eBay has Amazon envy: Cuts fees to get more fixed pricing

eBay has Amazon envy: Cuts fees to get more fixed pricing

Summary: Can eBay still be eBay as it moves toward a fixed pricing model?Possibly, but it's going to be really difficult to change its auctioneer image.

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TOPICS: Amazon, E-Commerce
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Can eBay still be eBay as it moves toward a fixed pricing model?

Possibly, but it's going to be really difficult to change its auctioneer image. On Wednesday, eBay announced new fee changes (Techmeme, eBay blog). It is lowering its listing fees for sellers that use the "Buy it Now" fixed price feature by 70 percent. Sellers can now list multiple items under Buy it Now for 35 cents for a 30-day listing period.

That fee is a big carrot to encourage sellers to use fixed pricing. The new listing fees take effect Sept. 16. In a statement, eBay said the fee was "The change is the most competitive pricing eBay has ever offered sellers." Previously sellers on eBay had to pay more per item listed.

The company has multiple examples in its statement and site of potential savings, but each seller will have a different result.

ebayfee.png

The broader question is whether eBay's Amazon envy makes sense.

Let's face it. This move by eBay is all about Amazon. Amazon fixed price structure is easier. And to be honest I have always viewed eBay as the shop of last resort (like when you can't get your kid a hot toy because you procrastinated). I don't have the time or inclination to monitor some auction. Give me a price and I'll pay it or walk.

Amazon comes in with its third party selling network and gives eBay a run. Now eBay is downplaying its auction heritage to appear to be a more conventional e-tailer.

The problem here is perception. Clearly eBay wants to hang on to its sellers and prod them into putting more inventory on the site. And sellers are likely to be happy with lower fees for fixed price goods. But there's also a consumer angle here.

eBay in its statement noted that the fee reductions will set it up nicely for the holiday shopping season. The question, however, remains: Will consumers go to eBay to buy something over Amazon? Probably not. eBay noted in its statement:

While the pricing changes take effect in September, other improvements to the buyer experience on eBay will occur in phases through November. Buyers shopping for a great deal on eBay can expect to find greater selection at better prices than ever before. Improvements to eBay’s product search will make it easier for buyers to find the best deal on the product that’s right for them. Buyers who complete their purchase with PayPal, the safer way to pay and be paid online, will enjoy buyer protection. PayPal will offer protection for the full purchase price and original shipping costs on eligible transactions paid with PayPal at no additional cost to the buyer.

That's a long-winded way to say shopping on eBay was too damn hard. You don't turn that around overnight on the perception front.

Topics: Amazon, E-Commerce

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27 comments
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  • I'll stick with Amazon...

    Doesn't require yet 2 more accounts (eBait and PayPal) and I actually trust Amazon.

    I do not trust PayPal.
    BitTwiddler
  • RE: eBay has Amazon envy: Cuts fees to get more fixed pricing

    Eight years ago eBay was an amazing place. People finally had a place to easily sell assets that still had value but were no longer needed or wanted. When you purchased an item you were normally purchasing it from someone that was unloading an asset with value not someone looking to make a career out of eBay. The same was true when you sold an asset.

    The last five years of eBay have been dominated by people who quit their jobs and started power selling. No longer are you dealing with an individual but a business with interests.

    Every auction has a 3 paragraph disclaimer from the seller that there will be no refunds and you are buying as is. Not worth it.

    Just go to Newegg and get it cheaper and with a warranty.
    aeiownu
    • RE: eBay has Amazon envy: Cuts fees to get more fixed pricing

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  • Ebay is already one big store with pricing right along with retail.

    They are failing and realize it. Sometimes i can get deals on there, but they are getting harder and harder to find.

    Also, many people are shifting the costs into shipping which is already sky rocketing in price, thus making it not worth the effort. Example: 5 bucks to ship and item that fits in a small envelope and ways in under a pound? I get it, postal ship shows 1.30 to ship.
    Been_Done_Before
    • Shipping is the KILLER

      I used to play the ebay game and although I made over $50,000 during my time on there I grew tired of their ever changing policy. Another thing that makes it hard to get a GOOD deal on ebay is their shipping policy. As a seller you can list something with a super price and cover your loss in the shipping costs the seller puts inside the listing. The buyer never see's it until they've bought it.

      Personally I think they are a bunk deal now and their paypal is a joke.
      Enorton42@...
  • I am increasingly switching from eBay to Amazon

    I use eBay to dispose of my old electronics and photo gear, typically when I upgrade, and have sold thousands of dollars of gear there. eBay's strategy of turning into a marketplace rather than an auction site is turning off people like me, while failing to attract normal merchants because, well, the eBay shopping experience just plain sucks.

    I find myself increasingly using Amazon to sell off my stuff (e.g. a $200 pair of binoculars). You can list your inventory indefinitely, unlike eBay where auctions, even fixed-price ones, expire after a maximum of 10 days. An added bonus is sticking it to eBay and its gouging of sellers with constant price increases.

    The only situations when I will sell on eBay is for relatively exotic stuff that isn't in Amazon's catalog.
    fazalmajid
  • RE: eBay has Amazon envy: Cuts fees to get more fixed pricing

    I like eBay precisely because parts of it are NOT fixed price.

    I'm excited to read the statement "I don???t have the time or inclination to monitor some auction. Give me a price and I???ll pay it or walk." It means less competing buyers and better deals for me.

    Much of business and real life comes down to one word: negotiation! Unfortunately, too many of my fellow Americans don't like negotiation, not even for their salary, and they get shortchanged from car salesmen to bosses and beyond.

    Auctions are what made eBay different from everywhere else. It is a kind of automated negotiation.
    Glenn Mandelkern
  • eBay is what it is because there are no fixed prices

    I routinely use eBay to purchase older, hard to find, or overpriced from manufacturer computer/networking hardware (i.e. servers, routers, switches, etc.). When you know what you are looking for, and know its value, the eBay auctions are a great place to find stuff, usually at a great price, that you would have a hard time finding anywhere else.

    However, I agree that eBay is ruining the auction site with all the "vendors". For a typical search, over the past few years, there are more and more "buy it now" listings from vendors that show up, usually at prices higher than one can buy the same item at a normal e-tailer like Amazon or Newegg.

    Paypal is great, I have the same credit card tied to my Paypal account that I use for all my online shopping, so there are no problems at all.
    CyberMe
  • RE: eBay has Amazon envy: Cuts fees to get more fixed pricing

    This is a half-hearted attempt by eBay to address recent seller complaints: they essentially appear to be just subtracting fees on one end and adding them to the other. I???d be surprised if online sellers fall for this. They are more savvy now than ever and know the profits they want to earn, which is why we developed www.Wigix.com to be very straightforward with a simple, transparent fee structure (no listing fees and no limitations on listing periods) that allows sellers to keep their profits.
    JamesCho
  • RE: eBay has Amazon envy: Cuts fees to get more fixed pricing

    This is a half-hearted attempt by eBay to address recent seller complaints: they essentially appear to be just subtracting fees on one end and adding them to the other. I?d be surprised if online sellers fall for this. They are more savvy now than ever and know the profits they want to earn, which is why we developed www.Wigix.com to be very straightforward with a simple, transparent fee structure (no listing fees and no limitations on listing periods) that allows sellers to keep their profits.
    JamesCho
  • RE: eBay has Amazon envy: Cuts fees to get more fixed pricing

    I buy and sell on eBay, and I very much like the auction
    aspect. It's fun to try to score some item at a bargain price.
    On the other hand, I'm not generally in a hurry, as in
    coming down to the last minute for a gift, or something.
    But like you, it is frustrating at times to get aced out on
    something at the last minute, or when neophytes bid a
    price up to 10% less than retail, with six days left on the
    auction. What the?...

    But, I also like Amazon's way of doing it too, and bargains
    can be found there, as well. I think both of these sites are
    great tools, and I use both vigorously.

    I do hope, however, that eBay will not abandon its auction
    format altogether, though. Way too often Buy It Now prices
    are too high, and then when factored with exorbitant
    "handling" fees, I can buy locally in my small town cheaper.
    Let's face it, most eBay buyers are there for a bargain, and
    if they take that away from us, I might as well buy from
    Circuit City or other discount retailers. After all, I can have
    those items the same day, with less hassle.
    The Rog
  • eBay needs to be exposed

    I admit, ebay does not rank among my favorite companies. They never have, really. I've been with them 10 years now, and have never seen a company deserving accolades. But, the concept of ebay is awesome. Which is why I have tolerated them.

    Contrary to what Larry Dignan stated, "Clearly eBay wants to hang on to its sellers and prod them into putting more inventory on the site." No, for many sellers, it is clear the opposite is true; they want to shed itself of the up-til-now tolerated small seller. But, in doing so, has ebay broken laws? I think they have, and hope ebay gets investigated.

    In Feb. sellers and buyers united to create one of the largest and most organized boycott efforts against ebay. This is thanks to social networking sites such as Myspace, Facebook, and forums such as Delphi, where many ebay members have joined forces. The result is we have been able to, for the first time, come together and plan a boycott. Thanks to the many members who participated, a May 1st & Beyond boycott was planned, and is continuing to this day, and will continue until the members say otherwise.

    Heading up this May boycott has brought several things to my attention. The first is that many of these changes ebay/paypal have introduced are at best creeping around the edge of the law. At worst, they are actually violating statutes and laws.

    One of the latest issues, and biggest issues, has to do with backroom deals. As I read The Sherman Act, it seems such deals are indeed illegal. But, not being an attorney, I would need more than the wording of the law to determine such a thing.
    Nevertheless, I did do some research, and based on my findings, it seems that ebay has some "splainin to do". If you have time, please, take a look at the video I put up on youtube, which shares actual numbers from ebay's backroom deals with Buy.com. The video can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKkUCMLZG6E

    I am and have been a member of ebay since 1998. I'm mostly a buyer; but, have sold on ebay to trade items in my collections.
    There are some serious flaws in ebay's thinking. But, I will applaude their efforts to fix things such as retaliatory feedback. I agree that is a flawed system. I do not, however, believe that ebay is fixing the system by taking away the rights of sellers to leave negative feedback for bad buyers. Instead of disallowing negatives completely, and thereby allowing bad buyers to extort sellers, ebay should be willing to open their ears to ideas from all within the community. Not just their precious top 200 sellers. Even those who buy and sell once a year have great ideas. And, maybe if they were heard more often, they'd be prone to buy and sell more often.

    Recently ebay made an attempt to push Australia to accept PayPal as their ONLY method of payment. While the boycott efforts were instrumental in getting the ACCC (Australia's agency to regulate competition and fair trade) to initially deny this, ebay pulled their request at the last minute. My contention is, ebay never really expected to win. They simply manuevered to get PayPal a mandatory form of payment. Because they know, if PayPal is accepted, most users will use it.

    All of that was given a heading of "safer buyer experience". Once again, this is merely perception. And I would say a facade at that. While ebay/paypal pretends to offer protection, Amazon really does. PayPal has so many loopholes to squeeze through, while Amazon has an A-Z REAL guarantee. Perhaps that is because Amazon receives payment, then immediately disperses it through to the sellers. Now THAT is REAL buyer AND seller protection. Unlike Ebay's "Well, the seller has to have 98% feedback or higher. The seller has to have the PayPal button." (Which btw, I was informed by PayPal to NOT include in my listings, because that is how unscrupulous people gain access to your information, and send phishing schemes).

    Ebay/PayPal is also with holding PayPal payments for as much as 21 days (180 days in some cases, under some circumstances). They claim they are not under banking rules. However, I contend, if they are providing bank services, that indeed needs to follow banking laws.

    Why all these changes? Its not to follow the Amazon pattern. It is however, to give the perception of being a big friendly business to buyers. In the meantime, sellers and buyers who know better have been boycotting since early Feb. and have seen ebay artificially inflate listings, by incorporating their SDC (Shopping.com) businesses into the ebay listings; for what reason? A glitch? No. SDC is incompatible with ebay listings. Its to demonstrate to investors that listings were not affected by the boycott. To make things seem ok in the disaster area called ebay. But, I ask ebay to explain things. Because we deserve to know the truth. Investors deserve to know the truth.

    Please join the boycott efforts;
    Tim
    http://myspace.com/boycottebay
    http://forums.delphiforums.com/boycottebay/start
    LegendsOfBatman
    • I & thousands of others agree - ebay needs to be exposed!

      All of what this person is saying is true.

      I had a TopSeller account manager at ebay and they as well as other TopSeller managers totally disagreed with what ebay was/is doing to it's members.

      Something has to be done.

      I am on the verge of going bankrupt now because of eBay/Paypal Policies that did not cover how I sell here in Canada to customers Worldwide. All the while eBay was telling me how to run my business, just to pull the plug on my account after spending more than $18,000 in listing fees within 4 months.

      Again, something has to be done.

      How can anyone trust ebay/Paypal anymore?
      formercanadianpowerseller
      • We can't

        Unfortunately, we cannot trust ebay/paypal any more.
        Btw, despite all my dislike for ebay over the years, I always trusted them. Never felt my acct info was in danger; despite not liking how they ran their business, I never hated the system itself. Now, I feel betrayed; and I cant do business with a company when I feel betrayed.
        Tim
        http://forums.delphiforums.com/boycottebay/start
        http://myspace.com/boycottebay
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKkUCMLZG6E
        LegendsOfBatman
        • No one should trust ebay/Paypal anymore

          I once trusted them too as I had an account manager there that I could always call and speak with.
          Now, looking back at those phone calls, it was all corporate empathy and lies to keep me selling and paying my ebay fees.
          Betrayed and angry is how I feel.
          I hope places like this forum and others will help spread the word about ebay and their wrong doings.
          formercanadianpowerseller
  • RE: eBay has Amazon envy: Cuts fees to get more fixed pricing. Yeah, right!

    Btw, every time ebay cuts listing fees, the seller takes it in the rear.
    Take example a so-called special. Ebay motors offered $1 listing fees for vehicles. The problem with this sale is that it ended up costing buyers MORE!
    Normally it would be $40 to list, and either $40 or 50 if the vehicle sold.
    With this "special" sellers could list for $1, but would have to pay $109 if the vehicle sold!
    SOME SPECIAL!

    Imagine if all companies did this.
    Gas prices: .01 9/10 per gallon!
    The Catch: $100 to pick up the pump.

    Groceries: Banannas .10 per pound. Milk, $1.19 a gallon.
    The catch: $300 to pay with cash, credit card, debit cards, or check.

    You get the idea.

    Thanks ebay, but, no thanks.
    I cant afford your "new lower prices". I prefer the old more expensive ones.
    Tim
    http://myspace.com/boycottebay
    http://forums.delphiforums.com/boycottebay/start
    LegendsOfBatman
  • RE: eBay has Amazon envy: Cuts fees to get more fixed pricing

    eBay is back peddling like no tomorrow.
    I was pushed off the site due to these stupid policies and technical issues.
    I sold for over 7 years and was a Platinum PowerSeller - no more.
    I am facing financial and psychological hardship because of eBay and Paypal.
    No matter what eBay does now - how can you trust them in the future?
    You can't.
    Ebay is every seller's CEO - like it or not.
    Leave eBay and set up somewhere else.
    That is my honest opinion and advice.
    formercanadianpowerseller
  • Amazon aids 3rd-party rip-off's

    Amazon is not without its problems in regards to 3rd-party merchants. (1) If you search for a product on Amazon, you are shown a list of matching items with prices shown, but without the s&h shown. People tend to click on the lowest price, so some 3rd-party merchants low-ball the prices and charge ludicrously high s&h. (2) Another s&h rip was when I ordered 3 HDMI cables for about $1 each, but s&h was about $5 PER CABLE! That's $15 s&h for three cables which came in a $0.25 bubble envelope with maybe $2 postage. (3) I was shopping recently for a pair of surround sound speakers and looked at about a half-dozen at Amazon. One brand showed a picture of 2 speakers and that's what I ordered. I received one, which is mentioned at the end of the description a couple of screen scrolls down the page, but I went by the picture, so I had to order a 2nd one, paying twice what I originally intended, including $9(!!) s&h twice for a package that could not have cost more than a few bucks to ship. Yes, I could have avoided being ripped off by being very, very careful to read every last detail before ordering, but who shops that way for relatively low-priced items? I don't, which is why I try to deal with REPUTABLE vendors. Amazon is for what they sell, but not their 3rd-party merchants, and Amazon condones their scammy practices, which makes Amazon as much at fault.
    nfordzdn
    • sellerz on both sites .....

      ..... play the shipping bait and switch game
      cammobus@...
    • If you want cheap cables...

      Nothing beats MonoPrice.com
      hermes_vb