By now most of you have heard about eBay's new policies, which will go into effect on February 20th.
Lower insertion fees for sellers, free gallery... with the fine print spelling out that sellers will also be subject to a 3.5% Final Value Fee increase across the board. With the structured system set up as it currently is, despite the savings eBay is currently lauding, there will still be more fees on top of their existing fee structure, and many sellers, myself included, are forced to take a good hard look at how we sell on eBay.
I cannot help but sympathize with those who have already looked at other auction sites and moved away, but eBay has been a part of my business for many many years. Although I will not be disappearing from eBay entirely, I plan on updating my pricing schedule on March 2nd, and will limit the total number of auctions I list on eBay in a month. As a small seller, this may be but a drop in the bucket, but with the opportunity to sell in the flat-fee structured artisan market that is Etsy, there is yet some balance to be found.
So what does this mean for my customers?
Simple. Although I am keeping a closer eye on the number of eBay auctions I have in a month, I am increasing the number of items in my shop inventory on Etsy. This is a benefit - items are ready made, and can easily be stocked so that there is no fighting with other buyers over my items. Of course there will still be the issue of squeezing in time in my schedule, as before, for commission work, but this is still a boon to buyers looking for something right away at a flat price.
Further combatting the rising costs of eBay, my blog here will feature a contest each month, for one customer to receive a discount that can be applied to a purchase in either my Etsy shop or on my eBay listings. There will also be occasional sales, and yes those contest winnings can be combined with sales.
Last of all, shipping costs will continue to be kept as low as possible. Free first class shipping is still offered for purchases of $50.00 or more, and even though there will still be some things I cannot control, like the rising cost of plating on my metal parts, I can at least provide sufficient notification in advance to my customers of upcoming price increases, postal hikes, sales, and other items that may be of assistance in keeping costs down for all of us.
eBay's new policies are a minor setback, but rest assured, I can and will work around this, and hope you will be there with me as 2008 opens up to a year of promise.