulltime sellers, 39% were part-timers, and 10% were “casual” sellers. A majority of sellers (48%) said they sold primarily “antiques / collectibles / memorabilia” on eBay, and many regularly sold on other platforms in addition to eBay.

You can find more information in this article on EcommerceBytes: “Seller Satisfaction Survey: Visibility on eBay – Part 1.”

In part two, we reported on seller satisfaction with their visibility on eBay. We asked sellers if they felt their eBay items were shown to potential buyers fairly, whether they were satisfied with visibility and sales potential on eBay, and whether they felt eBay fees were appropriate for the amount of sales they were getting.

You can read part 2 in this article on EcommerceBytes: “Seller Satisfaction Survey: Visibility on eBay – Part 2.”

Don Heiden reviewed the results of Parts 1 and 2 in this video on The Auction Professor Channel on YouTube.


And now on to the results of the questions sellers answered about the tools they use.

Do you feel that eBay gives you the tools needed to get your items sold?

A significant number of respondents felt eBay gave them the tools needed to get their items sold – nearly 30%. However, 51% did not. A relatively large percentage of sellers didn’t know (20%).

eBay tools needed to sell

The comments shed light on why sellers answered the way they did. A few wrote about the specific type of tools needed – for example, shipping tools and better bookkeeping tools, and better tools for managing photos.

“I wish there was more help with titles and keywords,” wrote another seller, who added, “I also wish we could go back farther than 90 days for information” – a sentiment echoed by numerous other respondents.

A large number of commentors pointed to tools they said didn’t work due to glitches, while others pointed to costs for fee-based tools.

“A lot of tools you need to have a Store, which is more money for eBay,” said one seller.

Sellers also used the opportunity to vent about Item Specifics (product attributes).

One seller noted a need for analytics, writing, “Marketing tools are somewhat effective but limited, and analytics are almost nonexistent, so it’s hard to know exactly what works without good data.”

Which tool or tools do you feel work the best to get your eBay items sold?

We asked sellers which tools they felt worked best to get their items sold, and we listed three types of tools – Markdown Manager, Promoted Listing ads, and coupons – plus an option to select “other.” Note that sellers could select from among the three types of Promoted Listing ads eBay offers, but Advanced (a cost per click model) and Express (for auctions) garnered few responses. Those are newer offerings from eBay, so it may be too soon to know if sellers’ perception of their effectiveness will change.

eBay tools work the best

Which eBay tool or tools are worth the cost?

We also asked sellers which eBay tools were worth the cost.

eBay tools worth the cost

There was resistance on the part of some respondents to using tools that incurred a fee, saying they already paid fees to eBay and the paid tools cut into their profitability.

Sellers liked the concept of coupons, but a number of readers indicated they didn’t work – perhaps in part because sellers have to market the coupons to shoppers themselves.

It became clear to us upon reading sellers’ comments that Offers were very popular with sellers as a tool to boost sales. Unsolicited, many sellers volunteered that offers to watchers was effective.

Some sellers said they felt not being able to track the effectiveness of tools was a problem – others pointed to glitches that kept them from using eBay tools.

One seller summed up their frustration as follows: “Nothing is working. It you don’t pay extra, you vanish and if you do you can’t make money.”

Another suggested eBay institute “logical” fees – “this way sellers can offer better prices and people will buy more, simple as that.”

Selection of Comments

NONE! They don’t even display my markdown sales as red in search results anymore. Must enter item and find tiny font to know about it. Glitched for over a year.

Communication with potential buyers.

I do none of the above – I wish coupons could be given to those who don’t have a Store.

When we blast our eBay coupons on social media we get a few more sales. But true organic sales have died. eBay is not promoting eBay, they are relying on its sellers to do all the promoting.

We should have the ability to contact interested buyers at least by sending them an offer. This is not usually possible now. Once you have sent an offer, you cannot send another one to that person even many months later.

I think using “Send offers – eligible” actually makes a difference. Refuse to use Promoted Listings – fees are already too high, and there are glitches! Charged more than I specified! (I entered 1% just to see if it made a difference and was charged 10%. Never again.)

I don’t use any of these. I feel eBay gets enough of my money from my listings.

I feel that when you sell on a site you should not have to pay more to have your items noticed. I was an anchor store for a while at $299.95/mo and they still wanted me to do promoted listings. The way ebay is now no one gets what they deserve.

My eBay Store front alone with no promos, no markdowns, no coupons.

None, can’t confirm that any of these tools provide consistent “boost”.

Self styled flash sales you can set yourself without paying a fee.

Sales were just fine before promoted listings became a thing. It is essentially just another way to tax us even further with no predictable or guaranteed outcome.

Good titles.

Sending offers sometimes works.

I have tried all those with very limited success.

Last year I had a few sales because of promoted listings.

I tend to get more watchers than sales with markdowns but I do really like the feature. It seems to have been designed well.

Offer To Watchers.

I’m not convinced markdown manager does much at all. I’ve never seen a good boost in sales by doing it. Ever.

Sending Offers to those that are eligible. Still can’t figure out the algorithm as to how those items are selected. For instance, currently 2000 listings only 158 are eligible despite watchers on many others.

Create a Sale Event is the only one I use. Unfortunately though the BANNER IS NOT WORKING plus I could not remove an item out of the sale so I was looking for help to guide me through the process. I reported this glitch to eBay and to my frustration the rep at the other end COULD NOT SEE MY PROMOTIONS AT ALL ON HIS SCREEN – another glitch !!!! Really???? So they informed me they could not help me. Really????? eBay is crippling us with all these glitches. We need a BRAND NEW PLATFORM THAT WORKS! Where is the money they made from all of us? Why is eBay not putting money back into the platform to help us. WE DESERVE BETTER TREATMENT THAN THIS.

Not much has happened for me with coupons, not one has been used yet. And I’ve only had one markdown sale that worked so far. The tool that works for me is offers to watchers.

Markdown manager works well for us but it is currently having glitches. I know Don doesn’t like promoted listings and neither do I, but when I shut them off our sales drop every time significantly and when I promote at eBay’s recommended level it seems to work the best. I really think they do something to your listings if you don’t promote them, and the only way I can see around this is to end listings weekly or monthly and sell as similar like Don suggested. Even then it appears by doing the combine with promotions have worked best for us. It’s honestly a lot of trial and error and I am sure we have lost money when we shouldn’t have. We just make sure that we get items at a good price that the promotions won’t hurt our bottom line.

The new flat % on promoted ads is terrible – can’t target items like holiday items.

I do not use anything that costs extra. Perhaps a mistake on my part but our items are vintage and antique related and should come up for anyone looking for it without paying extra. I will test a couple of items this week on promoted listing ads to see if it helps.

We use a mix of promoted listings and Markdown sales (2-3 days)
No promotions, no sales. Once you start sales, they just wait for a sale.

Store and shipping promotions are also effective.

Occasionally I will send offers, but they usually go no where.

Coupons are a joke – buyers are just not interested.

Volume discount.

Promoted listings are easily the #1 way to get your items seen and potentially sold. I’ve had them as high as 12% and as low as 1%. Evidence shows to me what drives my sales.

Markdown manager is only for Stores.

Most of my items are unique pieces, so many of the tools are not relevant or useful.

Best offer if used carefully Answering customer queries promptly.


Send an offer works great. Promoted Listings are a joke. Whatever small boost you get is eaten up in fees. I find that a sale gives better visibility and offers value to sender. Promoted Listings do nothing but give eBay money.

Variation listings.

I’ve yet to try eBay’s coupon codes, but it’s on the to do list, and I hope they keep them.

Coupons were a good try, but no one is using them.

I think the eBay Bucks worked great. I don’t have time to raise prices to offer coupons or make fake sales. eBay needs to pay for some promotions and have commercials to bring in customers.

I also use coupons and think it’s a combination between promoted listings and coupons. But feel eBay wouldn’t push the item as much without promoted listings

I don’t do any promoted listings. My clothing items are mostly vintage and there is no need to promote them because I do not have a lot of competition. Try promoted listings numerous times and they’ve never resulted in higher sales for me, just a higher percentage paid to eBay

Offers to watchers helps.

According to traffic & sales reports, most of my sales come from promoted listings (boosting how & when my items get viewed)

Half of sales comes from offers to watchers.

I like the ability to generate coupons, although most buyers don’t use them as much as on other platforms.

I prefer to give my buyers the discount rather than giving that money to eBay.

Only Promoted Listings seem to do anything and almost seem a requirement now.

Ugh – enough with the freakin TOOLS. Just FIX the search.

Best tool is Google search which is free. But eBay only uploads 20% of biggest seller’s listings.

I guess you could say that ALL of the options above are worth the cost, because the alternative is to be virtually invisible on the site. Bunch of crooks.

None. Your item will sell without promoting it when the right buyer shows up.

I send offers several times a week. I’m surprised more don’t get used.

I use them and have no idea if they are effective.

None. Stores don’t really seem to have any value any more either.

Markdown manager is free but we have to raise prices just to cover the markdown. Stupid really.

eBay makes it mandatory if you want visibility I a competitive area where all big sellers are also using promoted

The coupons seem worthless cuz I can’t tell who I sent to or if I left feedback. I tried it a while ago and I couldn’t keep track of what was happening – felt like it got jumbled with leaving feedback, at least thru my phone.

I don’t seem to have a choice. I pay or I don’t play.

I like the ability to create coupons.

Fees for Promoted are reasonable.

Don’t know if any are worth cost. Need to be shown evidence of results.

I HATE admitting this! But of late, it is the only way my items move at all. Mind you, still well below historical levels (pre-covid).

Terapeak. However, I believe it could be better and less restrictive. One year of sales is helpful, but I would like it to be available to see the listing instead of the 60 or 90 days it does allow.

Markdown Manager works without a doubt but I am very mixed on the promoted listings and often go back and forth on this issue. I think stores get punished if they don’t use it. Don has a big enough store with a huge amount of products that he can get away with not doing promoted listings but I feel it isn’t the same for stores with under 500 items. I really think eBay is trying to push out the small sellers and there is a bigger picture of why that most people are not seeing.

I use markdown manager as I like strike-through pricing but it doesn’t cost anything as I don’t discount below my intended price.

None of their tools are worth what they charge. $4 for bold title? Give me a break.

Don’t use them because of glitches.

Markdown manager is like a dinosaur program from the 1990s

Markdown manager doesn’t cost me anything. No one used my coupons but it was a good idea. Promoted listings is too expensive and pay per click is a ridiculous service. The promotions, I don’t know which ones are doing this but promoted listings are coming up in the wrong category and taking up the top spot(s). It’s making it like Etsy which I think ruins search with promoting listings having nothing to do with what I’m looking for is used.

Next Up

Next up, we will report back on what sellers had to say about third-party tools and the strategies sellers described to gain greater visibility on eBay.

Stay tuned for Part 4 – and we’ll provide a link to The Auction Professor’s latest video on the survey results when it becomes available – here’s a link to his YouTube channel.

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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.