"I have to question their timing"

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Julianne Moleski runs Toy Town Express eBay Shop and website, as well as having a B&M toy shop in South Shields. Today she gives us her thoughts on eBay’s recent changes to fees in the Toys category.

When last week Ebay held a ‘backstage party’ it was mentioned that the fees for Toys categories would be changed. As an old dog it’s hard to adjust your business plans to change but also exciting. Especially when the word reduce is mentioned.

It has been a long hard summer in the toy category, to the point on occasions fees outweighed the profit. A lot of the long standing toy businesses operate where you tread through 9 months of the year and make your profit in just three months. eBay is an ideal platform for part time sellers who can just sell for those three months. Some of us are in it all year. The satisfaction you get from that is you do have return customers who do buy all year long, or have a birthday in say March to buy from, they can come back to you. Good Old Toy Town Express will have it in stock, and be open!

When the fee structure was announced this week, my stomach dropped as I read the FVFs’ increase.

The initial shock comes from the dates that are announced. Even before doing number crunching in your mind it goes “if I sell such and such, great I save 10p on the listing fee, but in those months I know it will sell so it’s actually going to cost me more.”

After a few (ok a lot) of deep breaths and quite a long conversation with my eBay account manager, I started looking at my figures and working it out.

As with all things, some it will work in favour of and some it won’t. What will make the difference is whether this is just until the New Year, or whether it will become a permanent change.

If this was announced in June, I would have likely said eBay, you are wonderful! Announce it in October and I wasn’t best pleased. Spread this over a year and yes, it will be a benefit to me.

So, although I resist initial changes especially when this time of year comes around, I can see the logic behind it, but I really do have to question their timing and wording…. “Selling fees are now more closely based on your selling success in the Photography and Toys & Games categories.” From my workings, the more success the more you pay BUT under the current climate if a lot of us could be more successful we would be willing to pay that bit more.

Another question that has to be raised is, it will encourage a lot more inexperienced sellers on eBay, whilst at the same time, Amazon have implemented stringent criteria for sellers on their site over the Christmas months. I have to be honest, what Amazon did not only make me feel a little bit special but it gave me something to strive for. It has also reassured me that at my busiest and hair-ripping-out time, they are looking out for my customers.

I think the clinch will be to see whether the dates for these fee changes are extended or not.

7 Responses

  1. This was very interesting – thanks for taking the time. I did have a question, do you think this will increase, decrease, or no change to your eBay “take rate”? (the % you pay ebay including listing fees and final value fees?)


  2. Everyone just needs to adjust their price/S&H ratio so there is no FVF increase.

    At least it isn’t as extreme as the UK media catagories, where the real problem is in addition to the fees ending up being more, it encouraged more duplicate listings/lower sale rate and therefor ever falling prices.

  3. Although there was certainly a price hike in the media categories, I don’t think that that is entirely to blame for falling prices – where CDs are concerned the market is falling generally – where once you could get good prices for 70s and 80s CDs you can now buy them brand new for under a fiver in the supermarkets, and add that to the fact that every other person I speak to says “I’m getting rid of my CDs because I’ve got them all on an MP3 player now” (Despite the fact that not owning the original is illegal), then CD sellers don’t really stand a chance. Especially when yes, ebay have increased the fees so bloody much and reduced visibility.

  4. These FVF increases for the Christmas selling period are a little cynical, lets hope that they keep them all year round afterwards! Hope against experience there.

    Amazon got caught out last year by a large business, that was going under, flooding both it and Ebay with thousands of listings in the run up to Christmas. On both sites it ended up with awful feedback (96.4 on Ebay) because it was triple listing all its stock.( Amazon, Ebay and website) Almost all its feedback was about out of stock sales BUT ebayers know they are buying from a seller and blame the seller. Amazon users (Amazonians?) think they are buying from Amazon and blame Amazon for out of stocks.

    The worry for Amazon is that 75%+ of its sellers will be unable to sell if they get 4 or 5 negs in the next month and Amazon could end up with no Christmas stock.

  5. Hi Scott, Over the dates that have been announced I believe my cost per sale rate will increase, if it is extended to say over a year then by my workings my CPS will decrease.There are other factors to consider though, it will encourage more listings and competition so my penetration rate will decrease.

  6. Toy Town Express is right, we both stock a range which I have never sold before on Ebay. At 35p a listing and making a net £1 or so profit I have never considered listing the 50 or so items in the range, it would need a 35% sell through rate to break even but under these new prices it would cost me less than half the listing fees and with the reduced profit I would only need a 20% sell through. So more competition on this range, bad news for everyone



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