Let’s cut to the chase – the “new” eBay Buy Box – or the old Amazon digital catalog structure.
This is the cutting edge new idea that will revolutionize the eBay Product Pages, in order to deal with the duplicate listings. The BILLIONS of same items that we see every day on eBay – Wayfarer sunglasses with different name, for instance, and many more products and sellers that only differentiate themselves with one thing – pricing. And eBay is trying to make a transition from a website of listings to one of products.
eBay’s CEO, Devin Wenig, even went so far as to say, “we’ve been pretty aggressive about that right now because it clutters the site and it depresses conversion.”
The fix for this is a switch to an Amazon-style digital catalog system, leveraging structured data.
The idea is to have one product (with the possibility of multiple condition or many variations) to be presented on a single screen. This way you can quickly make an informed buying decision.
By the information we have, eBay is investing significant manpower into building product pages. Here is what we are going to experience, from now on:
A live eBay “product page” for Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones
Here we have separation into three conditions of the main product – brand new, nearly new and pre-owned. Notice the numbers under the Buy It Now and all the listings that are going to be separated on the conditions of the main product.
This new product page / buy box reality is bad news for small sellers.
With almost 21 million sellers on eBay, most of them one man/woman armies, these changes mean that the buy box is going to change a lot of peoples’ businesses and some will be left behind.
If you got the buy box? Fairy tales and pink fluffy unicorns for you. What if you don’t? It’s tumbleweeds slowly blowing by.
Even though, the situation on eBay from the perspective of the customers is not ideal, the current listing-centric marketplace format provides small sellers the best opportunity to actually generate sales. The best sellers with the highest feedback, best pricing, and free shipping will get the biggest slice of the pie in terms of sales, but he/she will not get them all. A second tier seller with competitive pricing, will still get plenty of views and some sales as a result. With these sales, the small seller might make a modest income or supplement its primary one.
All of this is coming to an end, as eBay transitions to Amazon-style digital catalog with the “catchy” blue buy boxes. The future is going to be that where the highest rank seller gets all the sales. This makes the experience from the perspective of the customers clean and simple.
Of course, eBay is not going to say or release an information in regards to the small sellers of the changes. The sellers are going to have to deal with the changes in the platform and rethink their strategies.
So is this the future of eBay? Let me know in the comments down below.
I personally believe that eBay is going to adopt the best practices of Amazon and Etsy.
The majority of the mainstream product sales (phone cases, watches, sunglasses, electronics, sporting goods) on the eBay marketplace will be dominated by the small number of professional, highly-efficient, third party, multi-channel sellers. The real opportunities for small sellers – i.e. one man/woman armies, for me is to sell unique items and focus on unexplored niches. Maybe focus on second-hand goods or custom items.
Or maybe the main reason is for eBay to push their Promoted Listings, in order to play catch up with Amazon. For that subject, check out our article for more details.
No matter what happens in the future, eBay is changing and all 21 million sellers need to pay close attention to those changes and adapt.