A Closer Look at eBay Stores

Is an eBay Store subscription right for your business?

by Sarah Brown
- May 31, 2013

eBay recently released its 2013 Spring Seller Update, and the hot topic for this announcement was a slate of new fees for eBay Store subscribers.

The biggest news was that stores sellers would now get up to 2,500 free insertions a month, depending on subscription level. But changes to monthly subscription fees and final value fees left many sellers wondering if, when all is said and done, eBay Stores are worth the cost.

Stores are best suited for sellers who are committed to keeping active listings and building a reputation. Kat Simpson, an e-commerce expert and eBay education specialist, says everyone who wants to brand themselves should own an eBay Store.

"eBay is supreme in allowing us to brand ourselves and have an identity," she said recently on eBay Radio.

eBay Stores include a home page, and custom headers and logos on each listing. Stores also include marketing and promotional features, including free newsletters and traffic reports, which alone could cost sellers $100 or more outside of eBay.

eBay Stores include a home page, custom headers and logos, and marketing features, which alone could cost sellers $100 or more outside of eBay

With all the time spent trying to promote our stores on sites like Twitter and Facebook, the best way to know how well it's paid off is by using a traffic report, Simpson says.

"You might be actually spending time and money on a source for eyeballs that aren't even returning anything to you," she adds.

Here, we look at eBay Store options based on the new store fee setup, which went into effect May 1. Please note that eBay likes to add exceptions to its rules. Some categories (i.e., books and DVDs) have lower listing fees, while others (i.e., heavy equipment and real estate) have higher insertion and final value fees.

Also, with a store membership, final value fees vary based on category. Check out eBay's fee comparison sheet to determine the final value fees in each category. If you've made it to Top-rated Seller status, you get a 20-percent discount on standard and store membership final value fees. Note that final value fees will never exceed $250.

There are several factors involved to determine whether a store subscription is a good idea for your business. The following options described below give a general guideline to help you understand what you need to account for before you commit.

Standard membership

First, there's a standard membership, which means you do not have an eBay Store. Every month, your first 50 listings—whether fixed-price or auction style—do not require an insertion fee. Any listings beyond that will cost 30 cents.

When you sell something, you pay a 10-percent final value fee on the total sales value (sale price plus shipping price). If you sell a stuffed animal for $10 plus $7 shipping, eBay's take is $1.70. If your guitar sells for $2,500 plus $40 shipping, eBay gets $250.

Standard membership is best for sellers who expect to post 50 listings or less a month and won't maintain a regular presence. These are the sellers who are just starting out on eBay or trying to earn some extra cash.

The 3 store options

The Basic Store costs $16 to $20 per month, depending on whether you pay month to month or commit to a yearlong membership. You can post up to 150 free listings (fixed-price or auction style) every month, and pay 20 cents to 25 cents per listing thereafter.

Final value fees range from 4 percent to 9 percent, depending on the category your items are listed in. If you sell and ship your stuffed animal for $17, eBay takes $1.53 and what's left to you almost pays for your membership. That $2,540 guitar sale will cost you $177.80.

Sellers should consider the volume of their monthly listings and projected gross income in order to realize the best store option

This store might be best for sellers who are committed to regularly posting as many as 150 listings each month and want to establish their brands. Consider that you want to bring in at least $16 to $20 a month to cover your membership fee, plus eBay's final value fees and enough to cover other fees associated with online selling, like shipping.

The Premium Store costs $50 to $60 per month. You can post up to 500 free listings each month and pay 10 cents to 15 cents per listing beyond that. As with the Basic Store, final value fees range between 4 percent and 9 percent.

This store might be best for sellers who are experienced with eBay sales and know how to work the system for the best deal. They post as many as 500 listings a month in a niche with moderate to high demand. They sell either a lot of $10 stuffed animals, several iPads or one fabulous guitar a month to cover their costs and still have a little leftover for the piggy bank.

The Anchor Store costs $180 to $200 per month. You can post up to 2,500 free listings a month and pay 5 cents to 10 cents per listing thereafter. Again, final value fees for different categories range between 4 percent and 9 percent.

This store is best suited to large-scale companies or full-time entrepreneurs who can guarantee a rough minimum of $250 sales every month just to cover eBay and PayPal fees.

Sellers should consider the volume of their monthly listings and accurately manage projected gross income in order to realize the best store option. eBay provides a fee illustrator to help you determine which store subscription is best for your business.

A few words

Since eBay announced its upcoming store fee changes, new and long-term sellers have been expressing frustrations in a related forum.

Sellers like f_corradi find the new standard fees will increase his rates up to 158 percent because he sells high-value items. Another seller, ccoorryy, lists 5,700 baseball cards and other collectibles a month. Even with an Anchor Store, he says, the increased rates would outpace the number of items he actually sells each month, and he believes his eBay days have come to an end.

If you choose to open an eBay Store or have one already, you may want to check out this Webinar with Simpson. She'll show you how to do a little spring cleaning to freshen up your store.

What has been your experience with your eBay Store and sales? Do you take advantage of all the tools stores afford eBay sellers? Share your insights so we can better understand how different item values affect eBay fees.

About the Author

Sarah Brown is a freelance writer who writes about e-commerce and small businesses. She recently graduated from Chico State with a journalism degree and is also a budding online entrepreneur, having launched two Web businesses and her own line of handmade products.

Opinions expressed here may not be shared by Auctiva Corp. and/or its principals.

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