Everything changes and yet oddly some things never change. (yes, an old statement ringing true once again)...
It seems that every year about this time eBay chooses to make announcements which had heretofore been cloaked in secrecy. Just recently the announcement was about a change to the eBay Stores format. The eBay Stores format is becoming the eBay Stores "Experience".
I say Halleluah! - It is about time the standard (off the ebay shelf) issue eBay store was updated to look like something designed post 1995.
I have no argument with eBay for this change or its implementation. Everyone who owns an eBay Store has 45 days to make whatever changes are necessary to update their custom templates or 3rd party providers store design. This seems like plenty of time in most cases and in the cases of the large third party certified eBay stores designers, the work has already been done. eBay actually worked with these designers and developers to be sure that they were aware of the new standard (yeah, I know - now THAT'S a change, right?). In any case the look will be new but there is absolutely no need to panic.
Yet Panic is what some want to instill...
The announcement from eBay had not yet made its way around the world when certain individuals and companies began to use it for their own purposes. These marketers know that any announcement from eBay causes a certain amount of anxiety among eBay sellers even before they have had a chance to read its contents. Voila - This is the time to strike and get peoples attention, grab them when the announcement has not yet been explained or analyzed (The virtual ink is not yet dry). Once they have the attention of the sellers who are already on the edge of their seats from last years constant changes and announcements from eBay, they offer a way to solve "problems" that may not have ever existed or if they do exist, can be solved in relatively short order by the sellers current developer.
This is called Fear Marketing and it depends on the Chicken Little effect.
The Sky is Falling, The Sky is Falling!
Fear is a powerful emotion, it causes us humans to immediately seek an action to prevent injury. Fight or flight is the usual response to fear many psychologists will tell you, others say fear causes depression, doubt, anxiety. One thing we know for sure is that fear gets peoples attention and when it is used in a marketing sense fear can be a useful tool. Yet if used without the most deft hand in marketing, fear becomes a threat.
Do you buy from people who threaten you?
In the eBay world, lets be honest... a lot of the sellers who are successful on the platform do not have Harvard or even Community college business degrees. eBay Sellers are generally honest, hard working, yet interesting people who for the most part simply started out making a few extra dollars on the site. With some added perseverance and maybe a little luck, a lot of these good people then made eBay selling a career or a secondary small business, others grew this start into a small empire. This is what has been great about eBay and eCommerce in general, you don't have to have a marketing degree or an MBA to make it out here, no one checks your resume when you are selling tie dye jeans.
The fact that the eBay community is a group of "regular folk" also makes it a target for unscrupulous and invasive marketers. People who may have a bit more education or who have been taught tactics by those who have. eBay sellers make for a very ripe audience for these people and the annual array of eBay announcements becomes a marketing smorgasbord for fear tactic marketers. We have all witnessed the discussion boards come alive when these announcements appear with motivated, worried, and sometimes desperate sellers looking for information and reassurance. This type of reaction, whether based upon fact or fiction leaves the door wide open for fear marketers.
Don't fall for the fear tactics, don't become a Chicken Little - The Sky, is not Falling
Do your own evaluation, check the facts, run your own business. Don't let an unsolicited email from a supposedly reputable source cause you to make a quick decision. In the case of the eBay Stores Experience announcement, call your present designer or developer or call eBay before you jump into the unscrupulous fear mongering marketing spin of doubt and distrust. In most cases these emails or letters or even podcasts will sound very authentic, as marketing spiels often do, but when you check the facts for yourself, you may find that no truth was contained in the statements.
Always check out what is said, drill down to the basic truth of every marketing message. It all boils down to need and value, if you are reading a message about a service you did not need or have already paid for then there is little value is buying a similar service from a new source. Be sure you need help before you make the call to the fear marketer, because once you are on the line with them you will then be led down a trail of constant doubt until you sign the contract to get yourself out of trouble. Trouble you never really knew you had, and maybe didn't...
eBay Stores Experience - Things to Know
- If you have a basic eBay store that was not custom designed by anyone, then you have nothing at all to fear, eBay has you covered.
- If you have a custom designed eBay store by a company like Frooition or Diztinct - call them or check the website to find out what they have done to make you ready to go.
- The new format looks fine, better than ever in fact - so go with the flow, your buyers will like this!
- Check out Janelle Elms article about this topic.
- Check out Dave White's similar article on ECMRN
- Don't fall for fear tactics, not for this announcement or any other. And let the company who sends them out know you do not appreciate the basic premise that you are too darn dumb to figure any of this out for yourself.
- Full Disclosure - I am an eBay Stores Designer. I am affiliated with Frooition in the UK and offer my clients the advantage of my services with their extraordinary technology. I do not now, nor have I ever, used outright fear and intimidation to coax a client away from another provider. I really don't have the need for such tactics, we are too busy making our own clients happy!