Is eBay pricing itself out of the market?
When eBay first burst into our lives in the late 90s, we all thought it was the answer to our clutter prayers. The premise was simple- now you could get rid of tat you didn’t want anymore and someone would actually pay you for it. It was also a great way to declutter, provided you didn’t start buying other people’s tat at the same time.
Last week, eBay announced another change to their seller fees, which will make selling on eBay even more expensive. So will this be a nail in the coffin of the massive eBay machine, or will people still cough up regardless?
The new changes, which come into force on 4 September will see eBay charging its final value fees (FVF) including postage, instead of the item value alone. For private sellers this amount is normally around 10% on the final selling value of the item, and for business sellers it ranges from 5-12%, but is 10% as standard. Besides being another way to squeeze even more fees out of sellers, eBay might claim to be doing this to stop people profiting out of inflated postage costs.
While this may have been possible, and even prevalent some years ago, with postage costs increasing massively over the last few years, and specifically the huge increases to Royal Mail parcel costs earlier this year, when this is coupled with eBay imposed maxima on the amount of postage that can be charged on an item, sellers would be hard pressed to make much of a turn on postage these days anyway. Not that eBay is charging on the profit- the FVF will apply to the whole postage cost, most or all of which will presumably be spent on postage.
But what can sellers do? For most people who sell occasionally on eBay, the effect will not be so great as for traders who attempt to make a living using eBay as an online shop venue. But the proliferation of selling sites on Facebook might mean that sellers are willing to accept a slightly lower price in order to keep 100% of the sales value. Even if you do have to deal with actual people.
On the same date, and presumably aimed at placating smaller business sellers, eBay are increasing the amount of ‘free’ fixed-price listing fees (a smaller fee paid on listing the item) for basic shop owners, up to 200 from 20 per month, saving up to £20 a month based on 10p listing fees. Basic shops cost £19.99 a month.
And don’t forget, you have also been paying Paypal fees on the final value including postage for years. Some sellers are surprised at just how little they end up with in their pocket at the end of the day.
But will this be enough to turn people away from eBay? Many online sellers have given up when faced with eBay fees, but for many more, the costs may be high, but the practicality of a standalone online shop in a sea of millions of websites may be too high. Sellers said they would boycott eBay after the sellers’ right to negative feedback was revoked, but so far eBay still seems to be surviving. Perhaps this latest change is just an added inflationary cost of surviving these days.