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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simpleisbetter said...

Now I get it. I have been spending hugh amount of time listing and relisting and then listing similar the same listing. And wondering is this how ebayworks? I was feeling sorry for the people that make this for their living. To get sells I need to go over 100 items listed manually one by one and lately heard of sacrificeing one or two item selling them like for $.99 free shipping making no profit and even to pay for fees and postage. This strategies work take a lot of time some few sales but at least I can have sales. I urgently need something to have my items up for selling but it takes me like two weeks to get to more than one hundred items and wonder how can people have thousands of listings. It is impossible without a store.I guess. I only get 50 free listings and lately another 50 free listings but when I list fix price the .30 cents fee tells me I am listing in the wrong category. And have to change it to Auction styled. I still do not know how to use fix price on the new 50 listings added monthly. What do I have to list?. Thrifty store and garage sales is what is in my inventory that can not be listed fix price. I have tried. I will investigate those power sellers with huge inventories and see what are they listing for sure they may have a store. What stops me from having a store is that I don't sell enough to get a store. I hope to build my inventory to minimum 150 listings to join. and build up from there. I am sorry I made this too long but it has been years trying without luck. I heard of cassini just recently on your face group. Thanks for all your help. You are a blessing to all of us.

Kimberly Hutmacher said...

I have almost 1,000 items listed, and I can't imagine trying to re-list them every 30 days. I do GTC. That said, when business is slow, I do end some older items, tweak their listing and do a sell similar, and that always seems to lead to a few of those finally getting out the door :)

Treasures By Brenda said...

It does seem that the best idea is to be constantly listing new items but I am not comfortable just ignoring old items that might or might not meet eBay's evolving standards so I am try to list new items every day and to look at a few listings every week.

Thank you for your columns. Following various sellers helps home-based entrepreneurs feel more plugged in to the system.

It would be great for the SEO of individual eBay sellers who are working to market themselves if you would allow your comments to link back to something other than our Google accounts.

Suzanne A. Wells said...

Hi, Brenda, thanks for visiting.

Since this blog is posted on Blogger, they set up how comments can be made and what can be linked to. Unfortunately,that is out of my control. I am always a supporter of sellers marketing their stores - but I don't own or control the Blogger platform. Sorry!

Thanks again for visiting and commenting.

Peter Guest said...

I'm not a big fan of "List It and Forget It". If an item won't sell after a few 30-Day relistings, it is an opportunity to rethink my listing, subject wording, photos, and price.

Of course, I only list dozen of items, not hundreds or thousands.

Jay Dedman said...

We're the 'list and forget" kind of sellers. When selling vintage or one-of-a-kind items, we can't expect the right buyer to be looking for our item in the first week we list. We're patient. The item is waiting for the right buyer who always comes along.

If we've done our research, then it already has the appropriate price. Our time is spent listing new items. The bigger our inventory, the more search terms we put up to capture buyers.

Blondie said...

Hi Suzanne... I read this when it was first posted. Went back and added automation rules to all of my listings to list continuously. I hope that works out better than micro-managing my store.