What does eBay need to do to get back on track?

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Herts, England United Kingdom
Andy
Kudos: 11,623
Joined: Jan 1, 2001
What does eBay need to do to get back on track?
15 Apr 2015
Everywhere you look sellers, analysts and pundits are talking about the decline of eBay.

It's sad to see that, because eBay gave many Web Retailer members their first experience of ecommerce. And it's still a huge marketplace that supports many businesses.

What caused the decline, and what should eBay do to get back on the right track?
Andy Geldman, Web Retailer
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Chciago United States
tjdbike
Kudos: 60
Joined: Mar 11, 2015
Re: What does eBay need to do to get back on track?
15 Apr 2015
@Andy,

eBay needs to seriously address the issues with their new search engine Cassini that replaced Navigator last May. eBay currently has shown that they do not have enough Servers in place to support the Cassini software demands and the "Rolling black outs" is proof of this.

Any seller that tracks their views, watches and bids (where they are coming from) knows this for a fact. I'm in the Midwest so I know when ours are. We currently do 7 day auctions that either start on Friday or Saturday night beginning at 5:00 PM PST. Sales have been down 50% from last year when Navigator was in place so I can only blame the new search engine.
TomD
Philippines Philippines
akoclucas
Kudos: 38
Joined: Mar 27, 2015
Re: What does eBay need to do to get back on track?
15 Apr 2015
Jt is sad they must upgrade their servers ASAP. it is the first and still a huge market place.
Chciago United States
tjdbike
Kudos: 60
Joined: Mar 11, 2015
Re: What does eBay need to do to get back on track?
15 Apr 2015
@akoclucas

How would you like to be the fly on the wall when someone has to explain to the eBay Bod why the need millions more to support their new Cassini software.
TomD
Supplier
United States United States
WatchCount.com
Kudos: 120
Joined: Dec 3, 2008
Re: What does eBay need to do to get back on track?
16 Apr 2015
I think eBay really needs to do 2 general things to begin steering things back on track:

1) Reduce staff turnover.

2) Scale back on innovation, and refocus on getting the "basics" stable.

When staff shift around too much within the company, or leave elsewhere, there's less ownership of tasks/responsibilities and knowledge is lost. Past established business principles get forgotten, new engineers and execs need to re-learn already-researched things in their new roles as they reinvent the wheel sometimes, software bugs re-appear, and there are more left-hand/right-hand discrepancies throughout the company and marketplace.

Also, with too much effort places on innovating new ideas and shiny-object chasing, the basics get ignored more, and more corners are cut. Founding principles slide and infrastructure gets less reliable. Trust erodes.

The vision of eBay needs to be better thought out from the top-down.

Oh, also, seller rules need to be well-prepared and researched for the long-term so there's less change in that arena. Again, people want stability and things to rely on.
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San Francisco, Phoenix, LA United States
lisamarieblaskie
Kudos: 76
Joined: Apr 15, 2015
Re: What does eBay need to do to get back on track?
18 Apr 2015
@Andy Well I'm one of those that hasn't had an eBay store but have been on Amazon for about 2 years. From what I am reading eBay needs to look at what is making Amazon successful and learn from those successes.

Maybe eBay should look at Amazon practice of competing against their own stores by buying in bulk and putting the little guy out of the picture. Amazon is NOT competing on a level playing field because they make the rules. This practice is an opportunity for eBay to lure business away from Amazon and reinvent themselves
Australia Australia
onetrack
Kudos: 141
Joined: Feb 5, 2010
Re: What does eBay need to do to get back on track?
21 Apr 2015
To get back to what eBay used to be, eBay needs to curtail its greed.
The last straw was demanding a percentage of the shipping cost, as well as seller fees.
Shipping is expensive enough without eBay dipping its finger in as well.
In addition, eBay need to encourage back the "hobbyists" who built eBay in the first place.
eBay used to be a beaut place to find all kinds of knick-knacks, rare parts, collectibles, and replacement components that are obsolete.
I used to have a small store on eBay, as a hobbyist. I sold NOS parts for vehicles and machinery, tools, and other useful items gleaned from regular auctions.
Then eBay decided it couldn't be bothered with you unless you turned over $100,000 annually and were a registered business. So eBay wiped out all the small stores.
eBay is now full of Chinese crap, sold in vast multiples in quantity.
There's nothing worse than scrolling through dozens of pages of identical items all sold by the same seller.
There's just nothing that draws me to eBay any more, it's just a vast hungry marketplace for a lot of cheap rubbish.
I only buy off eBay about 6 times a year now, and I no longer sell on eBay. There's better marketplaces.
eBay is washed up and will continue to go downhill, particularly with its obnoxious greed as its main driver.
United States United States
LWD1947
Kudos: 26
Joined: Mar 27, 2009
Re: What does eBay need to do to get back on track?
21 Apr 2015
As I read the various posts as to how,the question was a no brainer from the start for me.Get serious about your sellers and protect them as you seemed to have done 10 years ago.I am one of the many that have shared online and by phone that the fees imposed are not so good and after you jump through the hoops and have to work your buns off to stay qualified for the said discount at the end of each month-it kills the desire to help pay their bills.Let's face it-buyers DONOT contribute to the success of a Greed driven ebay..The seller is the ticket and we get stepped on from the percentages we have to pay to try and please the customer,who by the way,always has the final say with the comments and stars they are allowed to apply to your success..If you have ever sold on ebay,I feel you have experienced anything I could cover from,jerks that live to complicate matters, to the ebay Rep that you can hardly understand.At any rate,the post from onetrack Australia is a good one.
United States United States
ScarfKing
Kudos: 333
Joined: Oct 7, 2014
Re: What does eBay need to do to get back on track?
21 Apr 2015
I sell on Ebay and Amazon, though I have been considering pulling the plug on Ebay since January.

I started with Ebay and it just never scaled up. I find the interface clunky and non-intuitive. The Amazon interface is more complicated, but you can do more. Amazon offers FBA, Ebay doesn't: that makes a big difference. Amazon offers a way to promote your items with PPC. Ebay doesn't. Amazon rates you as a seller and gives you more exposure for sales and performance, but, if Ebay does that, I haven't seen any evidence of it. (I write this knowing that some people do great on Ebay and languish on Amazon, the opposite of me). All in all, I just find this to be an antiquated platform.

Finally, Ebay's cost structure is extractive in every way. They charge you to list, they charge you a % of sales, and then they turn around and force you to accept payment with Paypal, and charge you a prejudicial rate (4-5%). Thanks for kicking me in the derriere on the way out the door, Ebay! I also find their way of gauging your seller limits by how many of a particular item you offer for sale to be arbitrary and bizarre. That really slowed down my growth on Ebay.

I will say that the support at Ebay is very good, with knowledgeable friendly people who speak English well. With Amazon, you are often dealing with someone who has no idea what you're talking about, but rather than admit it will give you some sort of boilerplate answer to close your ticket.

I would be attracted to Ebay again if they gave me a way to promote products, improved their UI and were not completely opaque about what governs exposure.
United States United States
nnakausa
Kudos: 21
Joined: Apr 9, 2015
Re: What does eBay need to do to get back on track?
22 Apr 2015
They need to encourage lots more sellers by removing their awful fees. That is the reason I started selling on Amazon is that I wasn't going to lose anything if I listed on amazon. On Ebay, I have to keep paying to relist something that didn't sell in the first place! AND if it didn't sell, I am not as inclined or motivated to keep listing more. They need to get more people to list and if more list, more people will check it out to buy. It is a cycle that they killed themselves. If they weren't willing to grow their biz by just attracting more sellers, they created a vacuum and there will surely be someone else more than happy to fill in the gap.
NC United States
seller252gregb
Kudos: 171
Joined: Apr 12, 2015
Re: What does eBay need to do to get back on track?
22 Apr 2015
I have been selling on eBay for 8 years and IMO, eBay thinks the buyers are their customers and have groomed them to be a PITA to deal with. Cassini is a blunder, JD is paid way too much for what has been a steady destruction of the platform, fees are not bad if there are sales but discourage new listings as it is an incurred expense. They have allowed the big box stores to come in which affects me some what but the original platform was a unique attraction to find the specialty, obsolete and vintage items that gave them the draw and gave the little guy a chance at being their own boss and stay at home folks a way to make a living.
UK United Kingdom
coolcity
Kudos: 47
Joined: Apr 7, 2014
Re: What does eBay need to do to get back on track?
23 Apr 2015
For me, eBay crashed when they introduced Best Match as the default view a few years ago. My sales were decimated overnight because all those sales from last minute buyers as the listing was ending disappeared.

The other thing that screwed it was removing the ability to leave negative feedback for buyers, which leaves scammers own to continuously claim for low value items with no means of the seller being able to warn other sellers of who they are dealing with. The best thing they could have done was to remove the ability to leave feedback for buyers completely, like on Amazon, and automatically Block buyers who make "item not received" claims on a regular basis.

There is also the latest Seller Ratings thing. There are now no less than SEVEN criteria for which you can receive the equivalent of a negative feedback. Add to that the fact that neutrals now count as negs and it seems like they are trying to do all they can to make life as difficult and as miserable as possible for sellers.

Because of this system I lost my top rated seller rating this month DESPITE having 100% feedback from 5,000 received, partly through lost item claims for low value items. It's a complete farce.

I still list on eBay but nothing particularly valuable any more, not with buyers now able to filter a claim with PayPal for a much longer period of time - 180 days is it? Once it catches on with scammers we'll be fighting claims for items sold 6 months ago. I now list roughly double what I did 5 years ago and now turn over less than half what I did back in 2010.

EBay may still be here but its dying a slow death and gets worse with every change. As a buyer, ALL the regular sellers I saw and dealt with for years have gone and all that's left seems to be the Chinese and the scammers.
Midlothian, VA United States
Jax Music Supply
Kudos: 2,361
Joined: May 25, 2009
Re: What does eBay need to do to get back on track?
24 Apr 2015
I really believe that eBay's biggest problem is marketing related. Their traffic has dropped considerably and they are not attracting new buyers. I really think this is driving the loss of sales people experience, not Cassini, but a standard lack of customers. They need to spend money on better advertising - TV and PPC, perhaps even print. The campaign over the holidays lacked focus and message. They should continue to have standards for sellers, but use a little common sense. Often you will find that the CS reps agree with the issue but have no way of fixing it.
UK United Kingdom
coolcity
Kudos: 47
Joined: Apr 7, 2014
Re: What does eBay need to do to get back on track?
24 Apr 2015
@Jax Music Supply

I don't think that's the problem. Advertising wasn't the issue when they first got started and became successful because they didn't have a marketing budget back then. I think the real problems lie in the way the site is run.

For a start it's too complicated. There are hundreds of links to everything, and Best Match doesn't work. I recently ran a search for a Samsung battery and had to go through three pages of phone cases and all sorts of other stuff before I even came to one battery listing. It's no good. Half the buyers don't know how to even tie their own shoes. On Amazon it's search, one-click buy, and you're done.

It's the same for sellers. If you want to add an item with even a short description it can take 15-20 minutes. On Amazon it's the same procedure, search for an existing product, add a few details and you're done. I listed 19 items on Amazon in under half an hour last night. On ebay that would have taken me hours.

Then they find increasing ways of penalising sellers, claims for item not recieved and all sorts of other ratings now count against the seller. We know they have tried to follow Amazon in some respects but they don't know how to, so they have incorporated similar features such as copying the feedback system where a neutral counts as a negative. It's demoralising and off-putting so the decent sellers move on as soon as they can. I sell nearly twice as much on Amazon, at better prices, and it only takes up a fraction of the time that ebay takes up, and it's cheaper too. I'll be leaving myself soon if I can keep improving sales on Amazon and my website.

Ebay need to simplify things, stop tinkering and tweaking the site every five minutes (because they have shown time and time again that they know nothing about retail selling). They also need to stop being fee-greedy.

Buyers don't give a damn if you're a Powerseller or Top Rated seller, they just want decent goods and decent service on a site that is simple to use. Unless there are big changes at the top I can't ever see it happening on ebay.
Midlothian, VA United States
Jax Music Supply
Kudos: 2,361
Joined: May 25, 2009
Re: What does eBay need to do to get back on track?
24 Apr 2015
@coolcity

Doesn't do any good to have the things done a certain way on the site if people are not going there in the first place. You can have the best, easy to use site in the world but no one will see it if you do not market it. For my niche, I have done an analysis of our data, removed the seasonality, for 3 years. What did I find? A steady decline of number of items sold (not revenue to eliminate market conditions for the items that I sell). Unsurprisingly, this corresponds very well with their drop in unique customer visits, at least from what I was able to glean from public sources. If site visits went up in a month for eBay, my sales mostly showed an increase. This is all based on the US data.

If there is too much stuff on the site, then they need to eliminate some sellers. That is what they have been doing (through standards) that most people complain about. This also serves to eliminate those sellers that cannot handle their own business too. I agree some of Ebay's standards are draconian but it does eliminate some of the riff-raf selling on the site, although the real criminals have multiple ids and work at getting more all the time. I see sellers complaining all the time because they took a week to ship something they get a negative, or a customer returns something. Guess what? This is normal retail behavior.

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