Small Business 2.0 on Saturday was well attended by eBay sellers and sessions focusing on ecommerce (such as James Scott from Channel Advisor and Matthew Henderson from Amazon ) drew big crowds.
Regarding eBay, two things stand out for me:
1) 1 in 5 visits to Post Offices are eBay-related. This reminded me of my long-held theory that Royal Mail makes more from eBay than eBay Inc. do. Any evidence would be most welcome!
2) eBay UK announced that DVD listings would be required to offer free P&P.
Of course, ‘free P&P’ means no such thing. The costs of carriage are simply rolled into the selling price. As a buyer, I’m seriously in favour of this policy change: I have paid over the odds for DVD postage more often than I care to remember. I appreciate that packing materials cost money and it’s legitimate to charge some handling costs, but I suspect for many DVD sellers P&P was a serious profit centre and that’s not on.
Equally, I should have sought out cheaper P&P but doing that was so time consuming and cumbersome that it hardly seemed the effort. Such is the value and convenience of Amazon Prime, I’ve been heading to the river for my ‘Dick van Dykes’. As a seller, I am concerned that this change is going to take a helluva lot of effort to accommodate. Amending hundreds, if not thousands, of listings is very time-consuming.
But as an observer of eBay, this change is absolutely fascinating. It is a startlingly interventionist move and I have struggled, and failed, to think of an example of eBay dictating seller practices quite so boldly. It’s also another change made in favour of improving the buying experience and the message is clear and should be taken on board by sellers in every category: eBay is saying ‘buyers prefer seeing one price, the price they pay.â€ DVDs may be the first category to require free P&P but I wager it won’t be the last.