I was surprised after a presentation I gave at the Product Sellers Seminar with a question from an eBay seller who did not know anything about the new fixed price 30 day format on eBay. The persons question was not a surprise, the fact that anyone who has an eBay account and did not get a notice or a phone call about the FP30 program was my quandary.
Here I thought everyone knew...
OK - for those of you who did not know about this change ( I know, another change at eBay - groan in unison), here is eBay's explanation of the program.
Fixed Price - 30 Days
Starting September 16, we are lowering the listing fee for all items sold via the fixed price format to only 35 cents, and a special rate of only 5 cents through the end of the year for Buy It Now™ fixed price listings in the Media categories (Books, Video Games, Music and DVDs/Movies) using pre-filled item information. (See our new Fixed Price fee structure here.)
Accordingly, we are shifting the majority of our costs for most categories to the back end (final value fees), which you only pay if you're successful in selling an item. In extremely competitive e-commerce categories such as Consumer Electronics, Cameras and Computers, we're decreasing final value fees. This means we're giving you an even bigger incentive to list these types of items on eBay.
In addition to the pricing change, we're extending the listing duration of all Buy It Now™ fixed price listings to 30 days, up from seven with an option for automatic renewal. For sellers whose items that may take longer to sell, this change will be a huge cost reduction and time saver. Taken together, these two big changes – 35 cents for up to 30 days - represent a 70 percent reduction in listing fees on fixed price items
My original take on Fixed price 30 days is that its a good thing but as with all things eBay - it depends...
- The quantity and value of the items listed
- Sell Through Rate
- Best Match Metrics and if you know how to make them work for your products
- If you're successful listing in Stores format already (i.e. No need if the eBay Store is working for you)
- What Category your listing in - FP30 works different - almost everywhere on eBay
- The cost differential charged on the "back end" - Final Value Fees have risen here (in some categories)
- Other - as yet undetermined variables
- If eBay makes it work as it was intended or drops the ball
I put that last bullet point in there not to dig at eBay, I know they have a lot of talented engineers working on these initiatives but it seems to me, and a lot of other people that the eBay IT department can not keep up with the managements desire to implement sweeping changes.
There are many reasons to point out how the IT people at eBay have been slammed with an enormous workload over the last year or so... And this Fixed Price 30 day listing program is just the icing on the cake.
It is no secret that third party solutions providers offer eBay listing management platforms all over the world. Yet to eBay (with this latest major listing option implementation) its a mystery. eBay seemed to forget the fact that thousands of approved third party eBay solutions developers needed to know the plan of action.
eBay did not share with third party developers the nuts & bolts of Fixed Price 30 day until the same day it was to be live Worldwide. No beta, no sandbox trial, no developer conference or even a conference call... eBay did not even coordinate with its own Turbo-lister tool developers, it is estimated that FP30 will not be available on Turbo lister for another 2 - 4 weeks.
In a previous article I wrote about eBay losing talent . Is this problem deeper than it appears from the outside? When I mentioned to Scot Wingo at Channel Adviser that Matt Carey, chief technology officer of eBay had left for Home Depot, Scot seemed to be very surprised. When Scot Wingo does not know the moves being made within the eBay IT departments there is serious cause for concern for everyone on the outside looking in.
There have been major problems with Best Match, Finding 2.0, and now FP30 displaying duplicate listings on the same page of the same item - see Red Ink Diary: Pump up listing totals.
Has eBay lost whatever IT talent they did have -already?
Is the management team forcing new and untested technical challenges down the throats of the engineers just to make changes in a panic?
Time will tell, but I for one want to send a shout out to the engineers and developers at eBay - We feel for ya!
Fixed Price 30 Days has some caveats and it will take some time for it all to be figured out but for now just keep in mind a few things.
- FP30 is still sorted as Best Match and this Best Match sort now calculates something eBay calls velocity. - Velocity is the sell through rate per item listed in FP30 and the continuation of the listing month to month. Change the title or re-list through any means besides "Good Till Canceled" and lose the velocity quotient for Best Match standings. (That's not complicated or anything, is it?)
- FP30 Subtitles are now $1.50 - a fact not readily published by eBay. Keep it in mind if you plan on changing 100's of items from Stores format and they happen to have subtitles.
- FP30 Could be indexed by the search engines (Google, MSN, Yahoo, etc) just as Stores format is. This will increase traffic and exposure both from within and outside of eBay compared to Stores or Auctions listings.
- To some, the best news in this recent change involves auction listings. Auction listing will now display as they should have all along - Sorted by ending soonest.