Experiencing a slow down in sales?

Online store owners and eBay sellers often attribute slowing sales to a change in the market or on eBay, a change in the Best Match algorithm, category structure or something else on the eBay platform.

Hardly ever do sellers suspect a competitor or that actually, their product range is losing appeal or is losing price competitiveness.  

Don’t leave it to guesswork.  Here are some tips on how to use ShelfTrend to narrow down the potential causes for your sales drop and get you on your way for a faster recovery of sales.

Is it me or is everyone else experiencing a drop in sales as well?

This is a great starting point for investigation. So let’s get this out of the way, if not for comfort, then clarity.

1 If you already know your competitor on eBay, run a Recent Sales Report with their seller ID.  Go into chart view to get a big picture perspective on sales over the last 30 days.  Are they also experiencing a bit of a downturn?  Don’t just look up one competitor, look up a few.

2 Run a Recent Sales Report for the core categories you sell in.  Systematically run reports for each category and again, go into chart view to get a big picture perspective on sales over the last 30 days.  Are any of those categories also experiencing weak sales? 

 3 Run a Recent Sales Report for the products or product types that drive most of your revenue.  And again, is this collection of comparable product listings also seeing softness in sales? 

Data shows that I am not keeping up with a competitor or the market.  What now?

The good news is that there is still demand in the market.  The bad news is that buyers are choosing your competitor over you.  There are usually four reasons for this:

1 You’re not being found on eBay.  Buyers are not even considering your products because they don’t even know it’s out there.  To be found, you need to be using the most popular and accurate keywords.  On top of that, you need to rank well in search results which is a multitude of factors dependent on buyer demand signals, your seller standards score and whether your listing is presenting well and at the best price.

 Assuming you’re being found, the buyer is still not choosing you.  Then,

2 You are too expensive.  Someone has a better offer – either by price or bundle.

3 Your product is not what the buyer is looking for.  Someone’s product has a more desirable feature than yours.

4 Your listings are not presenting well.  There is something about your listing or reputation that is putting off the buyer.

Run a Top 500 Live Listings Report for your categories or products.  These are the listings that buyers are comparing yours to.  How do you rank?  How is your pricing and offer?  What product features stand out – especially in the top 50 and top 100, which is page 1 and 2 in Search Results?

By being more familiar with the products and listings that are being merchandised alongside your products, will give you more clarity about why buyers could be choosing to buy from others rather than from you.

There is an overall laggard of sales in the market that is affecting everyone.  What now? 

1 Check out what your competitor is doing.  Run a Top 500 Live Listings Report and a New Listings Report for you competitor.  Are they diversifying and expanding into other categories?  Have they invested in other products?  Have they dropped their prices?  They may have also noticed the slow down and could be busily preparing their next play.

2 Is the market shrinking on eBay?  To really assess this properly, you will need to monitor the situation long term.  Start with reviewing sales data on a week by week basis. 

There could be short stints where it could resemble a rebound in sales, but after watching the market for 8 weeks, is the trajectory still turning downward?  If so, there could be bigger issue causing the market to adjust, like a big vertical play in your category that could be taking buyers away from eBay altogether.

 3 Consider other markets.  Regardless of the reasons behind an overall market slow down, you have inventory to sell where you want to retain as much margin as possible.  It is time to consider other eBay markets.  A slow down in your home country may not be reflected in others. 

Run a Recent Sales Reports for your category or product for some of the other eBay countries that you think you can ship to affordably.  If they are still experiencing sales growth, it may be worth investigating the shipping costs and procedures required to sell into that market.

 

It is important to be vigilant about any sales slowdowns. 

Although sometimes it is a temporary rough patch, it could also be a sign of something bigger.  Start with troubleshooting business health to recapture sales but also looking broader for any indication that the market is shifting – which would have a bigger impact on your business long term.

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