Some of you may be aware that Aussie Sapphire has both its own website and an Ebay Store. Since the launch of the upgraded website, we have been gradually stocking up the “shelves” with items from most of our product categories. However, we had always intended to maintain the Ebay Store as well as we have many repeat Ebay buyers and we enjoyed being able to offer our high quality products in a marketplace that is flooded with cheap, inferior rubbish.
However, the recent fee increases announced by Ebay for Store Owners have changed the situation. We have been slammed with a four-way hit:
- our listing fees will increase five-fold for items costing more than $50
- our monthly store subscription fee has increased by 50%
- the final value fee (or Ebay commission on sales) has doubled to 10%
- and to make things even harder, the reduced visibility of our store items in Ebay searches will make it harder for buyers to find them
Ebay has tried to put a positive spin on this by saying it will “bring the magic back to Ebay” by encouraging more auctions. EBay CEO, Meg Whitman was quoted as saying “Whenever we do a fee increase our community does not like it but I think they will understand the reasons we are doing this“. She is dead right: we do not like it and understand perfectly that these fee increases are nothing more than a grab for cash to prop up a company whose share price is in free-fall. Sellers certainly do not agree with the stated reasons for the change and the announced changes do nothing to redress the problems that Ebay has. Ebay claims that most sellers will not be significantly affected – this is clearly untrue and we ask our customers to understand that it is just impossible for us to absorb this large increase in our costs.
Fee increases are nothing new – Ebay raises fees regularly but the scope of these changes for Store Owners make it impossible to continue selling in the same way. The reaction from sellers has been vehement to say the least. Almost 26,000 signatures in an online petition and a flood of new members registering on alternative auction sites. Despite the announcement of these changes in the latest earnings report to the market, the share price fell another 4.9% during the next trading day so maybe the market is not convinced either?
Although we are very angry and disappointed about the changes, it is probably impractical to jump ship entirely. Here at Aussie Sapphire, we will spend the next few weeks trying to decide how to handle this new fee structure and still maintain a viable business. At the very least, our fixed prices must increase to cover the higher costs of selling through Ebay. The future of our Ebay Store is still uncertain – if it is possible to keep it open, we will be dramatically reducing the number of items available for sale.
However, the news is not all bad – our new website is fully functional and new items are being added all the time. We plan to keep a similar number of auctions running so keep your eye out for these bargains – listed items will be reduced in number and increased in price but we will do our best to minimise the impact on customers.
Thank you for your past support and we hope to see all of our Ebay customers at the new website for great products at realistic prices. If some of your favourite Ebay sellers have moved to alternative auction sites, we ask you to please consider supporting them at their new location as this is one small way you can stand up for the little guy. Big business doesnt always have to win all the battles.
Cheers for now from Aussie Sapphire