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Fri Mar 2 2012 12:12:04

Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?

By: Julia Wilkinson

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Longtime eBay sellers know that every year they are faced with new changes, and often there is grumbling about them for a while, and then many sellers suck them up and go on about their business. And yes, some have dropped out over the years or moved on. But will this latest round of Spring Seller Update changes actually move a significant number of sellers off eBay and on to another service? And if so, which?

I see a few possibilities here, and there is also an opportunity for "niche" sites to attract on a lot more sellers (and therefore gain more buyers). The most likely niches may be low-weight items such as stamps, party favors, small items of clothing (such as scarves), and the like.

The sellers in these areas on eBay face the daunting restriction of having to move from a postage cost of, for example, one first-class stamp, which they say worked fine for their buyers in the past; to a minimum of $1.64, with an at least 3/4-inch thick envelope no more than 13 ounces, to qualify for delivery confirmation.

This will also affect many sellers who use the low-price items (often in addition to the main types of items they sell) to maintain their Top-Rate Seller (TRS) standing. Their thinking is the more feedback they get, the easier it is to deal with low-DSR ratings. This will no longer be a viable strategy.

So, if these sellers were to really move, where would they go? It's not clear that any sites, besides Amazon in the media/games category (and some other areas where sellers are pre-approved) have the critical mass to compete with eBay...yet, anyway. Some sellers were wishing one of these other sites would "step up to the plate," such as Bonanza, a site which has gained more traction than many others: "Time for Bonanza to step up. Ebay just rolled out their new spring seller changes & there are a lot of mad sellers...I wish Bonanza would advertise or do something so that more buyers knew about it. Bonanza is in prime position to take away ebay seller & buyers now," wrote one seller in an online forum.

But some others replied the sales were just not there consistently enough: "I had always hoped Bonanza would step up, but...one sale over three years while eBay keeps coming up with buyers every day."

Another agreed, "I have been on Bonanza for a little over 6 months and sold 5 things. I sell 5 things in a bad Ebay morning!"

One suggestion was that some of them could "swallow their pride and join forces?"

EBid.net does seem to have gained traction with sellers, but mostly in the UK, where it is based. In the EcommerceBytes Sellers Choice 2012 Marketplace Ratings for Ebid.net, a seller wrote, "EBID would be nice if they actually got traffic from places other than Great Britain and Australia. For sellers who don't want to sell internationally, their site is useless. Only made one sale there in MONTHS."

(The site came in number 14 in the 2012 Sellers Choice Awards with an overall rating of 5.4 - a drop from 5th and 6.8 in 2011). U.S.-based sellers complained of low traffic and poor sales - "great European exposure, minimal US activity," according to one. You can see how the other major marketplaces were ranked in the survey here:
Sellers Choice 2012: Merchants Rate Ecommerce Marketplaces.

One site that may be particularly well-positioned to siphon off eBay refugees is Delcampe.net, which focuses on the niche areas Postcards, Stamps, Coins & Banknotes, Old paper, and the like.

What do you think? Do you see any of the competing or niche auction and online selling sites as viable alternatives to eBay? Do you plan to stay on eBay or will this recent round of changes really force you off? And do you sell a lot of lightweight items to boost your TRS status, which the new delivery confirmation rule may make unsustainable for you? Post a comment here!

  




Comments (25) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?   Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?

by: BetterThingsToDo This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 2 13:17:36 2012

I'm not moving anywhere. The traffic is at Fleecebay.

All I do everytime they come up with stupid stuff is just raise my prices another 25 cents. That covers all their nonsense till the next time.

I don't sweat the TRS or DSR's. I'm to busy packing and shipping to care.

Their isn't a site out there that can compare to Fleecebay traffic.

Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?   Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Fri Mar 2 17:39:30 2012

I agree - at least in the collectibles area.

I've tried DelCampe & BidStart with pretty poor results, unfortunately.

I had hopes for BidStart, they seemed aggressive enough in trying to recruit sellers, but it is the buyers that aren't there.

BidStart seems to be a good enough place for the collectibles auction categories that eBay is trying to eliminate. The problem is buyers.

I can blitz my 10000+ buyers with an e-mail which I've accumulated over the last 17 years, but when you look at it, yes, my repeat customers will check it out, but it is the other newer eyeballs who search for specifics in the categories I list.

It is like 1996 all over again where Yahoo and eBay were neck & neck in activity and seller offerings, and within months the scales tipped to eBay and Yahoo went belly up eventually.

What we need is another ''Harry Seldon'' (professor of mathematics at Streeling University on Trantor who can formulate in probabilistic terms what platform we will need to go to.

Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?   Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?

by: ibs This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 3 07:08:52 2012

The first auction site to advertise in print and media will win BIG.  They have to brand their name....Ebay made their name part of our vocabulary by advertising off the internet.
Buyers are not as motivated as sellers to find a new auction site. Antiques and collectible Auctions need more than one interested party to be successful.
Until another site steps up to the plate to get their name out to the masses...I have to pathetically stay on Ebay...  
 

Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?   Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?

This user has validated their user name. by: WOODJUNGLE! ON EBAY

Sat Mar 3 18:46:53 2012

M O N O P O L Y

nuff said.

Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?   Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?

by: JohnGermaine This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 4 11:33:56 2012

I moved 2 years ago to the then upstart Bonanzle, later to be renamed to Bonanza. Nice place with real support and constantly growing sales. I won't buy or sell at The Dark Side for any reason. Anywhere but eBay, that's my mantra. Boycotts work, but people seem to forget that. You can leave and take your customers with you. You have their email addresses at your PayPal account. Why anyone would stay beholden to their absurd rules and regulations is beyond me.

Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?   Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?

by: teddychan This user has validated their user name.
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Sun Mar 4 11:50:09 2012

Forget Bonanza. I had my entire inventory listed there for months at a time, and even when the value of something I had tripled overnight, no one bought it. There is plenty of room for viable eBay competitors (yes, plural) but none of these alternative sites appear to have the money to want to compete effectively.

Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?   Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?

This user has validated their user name. by: baconsdozen
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Mon Mar 5 09:45:55 2012

I'll be glad when ebay self destructs.If for no other reason than it will give all these sights something else to talk about.there are loads of alternative sights out there if they got 1% of the free publicity that ebay gets on a daily basis maybe there will be a workable alternative to the blood sucking paratsite that some call ebay.

Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?   Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?

by: robertom This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 5 10:05:47 2012

I, too, have been rolling with the "punches" (literally) on fleecebay for years.
I have a vendio store, but I don't have all my inventory on there the thought of maintaining 2 sites is daunting) but I sell 1 item on there for every 1,000+ on ebay.
Can anyone help me answer a simple question: what time of marketing am I allowed to do with fleeceebay buyers?

1) Can I put a flier in the package, mentioning my vendio website (my prices on there are 5% lower than fleecebay)

2) Can I email info on my vendio website when I let buyers know shipment? (I send this to their paypal email address, not through fleecebay)

Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?   Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?

by: scview This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Mar 5 10:37:00 2012

Some nice & informed Comments above. As many who have read my ramblings before know, I jumped off of the Ebay band wagon at the top of my game/sales and went elsewhere cold turkey.

I am glad I did.

I had to struggle to find a place for my items to sell and also I had to struggle to find method of selling.

But I did.

Then another & just in the last 4 months, yet another.

All Have one thing in common ... Traffic ... ie buyers.

My top selling sites for me are:

Delcampe with 685,672 members as of this morning.

Bidstart with 62,739 members as of this morning.

My own site with a 107,011 customer mailing list that I contact using a mail server company.

Members / Buyers is the first step.

Traffic is even more important.

On Delcampe I get a steady stream of customers who pop in and buy. Without any effort I can get 20-30s sales a day there.

On Bidstart I have to turn the traffic on & off using their own Email Newsletter program that is part of the site. Every Time I use it I can "SEE" the number of people shopping my listings at any one time. Anywhere from 20-50 different buyers...A MINUTE on their site when I use the newsletter service...and then it tapers off in about three days.

On my own site , I control the traffic directly I feel. I do a constantcontact email...I get sales. I do not...I do not get sales. In part this is due to the site being new and me still having to establish the sites across Web Links, Search engines & Social Media. I am working on that.

The Key thing I have learned is that my previous customers will buy from me on any site I tell them I am at.

It dosn't matter where your items are for repeat customers. They will shop you again.

The problem is "new to you" customers... in that area Ebay still has the upper hand for now.

So I have a method of harvesting those buyers off of Ebay ... and after doing so...adding them to my repeat buyers lists.

It is a system on each site I approach , to their strenghts & weakness...each gives me sales. Last month Over 8,000 total sales across all my selling platforms.

Meanwhile I test other sites and see if I can figure out how to use them also. Boocoo.com & Webstore.com are slowly working for me. Ubid is not.

If you have a customer list...get off of Ebay...you can easily use Bidstart.com and Constantcontact to drive your customers to you... no matter what you sell.

Harvest Ebay for new buyers on a regular (Free listing Days) cycle...and add them to your marketing kists.

THEN.....

Market , market , market yourself

That is the mantra on online selling much like location , location , location is for storefronts on Main Street.

Stefano

Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?   Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?

by: minibeesknees This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Mar 5 10:40:20 2012

When ebay started messing with their email system, I bought my domain name, which is my user ID, and put up a placeholder page with nothing but a contact form so that prospective buyers could ask questions about color descriptions.  I sell in a teeny-tiny target hobby market only one product that I make myself.  Much to my amazement a recent check showed that 75% of prospective buyers were finding me by searching for my name not my product.  That screams it is time to put up a website to me.  For 15 years I've been shipping worldwide, First Class mail, no tracking, and no insurance.  This worked for me.  I USED to have a return policy of 'satisfaction guaranteed' but ebay's rules forced me to restrict returns instead of the no questions asked, full refund policy I did have.  I make a lot of them as they are sold, there is no way I can ship in one day.  It is time for me to leave...they have pushed me too far.  I do not sell the most in numbers in my tiny market, but I do sell the most in dollar amounts and when I leave, I'll be taking 10-15% of the listings for similar products with me.  That will not affect ebay with their millions of listings, but it does affect product mix.

Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?   Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?

This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles
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Mon Mar 5 11:02:39 2012

No offense, but is the best recommendation to eBay is Bonazle/Bonanza. I hope you good luck and sit to wait for a sale.

I believe in the Alternatives, but I will not just recommend anyone anymore. I can only recommend people to check every one by themselves and you find your favorite. Focus in it.

@robertom, about your questions.

1) Create your personalize "packing slip" or invoice.

2) I don't know. I never send promos by e-mails because I don't like to much to receive a lot of spam.  

Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?   Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?

by: Willabill This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 5 11:30:23 2012

The most recent round of changes will not encourage me to move to a new marketplace.  But that's because I already moved to a new marketplace when the last round of changes - a decrease in fees that raised the cost of doing business on eBay for me - had already forced my hand.  I used to list over 15,000 store items per month on eBay.  I'm now down to around 3,000.  The rest remain on my private web site, from where I occasionally rotate a small percentage of my stock to eBay.  Before that, I was paying eBay and PayPal more than I was paying myself.  And don't be deceived - these new requirements for TRS and the 20% discount are really a fee increase disguised as a response to evolving customer expectations.

Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?   Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?

by: originalprintdealer This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 5 13:10:20 2012

It's all about traffic and sales; no other marketplace compares for, yes, I said it, FINE ART. Etsy, RubyLane, Bonanza, ArtFire, tried all of them for over two years. We kept the Etsy shop, that's it. Nobody else produced enough (if any) sales to warrant the time invested in keeping up a shop.
Meantime, back at the bay, sales daily. We have been exceeding the "new" requirements for years with a satisfaction guarantee policy and same-day/one-day free shipping. Step up!

Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?   Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?

by: JoJo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 5 13:40:49 2012

Nothing eBay can do really matters to me.  I left them as a primary outlet for my goods years ago.  I only list on there the few things I need to closeout.  Overall, I find eBay to be the most time consuming place to sell things, from their convoluted listing pages to their non paying bidders to the constant need to relist items.  When taken in conjunction with their fees (15% on eBay vs. 4% on Etsy) it's just not worth it for a primary outlet.  I personally recommend using your own website above all other options, and if you can fit into Etsy categories, that's a good place to acquire new customers.  Amazon is expensive and I haven't really decided if it's worth it yet, although the management on Amazon is much easier and less time consuming than eBay and you can get better margins. Anyway, that's what works for me.

Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?   Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?

by: robertom This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 5 18:39:52 2012

I agree with WILLABILL
The new TRS hurdles are just a fee increase in disguise.
They must have figured that too many good sellers who bust their behinds to achieve high DSR, are getting the 20% discount. So, how do we ''fleece'' them? Make it almost impossible for a part-time ebayer to meet those requirements. And voila'! Fee increase (i.s. loss of discount) without having them call it a free increase! GENIUS!!!

To ELPERELES
Thanks for the suggestion. I already include thank you notes on all my shipments. It's time to start advertising my personal marketplace... it will take some work to set it up with my full inventory... but boy! does it feel good when I make a sale off of my other website! knowing I de-fleeced ebay, and split the savings with the buyer in the form of lower prices :)~

Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?   Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?

by: sickandtired This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 5 20:17:54 2012

ibs .......you took the words right out of my mouth. I have tried many other sites, but for the items I sell, I need an AUCTION SITE that has buyers, not just sellers. I do have an ebay store and make a lot of fixed price sales, but auctions are still what drive my business.

Bonanza could be a contender if they would stop p*ssing around trying to be a social site, offer an auction format and do some advertising. The rabid Bonanza fans spend hours a day on the site running from booth to booth posting cutsie comments, making up collections of items with "oh so clever" themes, chatting amongst themselves.....it is a very cliquish environment.  Could be a contender but not until the owner puts on his big boy pants and decides to play in the big leagues.

The newest ebay slashes to discounts is disheartening and will hurt financially, but I'll just have to take it, like everything else that ebay foists on us.  If the majority of one's business is on ebay, then there is no choice.  I just wish they would stop being so disingenuous and just get rid of the discounts altogether. That's what they really want.  Making more roadblocks for us and setting up new hoops to jump through to try and maintain status and discounts is just cruel.....like pulling the wings off flies. Just get it over with and put us out of our misery.

I had the kind of day today that will lose me my discount and status once the changes come into effect.  I have had 15 emails - all from buyers, after the auctions/listings were closed.

There was a nice mix of thank you notes for items received, questions like do I have more items available in the china pattern they just bought from me, how much would postage be if they added such and such to their order, a request from a recent buyer to help her identify her Great Grandmother's china pattern....this is the kind of stuff I get every day and soon I will be punished for it.

Ebay continues to act as if the buyers are their customers, the goods are under their control regarding how they should be shipped, at what cost, when.....on and on.

The sick fixation ebay has with being like Amazon is pathetically self destruction, and TPTB just can't see it.

Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?   Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Tue Mar 6 15:17:34 2012

I left ebay years ago cold turkey also and I'm glad I did. Just turned off my store with over 5000 products in it. Currently selling on ecrater where there are no fees and they have no intention of adding them. I have no problems marketing and promoting my store as I sell in a niche category which means that I can market to a niche category. On ecrater our yearly sales are great. You can sit back and let ebay promote themselves and hope for some bread crumbs and to squash you or you can go out and find a better place to sell. Well I have to go as I've gotten in yet another order today. :)

Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?   Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?

This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Wed Mar 7 11:22:34 2012

@sickandtired:
You are so correct about the eBay alternatives. I think a lot of them focus far too much on things like forums and socializing with other sellers. Forums are great for sharing useful information, but there seems to be a lot of non-business stuff that goes on in them (especially on Bonanza). Maybe that's fine for those who have time to putter around, but for people who are doing this as a business, all the cute games and drama and a pointless waste of time, especially if we're selling on more than one venue.  

As a seller, what I want from a venue is traffic, tools to make listing and managing my account fast and easy, traffic, smooth and glitch free checkout, traffic, easy communication with buyers, and traffic.

Most of the alternatives have decent tools and account management, but they all fall down when it comes to traffic. Yes, we sellers need to put in some of our own effort on SEO and such, but the venues need to step up, too, and help us bring in the buyers.

Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?   Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?

by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
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Fri Mar 9 02:25:40 2012

@Julia

It shows how ill informed some of your survey responders were.

One of them said in your blog above that ebid.net only gets traffic from the UK and Australia and very little from the USA.

Well I am pretty certain that ebid.net has hundreds of Australian members versus thousands of USA members.

Most Australian members say they can't sell anything on ebid.net, yet we see lots of US sales.

Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?   Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?

by: 338mpu This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 9 03:39:12 2012

I'm selling on uk.ebid.net. 50% of my sales are domestic 50% are split between Usa and Australia. Think more promo would be needed. It's cheap and friendly.Ok for me.

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