eBay Competitors – Where to go After DSRs or Best Match?

The winds of change have been blowing…

We all know eBay is moving to a more retail like atmosphere. If your niche or business model does not fit into a retail like experience for the new eBay buyers, as a seller you will soon find it very difficult to survive on eBay.

This is a good thing for a majority of the large titanium PowerSellers now found on the eBay site. It may not be the roots of eBay and it may not be what eBay has promoted over the last 10-12 years, but this is the climate of change you have been hearing about. Big corporations change, evolve, morph themselves into entirely new entities all of the time.

This most recent movement by eBay to a more retail like experience should not be a surprise to anyone. In fact, I have preached here and elsewhere that all sellers on eBay should become more business like and find sources of supply outside of Garage Sales and Church Bazaars…

To survive in business, you must have a plan. eBay seems to be working towards shaping every eBay sellers’ business plan to fit a model which will help eBay as much as it helps the majority of sellers they want to keep. One does wonder…what will happen to those sellers they are no longer interested in retaining?

Free Shipping is part of eBay’s plan to attract buyers (see Randy Smythe’s Blog post today in My Blog Utopia) they plan on encouraging sellers to join with them in this plan by advantaging those sellers who offer free shipping in the Best Match results for search.

If this type of “encouragement” does not fit into your business plan – either because you do not have products which can be easily shipped for free – or simply because you see no margin after offering free shipping after raising your price to accomodate the higher cost, then you may be looking for alternatives to selling on eBay…

Read More about the other options available to sellers here:

eBay Flea Market Closed – Sellers Look for eBay Competition – Where to Sell Now?

eBay Flea Market

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0 Responses to eBay Competitors – Where to go After DSRs or Best Match?

  1. auctionwally April 28, 2008 at 6:53 pm #

    Hey Scott,

    Great Post. I agree with your analysis of eBay’s new changes and what they are vying for in the marketplace. Here’s why I don’t think it will work for them in the long run.

    Sure, eBay does billions more in the large retail trade than they do in the Antiques/Collectibles “niche” market trade. Of this there is little doubt. It’s also apparent that they see this and plan to maximize profits by catering more exclusively to this market, but what do we know about eBay?

    eBay is first and foremost an auction venue, and continually fails when it tries to step outside of this identity. The reason for this, is that eBay types (auction goers ) are gamblers and risk takers by nature. The reason that auctions are the oldest & most successful marketing event ever known, is the “thrill of the hunt”. Bidders want the chance to get something for under the money. I’ve been in the auction business for 25 years and have seen this at every auction without fail.

    Now, without the smaller antiques & collectibles niches to glue the eBay experience together, what do you have? The answer is a Mega retail outlet that sells new and manufactured products. But the problem is, that without the interesting old treasures to scout on eBay, you lose the many of the same eyeballs that would otherwise view the retail items.

    And let face it, when it comes to buying new items, there is one place that consistently comes up #1 in searches, a little company called Amazon.com.

    Now I’m not an anti-eBay guy, I’m just stating absolute facts. If you Google any popular new product you’ll find that the best price comes up at Amazon 9 times out of 10.

    Apparently Amazon is smart enough to realize that the unwanted seller base eBay is alienating has a tremendous value, so they are aggressively courting those sellers, the last quarter Amazon profits show it’s worked.

    You’ll also notice that eBay announced and up tick in listings the last quarter and undoubtedly is saying “toldyaso”, but not so fast. Look at the economy, of course eBay is going to see more listings as people in trouble scramble to liquidate in tough economic times. HOWEVER, what is the sell-through rate? What is the success rate of these sellers, and what will the end result be?

    As a Powerseller with 10 years on eBay, my average sell through was about 95-98%. I’m an old school antiques auctioneer that always sold on eBay at low starting bids with no reserve, just as I do at my live auctions. I can afford to do this as what I sell on eBay are items from large estate buyouts.

    Since the recent changes my sell through rate is about 60-65%. I can still afford to sell the ITEMS at this sell through rate, but it’s not worth my TIME anymore. Now if my sell through rate has dropped this drastically, what of other less experienced sellers?

    As a result I now sell from 5-20 items a week on eBay just to keep a presence to point to. Prior to these eBay changes I used to sell about 100 items a week on eBay. Who loses here? Not me, I’ve adjusted to sell my items elsewhere.

    My advice? Antiques sellers with a good eBay feedback rating should take a snapshot of the rating page for reference and learn how to sell on their own site.

    With the incredible search ablility of Google and the other major search engines it’s becoming much more viable to market your wares on your own where you have full control over what you do. Take the best of what you’ve learned from eBay, and your feedback score, and bring it to the only website you can trust 100%, your own.

    To find out more about self-sufficient marketing, readers should go to http://auctionwally.blogspot.com/2008/02/auctionwally-show-ep-11-value-added.html and continue to read your excellent blog here.

    Thanks for the forum to rant Scott.


  2. Susan Coils April 28, 2008 at 6:56 pm #

    Ebay is certainly changing. I guess it’s a lesson for all that you have to keep looking at what’s working and change and improve and move with the times.

    Those that don’t keep up or aren’t willing to make the changes will get left behind. Unless some other ‘alternatives’ come up to the mark!

  3. Michael Weinstein April 29, 2008 at 12:37 pm #

    Scott, Great perspective. I think ebay really has not changed at all in the 10 years I have been on it. The rules are different and the costs have changed, that is all. After 10 years selling other peoples consigned items and about 5 as a new product seller ebay is still what it was when it started, a great marketing channel that allows anyone to start a money making business or hobby on the internet.

    I agree that a seller needs to take his lessons he learned on ebay and adapt it to his own direct purchase web business to succeed. But I do not think ebay is really making it harder for the new or smaller seller. Just more frustrating. It is still the greatest training ground on the net for new e-commerce start ups.

    As mentioned ebay will always be at its core an auction site. The part time yard sale searcher will always have ebay as a way to sell their fabulous finds. It is just getting harder to find those special in demand items. Not because ebay has changed. But because everyone else at the sale is also searching for the same items.

    As a seller of new products we are doing well. We have learned it is not only important to know what your compettion is doing but to do it better. Its no longer an advantage to have the lowest price or free shipping. Ebay is missing the ball on that one. The secret is to offer value and service above the competition. A seller needs to do it better. That means better, more professional look and better marketing. The repeat customer is key to success. Five star customer service is a great motivation to do it right and do it better.

    Viral marketing around your ebay presence is also key in todays internet marketing world. As ebay sellers get smarter they are selling in multiple channels and learning to point all directions to one main direct sale hub. Ebay is no longer that hub.

    As ebay plays with best match I have to wonder. How many buyers are using best match vs. general keyword searching? I know a few ebay buyers that do not sell. They use ebay only to buy. Everything from collectibles to everyday consumer products. Some like BIN only and some like the hunt for a deal. None use best match. They have told me it is too confusing. I myself love to see things available in ending order. Why, I am afraid to miss that great deal about to end! Just like ebay programmed me from the beginning.


  4. Gina October 8, 2008 at 11:08 am #

    It is getting to be a dark and ugly place at ebay. Sellers are being unfairly treated and leaving by the truck loads. All of our please for help and change are being ignored. Selling on ebay is like having an unappreciative boss who controls you. Being self employed should mean that we are our own boss…right? Stop being a slave to the system and start taking action!
    I have been researching every possible ebay alternative out there. The bad news is that 98% of what I have seen looks cheap and tacky. Usually the home page is the first and last place I look when looking for a new home for my online business.
    The good news is that I found 2 wonderful sites that look extremely promising. Etsy and Bonanzle.
    i especially like Bonanzle, as you can import all of your ebay listings and feedback with a touch of a button! Also, listings are FREE. These 2 sites have great appeal and their home pages reflect style, so I feel that is more inviting to both buyers and sellers.
    I highly recommend checking these ebay alternatives out.
    Hope this helps!

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