eBay sales falling off a cliff

As eBay design and optimisation experts, it is our job to gauge the temperature of the online marketplace and recommend solutions to help our sellers sell more. With 29 million customers using eBay’s UK platform every month, an increase of 5 million on pre-pandemic levels, eBay is “red hot” at the moment. However, not all sellers are enjoying an uptick in sales. Many eBay sellers have been telling us recently, “My eBay sales have fallen off a cliff.”

This comment set off alarm bells at Frooition HQ. So what’s going on with eBay?

Why have my eBay sales declined?

Initially, we thought the pandemic was to blame. As high street stores closed their doors during the lockdown, many only retailers enjoyed an incredibly buoyant period. So could eBay sales just be returning to their pre-pandemic levels as the high street reopened to customers? But as we dug deeper into their sales figures, it became clear for many sellers this decline in sales went beyond the peaks and troughs of, albeit an unusual, trading period.

In some cases, it was almost as if listings had disappeared entirely from the marketplace.

While we researched the problem, we reached out to other experts in the field, who confirmed that they had heard a similar story from many of their clients. After putting our collective heads together, we all came to the same conclusion. This wasn’t a problem with eBay. It was a problem with the sellers’ listings.

How to revitalise your eBay sales

There are three routes eBay sellers should take if they are experiencing a rapid decline in sales. These include organic listing optimisation (think SEO for eBay), paid promotion, and conversion enhancement.

Nobody wants to hear this, but on a fluid and highly competitive marketplace like eBay, regular listing optimisation is essential if you want to stay ahead of the game.

eBay listing optimisation starts with staying up to date with eBay’s regular seller updates. Unfortunately, we know that many sellers read these updates but fail to act on them. As a result, once successful listings are often left to wither on the vine.

The first challenge is to make sure your listings are optimised for search.

Listing optimisation can mean many different things, depending on the categories you are selling. At Frooition, we will always recommend that you:

  • Write detailed product titles
  • Carefully include all relevant item specifics relating to your product
  • Use high-quality images — and the optimum number of images will vary depending on which category you are selling in
  • Include MPNs, EANs, or ISBNs where available
  • Include international shipping options
  • Offer expedited shipping options, which may include third-party fulfilment from organisations like Orange Connex.

eBay Promoted Listings

This is important. If you only do one thing after reading this blog post – DO THIS!!!

During their Q2 earnings report, eBay highlighted the fact that 250 million listings (approximately 16% of all listings) had been promoted using eBay Promoted Listings. While this is still a relatively small number, promoted listings are undoubtedly pushing standard listings further down in eBay search.

Yes – this means you may have to pay a little more to get your listings seen by the buying public. In many ways, it brings eBay into line with many other eCommerce marketing channels, like paid search or comparison shopping. But it’s not all bad news.

At this early stage in the game, the cost per click is still relatively low. Seriously, we are talking pennies rather than pounds. If you’ve ever experimented with paid search on Google, you’ll understand how good value eBay promoted listings are when compared with other paid channels.

Now is the time to experiment with eBay Promoted Listings and make the mistakes you might not be able to afford as the channel matures. This will almost certainly give you a clear advantage over competitors who delay in adopting promoted listings.

We recommend you experiment with both Cost Per Click (CPC) and Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) models to determine what works best for your products.

As with any paid promotion, it’s essential to carefully monitor how eBay Promoted Listings work for individual products and categories. If you haven’t got the margin in a product, promoted listings might not work for you. This highlights the most important aspect of selling on eBay or anywhere else. The price you source products at is as important as the price you sell them.

Conversion Enhancers

Once buyers have landed on your listings, you’ve only won half the battle. You need to persuade them to stick around and commit to making a purchase.

There are several levers sellers can pull to optimise their conversions, including:

  • Professional branding and design lead to greater customer trust. This is particularly true if you have a recognisable brand. Even if you don’t have a recognisable brand, professional branding can be your first step on a much longer multichannel journey.
  • Video is a great conversion enhancer. Our clients tell us they typically see a 15-30% increase in sales from listings that include video.
  • Dynamic Cross Promotion gives you a second bite of the cherry when a customer lands on a product that might not be the perfect fit. In addition, highlighting other listings in your eBay shop helps keep people in your listings and out of the competitive environment of eBay search.

What is Frooition doing to make selling on eBay easier?

Because optimisation is at the heart of everything we do at Frooition, we are currently working on several projects to help sellers manage all aspects of the eBay optimisation journey.

In the coming months, we’ll be announcing several new features designed to make optimising your eBay listings a little bit easier. In the meantime, beta test our optimisation tools with a one-to-one, expert-led eBay listing health check.

For your eBay listings health check, please book a free appointment here.

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