Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Jan 14 2015 00:06:19

Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?

By: Ina Steiner

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Small sellers on eBay saw lower GMV growth in the fourth quarter, according to ChannelAdvisor, a service for eBay and Amazon sellers. The company's executives painted a dire picture for small sellers during a conference call with analysts to discuss its preliminary fourth-quarter results that look to be disappointing.

"We saw eBay one of the slower growing channels in the (4th) quarter, and that affects small customers and ultimately their viability," said ChannelAdvisor President David Spitz. "Those small sellers who are dependent on eBay or Amazon and don't have a brand name associated with them, it's increasingly difficult for them to grow at the rate of ecommerce."

CEO Scot Wingo said, "While they were sluggish compared to the enterprise guys, there is still growth there. There were winners in there, but there were just more losers than winners this quarter."

Wingo also said the company saw a very unusual shift in consumer demand towards large and brand-name retailers and branded manufacturers.

"eBay tends to be where we have the largest concentration of our smallest customers," Wingo said - "that quadrant was the most obviously affected."

eBay will release fourth quarter earnings on January 21st - is this a preview of things to come?




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Perminate Link for Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?   Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?

by: michaelsams This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 14 01:01:49 2015

2 calls to ebay support today. This is my special mid sized seller dedicated merchant support rep. I sell about 120k a month on ebay so at least I get to talk to the same person when I call, who by the way is completely worthless. My ebay bill each month could buy a nice new car.

First problem: Obviously fraudulent return. No help. DSR's stick. Feedback (negative) stays. From a 2 feedback user that has left 3 negatives so far. Complete scam artist and a complete waste of time.

Second problem: Package refused by buyer. It came in an amazon box so they thought it was a wrong address. We are moving some of our product to FBA to fulfill ebay orders. Now the questions start... Why are you using amazon FBA? Are you selling on amazon? Are you selling the same things on amazon? How are your amazon sales? Why don't you list everything on ebay? Don't you know Amazon will source your product and steal your business? You will lose money on  an fraudulent A to Z claim. You are responsible if Amazon loses a package. Can you ask them to put your items in a plain box?Is there a problem with ebay?

I pointed out that my fist call a few hours before would have been handled by my amazon account manager in 2 minutes to my benefit with an apology. That's why we moved items into that market. I pointed out that we don't deal with defects, have a 1.1% return rate on amazon and have none of these silly problems.

The call ended with a promise that ''changes are coming''. Same stuff I heard 3 years ago. Things have changed since then all right. Our ebay business is 40% of what it was 4 years ago with 4 times the product. eBay is dying a slow death. If you have not moved your eggs they are going to get crushed.

Oh and I lost the case on a refused delivery. It's like that now. I ''confused'' the buyer with my packaging. Of course I was told I could appeal it... I just pulled another 200 items off ebay and started cranking out another river spreadsheet.

Oh and my birdie tells me that DEFECTS will be removed for the shipping meltdown yesterday however.... FEEDBACK will not. I should have had a ''backup'' plan according to ebay like stamps.com so when the site goes belly up I can jump through hoops and ''satisfy my customers''. Yes, I should ignore all the stock photo models on the ebay site wearing a smile that you could not rub off with an angle grinder while printing labels on ebay and look at other sites to print labels. Funny, I can't find any mention of finding a backup on the ebay site...

Perminate Link for Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?   Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed Jan 14 01:10:27 2015

No surprise in this news at all.

Small sellers are increasingly being treated like bastard step children by eBay management and eBay customer service.

Policies are being established which clearly favor and benefit the larger sellers John Donahoe has coveted since his arrival at eBay.

The problem going forward is eBay's stunningly disappointing growth rates.

Despite the company boasting about landing more enterprise sellers ( read not small sellers), eBay fails to grow sales at the same pace as it's competitors.

Here is eBay bringing in all these enterprise sellers and yet those sellers can not offset the losses of volume as small sellers disappear from view - go figure.

Apparently, a percentage of buyers are gravitating to the enterprise sellers, but the lack of growth seems to be driven by the alienation and loss of small sellers from the marketplace.

In the process of driving ( read manipulating ) buyers toward the preferred class of enterprise sellers, a larger number of buyers who can not find the inventory brought to market by eBay's small sellers are obviously going elsewhere to fill their wants and needs.

eBay management has never considered or appreciated the fact that small sellers were also eBay's most frequent buyers, which is the primary reason for the lagging growth rates.

The steadily declining number of profitable small sellers means that eBay will fail to achieve comparable growth when compared to the rest of the industry solely due to management's interference with things they do not begin to understand.

Perminate Link for Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?   Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?

by: LinneyPinney This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 14 01:12:31 2015

I have been on ebay for 17 years. Most of the coming changes since 2008 were not good for my business. This company is run by a bunch of morons. I have a token few items in my store after closing it and then changing my mind opting to use it to drive traffic to my stores elsewhere. Maybe things will change after the split. I won't hold my breath. Ebay has been bad too long. It's over. I am so glad to not feel the stress of selling there anymore. I make less money, but my profit margin is higher now. The price that I paid to sell on eBay in terms of stress, was too high. I feel for you. I am glad to see that you have somewhere else to sell even though they are not much nicer to sellers than ebay. There is life after ebay. A nicer, more pleasant life.  

Perminate Link for Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?   Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?

by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Jan 14 01:15:53 2015

Donahoe's deliberate elimination of small sellers and favoring big box retailers has created a situation that is not sustainable. Once PayPal spins off, look for Alibaba or another entity to buy what's left of eBay...

Perminate Link for Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?   Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Wed Jan 14 01:18:38 2015

What's happening to small sellers is part of ebafia's business plan to get rid of us all.

I hope their financials are enormously disappointing to Wall Street. No group of airhead MBAs deserves it more, and it's long, long overdue for Wall Street to tell the truth about ebafia and the shamelessly corrupt who've been running it.

Thank you, John Donahoe. Thank you Devin Wenig, and your utterly worthless and counterproductive search engine, Cassini.  

Perminate Link for Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?   Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?

by: Ebay Seller-Ebay Buyer This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 14 01:37:54 2015

Small sellers buy.  Enterprise sellers don't buy. But as Ebay drives away small sellers, it also drives away many of it's biggest buyers. It's very obvious the people running ebay do not buy and sell or most of their changes to the site would be good instead of bad.

I used to have a store with 6,000+ items and was doing very well, but closed it when they doubled store fees 5 years ago. Now I only write about 50 to 100 new descriptions per month as a side job. And when I get the free listing promotion I list these new items and the roughly 350 items in the unsold category. And of the 100 new items I might sell 20 and then I usually sell about 15 of the relisted items. So it's been working well. Last week I get the promotion but ebay changes it and does not allow relisted items. So now I only have 65 new items I rote up and the others sit in unsold.

So instead of making 25 to 30 sales; I'll make maybe 10 sales. So I'll make less, ebay will make less and then I'll also turn around and buy less. Just 1 of countless examples of just how stupid the people are who run ebay. They change a policy that hurts themselves and me and helps no one.And if it happens again, then I'll re-learn spread sheets again and put the unsold on Amazon and just use ebay for maybe 50new auctions a month and put the unsold auctions on Amazon

Perminate Link for Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?   Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?

by: Ebay Seller-Ebay Buyer This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 14 01:45:10 2015

On a side note, when I call ebay customer service to ask why they changed the promo policy and were not allowing re-listings, the man said that he didn't know but he had several very angry sellers call up and ask the same thing. He was glad I was not yelling. That's because after 15 years on ebay and Ebay now just a part time side thing; I really don't care that much

He also said there are about 250 phone reps in the call center and many others had numerous of these calls. So another words at least a few thousand sellers called angry that the promo changed. So tons of small and mid sized sellers would be making much less this month and of course they'd be buying much less or buying nothing as I'm doing

Perminate Link for Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?   Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?

by: unknown This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 14 08:42:13 2015

Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?
By: Ina Steiner

You new around here, Ina?  

Perminate Link for Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?   Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?

by: rhawk This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 14 08:58:01 2015

 Ebay is the one in trouble.

Small sellers have other places to go. Sure it may be tough at first,....but PEOPLE!....we have to get away from ebay.

Ebay has NO leadership.
Ebay has a false vision.
Ebay is no longer what it once was.
Ebay is a bloated Pig of beaurocracy.

GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN.   It is not going to get any better for at least 2-4 years, if even that....it may not survive the paypal split.

Its a mess and going to hell.....do not burn with it.

get proactive now!

Perminate Link for Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?   Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?

This user has validated their user name. by: LDS Brother

Wed Jan 14 09:06:49 2015

"Wingo also said the company saw a very unusual shift in consumer demand towards large and brand-name retailers and branded manufacturers."

Well Golly Gee ! Wonder why that is ? Could it be because eBay hides small sellers listings and manipulates the buyers to the big boys ?

Also to prove my point I talked about earlier in the last few weeks, I researched completed items and noticed sellers were getting 4 to 6X more than me the low price leader, even on used

So I did an experiment, I put a used item I sell up, for a big price, way bigger than my low price ever dreams of finishing for, and it ranked right up in Best Match and sold for the big price in 2 days !

I knew it, Donahoe wants the bigger FVF rather than accumulated small sales that mean more returns, eBay is so EVIL manipulating the search engine like this !

Perminate Link for Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?   Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?

This user has validated their user name. by: LDS Brother

Wed Jan 14 09:09:10 2015

Part 2

Yes Ina, we small sellers are in trouble and have been since Donahoe took the helm in 2008 and now it is ready to reach the climax of serious trouble as Donahoe gets ready to depart eBay with his disdain for the small seller MISSION ACCOMPLISHED !

Perminate Link for Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?   Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 14 09:23:34 2015

JD & Co were brought in to change eBays business model from relying on smaller sellers to one thats based on large "enterprise" sellers.

Its really that simple.

Ive mentioned this 1000x in almost every post I make, and I will continue to say it over and over.

Like the example I mentioned in yesterdays posts - that type of business is where eBay is today - the rest is all window dressing. Its there to fool people into believing eBay is what its not.

While eBay does issue stock and pay dividends its NOT widely held. Its not Apple or HP or even Samsung. The shares are closely held and the payments and policies are geared mostly to those people.

The board who owns alot of the shares ALWAYS agrees with anything JD & Co says, since the theft of funds and items benefits them - they get the stock dividend payouts.

Icahn doesnt really care whether eBay and Paypal are seperate or what their business models are - as long as HE like others benefit from the stock purchases/investments.

Its just that simple.

Smaller sellers are on the endangered species list. Not because JD is hunting them down actively, but due to lack of care, lack of respect and sheer mismanagement.

If ANYONE thinks eBay cares (and there are people on this planet, the ones who dont have the day to day contact with eBay - so they dont know the evils it creates STILL think its a great company) I dare you to try and get some of that old magic "seller protection". Its IMPOSSIBLE to get any. Its never been real - its all smoke and mirrors.

Why do you think eBay wasnt at CES the last 2 years? Its not the money. Its not the lack of employees. eBay cant accomplish ANYTHING there - no smart mid sized seller takes them seriously, alot of manufactorers hate them, and the last time they did show - people openly berated them in public.

If you're NOT at the worlds largest CE show - you arent a player.

Amazon was there, Google was there - EVERY ONE was there - except eBay.

TWICE and Dealerscope IGNORE eBay. Its become a paraiah. Especially after they tried to hire Noah Herschman away from the buying groups to work at eBay - and then he quietly left a few weeks later. LMAO - just like our "buddy" Rich Matsura. HE got "seller protected" right out of a job!

Read the first post. That guy/gal should be getting #1 A+ class treatment - but they arent. Why? Cause eBay DOESNT care.

That handbag guy sold more MK bags in 2 weeks than that poster sold all month AND generated HUGE FVFs and traffic to eBay - which is all that eBay cares about.

If you sell online and eBay is your ONLY outlet - you are going the way of the Dodo bird - and in a hurry.

When you have a problem, there wont be anyone to help. You WILL loose money, you will loose your item and no one will care.

eBay brass openly laugh and tell you that "loosing money is part of business", until they have to loose some. Try not paying your fees. See if they will excuse them away with the same haughtiness that they treat YOUR money. They will put you RIGHT into collections and close your account.

Smaller sellers and auction sellers are there to make eBay "look full". They make eBay look like its got a complete catalog of items. They dont. The emperor has no clothes.

At this time there are still other places to go - and if you dont diversify - you are dead - or you will be soon.

Amazon, Rakuten, Sears, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Staples, 11main, Etsy and others all exist - USE THEM.

If you dont - JD & CO will "seller protect you" right out of your hard won funds.

Perminate Link for Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?   Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?

This user has validated their user name. by: LDS Brother

Wed Jan 14 09:26:08 2015

eBay and Devin Wenig, whether you choose to accept it/like it, or like small sellers, us small sellers are I guess what you would call a "NECESSARY EVIL" whether or not you like us, we are required to be able to sell fairly on a level playing field to keep eBay afloat and make eBay grow, after all we the small sellers are the one who made it grow before Meg picked Donahoe to stick a knife in our backs and twist it !

We small sellers are buyers, when you treat us unfairly we don't buy unless absolutely necessary, we tell family and friends of your mistreatment of us and not to buy on eBay we bad mouth eBay on forums and in person with word of mouth, the same word of mouth we used to make it grow, why can't you at the top see this ?

eBay you cannot survive without us, as the big boys do not buy !

Wenig, if you really want to reconnect with us small sellers, you need to grow a set asap, and start reversing this course Donahoe has put eBay on !

I want to know why mt items, and tons of other sellers are not shown for days, then sales roll in all at once, do you really think that is fair and going to sustain eBay ?

You said you wanted to reconnect with the small sellers Wenig, PROVE IT !

We small sellers are the backbone of this once great site, and you need to work asap to get us back and make it fair, or shut eBay down, your Cassini is a joke !

Prove you really have a pair Wenig and are ready to lead eBay the way it truly needs to be run !

Perminate Link for Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?   Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Wed Jan 14 09:31:48 2015

LDS Brother posted first, but we are both thinking the same this morning:


''Wingo also said the company saw a very unusual shift in consumer demand towards large and brand-name retailers and branded manufacturers.''

-- Not so unusual if the result of manipulation that works against smaller sellers.
Just decrease visibility for small sellers, that'll do the trick.



''eBay tends to be where we have the largest concentration of our smallest customers,'' Wingo said - ''that quadrant was the most obviously affected.''

-- See above.  

Large concentrations of small customers add up and would be of value to SOME businesses.

Perminate Link for Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?   Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Jan 14 09:57:16 2015

I would think that this is music to Wingo's ears.  It has always been my impression that he views small sellers much as JD does.

I was always under the impression that his company is focused on enterprise customers, not small sellers. If this is the case I would think he is quite happy about this.

I remember a few years ago when he referred to small sellers who were complaining as ''Martha Crankypants''.  It left a very bad taste in my mouth.

And could that ''unusual shift in consumer demand towards large and brand-name retailers and branded manufacturers'' be because those are the sellers that eBay positions on their site, while hiding small sellers?  Of course this would be the outcome.

Perminate Link for Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?   Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?

by: ajeweler This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 14 10:12:40 2015

yes they are, the smaller sellers are un aware of e bay fees and the way they bill 15 until 15th, but reports run 1st to 1st, feedback ratings are at best 14 months old and defects will place them out because of buyers remorse, e bay is as we knew it done, washed out and finished, I am happy I got out when I did. so many sellers that did not were hit with a huge return rate as much as 40%, due to snads, several of the older sellers got out, it purely a shame

new sellers will never make the 1000 sales mark unless they are from china

devil went down to ebay

ebay means
every buy against you!!  

Perminate Link for Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?   Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?

This user has validated their user name. by: Shop and Ship

Wed Jan 14 10:16:36 2015

Not to put too fine a point on it, but after MONTHS of postings by eBay Sellers claiming a pull-back in listings due to hostile eBay policies I'd like to give some credit to the ''Seller Boycott'' for the lower 4th Quarter sales figures. On my own account, and like many others, I did opt out of FleaBay's circus de silly and my only regret is that the ''Boycott'' didn't start sooner.  

Perminate Link for Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?   Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?

This user has validated their user name. by: Shop and Ship

Wed Jan 14 10:29:20 2015

eBay would do well to steer away from cheap tricks and focus on honest reliable service. As a marketing ploy "gimmicks" may move retail goods temporarily but long term players keep their eye on value and good customer service. Fake rebates for dime store junk killed customer traffic in CompUSA, Computer City, and Circuit City. eBay's "Holiday Give-Aways", "Coupons", and "Free" listings were smoke and mirrors without any substance. The real problem is that eBay was hacked to raid PayPal accounts at a critical season opening and the platform doesn't work all that well when it's not being hacked. Thanks but no thanks; I'm not jumping through hoops to reach artificial goals so that I can win a colored rubber band with eBay's name on it as the grand prize - and even that goofball game was delayed twice after the promotion was running. "eBayla" - an infectious disease that gets in your blood and sucks the life out of your bank account.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Jan 14 10:31:24 2015

Shop and Ship, that could be a credible theory but if new small sellers have continued to come in at the pace that established small sellers either left or pulled back, then it would not matter.

eBay would never share those numbers with us.  If it begins to affect their bottom line in a big way then we might see some changes.  Otherwise, we won't, particularly under the current CEO.  He has created exactly what he wanted.

Perminate Link for Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?   Are Small Sellers on eBay in Trouble?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Jan 14 10:34:33 2015

LDS Brother says: '"Wingo also said the company saw a very unusual shift in consumer demand towards large and brand-name retailers and branded manufacturers."

Well Golly Gee ! Wonder why that is ? Could it be because eBay hides small sellers listings and manipulates the buyers to the big boys ?'

You would think that no one would have to point this out to a big data executive.

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