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Fri June 1 2007 07:27:54

Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?

By: Ina Steiner

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Today's Data Bytes column provided by Terapeak takes a look at the effect of eBay promotions on sales. Should you take advantage of promos like 20-cent listing days, or will the extra listings drive down selling prices and conversion rates?

The column examines only three items from recent promotions. I believe a lot of factors come into play - it's likely results vary widely by category, for example. Nevertheless, the data is fascinating, and I hope Terapeak will continue to look at this issue in future columns. My thanks to them for providing this feature for AuctionBytes readers. (I know they want to hear your thoughts, so feel free to fire away!)

Comments (15) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?   Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?

by: SS2BM

Fri Jun 1 09:12:10 2007

It seems Ebay's listing promotions are primarily used for keeping the figures pretty for their shareholders.

Most sellers know that CLDs (cheap listing days) normally result in the site being flooded with cheap tat and listings from dropshippers.

A Google for 'Summer Solstice Blue Moon' outlines a promotion that should be of interest to independent ecommerce traders.

Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?   Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?

by: Billoment

Fri Jun 1 09:32:24 2007


I myself show much better sales and conversion rates during the last listing promotion that eBay had than the numbers that Terapeak came up with, plus a couple of more interesting observations that eBay should take note of.
I have to go out today to take care of my normal business that you know I do, but will get this posted on here either later today or early tomorrow so we all can see.


Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?   Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?

by: Peter

Fri Jun 1 12:20:58 2007

First I want to point out that average sales prices go down with sales days, since demand does not really increase but supply does.

Second, the efforts of creating a sale are greater in time and money, than continuing to list, which is not offset by lower listing fees which are insignificant compared with cost of labor.

Third, sell through rates also go down considerably. Normally we have a sell through of 28-35% and at sales days it goes down to 8-15% (last week we put up on a sale day 158 items of which only 16 sold.

Our store sales are largely unaffected by sale days. Buyers who are in a hurry to buy ignore sales days.

Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?   Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?

by: Jody

Fri Jun 1 12:45:35 2007

I don't take any actions during these CLDs.  If I were to take an action it would be to take down my listings for a week until the scales are balanced again.  We close typically at 40% but the week after a CLD we're lucky to see 20%.  eBay will need to come up with a new gimmick to get me listing more items.  I haven't increased listings during CLDs for over a year.  In my opinion it's just throwing good money at bad money.  In our categories we see a flood of high priced items with reserves being dumped in and many new buyers don't understand what reserves are because during normal listing days these items aren't listed.  We lose all our commodity buyers to high ticket items that they "think" they'll win for 99 cents because they don't see or understand the reserve feature.  Once they figure out they didn't win the 99 cent DeWalt tool item they go back to shopping within their means looking for used and unbranded items.  In the meanwhile it upsets the marketplace for a week.  I wish eBay would give us a week's notice so I could better plan a vacation around their CLDs. :-)

Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?   Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?

by: Joey

Fri Jun 1 12:56:45 2007

I don't list on 20 cent listings day. I will list on 5 cent listing days but I haven't seen one of those in a long time.

Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?   Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?

by: patricia

Fri Jun 1 13:37:31 2007

I think sellers need to wise up.  Instead of cleaning up their site of fraud and putting out advertising that would bolster buyer confidence in the site, they pull these reduced listing fee days.  Traffic doesn't really increase and we end up mostly selling to each other instead of seeing new traffic come in!  Its time eBay started to do things in a serious business way and stop just depending on its sellers for revenue by raising fees and by these reduced listing fee days.  Get down to the nitty gritty eBay and work on your business model instead of milking your sellers!  At every reduced listing day I'm hearing more and more sellers say they won't bother with it...I hope they don't!

Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?   Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?

by: A. D. Mariano

Fri Jun 1 16:06:02 2007

This article really isn't too scientific, as it mentions items that have less of a value flux and a pretty steady demand ratio. In order for this article to make sense to the Mom and Pop, you would have to take fifteen to twenty items from each category and cross reference them. Your average seller is not selling ipods or cameras. They are selling items from their own personal niche. Cheap listing days, regardless of spin, are just eBay's panic system going into charge. This article isn't really an effective comparison for your average eBayer.

Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?   Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?

by: Randy Smythe

Sat Jun 2 01:50:03 2007

A. D. Mariano has the right idea. This is not a significant enough sample. Be prepared for these same types of numbers when eBay announces Express numbers at eBay live.

eBay can make the numbers look as good as they need them to.

Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?   Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?

by: Billoment

Sat Jun 2 02:41:29 2007

OK it is now time to get back to the reality of eBay and of selling. A little background on me first. I have been in sales in one form or another all of my adult life. A large part of that has been selling collectables. I was in the stamp and coin business in the '70's and early '80's and it was very good. In the mid '80's I got into Sport cards and started running shows in my area. At the peak I had 8 shows a month and sold tables to the dealers to enable them to sell their cards almost like a flea market. That is kind of like what eBay is. They are "renting" space to you to sell your items. No one is forcing you to sell anything and you can come and go as you please. If I had some one complain about lack of sales I told them they need to look at what you are selling and at what price and make the adjustments that you need to do so that you can make a market for your self. I also told them that if they do not want the table I had a waiting list of many names to draw upon to take their spot. In the early '90's the business started slowing down so I sold the shows and went back to school to get my Real Estate license and my appraisers certificate. That has been my real job ever since. That was also the time I ended up divorcing my first wife (which cost me a chunk of change). My 2 boys stayed with me and as they were getting older I got involved with eBay. They told me I needed to clear out the 2 car garage, the basement and the storage shed. That was 1999. I now have as a part time job my eBay store and a web site. I sell model railroad items and still sell collectables. Now I only have a fukk 2 car garage, most of a basement and 2 bedrooms filled. Collectors are pack ratters at heart.

eBay is a selling platform. The only thing they owe us sellers is a good working paltform (they certainly good get better at that instead of running on windows 98 .net 1.0 technology trying to make the adjustments to work in .net 3.0) and to draw the customers the best way they can (which their brand does very well). We as sellers can decide whether or not we want to pay to sell on that platform. No one is forcing us to list and eBay does not owe us anything more.
On the listings days I take full advantage since I have a minimum price that I will start an item at in order to price it so it sells. At the normal $0.40 price anything I sell has to be able to be priced at $8.00 in order for me to list it or in other words 5% of the minimum selling price. Anthing that has a fair value less than that I put in my store. I only use eBay to get rid of excess items. My main inventory is on my web site. On the listing days I do anything that is $4.00 and over. I list at 5 days and 7 days on this last one. I had 70 items ending Tuesday and I had 140 ending on Thursday. Out of the 210 items I sold 95. The numbers that sold were about 33 on Tuesday and 62 on Thursday (not exact but close enough) around 10 were 2nd chance offers and 4 were add ons to items they bought because of the sale.
Now the amazing thing to me is that the sales from this group accounts to 40% of my eBay sales for the month of May. Another fact that I have picked up on is the 5 day sales had an average selling price that was 50% higher than the 7 day sales. Both days had pretty much similar items listed as far as starting price but the 5 day buyers bought a higher priced item than the 7 day buyers.
I normally list 15 items a day in various categories and for the next 21 days staring last week I am only listing 5 so eBay loses on my listing fees. On the other hand because I was able to list in core for those 2 days items that normally sat in my store eBay gained on the selling fees plus I was able to sell 100% more at a minimum than I normally would have been able to sell.

eBay should take note of these simple facts. As a seasoned seller I set myself so that my monthly eBat fees are set at a minimum of 15% and no more than 20% of my monthly sales. With a cheaper listing fee I can list more items and then I get more sales and then I list more items. As eBay has increased there fees I have listed less and there fore sold less. It is a vicious cycle that keeps on putting a strangle hold on sellers. Seasoned sellers will not keep listing the same amount of items if they keep raising fees. I myself am now at half of what I used to list every month in the core listings just over a year ago. I have also moved my main inventory to my web site so my store listings are down to 1/3rd of what I used to list. This is all because of the increases in fees and I know every other seasoned seller has done the same. eBay has become, and has been since 2005, only a venue for marketing to get good customers names to sell them items from our other venues. It is cheaper to list on eBay and get good customers than to pay for adds on search engines plus we make money when we sell them items.
I know that eBay should know that and that is why it costs what it does to list now. They also have Wall Street to cater to so that is why they have the listing days to get their numbers up. What they do not seem to understand that the numbers would be up there if they did not charge so much to list. They would have more listings, more sales and happier customers (the sellers) because the buyers would be out spending. You can't sell caviar to people that normally eat beef in the form of hamburgers.


Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?   Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?

by: Billoment

Sat Jun 2 02:43:07 2007

Sorry Ina for taking up so much space but I had to get my $2.00 in.


Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?   Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?

by: Patricia

Sat Jun 2 14:06:38 2007

LOL the old stick about lower your prices, be competitive and all will come to you.  Sorry...I've been selling on eBay for nine years now.  I sell original artwork - which is not widgets or something dredged up from the basement or attic.  For my sales to be good I need a reputable marketplace where people will feel comfortable in buying what I sell.  That has been the case with ebay but sales have eroded over the years...why?  I have no lack of sales elsewhere.  Even my own website often outsells my ebay auctions and stores.  Well, I'll tell you why:  

1) The site is crawling with fraud and shill bidders.  
2) eBay continually milks its own herd of sellers instead of bringing in new business through advertising.  
3) The site is always being ''tinkered with'' to the point where a LOT of buyers throw up their hands an go elsewhere.  
4) Ebay get your ads off the bottom of auction space we PAY that bring traffic off-site (a major no-no of eBay policy yet they feel free to break the rule themselves).
5) Fix the front and back loading feature plus auctions that have almost destroyed regular sales in the arts category.  

No need for me to go on - ask many of the digusted sellers who already left.  Yes, we don't have to sell on eBay but betcha if we all quit that site would be quite different today.  Its evident many of the buyers have already quit and others won't even try eBay - saying ''oh..I've heard bad things about that place''.  Yes, if we quit then maybe they'd finally give us some SERVICE for the outrageous fees and the nickle & diming they do to us.  They are NOT ''only a venue'' when they have their hands into part of every sale we make over and above our listing fees.  

Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?   Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?

by: Helen Wilson

Tue Jun 12 23:51:33 2007

As a general rule of thumb, when the crowd goes one way, the profit is found the other way. So when eBay get the crowds to go the way they want, look for the more profitable alternatives. CLDs target certain end days where eBay wants to bump numbers. I prefer to have quality items ending when numbers haven't been bumped artificially.

While I rarely sell identical things to make a selling price comparison, I do know my Sell Thru Rate drops an average of 12% on the target end dates of CLDs.

Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?   Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?

by: Helen Wilson

Wed Jun 13 00:00:28 2007

Following up on the post mentioning the SS2BM promotion by several alternative auction sites, I often find the cheaper or free alternatives to eBay are a prime example of what happens on CLDs.

In many categories you get a 'Browsing Clutter' effect. What I mean, frankly, is a lousy browsing experience as a buyer because there is too much poor quality and/or overpriced dross on offer.

eBay said it was this exact problem being caused by Stores that caused them to stamp down hard last year with the famous fee hike. Yet they seem happy to use the clutter tactic themselves very regularly now knowing there are many (eBay reality ignorant) stock analysts that judge eBay on the most flimsy of listing performance stats published from time to time.

Or is it because they said all the stores inventory would switch to core listing format? I guess it happens on CLDs only then! LOL

Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?   Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?

by: Wanda

Tue Jun 19 11:53:50 2007

Well, I think ebay runs some fairly dumb specials, like, I think they ran one on Valentines Day, or was it Mother's Day... Good one there... I didn't do any listing then.  The one they have going today is a BIG dud - up to 14% off seller fees -WOW -read on and its only .75% up to the first $25 -and its ONLY the seller fees -up front its still going to cost you an arm and a leg.  Its not all that compelling to me.  I cherry pick my promotions.  I liked the one where they made the photos really cheap -I saved a lot of money, and made a lot of money too.

People's behavior ought to be sending ebay a message.  I don't think the way I behave and react is all that different from the next person.  If hordes of people respond to 20 cent listing days -doesn't that say -bring down the listing fees?  If this new 14% of selling fees promo goes nowhere -doesn't that say -Not good enough ebay!!!! ????

Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?   Should Sellers List during eBay Promotions?

by: wanda

Tue Jun 19 12:00:01 2007

my math is flawed --- what the promotion is is 14% off of the first $25 of sales.  Sorry, don't want to look too nit witted here.

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