Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon June 25 2012 16:33:43

eBay Investigates Seller Reports of Declining Sales?

By: Ina Steiner

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Sellers say eBay reps are telling them that the company is investigating reports from sellers that their sales are dropping. One EcommerceBytes reader wrote to say he had called eBay this morning about a lack of sales and exposure and wrote, "and they SAY they are working on a fix, so they are admitting a problem with the new search rollout 1 week ago."

Another reader pointed to an eBay discussion board thread where a seller said they had called in to eBay tech support and mentioned that their sales had plummeted recently. "The agent perked up & mentioned that yes, they were hearing this a LOT, & that they discounted the reports at first, but then there were so many that they have begun to look into it."

The seller said they were told that eBay is compiling a list of User IDs from people calling in to report this issue. The rep then asked the caller some questions about the scope of the issue relating to dates, dollar amounts, position in search, and "anything that I thought may be relevant."

In addition, the poster said eBay is looking for other cases. "She asked me to please post about it & ask people to call into the Technical Issues line & report this so that more information can be given to the team working on the issue, & their id's can be added to the list of the afflicted."

The first reader told EcommerceBytes that they had mentioned that their sell-through rate dropped from 45% to under 10% and told the rep that eBay must fix the problem. "I told them that I wanted a credit but they said NO," the reader wrote.




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Investigates Seller Reports of Declining Sales?   eBay Investigates Seller Reports of Declining Sales?

by: rqtball This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 25 16:44:33 2012

I normally average 20 or so sales a day...a mix of auctions and fixed price.

Saturday I had 3...lowest sales I have ever had in 1 day...

yesterday picked up a bit and today its getting back to normal

Would love to know what happened on saturday to cause that.

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by: eBelly This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 25 18:29:10 2012

Reading the boards, there are sellers asking how to get their items to show up in google search. Well well, items used to show up in google search.. how strange is it that suddenly feeBay's free google feeding tube has been removed?

Of course, it must just be a coincidence.. yeah, maybe that one item of yours that still has 30 day exchange, or no returns, or 3 day handling.. go ahead and beat yourselves up with blame. It must be your fault, as a lowly seller with no actual worth to feeBay.. Or, maybe you complained too much, so you are being singled out. You must oBey or no big search boost for you!

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by: kitton This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 25 19:22:13 2012

I've been selling for many years, I'm TRS and have over 350+ items for up for sale a week, mostly used vintage electronics. Two+ weeks ago sales tanked, views went way down along with best offers and questions. I ended both weeks at about 50% of what I would always do. Last week sales were normal again. My guess the eBay catalog, Norton issue and the wonderful ''sell one like it with avg sale price listed'' killed me. Not only was the price listed much lower then what I have to sell my item for, why would a person need that link/info in the first place? If they had one to sell, they wouldn't be looking to listing to buy one!

Last week was normal sales wise, I hope they don't do anymore tests.  

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 25 20:02:01 2012

HORSE PUCKEY! (as Sherman T Potter would say). The only list they are compiling is of complainers who ''will get thiers'' one day soon from the suits at eBay.

eBay like Amazon spends its days (well the IT people spend thier days),(JD is busy playing golf, Hershman is out at some manufactorer planning another assult on small sellers, the CS agents are busy reading comic books, and VERO is buy watching Kardashian reruns) watching the traffic comming in and out of ebay.com. The computer programs know EXACTLY whats being sold (its ranked), who sells what, at what prices things are being at, EVERYTHING - so for the them to tell you they dont know something is another outright lie. They have plenty of analytics and computer models to look at.

When something goes wrong - a complaint, a problem, sellers get too nosey etc - the program goes and fixes it asap so the complaints will subside. They then go back to manipulating the listings as before.

If you arent being seen, its not eBays main traffic (whats comming in to eBay.com), its thier listing program and WHO eBay chooses to be seen.

Once again - I call as a witness ... Noah Hershman, who said in his own words that they are now focusing on thier large partners and the rest of us be damned. Well its in TWICE Magazine if you dont believe me.

''eBay is coming to International CES with a new electronics team and a fresh market strategy designed to bolster the independent dealer channel.

The plan, which was first deployed successfully for the company’s automotive and fashion stores, is intended to give specialty CE dealers a leg up in etail by leveraging the services and selling platform of the world’s largest e-commerce company.''

He wants to give them ''a leg up'' ... over who? Over you and me - and the people calling in wondering where thier sales went to.

Oh an Ina about the Authrized dealer tag etc ... ''To support vendors’ channel management efforts, eBay is also developing a program that will allow authorized dealers to be designated as such on the site, and is creating a MAP treatment that dealers could use at their discretion to remain compliant with suppliers’ advertised pricing policies.

Vendors will also be encouraged to open their own direct-sell storefronts, like the Official Sony Store on eBay, for moving “A” or “B” stock, Herschman said.''

OK, so now that everyone reading this understands that there are no accidents, no ''its caused by the NEW SEARCH'' issues, can we all finally agree (since its in black n white) that its all on purpose?

I used to get 5-10 sales a night from AU - EVERY NIGHT. Guess what? I come here and comment, I go to eBays forum and I comment and what happens? POOF - no more sales.

Awwww what a coincidence!?

 

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

Mon Jun 25 21:38:29 2012

Sales are not dropping, is the same old 2 day 3 day traffic redirect issue, but I guess with a touch of google abusive and monopolistic tactics because I saw google shopping links vanishing for hours for many sites, including ebay. I wonder how ebay will do with the new trusted store scam, is google going to ban ebay? because as you see, not all sellers deserve it. I also saw something curious in my account while I was doing some cleaning, 85% of my saved favorite sellers on eBay, I mean medium to big sellers ( more than 5,000 feedbacks )  were gone or accounts closed permanently. Out of 100 sellers, I was shocked to see this, if more sellers are gone, mostly unable to keep up with the constantly changing requirements, why sales are down? Learn from this mistake google, you are next on the list, abusive pricks.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Mon Jun 25 23:04:11 2012

eBay and Google are the two companies who have taken on a full assault against small merchants and it will backfire on them in the end.

Both companies are trying to control what people search for and purchase. Gigantic, bloated egos but remember the old saying  "Pride goeth before the fall"

I left eBay last month and couldn't be happier. I also use Bing to search and at first, I was so used to Google, it took a bit of getting used to but in all honesty, Bing is a much better search engine.

eBay and Google pride themselves on the ideal that people grow accustomed to their services and fear change. However, there is life outside of these two monsters.

Perminate Link for eBay Investigates Seller Reports of Declining Sales?   eBay Investigates Seller Reports of Declining Sales?

by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Jun 26 00:54:08 2012

^
No I'm Spartacus!
(Sorry I could not resist that)

I hope this is a sign that ebay are panicking.

But until I see the number of listings on their site drop to say 80 million, then I don't buy the "Sellers are leaving argument"

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by: 10 year seller This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 26 01:34:18 2012

I think buyers are leaving.
they have pushed sellers away and buyers followed.
People used to like to browse eBay.

Ebay killed many great small business which grouped together, created something unique which was eBay's "successful past."
That has to go down  as the dumbest call in business  history.

Perminate Link for eBay Investigates Seller Reports of Declining Sales?   eBay Investigates Seller Reports of Declining Sales?

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

Tue Jun 26 03:28:38 2012

Declining sales???

Gee, do you think it might be the LIE of FREE SHIPPING?

eBa'al STEALS a cut off the shipping. These FREE SHIPPING costs are then passed on to the customer with a LIE attached. eBa'al STEALS from sellers and then tells them to lie about ''FREE SHIPPING'' when they pass on the cost.

I guess LYING IS OKAY and people are too dumb to notice or care WHEN THEY ARE GETTING RIPPED OFF.

People do not like to be lied, cheated and stolen from... especially in an economic Depression.

I guess the buyers are not as stupid as people thought.

Keep lying to people, keep stealing their money.

What do you think it's going get you????  REDUCED SALES????

Wow. I bet you got one of those fancy Business School degrees. The buyers are much smarter than ANYONE gave them credit for.

Buyers are NOT standing for being cheated. Not for dollars and not for tens of dollars.

AND CERTAINLY not for the HUNDREDS and THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS that the eBay sellers are robbed of on a monthly basis.

Oh, the eBay execs are ALL smiles and grins... and the keep stabbing the sellers in the back, over and over and over again.

Sales are down?!?

eBay will get RIGHT ON IT!

See...

1. Improve Search
2. Fix TurboLister
3. Investigate declining sales

See! eBa'al has a ''To Do'' list!

Now be good little sellers. Want to know a secret?!? eBa'al loves YOU and they are going to offer a special REDUCED LISTING FEES day real soon. eBay won't give you advance notice, but just hang out and keep a spare day on the side, so you can sit in front of your computer and WASTE another day trying to sell your Chinese trinkets.

eBa'al loves it's sellers and you can tell because they say so, over and over and words mean so much more than actions.

Now go list a lot more items and offer FREE SHIPPING and pass that cost down to your buyers, because no one actually believes there is such an animal as FREE SHIPPING and buyers do really care when you LIE TO THEM AND STEAL THEIR MONEY.

''People are basically good'' so eBay keeps lying and stealing from them.

Oh, ALL you eBay sellers must BE SO PROUD!

I wonder why sales are down!

Perminate Link for eBay Investigates Seller Reports of Declining Sales?   eBay Investigates Seller Reports of Declining Sales?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Jun 26 07:56:59 2012

Hey JD, take a good look!  Sellers have been telling you for years that you are destroying the site.  You were too hard headed to listen.  It was your way or the highway.

Look like buyers and sellers took the highway.

Now when will the stock analysts take note, because the only thing that will rid the site of JD is a huge decline of the stock. Republicans only take action when it affects their pocketbooks.

Perminate Link for eBay Investigates Seller Reports of Declining Sales?   eBay Investigates Seller Reports of Declining Sales?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 26 09:54:18 2012

Ummm small sellers leaving .... means nothing to eBay. No they arent panicking - not about you or I leaving.

eBay just picked up Monster (headphones) and a few other major brands. If you read the news section that Ina posted - they just hired two Hershmans in the UK (2 women) who will be doing the same thing Hershman does here - get major brands on eBay.

So you leave, so what? How much in fvf's do you (or I) generate vs Skullcandy and Monstercable? What kind of gross sales do you post vs them?

1000 small sellers leave, they get 5 major brands - and those brands - dont generate VEROS (they hand them out!), they dont generate CS complaints (they have their own CS agents), and they dont bitch about site changes ... so for eBay its all a gain!

Im not sure why people think eBay is dumb. People spout all day about how none of these changes are thought through ... I PROMISE YOU - there's NO magic, no accidents, no Republican or Democrat strategies or anything else. Its simply business and the flood of FVF's that come through ebay.com from these companies.

A full 1/2 of the changes on eBay are requested by these very people (authorized dealer, VERO attacks etc) so for them its nothing.

There may very well be an exodus of small sellers (I do my best every day to make as many OFF EBAY sales as possible) but its more then offset by the plans eBay has in place and going forward:

1) Fullfillment by eBay
2) eBays wholesale program
3) the invitation for 2 major national distributors to list thier items on ebay (D&H and Ingram Micro)
4) Payment plans ala eBay Germany
5) Forced returns (aka return center)(there will be NO more ''no returns'')
6) The continued culling of auctions

Theres more comming - stay tuned - its gonna be a bumpy ride!

Perminate Link for eBay Investigates Seller Reports of Declining Sales?   eBay Investigates Seller Reports of Declining Sales?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Jun 26 10:56:52 2012

pace306, I could not disagree with you more.  eBay love fees.  Small sellers' fees are a cash cow for them.   They'll feel it.  You continue to see their ads on eBay trying to attract small sellers to sell on their website because they love the fees.

And as for some of the big boys they've signed up, take a look at their pathetic sell-thru rates.  And my guess is they collect no up front fees from these server bandwith sucks.

Not only that, small sellers are (or were) some of the biggest buyers on eBay.  Each one they run off is a lost buyer and they will do nothing but speak ill will of eBay to anyone they encounter, including  posting this ill will on blogs such as this. Ebay do not need that kind of PR.  Of course they may just be too stupid to realize that they don't need it.

Perminate Link for eBay Investigates Seller Reports of Declining Sales?   eBay Investigates Seller Reports of Declining Sales?

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 26 12:02:55 2012

I complained about this months ago.  I'm a very small seller and generally have from 2 to 10 items up at one time.  There have been weeks when NONE of my items got even one view!  Not possible if these items are in search since my category (arts) generally has a lot of lookers even when short on buyers.  Now, I'm getting some views...nowhere what I would expect in order to say all my items are getting viewed in search.  As for "investigating" this....I'm sure Ebay is well aware of it....doesn't it show in their bottom line?  REVENUE?

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 26 12:27:44 2012

@ Rexford  =) you are of course free to disagree - thats what makes America work! (LOL)

In my view - between the facts that I can see through thier own words and actions, between the visit from the 3 wise men (3 eBay outside sales reps) and the things are are just ''too coincidental'' ..... I cant seem to see it any other way.

You are correct that they love fees - but a few hundred from you and I (god bless you if you are generating MORE then that for them)(Id be glad you are doing well!) is nothing compared to wha the big guys generate. Just off the monthly premium store/anchor store fees alone - its more then most.

Dont think for ONE second that Skullcandy or Monster or any of the anchors dont try and so what we do - use eBay as advertising to get people to our own sites ... they sure do. Buy something from Skullcandy and soon in your email will appear a discount coupon ... MAGIC! (of course it shouldnt happen - since eBay doesnt ''give out'' people emails ... but magic DOES HAPPEN when you are company/account that size!)

eBays plans are far more reaching then mere sales listings and a few auctions. They honestly belive they can be a SERIOUS Amazon opponent - ask JD. He wont tell you - but hes looking at online sales of books and music direct (he thanks you for fleshing out the catalog) in conjuction with B&N. Thats why having D&H and Ingram (who will supply the hardware)(yes Ingram is an Apple distributor!) fits in to his plans.

Just wait until next yr when he phases in the remainder of the AUTHORIZED DEALER BS. If you were a buyer - would you buy from a small non authorized dealer or a large authorized one? What do you think will happen to small sellers that arent ''authorized''? Its being created to appease (was asked for and wont create a store until its implimented) Sony, Panasonic, Kenwood, JVC, Pioneer, Clarion, Polk, Sennheiser and JBL. (Denon told eBay STFU apparently, no matter what they change).

Small dealers provide the pocket change eBay uses on a daily basis, but the big money is grabbing large dealers, getting them on Magento and what ever other software hes got cooking - theres money in that too.

FBE is still on the table - but only for a few select/chosen people.

I hope you are more right then me and that smal dealers ''end up'' meaning something to them ... I just dont see it (now) .....

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Jun 26 13:33:25 2012

pace306, if marketplaces was doing so well, eBay would not need to take a percentage of money from sellers' shipping fees and they would not need to place ads on sellers' listings.  These little smoke and mirrors schemes are very telling.  Time of course will tell, but if you go to the PowerSellers thread on eBay there are hundreds of sellers complaining about slow sales.  Many of them sell unique items and they do not compete with the big boy sellers.  I think that this speaks volumes. You keep mentioning SkullCandy.  Most sellers I know do not compete with them.  From what I have read they are very aggressive at using VeRO to take down legitimate auctions and FP items.  Not cool.

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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 26 14:24:01 2012

@pace.....Ebay will NEVER be Amazon lite.  They do not have the know how, nor do they have the proper management.  Ebay's managment style is much more like toss it at the wall and see what sticks.  This trial and error nonsense is at the heart of killing off their business and losing their buyers!  They are more into hurting themselves then in anything else....in the wake of that they hurt everyone!

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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 26 14:26:54 2012

@Rexford - you can blame the economy for some of Ebay's slow sales....but advertising ONLY the big sellers and not the sellers of flea market items is downright stupid and you have to admit that!  Ebay hurts themselves as much as they hurt the buyers and sellers...they are woefully in need of new management!  They need to cut the site in two - one side retail the other side flea market and get on with it...they will never be Amazon lite...especially not by strangling their sellers into taking pitiful profits.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Jun 26 14:54:52 2012

Patricia, I respectfully disagree. The poor economy has not hurt Amazon, so I don't think that is it. Ebay SHOULD be the first place people turn to in a down economy. They are not turning to eBay.  eBay should be making money hand over fist in these bad economic times.

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by: chargeback101 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 26 15:23:04 2012

1) Fullfillment by eBay

I can't wait for feeBay's dumb&dumber approach to screwing orders up. If the incompetent feeBay management thinks they've got CS heat now, just wait until their 'workers' destroy the Diamonds' accounts with wrong items, repackaged dented returns and millions of angry buyers torching their favorite's FB. This train wreck will be glorious.

2) eBays wholesale program

Haha, have you seen it? So this is how feeBay tries to compete with Alibaba? Lots of $1 sunglasses and useless pallets of .99 cent store rejects? Funniest thing I've ever seen.

3) the invitation for 2 major national distributors to list thier items on ebay (D&H and Ingram Micro)

You see this is the image problem the HO faces. It's like cramming the Olive Garden and Macaroni Grill into a ghetto McDonalds, and believing it's anything but a Mcfailure. EBay was unique because it was weird, and weird sellers spent money on other weird stuff, like it's own independent economic system that grew organically without corporate tampering. To bring in big brands and squash the weird sellers, it loses it's culture and the trend is gone, just like those indoor malls that used to be so popular now are being scraped for open air outdoor small entrepreneur independent shops and kiosks. Corporate gloss has lost it's luster no matter how high you stack the stock, it's just a dumping ground now. The eBay independent seller culture is gone.

4) Payment plans ala eBay Germany

whatever

5) Forced returns (aka return center)(there will be NO more ''no returns'')

This is where the exodus will start to hurt them, like a loose thread ends up unraveling the whole suit. You can't dictate terms to independent pawn shop type sellers who are the backbone of the collectible culture. Seller terms of service tampering are the final straw in the control issues that will bring down the beast. You ship a diamond and get back CZ, and the buyer is always right? People simply won't stand for this, and will avoid the hassle and risk.

6) The continued culling of auctions

Auctions are an integral part of the race to the price bottom, and won't be eliminated. What will happen is that all of the collectible culture will be buried in a sea of Chinese junk, so real collectors won't bother trying to find the real stuff anymore, so alternate sites and B&M stores will feel a buyer surge.

FeeBay management reminds me of a guy I knew once who took apart a really collectible original car and chopped it up into a flashy custom car that was cool at that moment. Once the trend was over, the value of his car was less than a tenth of what it would have been if he would have just left it alone. FeeBay has customized itself into a useless piece of garbage.

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by: ebaytestdummy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 26 16:30:44 2012

I'd love to see Auctionbytes try to get some information on this from Ebay and I hope sellers stay on them about this.  

There are all kinds of glitches with search going on right now.

My own sales are down 60% from this time last year, and this is not a seasonal decline issue.  

There's a problem.  It's too bad they won't communicate with sellers or use the System Announcement boards to at least make users aware of what's going on.

Please stay on this issue and make some noise.  

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