|Sun Sept 2 2012 15:05:23|
New Promotion Another Sign eBay Is Testing Free Listings
By: Ina Steiner
eBay is running a free-listing promotion in the entire Outdoor Sports category through the end of the year. It's the second such promotion eBay is running - on August 18, eBay announced sellers could list sports collectibles for free through the end of the year.
Could eBay be seriously considering a move to free listings in some or all categories and listing formats?
When asked last week if the free-listing promotion in sports collectibles was a test, eBay's General Manager of Emerging Verticals Gene Cook told me, "Anything that we do, obviously we're hoping to learn from. This is really something that we're doing focused on in Sports Memorabilia, we think there is a lot of good quality inventory that could be brought on by having this sort of pricing, so we're going to see how that goes." (See more from our interview with Gene Cook.)
I asked the same question of Andy Feierfeil, senior product marketing manager for eBay's Sporting Goods category. He said the free-listing promotion in Outdoor Sports was strictly seasonal and he has no expectation that it would continue beyond the holidays, but he said he really couldn't speak to that - in his category or in any other categories.
Would Sellers Welcome Across-the-Board Free Listings?
In June, eBay conducted a survey to gauge sellers' reaction to various proposed fee structures and asked respondents if they would prefer a free-listing model in which they would pay higher commission fees when their items sold. Such surveys often provide hints about what may be coming.
eBay did not share the results of the survey, but EcommerceBytes conducted its own survey of readers to find out what sellers thought about it.
Interestingly, almost 80% of EcommerceBytes readers responding to the survey said eBay should drop listing fees, but many expressed concern about the impact such a move would have on the quality of listings and buyers' ability to find what they are looking for.
"It would flood the site with garbage listings, just as it does during free listing days," wrote one respondent. "It makes trying to find the right item to purchase a miserable experience." They also expressed concern that if eBay made listings free, they'd raise commission fees.
What Free Listings Mean for Quality and Findability
So do free listings contribute to low quality inventory and issues with findability? Andy Feierfeil said eBay has made huge strides over the last few years to reduce listing fees and, in parallel, has made changes to search and listings policy. As long as efforts continue to improve the buyer and seller experience, and buyers and sellers are happy, eBay will continue to do it.
Promotion Details - Outdoor Category
For the promotion that starts today, sellers will pay no insertion fees when listing in the Outdoor Category through December 31, 2012. The offer applies to both Fixed Price and Auction-style listings, and a seller can also add Buy It Now to the Auction-style listings for no additional fee. Both eBay Stores subscribers and sellers without an eBay Stores subscription are eligible
There are restrictions on how many listings sellers can list for free in the category, however. (See promotion page for details and restrictions.)
Feierfeil said the objective of the Outdoor Sports category was to show eBay's commitment to category, to bring on more quality inventory, and to attract seasonal demand.
Take the opportunity to let us know what you think in the comments below!