eBay reveal split screen to investors

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In the recent Q4 Investor conference call John Donahue made some comments which appeared contradictory. He talked about auctions ending soonest whilst at the same time talking about the “race to the top” of the best matched, best priced inventory from the sellers with the best service.

Now (courtesy of Only eBay) we have a sneak preview into the future of what eBay could look like to achieve this. Revealed in the January 2008 company update is a slide showing a new split screen finding screen.

eBay Split Screen
click pic to embiggen

On one side are traditional auctions with a default sort of ending soonest, on the other fixed price instant purchase items sorted by best match.

I really like this approach, buyers will instantly be able to see what value auctions are compared to fixed price listings, whilst at the same time if an auction has achieved a great price for the seller they’ll be presented with fixed price options. It’ll also encourage buyers to purchase immediately rather than wait for auctions to end if there is product available and anything that assists faster turnover of inventory is great news for both eBay and the seller.

More than anything it would highlight the best priced deals available on eBay, and that’s something sellers are going to have to examine carefully. If your auction start price is too high fixed price listings will be right next to them in search results. If your fixed price listings aren’t competitively priced others will be ahead of you in Best Match. (It should be noted that currently eBay are simply disadvantaging sellers with poor DSRs rather than actively advantaging sellers with the best DSRs).

Although viewing this with slight trepedation (I’ve never been the cheapest on eBay, but sell on service and reputation), I can’t help that think what offers the buyers the best selection at the best prices will be good for everyone, buyers, sellers and eBay.

What are you thoughts? Do you want your fixed price listings side by side with auctions about to end? Is your inventory competitively priced? Is your great service reflected in your DSRs so you’ll be top in best match?

As a buyer do you like this new view? Would it prompt you to bid on auctions or use fixed price more or less than previously?

14 Responses

  1. I watch all the changes with interest, but none of them will make me change the way I am doing business until I have tried them for a period.

    What might then make me change would be reaction from buyers, either in the form of worsening feedback/DSR ratings, or a slow down in sell through.

    Also, although this change seems to emphasise price differences, it is known that not everybody buys on price alone – otherwise the Harrods and Waitroses of this world would have gone out of business years ago.

    I believe that it is the overall mix of service/price that people buy into, so anything that makes people think carefully about what options they have and why has to be a good thing.

  2. What is going to be the default setting? not many buyers change from default, so likely outcome will be lots of 99p starts on one side, high price BIN on the other.

  3. I like it! .. but I would like to see ebay really clamp down on keyword spamming ,as that would SPOIL the point of this type of results page.

  4. I have no idea if this would include SIF, only include SIF as per at the moment if few core results were returned, or a new mix entirely. Also I have no idea if it would be a default view.

    Actually I have no idea if it will ever be implemented in anything like the view on the screen shot – it’s an early prototype which means it may never become reality in a similar fashion to community court being shelved to make way for negs/neuts for buyers to be abolished.

  5. On face value I am slightly concerned that it may over complicate the searching process, which is after all what starts the buying process. I can see what ebay are trying to achieve here, but it will be one of those suck it and see type of changes and I’m sure we all adjust our strategy and adapt to any downturn/increase in sales. We are after all in probably the most rapidly changing martketplace in the world. Anybody fancy being a city trader? ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

  6. On the face of it I think it will be a nail in the coffin for auction sellers.

    Nobody in their right mind is going to pay more thatn a clearly displayed BIN price for the same item.

    Those who set the BIN prices will also have the effect of putting a ceiling on auction prices

  7. Auctions still work for rare/collectible items although I don’t think they really work for anything else now. I do think that this could end up forcing prices down (again) though.

  8. Possibly to a certain extent, but then again once people add an item to their watch list or start bidding on it they tend to get carried away no matter what. Once they’ve placed a bid there’s an investment of ownership that makes buyers want to win at all costs. It’s great fun, and for those that love auctions they’ll never stop bidding

  9. I suspect ebay is going to try and force down prices to make ebay look better vs AMZN. Right know we know buyers often over pay what they have to pay if they’d look closer. They are heading to make it so easy for buyers to find the best price only the best price will sell. Would I list auction format if I knew the best possible result was lower them the lowest fixed price listing on the site…probably not

    This will no doubt be good in getting consumers to buy from ebay as opposed to amzn or anywhere else…it won’t matter to sellers if margins get squeezed toward zero. Would I sell at all for the margin AMZN sells their own stuff at – no, not for several times as much either.

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