Big Changes In Boy Scouts Category

 

I have been a little lazy about logging in and surfing through the category so it hit me by surprise when I did so last night and found that there were over 40,000 items listed in the Boy Scouts category. I sent out an email to everyone who is a member of the community on this site and quickly got a response back from two members who filled me in. In the past eBay has given you the view showing only auction listings. Store listings were not included in these totals and were sometimes hard to find. However, now eBay is showing the combined total of auction and store listings on the front page of the category. That would explain how the total # of listings jumped from just over 10,000 to over 40,000. It is still shocking to me that there are that many items in stores.

 

The four largest store operators account for 11,040 items with most of those being buy-it-now store listings but some are auction format. A quick view of the other stores also gives some insight. There are 55 pages of stores with at least one item listed in the Boy Scout category. That translates into about 1,375 stores that are in the game. Of those roughly 175 stores have at least ten items listed. Only 44 have at least fifty items listed.

 

I want to share some of the reactions that my email brought out. One member said, “that’s alot of cloth!”. Another opined that many of the items were probably overpriced and wouldn’t sell. I like what member Eric Hendrix wrote because it gives some insight into the store vs. auction situation, “If you think about it which is more likely to be promoted a store item or an auction item. Store item 8% fvf. So a $5.00 item would be .40 cents FVF income to ebay if it sells. An auction, The 5.25% FVF would be 27 cents. Which is only 68% of the store FVF. Now auctions, people add on a lot of extras. So they want people to run auctions and not sell so they relist them – yeah the give the insertion fee back on the second or fourth run, but it’s the auction add ons that make them money.”

 

Eric is giving some insight into why eBay has made this change. It is in their best interest for these store items to sell. I run a large store and have over 1,000 items in it currently. I run my store listings GTC (continuously until they close) and add the gallery option. eBay charges me 3 cents for that listing every month. Likewise for that fee I can charge whatever price I want and whatever quantity I want. If you compare this to an auction fee schedule it is a bargain. So eBay is not making alot on the listing fees. So about a year ago (I don’t remember when) they raised the fees on store sales. In other words eBay is making money on the stores when items sell. They have slowly made the store listings easier to find. When I started out when you searched for an item any matching store items would not appear and instead it had a link that said something like “view matching store listings”. Then a little while back eBay changed that so that when you search for something all of the store items that match appear at the bottom of the search…making it much easier to access the store items. The change to just fully incorporating the store listings into the category seems like a natural progression of their recent changes.

 

Another note on the change. In the old days on the bottom left hand navigation bar on the main page of the category you could see the largest stores. However, it listed them according to # of auctions. So even if you had 3,000 items in your store whoever had a store and had the most active auction format listings appeared at the top. Now with the new change the top four stores are listed in the navigation bar according to total listings. John Wallace has the top spot with over 4,500 followed by Carolina Trader, Snatch-N-Patches, and Santeeswapper Store.

 

I guess the impact of all this is that it will make the stores more effective in drumming up sales. For me the psychological imact is that with 40,000 items in the category it makes me worried that nobody will be able to find my listings. It goes without saying that when constructing auction titles you had better make sure your getting those key words in to help people find the listing. With 40,000 items scattered across 800+ pages nobody has the time to view the listings page by page.

 

Well enough of my opinion and thinking….What do the rest of you think?

 

 

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Comments

Durn how about that!

By Paul G on February 21st, 2006 at 2:43 pm

Just had to post that!

Ebay has been working to help the stores sell more.

They are also coming out with Ebay Express. This will allow customers to shop through all the stores with buy it now items, but several items from different stores into a “cart” and then checkout. The buyer will pay 1 time for everything. The hope is that it will resemble more traditional online shopping and attract more buying.

I’ve just opened a store recently, so I’m very excited to see these changes!

By Paul G on February 21st, 2006 at 2:45 pm

You can read about Express here:
http://express.ebay.com/

By Paul G on February 21st, 2006 at 2:45 pm

If you are selling to me Stores is not the way to go. I have perused the Stores items many times and found that they are overpriced. They remind me of the seller at the TOR who prices his items at an enormous price and then tells you that they are going to cheap on ebay. Bidding is a market driven price and not some ones fanticy of what it is worth.

By BigJim on February 22nd, 2006 at 3:48 am

I agree with BigJim. I have three searches I look at almost daily, and I quit when I reach the stores items. These things just aren’t geared towards the bargain hunter which is what I am on Ebay.

I can see that stores would work for commodity items, but in a collectibles venue all this is doing is setting a price ceiling for an item. I guess that’s fine, but I don’t find it particularly useful.

Since I am not a seller, I have a question for those that are. Are you actually generating much in the way of sales out of your stores? What percentage of your inventory is moving through stores as opposed to auctions? Do you find that stores sales are more concentrated (ie a single buyer buying multiple items more so than just single sales, or a different pattern than large auction listings?)

If ebay is moving towards that model and sellers want this then maybe ebay will give us buyers a priceline like name your price tool. 🙂

By drewhead on February 22nd, 2006 at 1:16 pm

Drew the way that I use my stores is a dumping ground for all of my auctions that don’t get a bid. Basically I build a listing and run it for a week. If it gets no bids I automatically renew the auction listing for another week. If I still don’t get a hit I have my eBay software put the item in my store at a set price (always a little lower than the minimum bid). To your question of does it work I’ll give you an example from my perspective that happened in the last 24 hours. I just had a buyer purchase 57 Scouting magazines, books, and paper items from my store. Now granted these items didn’t sell for big bucks (most were $3.75 each) but I was glad to move them since they didn’t attract any action in two weeks worth of auctions.

Only rarely have I put items in the store without running an auction first. I did do this in the last month with a big collection of Skyuka Lodge 270 items that I purchased at the South Carolina TOR. I put all the items up on a Friday night and got sales almost immediately. To date I’ve sold about $2300 worth of patches in the collection. So for me that has worked out real well but of course the items that sold were vintage items from a restricted lodge…so we’re not talking about overpriced common stuff.

I do have one more example. In the last month I sold a 1930’s merit badge sash in my store for $475. It had been in my store for over a year when someone finally decided to scoop it up. So to me that is the dilemna that you are talking about. If I had dropped the price down to say 1/2 of that I probably would have sold it a long time ago…but by holding firm I got the price my consignor wanted (he was willing to wait and see which not everyone is).

So to wrap it all up I do think that eBay is a bargain hunter’s game. With the dynamics that auctions bring you can sometimes get some amazingly high or sometimes cheap prices for things. I think sellers use the stores in a number of different ways and I have just outlined my strategy. As for people who put items in their stores at top dollar prices…you would be surprised how many of those items eventually do attract a buyer. People like the buy-it-now option.

By jason on February 24th, 2006 at 2:04 pm

The other great thing about stores for sellers is that you can list items for a long period of time for a low cost. For items such as common fellowship patches, I think a store is a perfect place.

In an auction format the item isn’t going to get much attention because these items have a small price variance. A 199x patch, for example goes for $5-7. So put it in a store for $7 and let it sit. When someone comes online that needs it, they’ll buy it.

The items you put in auction, to me, should be patches that are in higher demand and have a higher price variance.

By Paul G on February 28th, 2006 at 4:03 pm

😡 In going back and rereading some of the posts on the site I came back across this thread. It occured to me that since I started the discussion that eBay has now flipped back and did a 180. They removed all the store items from the regular listing format. They also redid how they list stores so that on the home page of the category the stores are ranked according to how many active auctions you have running and not the total inventory of the store.

For example the Top 4 stores today on the front page (ranked by active auctions are)

TSPA (420)
TOM’S TACKLE and BOY SCOUT PATCHES (226)
Ribitz (180)
Santeeswapper Store (145)

But if you were to click on matching stores and rank the top four by inventory here is what you would find.

Carolina Trader Scout Memorabilia 3179 items in Boy Scouts
John Wallace 2734 items in Boy Scouts
656scout Store 2555 items in Boy Scouts
Santeeswapper Store 2253 items in Boy Scouts

My guess is that for the Boy Scouts category this change probably was fine. We went from having over 10,000 items showing up to over 40,000. But can you imagine some categories on eBay that are a lot bigger than Boy Scouts. You might have created a situation where over 100,000 items came up. In that case would people give up trying to sort through 100k items to find things they want. I don’t know? But for some reason eBay flipped back to the old setup.

By jason on May 18th, 2006 at 1:35 pm

I wonder if any of this has to do with the back-and-forth lawsuit with eBay over patent infringement? (Google “ebay patent lawsuit” to find plenty of info.)

I know the suit had to do with the “Buy it Now” feature, and that there was an attempt to get an injunction preventing use of the feature (this week the Supreme Court sided with eBay and did not give the injunction).

It’s entirely possible that these changes have to do with eBay juggling the presentation of Buy-It-Now and eBay Stores listings because of the lawsuit.

Dave

By Tegularius on May 18th, 2006 at 6:37 pm

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