Saturday, February 23, 2008

eBay Changes = Even More Stress!

It's been a roller coaster ride of a week in eBayland, so much so that I barely have the energy to write about it. But, I will, because I think I need to vent a little... repressing these kinds of things is bad for you, right?

Sales this week have been excellent - either the buyers didn't get the memo about the boycott, or some of my competition did... I don't know. Whatever the reason, we have a lot to be happy about on the sales front. Add to that my really fun podcast interview with Auction Wally (more on that subject later!) on Tuesday, and you have quite a happy Mitzi - for the first part of the week.

Then yesterday rolled around. I received glowing positive feedback from an international buyer, and at the same time my shipping rate star rating fell from a 4.6 to a 4.5. Doesn't seem like something that should be that big of a deal, does it?

Well, it knocked me out of getting the new 5% discount on my final value fees for having all my ratings at 4.6 or higher, and it put me just one point away from losing my Powerseller status come July when the new rules for the Powerseller program take effect. Losing my Powerseller status due to my detailed seller ratings would mean being disadvantaged in the new Best Match default search, and losing the extra PayPal protection that is now provided for Powersellers.

The really upsetting part is that this buyer probably didn't leave me a really bad rating, she just didn't leave me a 5. I heard in a webinar about the eBay changes a couple of weeks ago that on average, it has been found that international buyers leave .5 lower on shipping charge stars than US buyers do.

Why? It's expensive to ship overseas. If you want any kind of coverage you have to use Global Priority, because it has online tracking, where the cheaper 1st Class International does not. And, if the item has any kind of value at all, you need to have insurance because of the increased risk of lost packages. There are also the duty fees - those can be very high, and if it makes the buyer grumpy, they can take it out on you in your rating.

When the eBay advisors that gave the webinar I listened to suggested not selling internationally if you were worried about your shipping charge star rating, I gave it a bit of thought but decided I didn't want to lose the money international sales bring in every month.

Then we got dinged.

Will and I have both been so upset over this entire situation over the last couple of days that we have barely gotten anything done. I wasted a lot of time yesterday trying to figure out a way to find out what percentage of my sales are international without having to go through my sales one by one. I didn't find a way.

We are guessing that it is 25% or less, and we have been discussing the possibility of not offering international on our main selling ID anymore... we could list items we thought would do well overseas on a different account. The trouble is knowing what will end up doing well - some things I have an idea about, but most of the time I wouldn't really be able to tell.

What I am leaning towards right now is going ahead and revising all of my store listings to no international. If it hurts too much, we can always add it back into our listings later. What we can't afford is to lose one more point on that damn star rating!

As I go through the store listings I am going to move some things into my Etsy store, and there is a good possibility that we will be opening a bookstore on BuyItSellIt or eCrater in the near future too. I love eBay, and I'm not trying to leave eBay... but I am feeling the pinch now, I have to do what is best for my business... and my sanity!


Straight Talking Mama! said...

sooo sorry to hear this! I'm an regular international buyer from the UK, and it's so sad that international buyers don't realise how expensive it is to ship and criticise shipping costs! If i want something then I accept the shipping costs.

Hope this sorts itself out.
Fiona (Notorious Kitsch)

Mitzi - Vintage Goodness said...

Hi Fiona, I know, I am really bummed about this whole situation too! The majority of my international transactions are really great, and with the weak dollar more people overseas are shopping with US sellers, so I am really worried about losing that income. I wish more buyers understood like you do!

So Buttons said...

How about Ruby Lane? I love Etsy, too, but I've never quite gotten how the vintage shops fit the handmade bill. I'd love to see Ruby Lane pick up steam (and to see them add more affordable shops, as more often than not the price points are ambitious).

Monica said...

I am so sorry to hear all of this, I might try to open up a store on Etsy, Some of my best sales were international!!!! I see alot of people selling vintage one esty now!!! it seems to be picking up!!!

amodernguy said...

Mitzi - It's the beginning of the end for vintage sellers on ebay. At least for the ones who are making a business of it. For the occasional seller or for those just getting rid of items they don't want anymore ebay will still have listings. But the serious sellers will leave either by their own decision or through the impact of these new policies.

The DSR system is a flawed way to measure sellers. I have no problem with accountibility, as I'm sure you don't, but under this system a good seller can be dinged and have their reputation destroyed through no fault of thiers. Then their fees will be higher and soon their listings at the bottom of the pile.

I predict ebay will rotate sellers every few months- with ones leaving and others coming on board for their turn of the wheel. We are just interchangable parts to ebay's cash machine.

That's why I have left there - and I am exploring options and figuring out how to not be dependent on a venue that does not care about my business.

Anyway, good luck.

I've moved my blog- stop by and check it out -