One of the changes thrust upon us by eBay on September 24th 2008 was the introduction of the “Best Fit Policy”. This is little understood even by eBay itself. The policy was brought in to “reward” sellers who give great service and who offer incredible value for money. It was NOT brought in, repeat NOT brought in to attract high street traders or major retailers like Amazon has managed to attract, and therefore generate more income for eBay.
You will notice that some listings appear very high up in the search results, despite the fact that they may have 20 or more days to go until the end of the listing. This indicates several things.
- The seller has used the correct keywords to fit the category
- They are selling a lot of products from the listing; this moves the sellers listing even higher in the search results. Relisting a successful item also helps push the listing higher in the results.
- They are maintaining excellent customer satisfaction and do not charge excessive postage costs.
I sell some products in a very hot and competitive market. I always did well with this product but not as well as the top sellers in the category. I had always sold on BINS (buy it now). BINS then ended in chronological order. Some of my other products were sold with a featured listing; this meant that they eventually appeared on the top of the search results making their way onto the top page as the listing progressed. The featured listing costs approx £10 so that you need to sell a lot of products off one listing to make it economical.
So what happened to my listings after 24/9/08? All of the above simple ways of listings changed, now the top sellers were doing very much better than me. This was due to higher visibility of my competitors listings, my listings never got on to the first page even with featured listings. I was recently researching a market which had 8 pages of listings in the category. At the bottom of page 8 was a listing for a product that was an excellent category fit, its title was good, the photo was also good and the description excellent. No sales and only 3 views!!
So how do you get your listing seen? The only way to guarantee visibility is the auction format. This will ensure your item gets on the first page; you can also offer it with a BIN option (at the usual small additional cost). Don’t use any of the other “small cost” additional items such bold, coloured band, subtitle etc. This will cost!!
Other advice, as always look at small niche areas for less competition, you can introduce a new product into the niche using the auction format to ensure it is seen. Then follow up with a BIN when you have made some sales.
Mandy Allen says
This is really interesting, Robert. I know I am in a niche with little competition, which is great for me, and I offer better value for money than my competitors (since most of them buy from me in my shop and then sell the items on ebay!) Thank heavens I haven’t got to go through this process you describe.
Enjoy the journey.
Barry Wells says
Hi Rob, good post mate. When they changed the format “last” time i looked into why my sales had slowed down so much and found one of my listings with only 8 hrs remaining on page 56 of 78. I got onto ebay and asked why, and was fed one bad line after another until the allowance of digits was used up, (ebay restric the length of their email correspondence). I couldn’t go through the whole process again so began listing as you have described. On the auction sales pages i add a link to the fixed price listing.
Good post Rob.