Monday, July 7, 2014

Are You Wasting Time Micro-Managing Your eBay Store?


Over the past year, since eBay's new search engine Cassini has been in place, sellers have been scratching their heads trying to figure out how to to rise to the top of the search. There has been a boatload of "advice" on the eBay forums, Facebook groups, and blogs. But what are we REALLY supposed to be doing?

One tip given in a January 2014 article in Ecommerce Bytes stated,

"Don't Use Good Til Cancelled. New, well priced listings from a reputable seller with high DSR ratings will be automatically placed near the top of the Best Match category for the first day or two and then will slowly move downward as other sellers list their items and they are placed above yours. To make this work for you, don't use GTC, and end every item every 30 days and then relist them."

I started thinking about this strategy, especially when reading the Money Making Mondays posts on my Facebook group (which now has over 14,000 sellers.) Many sellers with large inventories post items that sold each week. I began to wonder if these sellers with larger inventories were using GTC or relisting unsold items. It would be a huge time suck for sellers with thousands of items in inventory to manually relist unsold items. So I asked some of them.

Kathy said, "I have 2 eBay stores - 1 has all GTC, about 250 listings and the other has 1,100 or so right now and I do mostly GTC and run auctions as I have time to list. I am currently shipping about 60 packages per day. I haven't had a slump at all. I think your standing as a seller and overall sales are what helps. if you have lots of sales in general, all of your items get a boost. That's why listing new things gives you a boost. You might sell a new item and it boosts everything else."

Jay, who has 3,400 items said, "Yes, all our items are listed once and 'good till cancelled.' Our motto is 'list it and forget it.' Most items sell within a year, but we have had items take 36 months to sell. At 5-cents a months for listing fee, that's only 60-cents a year. Being listed for three years only costs $1.80. If our profit is $20+ an item, we still make out like bandits.We want things to sell quickly, but you see how we have zero stress once an item is listed. Its not like FBA sellers who worry about storage fees. We do the research, put a strong price, and add 'make offer'. That's gives buyer leeway to haggle.  We did an experiment about six months ago where we ended all 3000 of our items and re-listed them as new. We saw no rise in sales. I couldn't tell if we were noticeably higher in search rankings. What it did do is lose all our followers on the items. Lesson learned.Instead of wasting time trying to fool the system, we just focus on listing more items. It's ridiculous to think that eBay would build a search algorithm that could be so easily fooled." 

*Note - Jay has an anchor store which explains the fee breakdown.

John, who has 5 stores and over 12,000 items in inventory said, "If I could I would switch all my items back to GTC. My number two source of traffic is Google. Before I sold half the business, my best performers were the old GTC items I had, and the traffic was not from eBay, was bookmarked and Google. I think instead of taking the time and relisting I would do something to change the listings. Price, add pictures, social media links, something. But as for traffic other than eBay the sell similar stinks, as when you sell similar you change the url of the item (SEO) with restockable items that long term url is a huge advantage." 

*John's business is based on easily restockable items, so his situation may be different than yours.

So there you have it. If you are spending precious time allowing listings to end than manually relisting them, it may not be doing you any good. The 3 sellers above are successful sellers with large inventories. If you want to be successful, do what the successful people are doing - and they are spending their time listing more items. Don't look back, look forward. Spending hours every week tweaking and micro-managing your listings isn't a good business strategy.

Everyone's most valuable resource is time. We can all get more money, more help, more space - but no one can get more time. Use it wisely so that your actions are focused on income-producing activities, not busywork.

What is your opinion on GTC listings? Are they working for you? Let's have a conversation about it so leave a comment below.

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