Public comments by eBay executives earlier this week fueled speculation about a move to a free listing model.
eBay would not officially confirm such a plan is in the works. Nevertheless, separate statements by top eBay personnel seemed to indicate that the online auction giant this year will significantly overhaul its pricing structure. Currently eBay charges sellers a fee when they list their items and takes a percentage cut after the sale, based on actual selling prices.
Speaking Wednesday at the Spring eCommerce Summit in New Orleans, Lorrie Norrington, head of eBay's global marketplaces operation, suggested more changes to eBay's fee structure are in the pipeline. The Spring eCommerce Summit is hosted by the Professional eBay Sellers Alliance (PESA).
"Over the coming months we'll be making more price changes that will improve the economics of selling on eBay," Norrington told the PESA gathering. "Expect to see more success-based pricing, category specific pricing and financial rewards for those sellers who are creating great buyer experiences."
That declaration came two days after a similar message was heard from Jody Ford, director of seller proposition at eBay. During a workshop at the Catalyst U.K. conference, Ford announced eBay is heading toward a pricing structure that would do away with insertion fees, according to a well known eBay blogger, who attended the event.
"Having already reduced [fees] in January this year, they are looking toward a pricing structure which would include free insertion fees to enable sellers to list all of their inventory on the site," reported TameBay's Chris Dawson, blogging live from the Catalyst event in London. "There are no timescales, but free insertion fees are definitely on the agenda for some products/categories/listing formats."
A spokesman for eBay downplayed the "free" aspect, however. eBay is "planning to further rebalance pricing, shifting risk away from sellers and onto eBay," said Usher Lieberman, senior manager of corporate communications, in an e-mail to Auctiva's editorial staff. "What that means is we are looking to lower insertion fees and raise our final value (or commission) fees."
A fee reduction that took effect in February has already slashed insertion fees for most product categories and increased the commission eBay takes from the final selling price.
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.