Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Oct 14 2013 22:02:17

Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump

By: Ina Steiner

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Nothing is worse for an online retailer than watching helplessly as their sales plummet. When it happens on eBay, disheartened sellers often turn to their peers for advice. Tuesday's Newsflash newsletter documents some of the theories for low traffic on eBay and ideas for rejuvenating sales.

In looking for answers, sellers discuss a variety of factors that could deaden their traffic and sales, from rolling blackouts, stale listings, changes in eBay's Best Match search algorithm, or listings that are not optimized for mobile devices.

While not all sellers are impacted by low sales at all times, it seems most sellers are impacted at times - sometimes unaccountably. Let us know if you've found any patterns to your sales cycles beyond the obvious seasonal factors.

What tactics have you used to boost drooping sales, and which ones have been effective? Could eBay (and other marketplaces) do a better job in helping sellers optimize their listings? How should they present such information - through announcement board posts, tutorials, videos, or some other vehicle?

Postscript: Someone had pointed me to this article about how eBay's new Cassini search engine viewed HTML in descriptions, please feel free to share your thoughts on this theory.




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Perminate Link for Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump   Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump

by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 14 22:18:04 2013

Ebay purposefully limiting the visibility of many small sellers'  items- up to and including not showing the items at all sometimes- has caused the sales of many small sellers to plummet. Then there is the punitive measure ebay takes of lowering a small seller's items in search placement if they get a couple of low DSRs and Guardrail kicks in. Frankly, small sellers do not stand a chance on ebay against big box, high volume, and the Chinese sellers who are flooding the ebay marketplace.

Perminate Link for Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump   Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Oct 14 22:59:53 2013

The search seems to get worse and worse.  I've repeatedly reported issues, but of course problems still persist.

I find it particularly interesting when I search my own listings and what I put in the search box returns NOTHING.  I know the listing is there.  So I'll try again and of course Ebay thinks they are smarter than me and change what I've typed in a little to what they think I'm looking for.  I search again.  Zip.  I fix the search words to back to the way I had them and try again.  Typically this will bring up my item.  But it does take a few attempts.

Then there are the times I'll search for something I know I don't have listed just to see what pops.  the search returns a bunch of stuff that has NOTHING to do with ANY word I put in the search.  I mean they aren't even close.

Now imagine a buyer having to go through this.  My potential customers lives should be made as easy as possible.  Ebay needs to quite tripping over their overgrown /overblown egos and get back to basics.  If the basics don't work, then we are all going to have one hot mess for the holidays.

Perminate Link for Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump   Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump

This user has validated their user name. by: Map

Mon Oct 14 23:09:33 2013

Can't wait until December 31st 2013 when I shut the doors to my business and walk away from ebay.

I will be free.

Ebay if you want to keep my business then I need 30,000 page views per month or i walking out.

You know how to contact me.

Perminate Link for Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump   Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump

by: happyharry This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 14 23:15:04 2013

How we got over the total uncertainty of ebay was quite simple in the end ...we opened an Amazon sellers account.

Believe me we have never looked back; our sales have never been better or less stressful

Thanks ebay as we would have still being putting up with your nonsense

Perminate Link for Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump   Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 14 23:21:46 2013

Their egos will never allow them to admit it, but Cassini is an absolute disaster.  

Perminate Link for Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump   Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 14 23:40:19 2013

I wish for the good old days when ebay was only a venue and everyone started and ended on the first page.  Their greed overtook their common sense a long time ago.  I fiddle with some listings on the site now and then...few views and almost no sales.  For me, ebay died years ago.

Perminate Link for Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump   Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump

by: blaumann2 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 14 23:57:31 2013

My listings just don't show up. I am treading water on ebay.

Perminate Link for Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump   Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump

by: Rudynonymous This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 15 00:00:58 2013

The problem is that people can't freely sell on the site anymore.  No matter what the time you put into that site will be wasted because a month, six months, whatever you're going to hit a wall.  And let's face it, if you can't sell you're not going to buy.    It's such a shame because it doesn't have to be this way.  Why in the world doesn't ebay accept credit card payments right through the site as a service to sellers like etsy does?  

Perminate Link for Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump   Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump

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

Tue Oct 15 00:02:38 2013

I "dealt with it" by moving to my own website 3 years ago.  Sales keep doubling year over year, and my buyers are great.

I don't miss ebay.  

Perminate Link for Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump   Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump

This user has validated their user name. by: askalice59

Tue Oct 15 00:14:47 2013

I was getting about 2 sales a day. Now I'm getting about 2 per week. Weekends are the best usually but last weekend I had nothing but insulting 'best offers.

I had $240 on a set of dishes down from $260 which is still low. I had an offer for $100 and they complained about the $44 shipping cost which is actual cost. Dishes are heavy. They wanted me to take $140 off a $240 item and lower the shipping???? I replied to them suggesting that they find a seller who lives closer. If it's not eBay it's the buyers.

I don't even care anymore. If I woke up tomorrow and eBay was announcing bankruptcy I would not be surprised and neither would I care.  

Perminate Link for Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump   Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 15 00:15:14 2013

My opinion is that Amazon is growing twice as fast as Ebay and there is probably good reason. Like many, I just go elsewhere when what I am looking for does not pop up among all the other items that Ebay shows me and that have nothing to do with what I am looking for. Also I get tired of having to go out and search on Google or Bing to find what I want on Ebay, because Ebay's search engine cannot find the item. I am confused as to why a company as big as Ebay is, does not invest in a good search engine to help improve sales?  

Perminate Link for Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump   Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump

by: cayenna This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 15 00:30:22 2013

As soon as they started messing with making more changes over a year ago, re the algorithm my sales dropped in a HUGE way! They have not been the same since. You can never rely on anything re eBay as one day it is one way and the next you may as well close shop. It is depressing as I had to resort to selling online to try and make an income and it seems to be getting more and more difficult each year to make sales anywhere. I have a website but never make any sales there. The only place I make sales is etsy these days.

Perminate Link for Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump   Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump

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

Tue Oct 15 00:31:50 2013

Most of my regular buyers hate best match and sort by ending soonest or sometimes price. Having listings ending or rolling over every day should help spread sales activity. After all is said and done, I wonder how many experienced eBay buyers actually use Best Match.

Perminate Link for Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump   Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 15 00:37:33 2013

''I am confused as to why a company as big as Ebay is, does not invest in a good search engine to help improve sales?'' Easy answer. They spent Millions on Cassini instead.  

Perminate Link for Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump   Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump

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

Tue Oct 15 00:43:34 2013

TheUglySweaterShop and I made the same choice. (Only... I arrived at my choice a little later.)

Indeed, sales away from eBay and at my own website are continually GROWING. Yes, GROWING! Every month is better than the previous one.

All of those tips for ''gaming'' eBay's flawed system sound like SO MUCH TROUBLE, so much time and effort to invest in ''fixes'' and work-arounds that may (or may not) work... and if they do work, there's no guarantee that it will last for long.

Then what? Rewrite EVERY listing again? Take new photos for EVERY item again?

Are the slow and erratic eBay sales due to the economy? or due to poor programming? or due to eBay policies? or due to ''Best Match''? or due to Cassini?

It's impossible to know which one plays the biggest role in lackluster eBay sales. Who has time to try and figure it out?

When my eBay sales first started to falter, I wondered if it was MY fault. I wondered what was wrong with my listings. Was it my photos? My prices? My return policy?

I just KNEW it had to be something that I was doing wrong! (And that's one of the reasons that I was so timid about striking-out on my own.) I figured that if I was having trouble making-it at EBAY (of all places) then how on Earth would I be able to make it out in the real-world?

But now that I'm out here on my own, I can see that my poor sales at eBay had NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH ME!

In fact, I ended up RAISING my prices just a little bit to compensate for advertising costs and coupon promotions... and TO MY SURPRISE (and delight) my items CONTINUED TO SELL even at the slightly higher price.

My returns policy is definitely not as generous as the eBay/PP return policy. But I assure you that I am FAIR... I'm HONEST... I'll work with my customers... I communicate with my customers... and my policy is stated in clear easy-to-understand language.

So even with a strict (but fair and accommodating) return policy... even with higher prices, my sales continue to go strong. Even with ''age-old'' listings and old photos that I never change... those items continue to sell.

No extra unnecessary working or tweaking or re-tweaking my listings. One good photo (or set of photos) and I'm done with the listing. Instead of re-writing old listings... instead of re-photographing OLD items... I'M LISTING NEW ITEMS! MORE AND MORE *NEW* ITEMS.

And, surprise-surprise, I'm continually selling BOTH old and new items.

Life without eBay is GOOD... really good!

Great buyers. No PayPal hassles. No dreading what's in my email in-box.

It's a wonderful feeling!

Perminate Link for Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump   Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump

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

Tue Oct 15 00:45:34 2013

I have not done anything special to optimize my listings for mobile devices. I use both center and left justification and have logos and photos imbedded in my listings.

When I do test searches for my products on eBay and hit the description button on my iPhone the listing looks exactly like a miniature of the eBay listing, photos, logos and all. I actually get a lot of my sales from mobile devices.

I have said it here time and time again eBay is nothing more than a tool. I do not waste my time worrying about their search algorithms, dash boards, DSR's or any of their other nonsense.

OPEN YOUR OWN WEBSITE as the day will come that the small seller is a thing of the past on eBay.

I spend my time figuring out ways to convert every buyer I can from an eBay buyer to a buyer on my website using every tactic I can think of, some I'm sure eBay wouldn't be to happy about.

I have a few sources of analytics that tell me where my buyers are coming from and the number of converted eBayer's is growing on a fairly consistent basis. My website sales are out selling eBay more and more as time goes on.

We all know that eBay couldn't care less about us, well I have news for them. I couldn't care less about them, their lies, constant changes to hurt us, rules that they break themselves or don't bother to enforce or anything else you want to throw in here.



Perminate Link for Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump   Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump

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

Tue Oct 15 00:56:00 2013

2 things that have really HURT us small auction sellers:
- Decreasing the relevancy of auctions  ending soonest in search.
- Ebay removing the ''auctions Only'' tab in the drop down menu for changing search.
This has NUETERED us.
MH

Perminate Link for Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump   Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump

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

Tue Oct 15 01:04:49 2013

Take your OLDEST ads and DELETE THEM.
Re-write them and get re-indexed in search.
That sounds like the easiesr way- start with you onlest ads first and replace them and ALL THE PHOTOS- everything and you will increase your sell-through substantially.
I had 2 very lazy weeks re-listing and I had a 10% str and I got some energy and re-wrote most of them and I got 50% STR on the SAME OLD JUNK.
Can you IMAGINE I am actually WORN OUT from packaging 58 items over the last 3 days- I am WORN OUT but I had to chime in and share- re-do those ads folks and as always, I am SORRY for all the additional work but I want everbody to SELL.
Good luck folks and REPORT BACK here about your luck re-doing these ads.
Mass Howler

Perminate Link for Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump   Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump

by: auctionguy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 15 01:13:19 2013

@askalice59, yes, today's ebay buyers are cheapskates, and they don't realize what shipping costs. They want merchandise at less than half the price of amazon, and they still want free shipping, because amazon has free shipping. Big companies have contracts with shippers, and get 50% or more off the normal price. Us small sellers can't get those rates. To top it off, the ebay and paypal fees are killers, too. Ebay wants the sellers to take all the risks and fees, to the point where, even with a low return rate, there isn't any profit for the seller on many items, yet ebay and paypal make a profit on every sale.

If you sold your dishes for $100+$44 shipping, you would only get about $80 net after paying the shipping cost and ebay and paypal fees, and the buyer would still think they paid a lot. Those buyers should just go to their local thrift shops and get what they want there so they don't have to pay for shipping.

Perminate Link for Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump   Tips for Getting over the eBay Sales Slump

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

Tue Oct 15 01:14:56 2013

A secret about the howler...

I only get motivated when my MORTGAGE is due for about 2 weeks a month. On the other 2 weeks I am LAZY and I do not do many new ads. This is what slowly taught me, more CONDITIONED me that when I really NEEDED THE $$ new ads went MUCH better so I re-write ads before the 15th, when the mortgage is due, and I relist mostly the other 2 weeks, with a few, maybe 10-15% new.
I think a lot of sellers are just like me and began to see a clear pattern early on. We all ran experiments comparing old relists, to sell similar and compared them to new ads.
I thnk it is pretty well agreed that new ads are given the best exposure, especially when they are newly-listed. It seems pretty important NOW that you start a new item (auction) when it will get the most INITIAL NEWLY-LISTED VIEWS and that high initial views are what carry it highly up into search.
That is what we are working on now. It is more important than ever that you re-write your ads with Cassini as now we believe it to be fully implemented. The date it was fully implemented was April 1.
We want folks to try this and to report back so please do.
Mass Howler

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