Monday, January 12, 2009

Why I'm Closing My eBay Store

Well, I'm beginning the new year by closing my eBay store. All of my items remain for sale, as I stopped doing "store listings" several weeks ago. The only thing that has changed is that I have no "storefront" anymore.

Many have asked me why I'm closing the store so I'm going to state my reasons and hope the information helps someone else with their decision to open, or keep open, an eBay store:
  • In the past year, eBay has shown their unapologetic favoritism of the stores that sell a ton of new items, aka Power Sellers. I admire those hugely successful sellers but really cannot compete with them, especially now that they receive big breaks in search results rankings. It is a fact that if you have an item ending sooner and costing less than a Power Seller with the same item, theirs will still appear higher in the search results unless you know how to get around that. Guess how hard eBay tries to teach people to get around that? Here's how: change the search results order to "ending soonest" instead of "best match", which is the default.
  • eBay has no customer service for small sellers. Try getting a live person to help you, with anything. Within the past year I was falsely accused of selling a counterfeit item. I received a strike against my account and it was impossible -- literally impossible -- to remove it, never mind prove to them (via documentation) that my items weren't counterfeit. When I went the long way around and miraculously got a live person at eBay to email me, he said, "They won't even look at your documentation, so don't bother. There's nothing you can do about it." If you get 3 such strikes, they will just close down your store and email you to tell you -- and you won't be able to get anyone to talk to you then, either.
  • eBay's basic store costs $15.95 a month; thereafter, store listings cost just 3 cents each and are up for a month. But, as everyone knows, there's a reason those store listings are so cheap: they don't appear in the main search results -- you have to scroll to the bottom of the search page and click on the link, "See additional buy it now items from eBay store sellers." This used to be less of a big deal before eBay's latest page redesign. Now, there are "sponsored links" directly below the search results and the link directing you to store listings, and those sponsored links are more visually interesting -- so much so that it's easy for the buyer to skip right over the store listings info entirely. Additionally, most store owners will tell you that they must regularly use auction style listings to attract traffic to their store, and then market the store listings when they get that traffic. This works great! The problem, though, is that those auction listings cost a few bucks each, on top of the $16/month you pay for your store. So, to me, the store doesn't get you traffic unless you spend more on auctions every week. So, what are you getting for that $16?
  • Here's the only positive thing I have to say about eBay lately, which is sad: the new 30 day fixed price listings that rolled out around October basically eliminate the need for a store, for me. Remember how I said store listings cost 3 cents/30 days? Well, the new fixed price format is just 35 cents/30 days and appear in search results just like auctions. A small seller like me can list many items at 35 cents each before spending $16/month so I'm basically always going to do better with the fixed price format vs. a store.
  • Sure, I don't get the storefront page, the categories, the ability to send store newsletters, or the nifty little red door by my name. But I hope that after all these years of selling, and with being so close to earning my little blue star, I hope my name/reputation proceeds me and I can do without it.
So, those are my main reasons, and let me add just one more:

  • I found Etsy. Esty's for handmade things -- art, and crafts -- but you can also list vintage and antique items. Perfect for me, since I do both! Their store cost: $0.
Who needs an eBay store when you can have an Etsy store, I ask you?

1 comment :

ATCC said...

I am wondering whether to close my store also. I am a Powerseller and my listings are not getting preference. It sometimes takes 6-8 hrs for a listing to show up. Anyway just thought you might be interested in this:
No listing fees and small final value fees. Free store or booth as it is called. Friendly people who are willing to help.
Good luck.