When eBay opened their offices in Israel, in 2012, we were invited to a meeting, being one of the best performing accounts in the country.
They were surprised when we told them we were one foot out of eBay, sick and tired of busting our asses just to survive on the marketplace.
A Personal Note
We developed CrazyLister for the rest of us to give all eBay sellers the power to sell like the big brands.
We launched this blog, hoping that by sharing our experience, wins and fails, we would help small and medium businesses create a sustainable income selling on eBay.
Until recently, it felt like swimming against the stream – eBay was making it harder and harder for the “average Joe” to sustain a business.
We were feeling it directly – users’ main reason for canceling their CrazyLister accounts was “I closed my eBay business.”
eBay’s renewed focus on small and medium sellers revives my personal belief in the marketplace that was our starting point some 8 years ago, being two students making an income to pay our bills. And it pushes us forward with CrazyLister, this blog, and several more ideas we have on our mission to “Help the average Joe to sell like a pro.”
Selling on eBay was often an uphill climb for us. It was depressing doing our absolute best, making our customers happy, just to find out that it was never enough, and one slip, one unhappy customer out of hundreds could put us out of business (and they did, and it was awful).
Add to that the major hits that eBay suffered as a platform, analyzed by Annie Mcdonald in her brilliant post – Why Are My eBay Sales Down? – and you’ll see why we were seriously considering shutting our eBay business down once and for all.
I felt that eBay lost their way, pulling our business down with them.
The Darkest Hour is Just Before the Dawn
And then 3 things happened.
1. New CEO, New Direction?
Over the years, I’ve learned to judge people by actions rather than words. More so when listening to CEO’s who are being paid to speak.
If you listen to eBay’s CEO, Devin Wenig’s, keynote speech at eBay’s 20th anniversary, on minute 17:45 he says –
“For Sellers, we have a laser focus on small and medium businesses.”
If you’ve been (like us) a small to medium business selling on eBay for the past several years, most chances are, your life on eBay was getting harder and harder until it became almost unbearable.
The sellers’ community felt how eBay was leaving its roots and trying to imitate Amazon’s success – attracting large brands, trying a catalog approach, introducing new strict policies (that are virtually impossible for the small and medium sellers).
Normally, I would discard Devin’s claims. After all, eBay got a lot of hit from the small and medium sellers. Why not try to “sweet” talk them back?
But I must say that for the first time in years, I feel optimistic about eBay’s direction – Back to its “core users”, the ones who made eBay what it is today.
Here is why:
2. Saying Bye-Bye to the Cash Cow (PayPal)
eBay purchased PayPal, helping it to eventually become eBay’s major revenue generator. With PayPal gone, eBay must, once again, focus on its main business – the marketplace. And things weren’t bright, as we discussed above.
eBay is simply forced to make this change in direction, as this is their main strength and proposition value – connecting people with people. Amazon is much better at connecting large brands with people; they control all the verticals from payment to shipping.
From my perspective, Devin is steering his giant ship in the right direction.
3. Actions Speak Louder Than Words (Policy Change)
eBay’s CEO promises are great, but they are worthless without actions. Seems like eBay is standing behind their words and are taking actions –
eBay’s latest updates to their seller standards are a major step towards the small and medium businesses –
They are making it much simpler and straight forward for sellers.
Measuring performance only by the really important metrics that the sellers can actually control –
Any Small or medium business selling on eBay for the past years can tell horror stories about their accounts being suspended, driven to below standard rating, limited and so on, because of a miserable situation completely out of the sellers’ hands: Postal system strikes causing delivery delays, item being damaged on its way, customers leaving negative feedback by mistake, etc…
When you’re not doing huge volumes, every case counts! This was effectively forcing Small or medium business off of eBay. With the new metrics in place, hardworking Small or medium business will stand a good chance of getting high standards on eBay again, while before, it was becoming virtually impossible.