Monday, March 12, 2007

eBay Promoting Stores and New Sellers Again!

I was driving to get my coffee this morning when I heard my first eBay radio commercial ever. It was a 30 second spot encouraging people to find something around the house to sell on eBay and giving them their first 3 listings for free. This seemed odd to me because most eBay advertising in traditional media is geared to the buyer. This is the first time I’ve ever heard a radio ad for eBay let alone one promoting selling on eBay.

My first questions were: Is eBay, having trouble getting new sellers to replace those that are leaving? Could it be that the metrics are finally showing a leveling off in seller growth? If so, are existing sellers in line for some incentives to stay? I couldn’t help that last question; it is my nature to be optimistic.

Then I got home to do my morning surfing and saw this, on the eBay Announcement board: Grow Your Sales with eBay Stores – 30-Day Free Trial Offer. Wow, eBay is (I know it should be “eBay are” but it just doesn’t sound right and its my blog) once again promoting stores. After last years store fee increase I had the impression they didn’t want any more clutter. What will more stores do to reduce the clutter?

I think these two events are telling (here goes the conspiracy theory). eBay traditionally doesn’t promote anything unless it is new to the site or their metrics show the numbers are going in the wrong direction. It’s been my experience that they make changes very quickly if the metrics are not going their way so I have to come to the following conclusion: Sellers are leaving and not enough newbies are joining to make up for it! Is there any other explanation?

March will be an interesting month because SIS skewed eBay’s 2006 numbers and it is apparent they are having problems retaining sellers right now. PayPal is being very aggressive with new promotions and now eBay Stores are once again being promoted. I wonder how balanced the site is now. Stay Tuned, this could get interesting.

7 comments:

Mountie said...

Hi Randy, I had to smile when they announced this. It's the first time I've seen the US run a promo on something that is always available in the UK. We have 30 day trials for new ID's as a matter of course in the UK I'm amazed they don't in the US!

Cliff Aliperti said...

Hmmm,not sure what to think. I've been so sure that they were moving towards killing Stores in favor of Express that this really confuses me. Maybe they can stand the "balance" tipping back to the Stores from the core now that the rate hikes are well established in the stores.

Joey said...

Women say men are led around by a certain physical feature. I think Ebay is sometimes led around by their current fiscal happenings. I have been a long time Ebay supporter but the last year has been tough on my loyalty. I have begun to look elsewhere to move my cards. I have relied heavily on my store sales vs. auction in the past, but with the fee increases I have reduced my listings on both.

By the way, I like what I have read so far so I am subscribing to your feed.

Frank Ross said...

I agree with Cliff, eBay's direction is confusing and irregular. Kinda like a rabid animal that can't walk in a straight line. On a side note, Bill Cobb came to my town and I couldn't even work up the enthusiam to go see him talk.

Randy Smythe said...

Joey, you are not alone. Many longtime sellers are getting fed-up. They are just quietly moving on. Here is who ebay is going after now: (This is from their latest promotion)
An AC Nielsen study conducted on our behalf found that the average household in the U.S. has $1,200 worth of unused, saleable inventory just lying around the house. That's a lot of outgrown kids' clothing, old iPods, and DVDs you've watched 100 times just taking up space. We want to help you turn them into cash!

If you’ve never sold on eBay before, now is a great time to try your hand. From March 15 through March 24th, we'll waive the insertion and Gallery picture fees for up to 3 listings for all first-time sellers

Randy Smythe said...

Frank, that seems to be the consensus. It appears nobody really cares what Bill Cob has to say.

manuals said...

Agreed.

http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Auto-Factory-Manuals