eBay to Share Inventory Data With Merchants

Top sellers can see what items are in demand, low supply.

by Auctiva.com staff writer
- Oct 30, 2008

eBay has launched a microsite that gives its highest rated sellers insight into which items are in highest demand—and how much supply exists on eBay.

The eBay In Demand program is being touted as another way for PowerSellers to earn fee discounts by listing specific SKUs that are the most sought after by buyers. In effect, the program will help eBay fill inventory gaps to be more competitive with sites like Amazon.

While the move is a sign that eBay has heard its merchants' cries for more transparency, many feel the program is too limited in scope to be of real benefit. And it sidesteps calls for a fee structure that's more closely aligned with the actual products.

"I'm not sure sellers will be able to react quickly enough to get much out of this program, unless they already have items from the In Demand list in their inventory," says Jeff Schlicht, Chief Executive of Auctiva, eBay's largest certified third-party developer. "I appreciate the effort eBay is making, but it isn't a broad enough move toward item-level pricing."

Initially available to approximately 6,000 beta users, the program is expected to open up in late November to all "qualified" users—gold-level PowerSellers with 30-day Detailed Seller Ratings of 4.8 or better. eBay Ink blogger Richard Brewer-Hay estimates the potential pool to be more than 60,000 users.

Qualified sellers who sign up for the program will be able to search the database by category to find out how many units of a specific item are currently listed on eBay. eBay says the In Demand site will encompass more than 700 products from categories including Home & Garden, Sporting Goods, Clothing, Shoes & Accessories, Media, Toys and Consumer Electronics.

Search results will indicate whether an item qualifies for a fee discount, though an item's eligibility can change in real time as inventory levels fluctuate. According to eBay, insertion-fee discounts will be credited at the time of listing; final-value-fee discounts will be applied after an item sells—as long as the item is still on the most-wanted list.

eBay has not disclosed the discount amounts.

About the Author

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.

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