Thursday, March 12, 2009

eBay Analyst Day - Any news for Vintage sellers?

I spent a good chunk of the day yesterday checking in on the live coverage of eBay's Analyst Day on Twitter - @ebayinkblog and @scotwingo kept us all up to date, and the commentary from everyone else who was following the meeting was interesting, to say the least.

There are a lot of other bloggers out there who are covering the event, so I won't go into a bunch of details here. (I'll include links to all of their excellent coverage at the end of this post.) What I want to talk about are the few bits that I took away from it all as applying to Vintage, Antique and Collectible sellers.

1. eBay has a plan and they are sticking to it.

Those of you who are wishing for a return to eBay Classic, or a split of fixed price from auctions, or any other idea that harkens back to the good 'ol days of eBay - just give it up right now. They are on plan and they are determined to see it through to the end - which appears to be 2011. So expect the next 3 years to be full of changes and uncertainty.

2. eBay wants to focus on the "Secondary Market".

This bit actually got my hopes up at first - us Vintage sellers are all about the secondary market. But then I saw this chart, courtesy of Scot Wingo:

Now I don't really understand most of what this chart is saying, but I can see how the size of the "Collectible Vintage Pre-Owned" circle compares to the size of the "Outlet and Liquidation" circle. I actually read a quote somewhere yesterday that basically said - eBay started out with people cleaning out their attics and garages to find stuff to sell on eBay, and the next step is people cleaning out their warehouses to find stuff to sell on eBay.

In my mind this shift is pretty significant - it's a shift from the mom and pop seller to the bigger business seller, and from unique items to the overstock retail type of item.

I hear you out there saying "DUH Mitzi, the writing has been on the wall for a long time on that point!" - I agree, but this is the first time I've seen a chart issued by eBay illustrating it.

There is a small bit of hope to be had though - first and foremost we are on the chart, even if we are just a small section down in the corner, and eBay does see the Vintage and Pre-Owned market as having the ability to increase from where it stands today. So they haven't counted us out completely - and rightly so!

3. Auctions are on the decline.

Again another handy chart - this one breaks down all the different ways that eBay generates revenue on the site. In 2005 it was all about the Auctions, 2008 sees an even split between auctions and fixed price, and 2011 sees fixed price overtaking auctions, and "other formats" - classifieds and advertising, basically - being equal to auctions.

Again, the writing is on the wall - auctions are a diminishing piece of the pie. While I am happy that auctions are even ON the chart for 2011 (no need to worry about them disappearing altogether), it's pretty obvious that eBay is keeping them around as more of a token than something they really see as a money maker, or something to focus their energy on.

I wonder about the logic of pushing to the side exactly the format that made eBay popular - auctions. Seems kind of counter-intuitive to me.

I also wonder about the logic of increasing advertising on the site - you would think eBay would prefer keeping buyers spending money on its own site, with its own sellers, instead of sending them off eBay to buy. They seem committed to it though, in a fast buck kind of way - so sellers are going to have to deal with it whether we like it or not. It would be nice if eBay would at least lower fees - we shouldn't be paying so much for eBay to try send our potential buyers elsewhere from listings that we pay for.

Conclusion:

While there were no earth-shattering revelations revealed yesterday, I think there were enough points thrown out there for those of us who sell Vintage to take notice. So I'll send you to the blogs that are doing more in-depth coverage of the meeting so you can all the info in a much more detailed way:

Scot Wingo from Channel Advisor

Richard Brewer-Hay from eBay INK

TameBay

AuctionBytes

The Brews News

As always your comments are most welcome - did you follow eBay Analyst Day? What did you think?

6 comments:

TheBrewsNews said...

I agree with you that there were no earth-shattering revelations. I saw it as nothing more than a cheerleading session for PayPal.

Katie said...

I saw a blurb on CNBC this morning about Ebay. When I heard 'outlet and liquidation', I gagged. I'm not a seller there, nor have I ever been. Just a buyer, but rarely visit the site anymore.

Northwest Sellers said...

I didn't follow along yesterday but as a long time Antique and Collectibles dealer I can tell you Ebay is NOT the way to sell these items. Between the fraud that is allowed to happen from international bidders, the flea market/garage sale junk and the ignorant sellers who undervalue their antiques, Ebay will not last in this market. It is best that they focus on the liquidation and overstocks secondary market. It is a wise decision for them and will be better for the antique market in the long run. In fact, I've already seen this shift happening for awhile now.

Mitzi said...

Thanks for your comments everyone!

Brews - I kind of felt that way too, like downplay the bad of eBay and tout the good of PayPal.

Katie - You crack me up, it is a bit gag inducing! lol

Northwest Sellers - You make a great point. Prices are going down on eBay and have been for a while now, while sites like Tias and Ruby Lane and GoAntiques offer up a lot of the same items at much higher prices. The only difference is the traffic - but if enough sellers migrate away from eBay to these other sites, the buyers will probably follow!

Laurie said...

I didn't follow, so thank you for posting that info.

My vintage eBay sales are down this week.

DramaKate said...

This is another great article: http://3rdpoblogs.com/colderice/2009/03/16/i-am-mad-as-hell-a-must-read-report-how-to-fix-ebay/