Today eBay announced that fees for sellers will be rising from the 3rd May 2012 in Technology Categories and the discounts for Top Rated Sellers will be reduced for transactions dated from the 1st May 2012.
Technology Categories Fee Increase
Technology fees have for the past year been the lowest in any category on eBay at just 3% and for low value items at the new rate of 5% will still be the lowest that they’ve ever been. However as soon as you get to higher value items the cost starts to kick in and for sellers of high value items (in all categories) eBay fees are the highest that they’ve ever been.
eBay explain that the Tech fees are still lower than industry competitors (Amazon!), and that the increase in Tech fees will enable them to make further improvements to retain their position as one of the top three technology online retailers.
There will be a rise in the insertion fee for selling motors on eBay which is balanced by making Gallery Plus free for all business sellers. Insertion fees will rise from £8 to £10 but you’ll no longer have to pay the £2 for Gallery Plus.
Gallery itself was already free on eBay Motors. Gallery Plus displays a larger picture when you hover over the item in search results and if you have multiple images they will all be accessible through the search results page. This changes is simply making Gallery Plus compulsory for all sellers.
eBay made this change for Private Sellers back in September 2011 but it will also now apply to Business Sellers.
Top Rated Seller Discounts
The Top Rated Seller (TRS) final value fee discounts will be reduced by 10%, so the new discount rates will be 10%, 15% and 20% instead of the current 20%, 25% and 30% (depending on your level of business).
Relying on fee discounts to fund your business is never a good move, it’s too easy to drop a level or to lose TRS status. However eBay have introduced new benefits for TRS including protecting TRS status with a grace period, the opportunity to appear in the Value Box on product pages and the opportunity to buy Featured First. eBay say that an average 15% increase in sales for TRS results from a roughly 20-25% boost in Best Match which comes from TRS status.
Future Fee Increases
Fee increases are never good news, but for what it’s worth I can’t see how eBay can ever increase fees much more than their current levels.
In Clothing fees are now approaching 15% if you include PayPal fees so any more significant rises would put fees up towards the 20% mark and that’s just not sustainable for most businesses.
eBay has traditionally been a place to support and launch new Internet enterprises but if they price themselves out of the market that just won’t happen. Also as fees increase it become much more attractive to invest in your own website and take your business off eBay. However eBay is still the fastest growing eBay territory worldwide so to ignore eBay is to lose a big chunk of business, but if you can’t make the figures add up to a profit for your business than that’s an option you seriously need to consider.
An alternative of course is to list directly on overseas eBay sites and to pay the fees for the site you list on. Whilst that attracts a different set of buyers in a different country it’s definitely worth considering as an alternative to list on eBay UK but make sure you also check the insertion fees you’ll be paying.