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Selling on eBay

April Sales Report

by Craig Stark

#143 10 May 2010

So, eBay sellers, how did things go in April? The conversion of former Store listings to Fixed Price listings and commingling them with Auctions in Core commenced over a month ago and, according to a recent AutionBytes survey of over 1200 sellers, most sellers - a whopping 69% - reported a decrease in sales, and those who didn't operate Stores fared worse, to the tune of 80.6%.


A few months back, I expressed some optimism that these changes would improve my sales, and I'm here today to report back on what happened. Instead of comparing my April sales to my March sales, I thought it would be more illuminating to compare them to my average monthly sales since December 2009. Typically, December through March is a fairly brisk period for booksellers, myself included, and many experience a downturn for several months thereafter (April through June), so any improvement of sales in April would be especially telling.

And there was some improvement for me:

My fixed-price sales were up 35% in April compared to my December 2009 through March 2010 monthly averages, and what may be even more significant is that my eBay sales were 48% higher than my Amazon sales - this in the face of reports that traffic at Amazon is surging and traffic at eBay is declining, this also in the face of reports that overall listings on eBay have soared many times over since CEO John Donohoe took over several years ago.

In the same AuctionBytes survey 15% of sellers reported an increase in sales, so clearly the changes have helped at least some of us.


Few questions are easier to answer. Simply do some test searches that will bring up your listings. If many of them come up on second or later pages, this likely explains a drop in sales. If many of them come up on the first page, perhaps you are among the fortunate 15%. Then do some similar, 90-day searches of completed sales to see if what you're offering for sale has actually sold on eBay.

Historically, eBay has made it remarkably easy for sellers to understand why their sales are what they are. You can take two crystal clear snapshots at any time - one of the present (how you rank in test searches) and one of the past (back as far as 90 days) - that will accurately predict what will happen in the future. Despite the increasingly difficult challenges of competing on eBay - and I agree that they are now considerable - this venue remains, month in and month out, the most productive for me, and most months it bests all of the other venues I list on combined. The reason couldn't be clearer: For the most part, I list books that both have a history of selling on eBay and will usually appear on the first search page - and often there is only one search page returned.

This is the secret.

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