ebay stock

How to Optimize eBay Stock | 2018 Fall eBay Seller Update

Angela Hoffman
November 19, 2019

In 2018, many changes eBay has made will affect your eBay business. In the ever changing eCommerce world, eBay made changes that could either make or break your livelihood. A good business person needs to roll with the punches and make lemons into lemonade. 

At this point in time, every eBay seller should take stock of their merchandise and see what will work with the new policies and what will cause problems and no longer work.

One area to look at is your stock and the inventory you’re selling. Buyers’ habits and interests have changed significantly since the early days of eBay. 

The “old eBay” started with a flea market mentality with many things that were broken, stained and generally, items with flaws were a lot more acceptable. Today, buyers no longer want nor buy items that are not in good shape and immediately usable. 

couple looking at a box

Millennials, who make up the majority of e Commerce buyers are fussy and their purchasing habits need to be considered. As a seller, you need to implement the following suggestions to have less returns and complaints regarding “items not as described”.

Organise Your eBay Inventory

As a seller, the first thing that you want to do is go through your stock and weed out anything that is not in pristine condition. Look closely at your eBay inventory and be sure you check every inch of the item you want to sell. 

Before you list an item make sure it has no flaws, buyers today don't want items that they need to work on to make it work for them. 

I have looked at some Storekeepers who want suggestions on their stores. A major problem I see is they have too many items that are listed with FLAWS. 

They might get some sales with that type of stock, but they don't get repeat sales. Repeat sales are a big part of being successful on today's eBay. 

Keep only new, slightly new or new with tags items

I am going to use clothing as an example to the points I am making, although these tips WILL WORK FOR ALMOST EVERY ITEM SOLD on eBay. This is particularly important with clothing. Used clothing is one of the items that has flooded the eBay market. 

There are millions of clothing items listed on eBay. As you go through your eBay stock, donate or sell locally, any item that is not pristine. As a goal, sellers should start stocking their stores with new, slightly used and new with tags clothing or items. 

How to find new items?

If you are selling hardware goods, look for deals on open box items, items that are being replaced by a newer model, or items that were overstocked for holiday seasons. 

woman walking by a sale sign

A good time to buy things to resell, that are “New in the Box” and sold cheaply, are Black Friday sales or equivalent Amazon's Prime sales. 

You can make a great profit reselling new items, and avoid compromising the visibility of your eBay listings because eBay has a policy that they do not even have to show your stock, if it doesn’t match the standards they have in place.

Keep up with the trends

When you go to local thrift stores, try to find clothing or hardware goods, look for high-end brands from department stores. If you are unsure of what is high-end, take a trip to your local department stores and see what is being sold. 

Note the brands these stores are selling, write their names down, see what the price points are and take pictures of these brands so you have a good idea what is stylish NOW. 

Hardware manufacturers might have changed the color of their items. A good example of this is kitchen colors. Red is being cleared out and pastels such as aqua are coming in. 

That doesn't mean the RED will not sell because many people still have their kitchens with red as a theme and it is not practical for buyers to change their kitchen colors to be in style, but keeping in mind these trends can make a world of a difference in your sales. 

Be sure and look at the classics too, whether in clothing or hardware there are always styles that are good to use for several seasons or years - these are sellable throughout the year. 

happy woman after shopping

You can find those at the seasonal clearance racks of these department stores. Take note of sales in online ads and social media, often enough, you can purchase those with discounts and coupons.   

Low end clothing and hardware from stores like Walmart and discount stores will not make you much money. The prices are usually low to begin with and are a dime a dozen on eBay. 

Those items are generally made to use temporarily because they are cheaply made. Such items may/will get you more returns so try and buy name brand items that will last longer instead. 

New eBay seller metrics

eBay has changed their seller metrics in the  2018 Fall Seller Update. Previously, IF you sold/sell something that is flawed (INAD) or not recieved (INR), you could issue a refund and move on with no penalty. 

Now, eBay’s new metrics are going to count the number of INADs and INRs you are getting in each category. There is going to be a set standard for each category. eBay calls this “peer Benchmarks”

This  standard will be based on the number of returns, counting both INR and INADs (Items Not AS Described). eBay will average all the returns from ALL Sellers from previous sales. 

The metrics will compare each category, assigning a high percentage of returns and a low percentage of returns. For example: clothing is a high return item. People try on clothing and it might not fit, they might not like the color or/and number of reasons why buyers want to return clothing.

focused woman working with laptop

A seller of clothing then could have more returns and still be above standard. The percentage of your particular sales, in each category, will be found in your Seller Hub, under the performance tab.

eBay will show you the listings that need to be improved and suggest improvements to your listings. If you go above these metrics, as a seller, you will become a “Below Standard” seller. When this happens, your FVF's (Final Evaluation Fees) will go from an average of 10% to 14%. Four percent does not seem like that much of a raise, but it is really a raise of 40%. That is a problem that could make your business unsustainable. 

The new catalog will group all similar items in one place, commonly called the “Big Box”. Price points will get more competitive with buyers gravitating toward lower prices. This change is not popular amongst sellers, understandably. It does make sense though, eBay has to pay Customer Service employees to cover the expense to resolve problems. Instead of raising the rate for all sellers, they have fairly raised it on the ones that need more support. Sellers question the validity of this “Peer  Benchmark”, standard. 

Many remorseful buyers will claim INAD to avoid responsibility for return shipping. In turn, that could raise rates for MOST Sellers. This standard will go into effect starting October 1, 2018, based on sales BEFORE June 1, 2018. 

If sellers are evaluated at BELOW standard, your listings’ placement (SEO) get placed on pages further back. This will be a great chance to use 3Dsellers eBay Listing Designer to stand out from all other sellers and keep buyers within your listings with cross product promotions within each listing. 

eBay listing templates by 3Dsellers ad repeat sales with cross promotions

Another solution to boost your listings placement is to increase your total seller feedback score. You can do that with an automated Feedback Reminder tool that sends messages to your buyers via eBay messaging system. 

You can select the preferred triggers for your messages and watch the progress live on your 3Dsellers dashboard histogram. 

Start using 3Dsellers eBay Feedback Reminder for free!

When I am shopping on eBay, I seldomly go beyond the first four pages. As a seller, having pristine stock that customers want to buy will raise you closer to the top of the listings within your categories. 

To conclude..

So, go through your eBay stock, weed out the problem stock and start to make a switch over to better inventory. Lower quality stock will result in MORE INADs. 

eBay’s standard procedure is to move sellers with stale stock to back pages. Even if you have to take a lose on some of the items you discard, you can record this lose with IRS and deduct it as a credit.   

You will be rewarded with potential repeat buyers, lower FVF's and higher rank on pages so your items are seen. 

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