The holidays are just around the corner, and eBay is preparing its sellers for the busy selling season with the debut of this year's Holiday Selling Guide.
The guide notes that sellers who offer "one of the three holiday services buyers want most" will get a boost in search results, and those offering free expedited shipping will get a discount on their final value fees. It also provides tips on what could be this year's must-have items.
eBay expects a "a record number of buyers," and has invested big in a new holiday advertising campaign to draw shoppers.
"We're investing millions to bring holiday buyers to eBay in unprecedented numbers," the company notes.
Fast and free shipping
To further encourage shoppers, eBay is emphasizing fast and free shipping. To that end, sellers are being promised a boost in Best Match for fixed-price listings if they offer either free shipping, expedited shipping with one-day handling, or a 14-day or longer return policy, the site notes. eBay calls these the "three holiday services buyers want most."
Merchants will get an incremental boosts in search for every one of these that they offer, eBay reports.
Merchants who offer free expedited shipping with one-day handling will get a 20-percent discount on their final value fees
The site will further reward sellers with lower final values fee if they offer free expedited shipping with one-day handling. These merchants will get a 20-percent discount on their final value fees from Thanksgiving through Christmas Day. The discount does not apply to sellers who have a below-standard rating or who sell in Professional Services, Classified Ads, Real Estate or on eBay Motors.
This discount is meant to "reward" sellers for "providing the service that keeps buyers on eBay for all their holiday shopping," according to eBay.
The discount may not help a lot of sellers, though, and likely won't be much of an incentive, unless sellers already offer these terms, says Auctiva Product Analyst Rebecca Miller. However, those sellers who take the incentive can possibly gain an additional advantage in sales or customer satisfaction by passing on their fee discount to buyers in the form of lower prices, she suggests.
What's hot for the holidays
eBay also offers a list of items it expects to do well during the holidays. The holiday guide predicts that some of the must-have toys for little ones will be Littlest Pet Shop Collector's Starter Pack, Dora's Explorer Girls and My Pillow Pets. Apple's iPhone 5 and iPad 2 are listed among the hot gadgets.
Among popular clothing items for men, Kenneth Cole items, Levi's jeans and wrinkle-free fitted dress shirts are expect to make a big splash this winter. For women, party dresses, Aeropostale sweaters and hoodies, and Casio watches are expected to be big.
Sellers should take note, and sooner rather than later, Miller says. "It's never too early to start looking around to see what's going to be hot."
She suggests not only looking at eBay's list, but also Googling "top Christmas gifts for 2011" and asking friends and family what they're hoping to get this year.
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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.