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Thu Mar 31 2011 17:44:48

How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?

By: Ina Steiner

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Online sellers who use eBay ProStores are considering alternatives after eBay raised prices this week. Merchants with between 250 and 1,000 products will see a 33% increase in monthly subscription fees, and other merchants will see their fees will increase by 67%.

That's not all. eBay PowerSellers and eBay Store subscribers had been receiving a 30% discount on subscription fees, which ProStores is eliminating. That means many eBay sellers who use ProStores to power their own ecommerce websites are seeing fee increases of between 79% - 138%.

While ProStores is not as full-featured as some other shopping carts and ecommerce hosting solutions, and while it has frequently experienced technical issues, it was compelling for eBay sellers for a number of reasons. ProStores allowed users to sync their inventory with eBay, and it also allowed eBay sellers to use ProStores third-party checkout. That meant they could cross-sell and up-sell to eBay buyers, pitching them additional products to add to their order - at lower commission rates than on eBay itself.

With increased fees and the elimination of eBay third-party checkout, ProStores merchants say they are considering their options - and there are lots of alternatives (perhaps too many). One that has a similar model to ProStores is Yahoo Stores.

The Yahoo Stores Starter Plan is $39.95/month, with a 1.5% transaction fee (first three months cost $29.96/month). This plan lets you have 50,000 products and $18,000/month in sales, but you have to bump up to the next plan to get cross-sell and up-sell merchandising features ($129.95/month plus 1% transaction fee). Yahoo Stores has many of the features ProStores sellers have been requesting.

Another ecommerce solutions provider, Magento, recently launched a hosted ecommerce solution in addition to its open-source software and enterprise level solution. The Magento Go plans are similar to ProStores and Yahoo Stores, but without the commission fees. Pricing ranges from $15/month to $125/month, but the company is heavily discounting the plans during its introductory period (it's calling the discounts its "$1 Million Stimulus plan").

Magento is offering its $25/month plan for $10/month for the first year, which allows 500 products. The $65/month plan is $50/month for the first year and allows 1,000 SKUs. There are no transaction fees.

Interestingly, while all three plans - ProStores, Yahoo Stores, and Magento Go - accept PayPal, only the latter accepts Google Checkout payments.

There are many factors to consider in choosing an ecommerce solution. See this February article that includes a roundup of articles about shopping carts and ecommerce systems, including Yahoo Stores, Magento, Volusion, and others. We're also running a column in Sunday's AuctionBytes Update newsletter about factors in selecting an ecommerce solution.

The fact that eBay is eliminating ProStores discounts for eBay PowerSellers and Stores subscribers speaks volumes, and gives further ammunition to those who say eBay is pushing smaller sellers out the door in favor of large merchants.

Now that eBay owns 49% of Magento (and is also acquiring 100% of GSI Commerce for large retailers), it's reasonable to ask how much of its resources eBay will put into maintaining and developing its ProStores offering, about which it has always been ambivalent.

Are you planning to stick with ProStores, or are you evaluating other solutions? Let us know!




Comments (43) | Permalink

Readers Comments

How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?   How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?

by: Crystal Ball

Thu Mar 31 18:05:48 2011

Isn't it obvious? eBay has NO commitment to their own ''ProStores'' platform. They do not want to maintain or develop it. It's a headache and they'd probably be happier if they didn't have to deal with it.

''What to do? What to do? How can we get rid of ProStores without any liability or tarnishing our reputation?''

I think their ''gut-instinct'' would be to simply pull-the-plug and tell everyone goodbye. But that would result in VERY bad press. Instead, they're trying to FORCE the current ProStore sellers into ''voluntarily'' leaving. (What better way to do that than to make it unprofitable to stay?)

Or... what better way to ''motivate'' the current ProStores subscribers into ''transitioning'' their online offerings to Magento. ~ It's a ''win-win'', eh?

Puh-leeze! eBay is so focking transparent! This is the same ''go-slow'' tactic that they're using with the undesirable small flea-market/garage-sale sellers on eBay.com

They want is GONE, but they can't afford the bad P.R. if they simply dump us unceremoniously, in one fell swoop. Instead, they just make it so uncomfortable and EXPENSIVE to stay that we leave (their ultimate goal) but they can always say that we did so of our own accord. Bullsit!

They're evil, but they're not fools.

How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?   How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Thu Mar 31 20:04:12 2011

One wonders how much longer Magento will acccept Google payments. Why migrate from one 100% ebay disaster to another 49% ebay disaster?

One of the statements ebay made was to say that they want Pro Stores fees to vbe more in align with SERVER SPACE.

This suggests to me that this could very well be ebafia's next salvo agaisnt small sellers. In addition to unfairly high fees, they'll charge us for server space.

My hope is that ebay and former ebay sellers boycott every corporation either wholly or partially owned by ebay except for now Craig's List and spread the word NOT to patronize these companies.

How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?   How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?

by: DNA

Thu Mar 31 20:47:50 2011

Ebay is the epitome of the term ''Ugly American''.  Shamefull, disgracefull, horrible, greedy, corporation.

How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?   How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly
Web Site

Thu Mar 31 21:36:36 2011

Is this true? I was all excited about the new release:

http://3rdpoblogs.com/colderice/prostores-new-release-
gets-your-ecommerce-web-store-in-the-big-leagues/

''Watch
the video and see how to get 50% off for ColderICE.com readers on thier special package using the code: colderice9. This release of ProStores is really worth a look or a second look if you been there before.''

''Thier'' is a tough one to get right... but wow, no discount now?

How long ago was this offer? Oh, 6 months ago.

Can't really make steady plans with eBay as a partner.

How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?   How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?

by: Barbara

Thu Mar 31 21:50:44 2011

Talk about options for stores, I am kind of excited about an ad I heard today and just looked up.  CHASE is introducing Chasestores.  It is an instant storefront for the small business.  Best of all they process the credit cards and put the money directly into your account.  This may be the kiss of death for Paypal and ultimately Ebay.  Once the credit card giants enter this arena I expect big changes in the way we all do business. Here is the link

https://www.chase.com/online/Special-Offers/instant-storefront
.htm?advertId=37,952&sourceId=chse&adid=bb_instant_storefront_advt_159748&context=link&jp_aid=bb_instant_storefront_advt_159748&wt.ac=bb_instant_storefront_advt_159748&jp_avt=37952&WT.mc_id=159748&jp_mep=bb_hmpg&WT.pn_sku=BB&jp_con=..ClmnAd.Marquee

How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?   How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?

by: another side of the coin

Thu Mar 31 23:17:00 2011

What I do not understand is why aren't all the seller fees going towards server space visibility and advertising instead of purchasing companies like GSI, Skype etc. I guess it is to look good to the shareholders so JD & Co can put more in their pockets and skate by quarter to quarter along with their group of chefs in the way of cooking the books.

How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?   How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?

by: Tim

Thu Mar 31 23:17:49 2011

I think the writing is on the wall.  eBay is getting rid of the eBay/ProStores discount because eBay will soon be getting rid of ProStores.  They need to do that prior to a sale.  A new owner will want that piece of ugliness (effectively raising prices by 100% or more) out of the way.

eBay has been all about drop-kicking small merchants from their platforms for about 3 years now, this is just another step.  When they needed small merchants they sang a different tune.  Now, they have crunched the numbers and small merchants cause more headaches per dollar and so we get the boot.

ChannelAdvisor did the same about three years ago.  They dropped their entry level, small merchant platform entirely.

Small Merchants need a service *committed* to small merchants.  eBay was never committed to us.  They used us.

How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?   How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?

by: another side of the coin

Thu Mar 31 23:30:56 2011

Yes, eBay is getting rid of Prostores the same as they got rid of Live Auctions. No matter how much eBay wants to change their image they will ALWAYS be known as an auction site. However, the way they are going and after ticking off pretty much everybody, they could be known as the most hated site, a piranha, where nobody will touch it. How's that for a turnaround?

How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?   How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?

by: Joe Average

Fri Apr 1 00:10:31 2011

I forgot Pro Stores even existed until I saw the news here about their fee increases. I have been on eBay since '98, never been to Pro Stores.

How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?   How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?

by: T.W.
Web Site

Fri Apr 1 00:46:47 2011

We are leaving Prostores.  Many reasons, but this was the final straw for us.  We also closed our Ebay Storefront.  

Currently test running Core Commerce and Bigcommerce to see which platform runs better.

How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?   How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?

This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Fri Apr 1 00:55:46 2011

That was the last straw for us. As soon as I get the email we closed up shop. We only had the place basically to use the redirect on the check out.
We got a lot of sales in the beginning 5 years ago but they have been declining since '08 to almost nothing. Save a few bucks each month now.
There is not much out there any more for the small business seller.
Probably going to clear everything out and just work the stock market. At least were making money there. The coin business (precious metals) is also looking very good again. Probably time to get back into that.
Selling on the web has run it's cycle and all of the charm is gone unless you are a huge operation with a huge warehouse.
Way too much work.

Bill

How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?   How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?

by: Don
Web Site

Fri Apr 1 01:09:45 2011

How Committed Is eBay to ProStores? Apparently not very committed

I was considering Pro Stores a while back. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) PayPal tied up my money out of the blue so I was pretty burnt out on eBay/PayPal. I avoided the Pro Stores saga.

We have a Yahoo store. It has been working out very well. I recommend them. A couple of things to keep in mind though; with a Yahoo store you have to generate your own traffic and it is more complicated than listing on eBay. On the plus side Yahoo has very good customer and tech support and they leave you alone to run your business. No silly BS rule changes, listing cancellations or DSR disguised rate hikes. You are welcome to check out my Yahoo store: http://DonsCycleWare.com

I'm glad Ina mentioned that eBay owns 49% of Magento Go. This information is enough to let us know Magento Go may not be a wise choice.

Good luck with whatever choice you make,

Don

How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?   How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?

by: Digby

Fri Apr 1 04:16:53 2011

Another sign that ebay does not want small sellers.

I am glad I moved to ebid last year.

How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?   How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?

by: Short n Sassy

Fri Apr 1 05:52:55 2011

TinyURL.com is your friend! Especially when trying to post long web addresses on the AB blog pages.

Here's the smaller version of the ''Chase Storefront'' URL that Barbara mentioned above.

http://tinyurl.com/3zvdvj9

How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?   How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen

Fri Apr 1 07:56:50 2011

The unscrupulous headless turkeys at eBay are committed to only one thing: squeezing the maximum amount of revenue out of its users, particularly those whom they care least about, you!

Enron / eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking.

How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?   How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?

by: paul

Fri Apr 1 12:34:02 2011

We have been with Ebay over 11 years, now with the outragues fee changes...We are looking fast for a new store front.. Ebay tell us thay are lowering fees with the new fees on shipping...LIE after LIE...lower in one place get tripple fees in another...We are Leaving for good.....Ebay is the Devil (DONAHOE) has sent Ebay to hell....Pro Stores are out....

How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?   How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?

by: Chaz

Fri Apr 1 13:40:02 2011

I tried to use ProStores but it is a clunker.  So did not implement.  And I'm not paying any percentage of sales to an eCommerce provider.  No, they have never been committed to ProStores.  Ebay could have turned it into a true dynamo that could have given them a lock on the small business eCommerce world, but they could not think that far ahead.  Unfortunately for all involved, Ebay is basically a bus company that periodically raises fares for worse and worse service.  No use getting upset at them.  They do not want to be a dynamic, future oriented company.  They want to be a bus company.

How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?   How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?

by: My Own Website Not Quite Paying My Bills Yet

Fri Apr 1 18:10:29 2011


Let's just say that according to Ebay, Prostores is an oxymoron.

How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?   How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?

by: John

Fri Apr 1 19:20:02 2011

I heard a (rumor ???) that pay-pal was being sold. Perhaps it has something to do with the link above on Chase. Just a thought

How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?   How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?

by: buck efay

Sat Apr 2 00:19:13 2011

My friend Bill was fooled by the "Lower fees for store owners" too, until I told him they sneakily DOUBLED the top fee from $50 to 100. He sells top end guitars & it would really hurt him, not to mention that shipping on a guitar is usually $25-50 that he would be paying a FEE on. After he REALLY investigated these "New Low fees", he CLOSED his store. Another 11 year vet gone.

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