The level playing field and discounts

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The New York Times sports the title “The End of eBay’s Egalitarianism“, saying that the discounts for volume sellers now disadvantage the smaller seller compared to “I.B.M. unloading a warehouse full of computers”.

The article points out that PowerSellers in the US qualify for discounts of 5% (For lowest DSR higher than 4.6) or 15% (For lowest DSR higher than 4.8). In the UK discounts range from 20% for a bronze PowerSeller to 40% for a Titanium PowerSeller.

This really isn’t the end of the level playing field though, it’s not like the discounts aren’t not only available to all, but are highly achievable. To be a bronze PowerSeller the requirement is to sell just 100 items a month or £750 per month in sales ($1000 in the US).

The entry level to attain discounts doesn’t result in just the largest companies such as IBM being able to qualify. £750 per month sales isn’t out of reach for small sellers, in fact I suspect that there are thousands more sellers at the bronze PowerSeller level than at the silver, gold, platinum and titanium levels combined.

If bronze PowerSellers qualify for discounts the bar for entry certainly isn’t too high to say discounts are available for everyone. If everyone qualifies on equal terms to an open published set of rules then the level playing field is still level, It’ll remain level unless eBay give preferential treatment to a certain group of sellers and bar entry to others.

The biggest bonus coming from the changes is that all sellers, large and small, will up their game on customer service. The discounts are just too attractive not to plan to qualify which will result in better service for buyers.

Better service, happier buyers and smaller sellers qualifying for discounts on an equal footing with the largest merchants. Not only is the playing field still level, but those who give the best service to buyers will benefit the most. 2008 is going to be a great year on eBay.

12 Responses

  1. “The biggest bonus coming from the changes is that all sellers, large and small, will up their game on customer service. The discounts are just too attractive not to plan to qualify which will result in better service for buyers.”

    Up their game! Most professional sellers, myself included, already offer service and prices above and beyond the norm.

    My DSR on P&P is 4.6, we charge a reasonable amount for P&P and offer free shipping on additional items.

    We always ship on the day of payment (if payment is received by 3pm).

    If I up my game any more I will be giving away product and delivering every item by hand with a curtsey to the customer.

  2. I know the feeling Nick – I’m around 4.6 too! Doesn’t help that being VAT registered my postage has to be 17.5% more costly cos the tax man insists on it 😥

    However it the discounts are still attractive 🙂

  3. Don’t get me started on the Royal Mail / VAT thing Chris 👿

    Do you think eBay keep accurate stats on DSR percentages? Am I 4.69 or 4.61 ?

    If you sell a lot the this would make a difference. What do you think?

  4. I am upping my prices a bit, but lowering P&P by 50%, overall price will remain the same, hopefully will improve the DSR on P&P

  5. I’m looking forward to getting the DSR console showing 30 day stats Nick, without that I’m at a loss to measure my own, let alone anyone elses 🙁

    Lynne, the only thing I can say is DSRs are nothing to do with reality, but everything to do with buyers perceptions. It really doesn’t matter if you are cheap/expensive on postage, ship fast/slow, have the best/worst communications or the most detailed/simple item descriptions. What *does* matter is if your average buyer thinks they are good/bad/indifferent and average buyers in different categories have different expectations.

  6. truth be told I could add a few pence to my postage charge and gain more then the 20% reduction in fees

  7. Chris, you have been asking for some way to tell if any tweaks to your service are having an effect on the DSRs, and like you, I am looking forward to having 30 day totals. I think in the very early days people didn’t really know what they were scoring, and my lower total (4.7 for postage) hasn’t moved since day one – so it will be good to see if it was just one bad rating in the early days that has held down the total.

    and I agree with you totally about perceptions. But feedback in general is about perceptions isnt it?

  8. I am not going to get obsessive about DSrs if it works fine if it dont we will do what we can that is sensible

  9. Its a little better on .uk, but I don’t think the USA ones are even worth thinking about. Very few could be assured of 4.8s to get the 15% no matter what they do. $4.6s easily doable, but only a 5% discount…a lot more incentive to not worry about S&H cost (most people’s lowest star) and shift what you can to S&H with the higher FVF then worry about stars.


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