|Fri Mar 2 2012 12:12:04|
Will eBay's Changes Move You to a New Marketplace?
By: Julia Wilkinson
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!