Earlier this month, Facebook introduced the "Facebook Marketplace"
Naturally, whenever the collecting community hears of another sales venue, their first reaction is "can I buy/sell cards there?" and "How do I get started?"
Those were my first thoughts anyway. But, then I got to thinking...do I really need ANOTHER sales channel to have to keep track of?
How many sales venues do we need?
In the current day of buying and selling cards,
it has never been easier to find a venue to sell your card collection.
Whether you are buying to keep up with your favorite player or team, buying to flip,
or just selling to get out of the hobby altogether, there's a site that can help you do that.
But, why do we need so many? The answer to that is pretty simple...because there isn't ONE site that fits everyone's needs.
It seems that every card selling site has a few things going for it, but also have a lot of downside. So, I've decided to
make a list of pros and cons to see which selling site suits me (and you) the best. I'll explore each one with its own post.
There's no doubt that when it comes to selling cards eBay is almost mandatory, especially for entry level sellers.
eBay has the most web traffic and has become a one-stop shop for sellers based on the fact that you can sell cards,
collect payment and process shipments all within your eBay selling account. Buying cards is pretty easy too.
If you're a flipper it makes sense to do all of your buying and selling within the eBay platform,
especially if you are trying to rack up some feedback. This also comes in handy, as purchases made through your PayPal account count as
expenses which are deducted from your income. That is, if you are including PayPal revenue as part of filing your income taxes every year.
The main drawback to eBay is the fee structure.
It has been dubbed "feeBay" by the card community, mainly for the fact that payments must be collected through PayPal.
In order to sell one card through a store listing you'll pay 3 fees through eBay (store, listing, final value) and 2 fees through
PayPal (30 cents plus 2.9%). That's 5 fees to sell one card! eBay desperately needs a subscription style
selling account. I suggest something along the lines of Amazon Prime...$365 a year or $35 a month. No tiers, no contracts. You're in or you're out.
Pay additional $4.99 a month for picture hosting and $9.99 a month for PayPal. In total, eBay would be collecting $50 a month, while at the same time luring back
the people that helped grow eBay in the first place.
Watch the sellers come back in droves and PAY to have eBay database their pictures of the world's
most sought after collectibles. It's a win/win for everyone.
Clearly, I may be over-thinking the whole process but the bottom line is that eBay needs to act fast and get back in touch with the sports card sellers. eBay needs to embrace the idea that sellers want to cultivate a customer base and then funnel traffic through eBay to their own personal site. How about a third party affiliate program? If you click through eBay to a sellers personal website eBay collects a portion of the revenue...and Paypal fees! I know it's just another copy cat idea that Amazon already has in place, but it's a way to capture revenue from something that's already happening anyway.
Or...how about a tool kit that will help sellers customize and grow their eBay business? I know this too has been tried before and is currently in place with several third party apps, but why doesn't eBay integrate it within their own site? This idea could be explored for hours upon hours, so I won't even open this door the rest of the way. The point is this...eBay has a lot to learn going forward. They have done nothing to lure back their big sellers. They have done little to nothing to attract new sellers. They have spent the last several years copying Amazon and playing catch-up. The problem with that is that Amazon has now completely left eBay in the dust and is constantly 10 steps ahead. You can't be a leader is you're too busy being a follower. I feel like eBay has pretty much given up on competing, given up on inovating and is throwing out the life rafts just to keep the ship afloat. I got out about a year ago. I would go back in a heartbeat (I'm sure others would too) with some adjustments to eBay's current business model.
PRO: High customer traffic level
PRO: Great for every level of seller from entry level to pro.
PRO: All-In-One (list, sell, ship, get paid)
PRO: Use the money in your PayPal account to buy more cards, while earning tax deductions.
PRO: Feedback system helps establish seller credibility
CON: Fees are way too high!
CON: You HAVE to collect payment through PayPal (Selling $1 card is 33% fee)
CON: There is no search placement "equality". It's a free-for-all hoping buyers find you.
CON: It's a virtual dumping ground for case breakers or "MOJO" sellers.
CON: eBay protects the buyer more than the seller (hey eBay...without sellers, there will be NO buyers)
CON: There is no "unlimited" selling account. If you want sellers to really produce they should believe they are limitless, not throttled.
Compare eBay to the "Las Vegas Strip", as far as real estate is concerned. It's a prime location and it gets a lot of traffic,
but you are paying heavily for every bit of it.
eBay needs to wake up and get back to supporting the community that helped it grow.
As of this posting, there are 20 million listings for "sports cards". The top 10 sellers probably account for 60% of those listings,
maybe more. That doesn't leave much room for the "regular Joe" to operate. If you pay for a store and post 1,000 listings, you're sure to get washed out by the
millions of existing listings especially given the ever-changing algorithms for search result placement.
I don't understand why eBay doesn't offer free listings for everyone, just like Amazon.
I know it takes up quite a bit of server space and ultimately the fear is that the quality of listings may go down,
but if you want to stay competitive in the e-commerce world, you need to do something...and a good place to start is by winning back some of the hobby's big-time
sellers, who are all headed over to Beckett Marketplace as we speak. eBay expected sellers to grow along with their fee structure and tighter listing restrictions,
but it had the opposite effect.
Instead, the higher fees drove many sellers to find other avenues that are more "seller friendly" and "budget friendly". Now, what mostly remains are sellers who
are dumping product onto the market for pennies on the dollar. That spoils it for everyone else by setting the bar too low and simultaneously cuts out the
high and low end of the market.