Are sellers making money on eBay ??

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United Kingdom United Kingdom
sellthemoon
Kudos: 270
Joined: Oct 5, 2004
Are sellers making money on eBay ??
2 Dec 2005
Its a question I have to ask often when browsing eBay. Putting aside those who are selling off personal effects / house contents, I`m refering to those who sell as a "business" of some kind. The seller who lists 50 similar or identical items at 99p Auction - all closing within an hour or two of the same time and the vast majority of which do not sell. The seller who lists lots of items which are clearly at or below cost in their starting price, and again most of them simply do not sell. These scenarios (and many variations on the theme) then seem to be repeated by the same sellers. Those items that do sell at 99p or very low prices have to have all of the costs and charges (eBay, Paypal, cost of goods, unsuccessful listings etc) taken out... ???
I have a theory ...I would wager that the majority of eBay sellers do not actually make money. I would suggest that some people confuse sales with profit... confuse being busy with making money. I suppose my supporting argument would also be the number of sellers who aren`t sellers anymore - I wonder what the fall out rate is ? Do 1 in 50 stay the course ? 1 in 200 ?
I would be very interested to hear other peoples` comments ... am I missing some secret system or is there a rotating army of busy fools working just to make eBay and Paypal richer ?
Herts, England United Kingdom
Andy
Kudos: 9,330
Joined: Jan 1, 2001
Re: Are sellers making money on eBay ??
8 Dec 2005

sellthemoon wrote:

Is there a rotating army of busy fools working just to make eBay and Paypal richer ?
"Fools" is a bit harsh, but yes, I think there is.

There is a popular myth that making money on eBay is easy, and all you need to do is buy at wholesale or import and you can make lots of money. It is not helped by the profusion of get-rich-quick websites and over-enthusiastic stories in the media.

It's sad enough that these newbie sellers lose out themselves, but they also damage eBay's image by (sometimes) providing a poor service, and bring market prices down for other sellers when they panic sell.

I think eBay should do more to debunk the myth that running an eBay business is easy. Surely it would bring them more fees in the long run if there were fewer - but more successful - sellers?
Andy Geldman, Web Retailer
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United States United States
moty
Kudos: 15
Joined: Jan 26, 2006
Re: Are sellers making money on eBay ??
26 Jan 2006
I beleive there is so many sellers that are makeing money on ebay, the secret is there sources, they get very low prices on items,they buy it from overstock liquidators ,today i saw a website called liquidationtime.com ,the prices that some cameras went for is way too cheep,i guess the buyer will be selling them on ebay. who knows!!
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United Kingdom United Kingdom
sellthemoon
Kudos: 270
Joined: Oct 5, 2004
Re: Are sellers making money on eBay ??
6 Mar 2006
Well, I still believe in the "busy fools" theory
Since my post about this I have watched a few sellers over a period and it has fully reinforced my view. eBay is a fantastic opportunity for anyone to create a business online, the like of which has never been seen before. But I`m afraid too many people think that if they buy a widget in for 50p and sell it for £1 they are making money - this only holds true if you have no costs, all of the items sell first time and you have absolutely no returns / lost items / non payers etc. But eBay is no different - there are costs and there are other "overheads" such as Paypal fees, packaging, listing fees, final value fees etc etc. I still believe that the majority of sellers fool themselves by ignoring all of the real costs.
By the way, eBay is no different to any other marketplace in this respect - there are always people starting businesses, in all walks of life, where costs are severely underestimated. I do some eBay consultancy here in the UK, and it is remarkable how many established businesses are miscalculating their true eBay overheads (and also giving the eBay work to some poor sod who just happens to know how to switch a computer on).
I agree with you, Andy, that more should be done to educate, but I don`t think this will happen - the "busy fools" are a major part of eBays` income. But on the positive side, I think such sellers may learn a valuable lesson that serves them well in any future endeavour...
Land of Enchantment-New Mexico United States
jwjohnson
Kudos: 458
Joined: Oct 14, 2005
Re: Are sellers making money on eBay ??
9 Mar 2006
Here is my 2-cents!

People easily confuse activity with productivy. Bottomline, just because your selling doesn't mean your making money. Making money and making a profit is 2 different things.
United Kingdom United Kingdom
julius99
Kudos: 20
Joined: Apr 18, 2006
Re: Are sellers making money on eBay ??
18 Apr 2006
Without doubt many ebay sellers do fool themselves into thinking they're turning a profit-I'm sure its a conscious reluctance to acknowledge that the 'vast' listing fees and hours of effort have failed to deliver.

It's a similar mentality to that which keeps a hardened gambler 'rolling the dice'-forever chasing pass losses.

In fact, in the worst case scenario,the whole ebay listing fee setup, serves to bind these sellers to perpetually relisting in order to pay the previous month's fees!

The answer, (or at least a chance of a way out);

Fill an ebay store with every product in your inventory, as 'store listings' only, set up your own 'all in one' ecom site, and try to direct ebay traffic via your 'about me' page- well.. its the best I could come up with, seems to be working, and I haven't got ebay 'vamping' my lifeblood anymore
United Kingdom United Kingdom
vibrant
Kudos: 70
Joined: Apr 4, 2006
Re: Are sellers making money on eBay ??
24 Apr 2006
You have to play eBay at there own game, Learn what works and what doesn't. Make your own mistakes and learn by them.

It won't happen overnight.

I think the single most important thing is procedure.

Different foolproof proceedures for each element of ebay.,
Searching / buying / selling / shipping etc etc.
Good proceedures mean you will never make mistakes or miss out details. Nothing worse than getting into a 'fight' because of your own stupidity.

Never get too personal and in no way EVER become abusive even if you are WRONG. No one likes a keyboard warrior. If things get out of hand. Move on, and don't dwell.

Sometimes biting the bullet hurts.

I also think fundamental knowledge of what your selling is important, half the things I sell are bought from people who do know know what they have. I also ask poeple if they are willing to end early and to name thier price. (having a good feedback rating can be used in your favour)

I do have excellent suppliers for certain things. but these have been researched and insome cases stumbled into. They are there to be found but also have to be approached correctly.

I've been an eBayer for 3 yrs and a professional eBayer for 7 months. I am still learning (and making mistakes) daily. But I am turning over a (healthy) profit.

oh, and never do 99p Auctions.

This all maybe a little off topic from the first post but people do need to realise that things won't happen over night, and there is (if its going to be done properly) a lot of extra time and expense involved. I have a few friends that think because I am doing it - they can too, which is great but they do not see what happens in the background (presale / postsale) and all the other odd n sods that go into it.

Well there you go !!
United Kingdom United Kingdom
julius99
Kudos: 20
Joined: Apr 18, 2006
Re: Are sellers making money on eBay ??
24 Apr 2006
Yup, all good points, 'Vibrant'

Ebay is something that has to be 'learnt' and 'experimented with'

The trouble is, while you're learning, you're also burning precious cash!! Ebay encourage this, they only give the most basic of info. , the free tuitorials are all of the common sense variety, you won't find any 'built on experience-hard won-profit-producing info', in any of the '5 ways to ebay success' type pages that ebay provide.

They don't tell the newbie that most of their auction extras are a waste of money, they don't warn you about pricing boundary false economies. They just quietly sit back and rack in the fees on the front and back end.

I've been at it for 18 months, I'm not giving up because this is a very young market, there are real opportunities here, but while I'm learning and experimenting, every cost has to be screwed to the floor!
United Kingdom United Kingdom
vibrant
Kudos: 70
Joined: Apr 4, 2006
Re: Are sellers making money on eBay ??
24 Apr 2006

julius99 wrote:


The trouble is, while you're learning, you're also burning precious cash!!
agreed. People need to realise if it didn't work once try twice, it it didn't work twice try a different tack.

eBay isn't an exacting science, it still surprises me how poeple will pay for things sometimes.

There are deffinite rights and wrongs but lots of 'grey areas'

but ultimately isn't that the same in any new business venture.

As McDonalds like to say "I'm lovin it" !!
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Poppygirl
Kudos: 211
Joined: Nov 1, 2005
Re: Are sellers making money on eBay ??
21 Jun 2006
Its getting harder to make money on eBay due to the hike in fees and bedroom sellers.

On average I bet an eBay seller will make 150 quid out of every 1000 - so on eBay you need to be big to make anything.
United Kingdom United Kingdom
vibrant
Kudos: 70
Joined: Apr 4, 2006
Re: Are sellers making money on eBay ??
21 Jun 2006

Poppygirl wrote:


On average I bet an eBay seller will make 150 quid out of every 1000 - so on eBay you need to be big to make anything.
Thats a massively sweeping statment.

The average bedroom seller - one who is decluttering - isn't looking at P+L in any detail. They are just selling 'stuff' and any money is a bonus.

An amatuer seller will very soon realise that if they cannot be arsed with all the hard work involved they will make diddly.

However some amatuer sellers will see the potential - grasp the concepts of what does and doesn't work very quickly and progress.

Being 'big' doesn't come into it - how many 50,000 ++ feedbacker are/were bedroom sellers. I think pretty much all of them.

It all boils down to belief / knowing (learning) what you're doing / hard work.
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Poppygirl
Kudos: 211
Joined: Nov 1, 2005
Re: Are sellers making money on eBay ??
21 Jun 2006
That figure is based on a range of sellers I know. Business sellers, not bedroom sellers. One seller I know his eBay fees are only 7% of his total GMS...and another they are 30% of his GMS. These peeps are doing over 20K a month. Profit wise between 13-30%, most on the lower bracket. eBay is a volume marketplace as the margins are tight due to fierce competition. Making money on eBay is not an easy task as the marketplace is forever changing, which means your product source needs to be very dynamic if you are a re-seller. Different if you manuf the product.

My comment about bedroon sellers is that they mostly undercut larger sellers but don't ever make a profit. Destroying the product on the marketplace forcing the manuf to ban eBay so save its brand/ product price. Happened with 3 of my manuf when they lowered the min order levels.

[Last edited: 21 Jun 2006]
United Kingdom United Kingdom
vibrant
Kudos: 70
Joined: Apr 4, 2006
Re: Are sellers making money on eBay ??
21 Jun 2006

Poppygirl wrote:

That figure is based on a range of sellers I know.
Debunks your whole point I'm afraid to say.
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Poppygirl
Kudos: 211
Joined: Nov 1, 2005
Re: Are sellers making money on eBay ??
21 Jun 2006
I am an e-commerce consultant a range of sellers is about 60 in the uk, and about 4-5 in the US. Clinical trials have been passed on less.
United Kingdom United Kingdom
vibrant
Kudos: 70
Joined: Apr 4, 2006
Re: Are sellers making money on eBay ??
21 Jun 2006
Congratulations. I bow down.

But you cannot paint everyone - be they 'bedroom sellers' or 'big businesses' with he same brush.

The whole eBay selling community as it is as vast as it is varied