There used to be a day when eBay sellers view establishing an eBay store as a gateway to the world of eCommerce. eBay provided them the tools to build their very own online stores, and access to millions and millions of repeated customers. The fees were reasonable and the sellers were happy.
Now, eBay is losing it’s eBay store owners by the droves. Don’t get me wrong, people still selling via eBay stores, both veterans and new comers. But a lot of the veterans weren’t happy about the changes eBay has made throughout the years. For people who has been with eBay throughout the years, and has experienced the good old times, the recent changes brought upon by eBay has caused them to start looking for ways to venture out on their own.
WHY EBAY STORE OWNERS ABANDON THEIR STORES?
So what were these changes? Well, come to the bottom of it, MONEY! eBay store is no longer what it used to be. With the most recent change (3/2010), it costs more to list in Store format unless you are doing a large volume of business through your eBay store. The benefit of paying as little as $0.03 per fixed price Store listing is no longer available, now you have to pay a $0.20 insertion fee for fixed priced listing unless you’re subscribed to the Anchor store format. Remember, eBay charges a subscription fee for eBay Stores, ranging from $15.95 per month for a Basic store to $299.95 per month for an Anchor store. So, if the huge discount does not come with the steep subscription fee eBay is charging, then what is having an eBay store really good for? According to eBay, one good thing that comes out of this change is when a potential buyer does a keyword search, your store listings will also come up on the default search results page or the Core search, where it used to be only Auction Style listings would show up on the Core search.
One other thing that angers much eBay store owners are the new “100 Free Auction Listing per Month” campaign, where you can list up to 100 auction style listing if 1) your starting price is $0.99 and 2) there is no reserve price. eBay store owners are outraged because 1) eBay store is NOT eligible for free listing, and 2) store owners are worried that there will be a flood of useless cr@ps on eBay because they can be listed for free. From the tone of it, it almost sounded like eBay is no longer welcoming sellers with small volume, the same type of sellers who got eBay to where it is today.
Personally, I am not that fond of eBay store. I believe that you can do exactly what an eBay store claims to do, and more, without all the hefty costs and limitations, which I will explain later. But then again, that’s just me. Because I’ve run my own eCommerce stores and have designed quite a few websites throughout the years, I can’t say my opinions and experiences really represent the majority of eBay sellers out there. I also want to make this article as informative as possible, so here are some of the major benefits you do get when opening an eBay store.
Opening up an eBay Store is great for someone who
- doesn’t know how to start an eCommerce site, or is too busy and rather not to be bothered with it.
- is worrying about the cost and time associated with marketing a brand new eCommerce site, when eBay is offering instant access to its millions of repeated users (buyers) since day one.
- wants more defined category system for the products he/she sells on eBay, and wants potential buyers able to search for items within his/her own inventory, instead of the entire eBay
- tries to maximize exposure for both auction styled and fixed price styled listings
- wants a distinct web address to the store for potential buyers (both online and in person)
- list at least 50 fixed price items per month
- utilizes eBay’s Picture Hosting service (picture hosting is free for eBay stores)
The disadvantages I’ve found with having an eBay store are
- Subscription Fee vs. Volume – Unless you intend on listing at least 50 Fixed Price style listings per months, you are wasting your money with an eBay Store.
- Final Value Fee will no longer be capped at $50 for Auction Style listings once you have an eBay store. So, unless you know you will never sell anything that’s greater than $1380, you will be paying through the nose with those final value fees.
- Final Value Fee for Fixed Price listing is exactly the same as a non-eBay-store listing, why even bother?
- Yes, fixed price store listings are gaining exposure by showing up in core search, but it comes with the expense of sudden increase in the listing base (both store inventory and auction inventory). By increasing the listing base, the chance of your listing being buried is even greater.
Are you currently running an eBay store? What has been your experience with your eBay store? I would love to know if you have experienced any change in your sales volume after the most recent change (3/2010). Is there a noticeable increase in traffic driven by Core search?
If you don’t have an eBay store at the moment but are contemplating of opening one, just remember, you do have choice. Below are some of the options you may want to consider before opening up an eBay store.
- Give AMAZON a try – selling your fixed price items on Amazon.com gives you instant access to tens of millions of shoppers since day one! There is no listing fees, however, you are charged a closing fee when your item is sold. There are two types of subscriptions available. If you plan on selling (not listing) fewer than 40 items, your monthly subscription will be FREE, yes FREE. If you plan on selling (not listing) more than 40 items, your monthly subscription will be $39.99 with $0.99 less in closing fee per item in comparison to the free plan. Amazon’s fee structure is easy, fair, and very seller friendly unlike that of eBay’s. Visit here for more information and Amazon’s fee structure.
- Owning your own online store! It’s actually easier than you think. By having your own online store, you can bypass the eBay store fees (subscription, listing, and final value fees all together) and replacing them with a much affordable monthly fee, while still be able to market your website to your potential eBay customers via your eBay non-store listings. eBay has made it clear that direct linking to an webpage outside eBay for the purpose of encouraging potential buyers conducting transactions outside eBay is NOT allowed. However, you can still market your own website on your eBay listing subtly. Check out “eBay Listings – A New Form of Marketing” for how you can market your own website while not violating the eBay terms. Also check out our eCommerce section in our Resource page for some of the popular eCommerce options available for you, including our very own eCommerceBento, an affordable boutique style website package that offers the look and feel of a custom web store without the custom price.