eBay Tips 2008: There may be trouble ahead.

What would you do if eBay pulled the plug? It could happen. What if a change makes eBay untenable for you? What if the developments to Search and Browse, combined with a few unsavoury Feedback, mean that your items are appearing at the bottom of the pile? Just like in the Thunderbirds, anything could happen, although not necessarily in the next half hour.
The only protection from the worst lies with diversification. You can diversify the channels through which you sell. This could mean other marketplaces or building your own website. We’ll look at both in the next few days. Or you could diversify what you sell. It’s very easy, whilst everything is going swimmingly, to imagine that it’s going to keep on going swimmingly, ad infinitum. But it’s when everything’s ticketyboo that you should be planning for the lean times. So here’s Dan Droplet of Doom for today:

The bad times are just around the corner.

eBay doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Since 1999, when eBay was established in the UK, we’ve never had it so good. Thanks to the fair wind of a benign global economic situation behind us, the buoyancy of cheap consumer credit and the prudent stewardship of Captain Brown, the Brits haven’t been shy to spend for the entirety of eBay.co.uk’s life. I suspect that this will change. A useful comparison might be Germany. eBay Germany is bigger than eBay UK (but then Germany’s a bigger country) but when you break down the eBay spend by head of population, the Brits spend more. Economically, the Germans have had a harder decade than we have.

On one hand, while harder times might favour eBay (people will come looking for more bargains) equally it seems to me that it’s very likely that people will be spending less. For sellers, this means you’ll have to work that bit harder for your profits. So what I want to close of the eBay Tips 2008 series with, is information that’s not about eBay. What can you be doing to insulate yourself against over-dependence on eBay and avoid the worst of the oncoming storm?

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