Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Sept 28 2016 16:56:40

eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment

By: Ina Steiner

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It's hard to get eyeballs to your product listings, but for some eBay sellers, it's just gotten harder.

eBay is promoting items from its Valet consignment program in a special marketing campaign. And unlike the original Trading Assistant/eBay Drop Off Store programs, only two sellers are allowed to participate in eBay Valet.

eBay sent an email to shoppers this week: "Discover your next treasures - Every day, the selling experts at eBay Valet inspect, list, and sell great items. Now we're featuring the best of these curated gems - and you've got dibs." The email showcases six categories in fashion, tech, and sporting goods, which recipients can click through to peruse among the selection of goods.

An army of sellers built up the consignment model on eBay, which for many years supported them. But eBay took a different approach when it disbanded those programs.

It then launched eBay Valet in competition with independent consignment sellers to encourage shoppers directly to "sell" through the program, but only two sellers are allowed to participate in the program.

Another beneficiary is FedEx Office stores - the email includes a message at the bottom encouraging recipients to sell their items through eBay Valet, and says, "Take them to a participating FedEx Office location and a Team Member will pack and ship them to the selling experts."

Let us know what you think of the new eBay marketing campaign and how it may impact you going into the holiday shopping season.




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment   eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Sep 28 17:24:52 2016

I was wondering how the "Valets" were going to handle all the orders if there were only two sellers enrolled. I guess this answers my question:

"Please note: Due to high demand, the valets are currently experiencing a 2-4 week delay in processing orders. The valets are working hard to get caught up and expect to be back on track within 4-5 weeks."

Perminate Link for eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment   eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 28 18:46:34 2016

One has to be living on another planet to not see this coming. Valet and Diamond seller are the pets of Ebay.

The rest of the sellers are just noise. No one has learned a thing in the past five years.

All the whining has accomplished NOTHING.

Perminate Link for eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment   eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 28 20:45:13 2016

Sparrow - does that ebays own sellers (valets) can't be TRS since their handling time is so long?

Why the double standard between eBay sellers and the valets?

More eBay lies and deceit !

Perminate Link for eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment   eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment

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

Wed Sep 28 21:34:09 2016

How long will this last when the owners discover they'll make next to nothing when they literally donate their items to ebafia?

What a scam.

Perminate Link for eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment   eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 28 23:17:23 2016

I was part of the LAST eBay NOW debacle.

2 sales was the grand total - 6 months.

"How come I wasnt chosen" (not that I want it) but who chose these 2 people, who do they know, what denigrating pics of DW do they have, and how much did it cost them to be "chosen".

eBay ISNT a level playing field in ANY way. Shame on eBay for once again screwing its sellers by playing favorites.

Perminate Link for eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment   eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 29 03:32:20 2016

Buyers will "love it" when there orders take a month to arrive.
Sellers will "love it" when they make little or nothing.  

Perminate Link for eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment   eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment

by: ThebigR This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 29 05:25:10 2016

ebays liberty valet 18,757 running auctions 472 items have bids of which 318 have just a single bid. If they weren't be subsidized by ebay they'd have been out of business long ago. Just another ebay dead horse program waiting to be put down..

Perminate Link for eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment   eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Sep 29 07:01:59 2016

The true "valets" on eBay are the hard working sellers who have been working hard on eBay for 10 years or more and those who continue to adapt to eBay's draconian policies. Those who sell great products that are well and honestly presented but due to search aren't seen 100% of the time.  Those who do all that they can to please their customers and are responsive and attentive to any problems that may arise.  Those who, when the deck is stacked against them, always seem to play their A game.

What a shame that eBay does not value these sellers and move them to the front of the bus, giving them the preferred treatment that they deserve.

Perminate Link for eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment   eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment

by: ac2015 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 29 08:27:46 2016

Our company began in the 90s and always used eBay as an accompanying sales channel. In 2013, we started to see a noticeable decline in activity on the site and by the time we reached last May, it completely cratered for us. We are now selling at about 10% of our historical average and the trend lines continue to fall.

Speciality product with low competition, excellent pricing, service, and branding while our other sales channels soar, eBay has collapsed on itself. Top seller status which means nothing and even their promoted listings algorithm is impossible to get a read on.

They abandoned all of us small and medium businesses under Whitman, but didn't kill the search engine until Donohue and it's pathetic today.

When big business wakes up to their poor ROI from participating on their marketplace, just maybe things will change, but there isn't much of any hope. Our company was there at the infancy of it all including the ill-fated Yahoo! Auctions and this story has been played out before.

Perminate Link for eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment   eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment

by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 29 12:46:47 2016

I just sold 2 very old rare tribal baskets at live auction house. I found them in a dumpster where we were disassembling trailers.

After fees , I cleared 37 big ones. Hey ebay , Im giddy all the way to the bank. And you ebay , got zilch. 10 years ago Id have put them on , just the changing of times , as well as who I trust. They can keep their valet , & whatever else they cook up.  

Perminate Link for eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment   eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment

by: Will This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 29 23:50:42 2016

Another cute program from eBay. They still haven't learned their lesson. They continue to ignore their core issues, but remain with the window dressing.

Perminate Link for eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment   eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 30 01:02:16 2016

Hello all.  I've a story for you...

I sold over $2M worth of practically everything on eBay from 2007 - 2013 - by consignment.  One uniquely documented item at a time.  Over 20,000 items at an ASP of over $100.  I mean everything.  Thousands of collectibles, fine jewelry, antiques, dozens of vehicles from motorcycles to classic cars to dump trucks to an ultralight.  Parts and pieces and wholes.  Clothing, shoes, accessories.  Electronics, games, toys.  Furniture, appliances (commercial AND industrial).  The unique and unusual.  Even commoddities now and then.  Every category.  You get the idea.  

We averaged over $25K a month.  Employed 7 folks in a 1500 ft sq drop off and list facility, with full time shipping dept and a 600 ft sq warehouse for the big stuff.

We did research, clean n polish, writing, photography, payment and payout processing, client and customer comms, all through a proprietary auction management system with direct interface to the venue.  I mean, we had a 5000 name client list...many repeats who would source items and use our service because it was WORTH it.  Because we made it so.  It worked.  Even in a 'bad' economy.  Some might say MORE so, for most items of value.  Which is what we offered.  Not yard sale junk.  $100 ASP, remember?

It was the best most innovative unique and simultaneously diverse internet business on the planet.  Well worth the $150K invested, returning a living wage and profit.  And community to boot.  What could go wrong?

Until, that is, it was destructively innovated...with emphasis on the destruction, and none on innovation. None.

Store to core is when it started.  From unique and visible to bland and buried with a flick of a corporate whim.  Futzing with feedback came next.  ''Retired'' discounts and hypocritical oversight.  COI payment restrictions.  VERO abuse.  Visibility manipulation.  'Protective' limits.  Site unreliability.  Untested changes and 'enhancements' (to serve you better) that made every task more of a trial and occurred constantly, with no warning, frequently without announcement.  From a dedicated rep, to customer 'service' that was untrained, unempowered, and unintelligible.  

And that was just within the first three years. Apparently they found a monkey that actually couldn't drive.  But thats not even the point.

Throughout these consistent months and quarters of diminishing views, decreasing sales, and dismissively insulting episodes deemed to be support, all in the face of undesguised hypocrisy and unimaginable incompetence, we still maintained almost perfect DSR and feedback, because we always HAD.  That's what the profession required.  Nevermind that the 'new standards' were mathmatically flawed at their roots, skewed to favor cheap volume over unique quality, and designed to 'gradually' cook the frogs while ignoring the epitome of hypocrisy that was eBay posture and practice.

We adapted as able, but you know, we were not 'Mike' and could never BE 'like Mike'.  Power wouldn't listen to truth though, AKA ''noise''.

See, we the vocal weren't bashing.  We had an INVESTMENT.  We WANTED sucess and HATED the increasing failures - over which we had NO control.  But the beat went on.

And so...from a $300K year in '08 - which incidentally was done ALL at auction with minimal start price and many times involved hundreds of bids - to half that by '10, to half THAT the next year, to finally less than $10k in the last year, we watched eBay 'retire' their sales 'assistant' program that we routinely utilized.  We were once shut down for a week with no appeal, no discussion, (and no cause, fully documented and eventually admitted) - but alas, AFTER the damage done to our reputation from OUR customers.  No, not the buyers, the consignors.  

''Free'' shipping?  And how, pray tell, for an item with no specific acquisition cost, and little owner tolerence for increasingly larger slices off the top?  

And, as volume diminished, so did ability to 'appear' top rated.  Not that the buyers had such opinion.  See, it somehow evolved to an eBay opinion.  Subjective objectivity.  Bubbles in the frog pot.

And I'm not even touching the subject of buyer fraud and theft increasingly sanctioned as a 'cost of doing business'.  

No, here's what frosts me; a (self stated) eBay ''Sr. CS rep telling me about a year before we were shuttered by the cesspool this venue has become, that, because they favored commercial commodity volume at fixed price, that perhaps my business model of unique, market valued items was flawed.  And I should change it.

Which brings us to today.  A viable business evaporated (we, the last of a chain of over 60 stores internationally).  Seven ppl out of work.  Taxpayers.  Buyers of supplies, users of consumables and services and lessees of property. Fees to the venue AND stockholders.  Gone.  All gone.  Though I understand over 70% of stockholders are institutional and thus unconcerned with the realities you all continue to battle and know better than I...but gone, nevertheless.

And in the face of this now....eBay Valet?  

Seriously?  And by the means and methods advertised?  Are you flippin kidding me?

If this wasn't eBay spewing this rot, it would be inconceivable.  Color me disgusted.  

Perminate Link for eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment   eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Sep 30 07:07:32 2016

Snapped, brilliant post. I think your story could be repeated many thousands of times as the same happened to so many sellers.

I only hope Wenig reads your post. Not that anything would be done necessarily (he says they aren't going back to the past) but at least he, if there is a brain in his head, might start seeing why eBay lost its secret sauce.

I'm guessing that so many sellers like yourself were spending a great deal of their earnings on eBay. I'm guessing now--not so much.

Perminate Link for eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment   eBay Valet Items Get Preferential Treatment

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Fri Sep 30 14:53:47 2016

I echo @Rexford, excellent post (thank you, Snapped). If I had to title your post: ''Destructive Innovation.''



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