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Mon Apr 1 2013 10:31:08

Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?

By: Julia Wilkinson

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I've been holding back my deep thoughts on the eBay 2013 Spring Seller Update until I could fully digest what they were. And maybe that's part of the problem, that it should take so much time to digest. Once I first glanced at the Seller Update page, and saw it began with the upbeat, "Free listings with eBay Stores: Starting May 1, get up to 2,500 FREE listings* per month with your eBay Stores subscription..." OK, so far so good!

Then it segued into the more worrisome, "Final value fees will be simplified to 5 competitive category-based rates" [5 category rates? Ay chihuahua, as my mother used to say. I'll look at that later.]  "...as low as 4% (and never more than 9% )— regardless of how you sell." Hokay, from 4% to 9%; what's going to be what? And then the additional,  "Get complete details." Sigh.

Click into the "complete details" page and you're looking at a fairly involved chart, with different numbers of no-insertion fee listings based on the type of Store subscription you have (if you have one); with varying prices for each level of Store subscription for additional listings once you've used up your monthly free listings. And now you've got different percentage final-value fees based on what category you sell in; and of course some people (like me) sell in multiple categories.

I'm not going to run down all the Spring Seller Update changes; I'm simply going to note that anecdotally, what I hear from my friends and neighbors about eBay is "I don't know; it's gotten so complicated." Therefore they don't know if they want to get back into selling, or maybe they'll ask me to sell for them.

I'm not saying all these Spring changes are bad; I'm liking the free listing fees as I think it will incentivize some people to list more. And I'm still selling on eBay, and on Amazon as well. But Amazon still has a simpler selling process, in my opinion, even if their cut may be higher in some categories. But you don't have to worry about being charged fees on shipping, for example, and the changes don't come so often. There is less pressure to provide multiple photos, which can be time-consuming, but as I blogged about a while back, Amazon is actively encouraging items to have images, which I think is a good thing. One image per item is what you usually see.

And oh yes, eBay added more rules for images in its Spring seller update. I can't say that requiring at least one photo for a listing is a bad thing (are that many folks really listing on eBay without a photo? Or is is that their photo is of a rainbow or kitten, and not the actual product sold?), but there are other various image-based rules sellers need to know about now too.

To be fair, Amazon has different fees for different categories as well. And as a seller who sells the lion's share of my stuff on Amazon  in media, I don't have to think about the other percentage fees so much. I just wonder if eBay might do well to try to simplify its selling fee structures, even if it's going to more flat-rat fees and doing away with others.

My quick scan of the eBay discussion board on the Spring seller update had many sellers asking an eBay Pink to figure out what their new fees would be using their calculator and analyzing their business structure. It seemed the pink was getting overwhelmed with business analyses.

So I'm curious what you think; are all the fees and rules on eBay getting to be too complicated? What would you do to simplify them? Post a comment here!




Comments (38) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?   Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Mon Apr 1 11:29:49 2013

Regarding the minimum photo size... many of my images are 400x400. These photos are perfectly fine and they clearly show the product details.

I do not HAVE 500x500 images for the products that I list on eBay... so I have two options that I plan to use.

1) Add a 50px white border to my 400x400 images. This means that my actual product images will remain the same size and resolution... but the auto-bots will not reject them for being ''too small''. --- The downside of this method is that (including the white border) my thumbnail images will appear to be even smaller than they are today.

or...

2) Enlarge the 400x400 images to 500x500. This will also fool the auto-bots that check for image size, but when my photos are viewed at full resolution, they will be less sharp than before.

(Hmmmm... Perhaps a combination of the two would be be a good compromise. I could enlarge the original image to 450x450px then add a 25px white border all the way around the edge.)

Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?   Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 1 11:49:36 2013

Good story Julia.
MH

Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?   Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?

by: rebecca7 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 1 15:43:17 2013

I scanned the list of upcoming changes, but had to stop reading as I started to realize all the NEW problems they would cause.

Right now, I'm too exhausted and overwhelmed trying to deal with prior and recently implemented eBay changes that are destroying my eBay business.

Soon, I may not NEED to worry about anything eBay plans to do to sellers in their Spring Update.

But to answer the question in your title:

YES, selling on eBay has become too complicated. Also, too deceptive, too rigged, too unfair, too infuriating, too unprofitable, too unreliable, too dangerous, too frightening, and too bankrupting.

I desperately wish I'd never heard of eBay.

Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?   Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?

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

Mon Apr 1 17:11:03 2013

I'm just wondering about the "white background" images upcoming.

For some of us, that would really screw the pooch. What happens to a white document on a white background?

What is the definition of white? 0/0/0 (ryb) or 15/15/15 or what?

One other little ditty is when you use Lurbo-Tister and have self-hosted images, only the 1st will appear in the gallery - the others evaporate. So, maybe eBay's image-bots will only be scanning for eBay hosted or uploaded to eBay images for compliance.

I'm going to test the system on both white backgrounds (I'm not going to Photoshop thousands of images) and see if the dark backgrounds fly under the radar in self-hosted or web-hosted images.

Peace, love & Cherry Garcia

Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?   Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?

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

Mon Apr 1 17:14:40 2013

Complicated?

Not too bad, then again, I haven't tried to optimize listings for tablets or phones. I suspect that's where the complexity comes in.

If your clientele looks at your stuff while driving a car (let's say), you want the listing optimized for that, otherwise, you'll be losing sales.

Naturally, eBay does not give you feedback as to how many of your items were bought on which platform, eh?

Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?   Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 1 22:53:58 2013

I called ebay and asked for 30 days vacation without store fee and they refused.  All my profits plus more would be taken by greedy ebay every month in 2013.  SOS!

Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?   Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 2 00:05:28 2013

There was a time when i had an ebay store and also had at least 50 items up at all times.  Today, i have one item listed on ebay and about 150 items listed on a dedicated art site and about 20 listed on etsy.   I no longer care about what ebay does or doesn't do...and that's a great feeling :-)

Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?   Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Apr 2 00:18:52 2013

"rebecca7" says it all. I often wish I'd never heard of eBay, but then I remember the "good ol' days" when it was actually fun to sell on eBay, and often financially rewarding.

Too complicated? Based on the Spring up-date, it sure seems to be that way. I'm still trying to assimilate all the changes without my brain frying.  

Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?   Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 2 00:20:36 2013

Complicated - yes.  I only use free listings, once in a great while will use fixed for items that are higher value. Did have a store years back - no more. What I sell - there would not be enough to pay for store fees. Doing better on Etsy - fees a lot more reasonable. However, mass produced items from china are taking over that site as well.

Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?   Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?

by: dkkdolls This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Apr 2 00:28:34 2013

Ebay is emphasizing lower fees, but it depends on where you are. The Ebay fee on shipping will go up in most cases. I just changed to a Premium Store a month or two ago as I finally hit around 230 listings (now 249 down from 265 after sales). Anyway, it is a bit frustrating as the premium store may no longer be the most economical platform if I don't have about 350 listings. The free listings help, but with the basic store, where you do not have enough freebies, the rate is right back where it was when you go over 150 I think it is. I think the fee on shipping may take away from the lower final value fees.

Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?   Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?

by: blaumann2 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 2 00:32:41 2013

as long as they charge FVF on shipping, the deal stinks

Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?   Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?

by: cayenna This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 2 00:40:15 2013

eBay makes it up one way or another. I don't believe anything's free.

Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?   Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?

This user has validated their user name. by: cfrphoto

Tue Apr 2 02:04:39 2013

Not more complicated, just more expensive.

Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?   Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Apr 2 02:51:36 2013

It isn't that the new fee structure is more complicated that the existing one, because it isn't.  What is a bit overwhelming for many is because there are so many changes to all different kinds of fees.

The changes have actually greatly simplified the fee structure on Ebay.  But make no mistake, for the any seller that averages a sell price of $85 or more, it is a fee increase overall.  That will affect a whole lot of sellers.

The complication comes in right now because there is so much to look at, learn, run numbers and then decide what the best approach is for your business.  It isn't one size fits all and everyone needs to look at ALL the fee changes to determine what is best for them.  If you only look at the FVF or only at the listing fees or only at the store fees, you will NOT get a complete picture nor will you know what the real impact on you will be.

You have just got to take the time to run numbers.  Take your time to read and digest the changes.  They could bring tears to your eyes in many cases, so have some kleenex close by.

And yes, overall it is very complicated to sell on Ebay. They are micromanaging us into extinction.

@powerseller2007

It isn't surprising that Ebay will not allow you to not pay rent/fees on your store while you are on vacation.  I'm not sure why you expected them to do that in the first place.  If you had a B&M store, chances are pretty good that your landlord wouldn't give you free rent either.

If your profit is only as much as your store fee is, possibly having a store isn't the correct option for you or a different store depending on what you currently have.  You could just cancel your store, that doesn't cost anything extra right now.

Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?   Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 2 03:14:02 2013

Somedays I have to wonder if the person who wrote the brilliant "Hunger Games" was a seller on ebay.

Remember the twists in the plot--like they were from a dart board?  "Okay---we will let one PAIR of contestants live IF they are from the same District"  and then--"Nope--changed our minds!"

Makes my head spin.

And YES--it IS too complicated to sell on ebay.  Actually that SHOULD read--

It is TOO complicated to TRY and sell on ebay.  Because the SALES are just NOT there.  

Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?   Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?

by: retrolink This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 2 06:17:24 2013

You are absolutely correct. selling on ebay since the late 90's... my take is its another convoluted way that they are trying to get more money from us by confusing the seller so bad we do not even understand what they are saying. I start to read this stuff then I just say' I think I'll stick with Amazon...there is too much confusion here'' In addition, after the smoke clears somehow ebay will end up gouging us again. Good ole Meg  W started this and ebay should have been way  bigger than amazon over the years  but unfortunately they are simply a greedy, sneaky,paranoid, convoluted company. I don't trust them anymore. The simple issue is that Ebay forgot about the people that got them started. Dumb little small people like me.

Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?   Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?

by: Pat Gray This user has validated their user name.
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Tue Apr 2 06:37:16 2013

In a word, "Yes"! Tried helping a friend get set up, and it's been problem after problem. I was considering selling there again, but other platforms are so much easier to use...  

Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?   Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?

by: nothingnew This user has validated their user name.
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Tue Apr 2 07:54:59 2013

YUUUUP! got to complicated years ago,now it just gets more confusing to figure anything out. Glad I moved to junkables 3 years ago,started on ebay in 98 now the only time i use ebay is with free listings or that unusual ítem, but most times Hardly anything sells unless your working to take the the bottom feeders offers which im not.

Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?   Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?

by: innerpuppie This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 2 08:39:23 2013

I haven't understood their 'updates' for years. I just plod along and list and hope that some silly rule or regulation doesn't bite me in the behind.

Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?   Has Selling on eBay Become Too Complicated?

by: Dragonfyree This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 2 09:14:48 2013

I've been selling since 1998 - I'm never surprised by anything Ebay does.

My main concern with these changes this year aren't the fees, I always expect them to go up, it's the ridiculous loss of buy it now.

I mainly sell books, and I rotate my stock, so I have about 600 new books every month in my store, and a lot of repeat buyers who take several days and my International buyers may take two weeks to browse.

Now it looks like they can either buy as they go - Which would then involve a lot of refunding to give discounts.  Or have them use the shopping cart and risk them losing a book.

Yes, it may be rare for someone in my store to buy out from under another buyer, but I do have one category of books that almost always sells out each month, and it could be an issue.  

I don't worry so much about my repeat buyers, but it would only take a couple of new buyers who have a book sold out from under them to slam your DSR's on anything else they may have purchased in that same cart.

How are they going to educate these people about the new way of buying?  Since we have  trouble with people reading our listings anyway - why would they read anything we put in them, and if you read Ebay discussion boards, you will see a lot of people don't even read Ebay announcements, as almost every week there is a seller who just find out you can't leave negs, or soft positives or numerous other things that have been Ebay rules for years.

If sellers who make a living off Ebay don't keep updated on the rules, what makes them think buyers will?

Ebay says it's how shoppers expect to buy.  Well, yes on Walmart, Target etc, I expect the store the have 100's of the item I'm buying, so no one is going to buy it out from under me.  Amazon lists how many of a certain book are still available, and there is no discount on shipping when buying books from Amazon sellers.

Free shipping doesn't work as it puts the books I sell out of the price point for my buyers.

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