Top > Seller’s Perspective of eBay

eBay from a Seller’s Perspective

Even though the best days of eBay are now past, you can still make money selling on eBay and other online auction sites. It is very important to research the prices of any items you intend to sell, so you can determine whether it is going to be more profitable for you - or eBay. It is also important to know that eBay is no longer the cheapest place to sell your items online - there are numerous online auction sites including Amazon and free alternatives such as Craig's list, Google Base, Froogle, and Yahoo.

Now I am not suggesting that eBay is going to wither and die any day soon, but it is certainly a lot “shabbier” than ever before. Loads of cheap junk clogging up the listings. Lots of “drop shipper” sellers (that may never deliver their promised goods). Too many deceptive listings for popular or hot items like free iPods!!! A whole new crop of sellers hawking stolen, pirated and counterfeit goods. Large numbers of sellers attempting to beating eBay’s commission structure (usually with inflated shipping) and getting away with it. eBay’s recent foray in China has made the problem even worse introducing a new wave of high-volume Asian pirates. From any perspective - eBay has become a much less enjoyable shopping experience.

Diminishing Returns from eBay

As with most long-term eBay retailers, I can handle the ever higher eBay fees and commissions, reduced eBay customer support, and constant eBay software “upgrades”. However I do have a problem with the increasing scarcity of good buyers on eBay. Many sellers have noticed a sharp decrease in their eBay sell through rates and reduced number of repeat customers. For a high overhead site like eBay, this really is a (long-term) disaster in the making. Even veteran eBay sellers can no longer run hundreds of auctions and absorb the repeated cost of the “no sales” - exacerbated by eBay’s listing fee hikes, which would require an even higher sell-through rate just to break even.

So it is a cumulative effect easily explained by the rule of diminishing returns: lower eBay sell through rates + higher eBay fees + change in eBay buyer demographics = diminishing returns from eBay sales. There are also notably fewer eBay sellers in virtually every category. Ultimately this means fewer buyers searching on eBay for their future purchases. Savvy eBay sellers are no longer using the shotgun approach to sales. Instead they are listing only a few, select items on eBay to create traffic for their own websites sales.

Part two continues in Skype VOIP and eBay's Future.