Lack of sales complaints – Is it just you?

No primary category set

eBay Premium ServiceSince the new eBay Premium Service badges went live we’ve had a ton of sellers contact us complaining that sales have fallen off the cliff.

One seller told us “I am one of the 1,000s of sellers who are finding their eBay sales dropping at an alarming rate. Yet eBay customer support say there is no problem. Beginning to wonder if it would better to close our business.”

However equally to be fair we’ve heard from plenty of sellers that are pretty busy as you’d expect for this time of year.

eBay Search byIt’s fair to say that there is one thing that’s missing and that is the ability to search for only items from Top Rated Sellers. That’s disappeared from both the left navigation bar in search results as well as from the advanced search page. However personally I can’t see that this missing search option is totally to blame for a lack of sales.

It’s also worth remembering that search changed back in August. Whilst you may not have been seeing the new eBay Premium Service badge, your listings have been sorted according to the new rules for a number of weeks. The eBay Premium Service badge eventually went live on the 17th of September, but the search was in place prior to that.

So how are your sales? Are you one of those who are busy or are you twiddling your thumbs wondering where all the orders are?

Some standard tips we always suggest are:
1) Check your history! I know this sounds daft but are sales really down compared to last month and if so why? Have you….
2) …Checked your listings, how many new listings do you have up? Have you got all your stock listed? Do you have as many listings as before sales dropped?
3) Check your competitors, Terapeak is great for this. Are the products you have listed actually selling in volume? Have they lowered their prices, upped their service?
4) Search for your own products – are they showing up in search? Are you on the first page of search results? If not why not? What can you do to raise your listing profile?
5) Check your titles and Item Specifics. This is how you’re found in search. Have you updated your Item Specifics since the category changes mid last month, if you trade in the affected categories?
6) And finally (dare I say it) do you qualify for eBay Premium Service? If not do your competitors? If your competitors do then perhaps there’s a way you can make it work for you too.

60 Responses

  1. Business is the same as ever and we don’t have a badge, although sometimes we do have a badge depending on how you search.

    My guess, it’s very much based on the category you sell in, if others have it and you don’t chances are you will lose. so get the badge.

  2. eBay have been blinded by the ‘free’ postage mantra and the subsequent fees on postage.

    A lot of buyers are sellers too. Private sellers in particular, as well as other sellers of low value items, feel ‘ripped off’ by the FVF on their postage costs. They realise that eBay has apparently for them become a more expensive and less reasonable place to sell. Why should eBay make more money if their item sells to Sydney rather than Dorking?

    If they sell less, or make less on the sales that they do have, then they have less to spend.

    Also if it’s a more expensive place to sell QED it might just be a more expensive place to buy anyway.

    eBay have gambled big.

  3. As a business seller, we were very much put off the eBay premium badge, simply because we would have to raise our prices slightly to include shipping costs, then pay a higher FVF on the sale itself.

    We took the brave decision to not comply to have the premium seller badge, and charge shipping on all items.

    This decision so far has worked in our favour, and if anything we have seen an increase in sales.

    I just hope we dont get penalised in future for not following eBay’s latest “trend”.

  4. We’ve (on a discussion group) been banging on about this since about March 2013. Some changes were made and bang, overnight sales volumes changed. That’s not a sales trend.

    I now sell more on Etsy than I do on Ebay which is win win as it’s cheaper to sell there and I get better prices for my stuff!!

    Ebays loss really.

  5. I’ve decided to stop selling overseas on ebay. It is not worth it for the type of products I sell. Still happy to ship overseas for website buyers.

    If ebay limited the shipping fee surcharge to the lowest UK postage tier only (free UK shipping if this is offered) I would reconsider but when applied to the full Australian shipping cost for example of £8 or more on what could be a £10 item it does not make sense.

  6. We sell one of a kind vintage items – once they are sold they are gone so no sales history!

    September up to about the 21st of Sept were great – then it died… something is definitely odd I just hope it isn’t permanent this should be the best 3 months of the year.

  7. So…Tamebay have finally noticed what’s been hitting the Discussion Boards since April! The ‘Switched OFF again…” thread now runs to 96 pages.

    My own sales are about 40% down since April – my competitors are suffering similarly, so it’s not down to price, or the type of items offered. I have been selling on ebay for 14 years so I think I know what I’m doing.

    CS just trot out the same old spiel – repeated here by Tamebay – and deny anything’s wrong. There are many tales of sellers giving up, ending listings (I’ve reduced by over 200 this week alone).

    Nobody, anywhere seems to be listening….

  8. I can say that since the adoption of the new ebay regs, I can say sales have dropped compared to the beginning of September. However, we do not normally see a slight decrease at the end of the month (But nor as much as we have normally experienced) so waiting to see how October turns out.

  9. Sales have plumetted big time since August – compared to 5 years worth of stats it’s our poorest year. Just dropped our subscription out of featured shop to basic. The extra £40 might as well be ours than pay ebay for a the service they don’t provide Saves us £480 per year… wonder how many other could do this? It would give the ebay shareholders a proper fright if it amounted to something.
    I also agree with the post that said sellers are also buyers. Ebay seems to have lost this viewpoint in their greed.

  10. Followed threw with all the new changes, sales were terrible mid Sept lowest since I started. Seems to have picked up over the past couple of days, I suspect it could be related to the changes. Hopefully things will sort itself out…

  11. Our dropped off the cliff in March with the end listing glitch.

    Summer was OK[ish]

    Since the Premium Service went live, our orders are 50% down & we qualify for the badge.

    As its been so quiet, we’ve been listing new products without any effect on the downward slide & all other checks completed

  12. Just looked at the ebay discussion board relating to this…. There are 97 pages of it, 20 entries per page! Something is affecting ebay sales performance when so many people are vocalising their complaints. Some of these people will also be buyers and may end up choosing not to use ebay for their Xmas buying, because of what is happening to their sales right now.
    I know for us we have already curtailed our spending on Xmas stock with a number of suppliers, otherwise our cashflow will be knackered!

  13. 2 ebay shops , one qualifies for badge one is above standard.both have seen drastic falls in sales since 21st sept. seem to have lost a lot of international sales despite having webinterpret on both shops. have had to have sales on both just to see anything moving. Had the worst day for sales last week in the last 5 years . something is deffinately not sales are up. concentrating any new listing on amazon and have actually deleted lots of ebay listings . I echo the sellers are also buyers sentiment. we on the back of ebays sales buy lots of items for the business ,jiffy bags boxes printer labels ink etc etc . not buying anywhere near as much at the moment.

  14. Excellent year for sales until the end of July and then August was quiet (it always is). September was OK for first few days and then it absolutely nosedived. It ended up being my worst month ever in 13 years of trading on eBay and I was unable to pay myself a wage after paying my account. In my head I’m eBay until 15th November to fix the problem (and despite what they say, there is one), if not my shop closes and I take my listings elsewhere in the New Year.

  15. Sales down by up to 90% now. It was down 80% but much worse. Listings with premium badge do not make a difference so changing them back.
    Based in Ireland so selling on Now all the UK sellers appear ahead of my listings since premium status introduced.
    Worse few weeks for sales in 3 years, but Amazon sales are up so it is the search settings on ebay causing the loss of sales.

  16. What i think ebay do not get is a lot of smaller sellers are also buyers.

    And when they get rid of smaller sellers with the huge increase in price due to the new postage fees they also get rid of buyers.

    And now i read ebay have changed the user agreement to include the hiding of listings this will certainly lead to a drop in sales

    I have never heard the like pay to list an item that may or may not be seen.

  17. My international sales have died since around 22/23 Sept …. I’m wondering if something has been done to encourage us (i.e. force us) to list on the individual national sites to gain greater exposure.

    I’ll leave it a few more days before I panic.

  18. Many private sellers list for free. I have no issue with ebay hiding these listings. A free listing promotion should not guarantee visibility if it results in mass product duplication.

  19. Sales are growing almost every month compared with a year ago, and last year were up substantially themselves. Howrever, I have been saying for a long time that ebay Best Match is simply a nonsense and produces crazy results.

    Customers think Best Match is the best for them. That is the intuitive interpretation, and ebay have it as default. How many buyers even realise they can change this? IT ISN’T THE BEST AND IS DAMAGING TO BUYERS.

    I can show case after case where 1 of my items is well down the list. I am a Premium Service seller.

    So who beats me in Search?

    Sellers with a worse overall deal, often costing the buyer many £ more.

    Sellers who are not Premium Service and don’t comply with many requirements.

    Sellers from other countries with far slower delivery

    Sellers with worse feedback rating than mine

    How can this be? As i understand it number of page views and impressions count for a lot, but everyone knows if an item is at the top of the list it sells more, and often buyers don’t look down. So without having a better deal many sellers stay at the top by default, because the Search algorithm is a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. Buyers look at the top item first, even if it is a worse deal.

    But really strange I shut down some listings way down a search result, and then relisted, exactly the same listing. Guess what, it reappeared much much higher in the results. IF ANYTHING SHOWS EBAY’S SEARCH ALGORITHM AND ORDER DOESN’T WORK, THIS DOES.

    I have now repeated this many times, always with exactly the same result. It is almost as if ebay ignores current listings even if they are better qualified than some at the top.

    I’ve even seen new items from other sellers offering a far worse deal and not Premium Service suddenly appearing at the top of the Best Match search results. This simply shouldn’t be possible.


  20. My sales usually dip around September in UK and complaints get uncomfortably high, and it was particularly bad this year. Makes me think something is up but no idea what.

  21. We don’t have a badge and our sales have been fantastic, last weekend was the best ever weekend we have had since we started trading

  22. this is from one of our shops Omniture service showing page views for September period
    Selected Period

    1. Sep 1, 2013 544
    2. Sep 2, 2013 579
    3. Sep 3, 2013 517
    4. Sep 4, 2013 339
    5. Sep 5, 2013 383
    6. Sep 6, 2013 429
    7. Sep 7, 2013 381
    8. Sep 8, 2013 566
    9. Sep 9, 2013 427
    10. Sep 10, 2013 399
    11. Sep 11, 2013 393
    12. Sep 12, 2013 370
    13. Sep 13, 2013 471
    14. Sep 14, 2013 543
    15. Sep 15, 2013 533
    16. Sep 16, 2013 537
    17. Sep 17, 2013 409
    18. Sep 18, 2013 257
    19. Sep 19, 2013 51
    20. Sep 20, 2013 90
    21. Sep 21, 2013 46
    22. Sep 22, 2013 114
    23. Sep 23, 2013 56
    24. Sep 24, 2013 47
    25. Sep 25, 2013 59
    26. Sep 26, 2013 103
    27. Sep 27, 2013 28
    28. Sep 28, 2013 54

    the cliff edge appeared 18th september.
    we have thousands of items listed ,to get 28 page views across all of these on 27th sept is as close to invisible as it gets!

  23. There is no doubt eBay have broken something although ‘crap match’ was busted a long time ago along with basic search.
    The changes regarding premium service have stuffed many sellers although working out why is almost impossible as some sellers seem to be unaffected.
    We have seen the same nonsense on some of our listings as admiralh and relisting seems to improve things despite having decent sales previously.
    We have done checks as Chris suggests and the title and item specifics for example have not changed and are fine.
    So what exactly is going on here – it almost seems that some sellers will have to stop and effectively start over again to gain page rank again!

  24. We have been reporting a significant drop in sales for a number of months. Our Omniture figures show the 10th July as being the day when views fell off a cliff (going from 1500 a day to less than 200 a day) We havent recovered since.

    We too are a premium seller and have been assured that sales would improve ‘just give it time’ but now when we call the ebay reps are just saying they have reported all the calls to the tech team and ‘best match is working fine’.

    We are getting to the point of desperation on ebay, but are grateful that we launched with Amazon over the summer.

    Here hoping things pick up shortly. Just over 11 weeks till Christmas and it seems like it may be a repeat of last year. Terrible! after ebay fiddled with the site.

  25. This is most odd; at the time of the previous set of listing changes, my sales dropped right off even though some of my items are uniqie (Guess people just weren’t looking for them?)

    But if eBay have introduced new systems since August, that coincides with a huge increase in my monthly sales. Even though I was on holiday for the first week in August, I sold twice as much in the remaining three weeks of that month than in the whole month of July.

    The sales have kept up, too, not perhaps at that level, but still so much better than when the sales ‘collapsed’ under eBay’s previous tweaking. Fortunately I do this for a hobby rather than for a living, else I too would have considered shutting up shop when that happened. eBay seem to have little idea about how things work in the real world, but I guess I’m preaching to the choir on that point 😉

  26. Im so glad to be reading this thread about ebay sales dropping. I have been selling on ebay for 6 years with my sales increasing each year. This year I have struggled. Since May this year my sales have dropped over 20% with no reason, and my sales have been down all summer. I was starting to wonder if it was just me, I have made changes to the item specifics as required and this has made no difference.
    I sell personalised goods so cannot change my shipping settings for next day deliveries but this should not make any difference.
    My Amazon sales have been consistent and I am happy with this – at least they do not keep changing the selling rules every 2 mins like ebay seem to do causing me more work just to comply. I hope they can take note as less sales will also mean less money for ebay fee’s.

  27. I have just been checking my listings globally. I have 289 listing on ebay uk, 40 on, and 1 on ebay canada.

    The USA listings are not showing in my uk shop or search results (worldwide). The uk listing are not showing on any other site (fr,au,.com,.ca,etc). The canadian listing is showing on all sites.

    According to ebay france, my shop has only 1 listing (the canadian).

    Just what is going on?

  28. Has anybody else noticed that the page visit counter is not working?
    Ebay support say this has no impact on best match placings, but I’m not convinced. It seems to be a bit of a coincidence that it’s happening whjen sales are down.

  29. I have noticed this and reported it to Tamebay. Not sure what the impact is but the page views seem to have been reset to 0 in a lot of cases.

    Lots of evidence that ebay is broken. ebay introduce new features far too quickly without proper testing IMHO. The software running ebay has simply got too big and complicated.

  30. Just checked again and page views have been reinstated back to their original levels. Wish ebay would tell us what is going on. A very secretive organisation. Much like a sect.

  31. Yeah, they’ve been tinkering with our listings throughout the weekend. First listings not appearing on global sites, then paypal payments where taking up to 30 minutes to appear last night, and then the page view issue. At least my sales are now returning.

    To quote another seller… “How can they honestly say nothing is wrong?! They don’t want to admit liability and leave themselves open to prosecution.”

  32. eBay Premium Service sellers be careful what you wish for!

    Sellers should be careful how they calculate their eBay sales price not to fall foul of Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (2008) which states:

    1.10.5 You should not claim that an offer is free if:

    (a) you have imposed additional charges that you would not normally make;

    (b) you have inflated the price of any product the consumer must buy or any incidental charges (for example, postage or premium rate telephone charges)which the consumer must pay to get the “free” or “reduced price” product or service.

    As there is not a carrier in existence that offers to deliver goods for ‘Free’ the temptation for eBay Premium Service sellers is of course to add their shipping costs to the sales price to offer ‘free shipping’ rather than relying solely on the higher final value fee discounts to subsidise their shipping costs.

    This practice could result in such sellers being paid a visit by their local Trading Standards for making misleading claims and maybe eBay Europe coming under the wider scrutiny of the Office of Fair Trading for encouraging such a misleading practice.

    I’m just saying…..

  33. “1.10.5 You should not claim that an offer is free if:

    (a) you have imposed additional charges that you would not normally make”

    I normally add the postal cost to my overall costs prior to establishing a sale price and I am not making an offer by claiming shipping is free as this is my normal practice so your argument falls flat on its face in the first line on two counts!

  34. “a) You have imposed additional charges that you would not normally make”. I wonder if this extract from DS2987 posting above is the important point.

    If you are selling the same item via several different platforms and maybe your own mail order, B & M Shop etc and there are several different prices, some with post & packing included and others where p & p is shown separately then you may have a problem.

    However if you only sell on ebay and the price quoted is inclusive of p & p then surely that is your normal price and there is nothing else to compare it with.

    If the items being sold are New and there is a Manufacturers Price then if you are selling for the manufacturers price or less inclusive of p & p surely it makes the p & p Free.

    However I have often wondered about currently published Books with a Publishers Price of say £19-99 printed on the Book and the seller has it listed for say £27-50 p & p Free then it is obvious that they have made a charge for p & p and included it into the selling price to the possible contravention of the above Rules and Regulations?

  35. Suerly this is ebay’s problem. Their wording on their site says “Free P&P”. The seller has no option to change it to anything else like “P&P Included In the total price” for example.

  36. if they really want to offer ‘free’ postage maybe ebay should have brought Royal Mail and then actually run it as an organisation purely for delivering ebay sellers packages and not charging for the service !

  37. MW we too considered this to be an eBay Policy therefore ‘eBay’s problem’ as also (Rakuten) also insist sellers offer ‘free’ shipping and actually a widespread issue but upon enquiry with the OFT their response is as follows.

    “Although fees must be paid in order to sell on eBay, given that eBay is a platform to sell goods, ‘sellers’ may be considered as part of the supply chain and equally responsible for advertising goods and services within the law as those defining selling policies. In the instance of a free shipping offer we would therefore primarily consider the effect on the end consumers who use eBay to purchase products”.

    “However following recent changes to consumer protection arrangements introduced by the Government, however, the OFT no longer has primary responsibility for addressing breaches of consumer protection legislation by individual firms. The changes have given a greater role for local authority Trading Standards Services (TSS) in the enforcement of consumer protection law at national level”.

    “The OFT retains all of its current consumer enforcement powers but will tend to use them where breaches of consumer protection law point to systemic failures in a market rather than cases against individual firms. We recognise that poor behaviour by isolated firms can have very serious implications for consumers, but our colleagues in TSS now have primary responsibility for tackling these important cases”.

  38. “So…Tamebay have finally noticed what’s been hitting the Discussion Boards since April! The ‘Switched OFF again…” thread now runs to 96 pages.”

    Second that.

    Various sellers have been reporting technical problems since April ’13 and complaining of sales randomly dropping off a cliff on various accounts.

    I am a top rated seller with the premium seller badge, sales are only 10% lower than this month last year and visibility is ok IF you search for the item, however I think people are searching less and following ebays plush links to the warehouse sellers – which doesn’t help us small businesses.

    The main problem is that April’s postage cost increase and now fees on postage and more shockingly, fees on international postage at a percentage, you sit down and do the sums profit is taking a big hit and its just turning stuff over for a couple quid whereas before it was generating income and much more worthwhile.

    I’m making more profit from my physical cabinet that I rent in a town centre shop for £50 a month, ebay just keeps my stock churning while I pay their fees. I’ve signed up to ekmpowershop to try develop a website channel and am developing my physical outlets as like others, I feel eBay no longer offers a future for small business growth. At least not one of any certainty.



Enhanced seller protection for eBay Top Rated/Above Standard sellers


Repeat Buyers flagged in eBay orders


Start listing on eBay as 1st step to a new business


Extending dispatch times and retaining eBay Premium Service


Do you want cheap Chinese or quality British products? eBay thinks it knows!

ChannelX Guide...

Featured in this article from the ChannelX Guide – companies that can help you grow and manage your business.

Register for Newsletter

Receive 5 newsletters per week

Gain access to all research

Be notified of upcoming events and webinars