FP30 eBay Listing Format Fixed Price 30 Days – Velocity and IT Dilemma

Surprise

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...

Depends upon:

  • 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

Developers Overtaxed?

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.

For more thoughts on Fixed Price 30 Day listings and their impact or lack thereof check out the following blogs:

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0 Responses to FP30 eBay Listing Format Fixed Price 30 Days – Velocity and IT Dilemma

  1. vzaar Jamie September 19, 2008 at 10:58 am #

    From a UK perspective I’ve been reasonably impressed with the efforts to communicate these changes Scott. Let me give you some examples.

    1. The UK landing page for the promo that was heavily emailed and of course blogged by all and sundry
    http://pages.ebay.co.uk/buyitnow08/index.html

    2. Phone calls through the Seller Alert programme to UK sellers that I’ve heard taking place to explain the changes

    3. An offline booklet sent in the post to UK shop holders (I received mine last night) explaining the changes to shops.

    4. eBay UK appearing at ChannelAdvisor’s Insite tour

    With eBay changes they are always quite complex and in my experience further complicated by many sellers not clearly reading or digesting the changes and asking questions that are already clearly stated. I think in the UK they have done a reasonable job.

  2. Scott Pooler September 19, 2008 at 11:01 am #

    Jamie…

    Hence my surprise… Yet this Powerseller had no idea…

    Maybe eBay sellers are tuning out after so many annoncements of change. I am unsure of why she was not informed, Scot Wingo calls it “Seller Fatigue”…

    What do you think?
    Scott

  3. tiphut September 19, 2008 at 11:28 am #

    Im prospering with the new rules. BIG TIME. Pays off to crack out for a week with data, blogs, reviews and talking with reps at ebay.

    If you type in

    1) Motorola Cell Phone
    2) Motorola F3
    3) Cell Phone
    4) Unlocked Cell Phone

    and a bunch of other keywords with HIGH traffic, my test FP30 auction comes up first and has almost 100 sales of this cell phone within the first 3 days selling about 35 pieces of it daily.

    This velocity will shoot us to the top. Let me say one thing, dont procrastinate right now. IF and only IF FP30 fits your model, you better get them out. Gaining Velocity right now is VERY important. Forget “deduping” the system, you will always lose in the long run.

    http://tiphut.wordpress.com

  4. Henrietta September 19, 2008 at 11:47 am #

    I think Scott Wingo has hit the target with ‘seller fatigue’. Averaged over the year there has been one change per week to date, not all of which required editing of listings but all required careful thought and analysis.

    There are an amazing number of sellers who are oblivious and not all micro sellers either. Many have no clue what their overhead is. This is the other side of the ‘buyers who do not read the listing’ coin. I am sure a lot of the FP30 listings will be OOAK items which can’t achieve the full benefit of the format.

    So far as communication from eBay, quite often things are clearly stated but contradictory statements are made within the announcement. Sellers (those who do pay attention) have learned to ask questions rather than assume because assumptions are expensive. None of this will help with a bot, or a CSR who does not understand the policy they are enforcing.

  5. tiphut September 19, 2008 at 12:09 pm #

    It is true the changes are for some. The thing is those looking for antiques might not be in a category where it would make a a difference like you said.

    It really goes by category. E-bays biggest (and by biggest I mean largest money makers) are electronics! The changes are geared for this category. They’re tired of typing in “v3 leather case” and getting 15,000 search results. Thats confusing and large sellers are able to spam their listings and get more sales.

    For these larger sellers who are able to negotiate their fees after you hit the $500,000/month mark, it hits ebay hard in the pocket book when the sales could be made from smaller sellers and putting the full listing and FAV $ in their pockets.

    The rules are pretty fair for both small and big buyers
    1) Those with quantity will take advantage from “velocity” over a 30 day period.
    2) Smaller buyers items will still rotate in the core.

    REMEMBER- Its just not your velocity. It deals LARGE in part with Feedback, DSR and open disputes. Smaller sellers are more often than big companies, able to manage these problems with more personal attention.

    Have you ever seen a powerseller that has thousands of feedback with 100% feedback? RARE, you might if they sell napkins but not in an electronic field etc.

    If the things mentioned above for smaller sellers are achieved you stand a fair chance of even exposure. Get your search standard raised as well. IT PAYS OFF BIG TIME! (20% increase in sales) but must hit 98% with negs and neutrals combined which for alot of sellers is tough to achieve.

    http://tiphut.wordpress.com

  6. Just A Thought September 19, 2008 at 9:55 pm #

    Don’t know about TurboLister, but Blackthorne had the changes made, tested, and released by the afternoon of the change. Seems to me the TurboLister folks probably need to spend just a wee bit of time reading eBay’s press releases? If the boss isn’t talking to you, but -is- talking to the general public, wouldn’t it make sense to listen in to what’s being told to the general public? Seems rather simplistic to me….

    🙂

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