I have been concerned for a few weeks now that the E-bay sales are not increasing by quite as much as I had hoped, given the amount of material that I am adding to my store on a daily basis. The store now stands at almost 3,500 items, in contrast to just over 900 when I started full time in July 2015. I anticipate that when all my inventory is listed there will be between 10,000 and 20,000 items listed. I started researching why the less than stellar sales growth might be happening and I found all kinds of possible explanations online, some of which I talked about in a previous post. However, there are some that are not the result of nefarious practices, and are actually quite plausible:
1. E-bay has too many listings, so the chances of my items being seen by a casual shopper is almost nil.
2. Very few of my items are coming up in best batch when a customer searches listings for "Canadian stamps".
3. Nearly all my sales are to customers doing specific searches and repeat clients.
4. Google hit e-bay hard by removing many items from organic searches in the past 2 years.
On any given day there are over 150,000 item listings for Canadian stamps. Not all of these are new listings of course. The actual number of pages though that represent new listings for just one day is generally in the neighbourhood of 100-150 pages, each containing 50 items. There is still no way in e-bay to filter by catalogue number, so someone who wants to do a general browse of all the listings for that day has to scroll through between 100 and 150 pages of listings. Easily 70% of these are post 1952 modern stamps. So a collector who is only interested in pre-1952 material has a daunting task ahead of him or her in searching the listings for the day. Consequently most don't search this way. Many will use the default best match for their searches. Those that do look at newly listed items will probably only scroll through 10-15 pages at most before giving up.
What that means for me is that it is highly unlikely that anyone casually searching through new listings is going to see my listings. Most of my traffic then will come from people organically searching either on Google, or on E-bay itself, or people visiting my store. If that is true, then all I am really on e-bay for now is an inventory management system rather than traffic generation. Most of my items are not coming up in best match because I don't offer free shipping and my prices are high relative to other sellers.
It became clear to me that it would be ill advised to continue to rely on e-bay as my sole source of traffic. So I began to research alternatives to e-bay. I wanted alternatives that would have:
- Little to no monthly fee to operate a store or to list, and
- Would allow me to import all my listings from e-bay and keep them synchronized, so that as items sold on a site, they would automatically be removed from the others.