Ask Dan: What percentage of my listings should sell?

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Whirly asked: At what level would you deem an ebay business to be failing or in need of change or successful in terms of sold and unsold items, for example:
Ended listings in last 60 days: Sold : 10; Unsold : 40
Based on your experience, is there a level you should be achieving,, 50/50 70/30 ?? or at the end of the day doesn’t it matter as long as you are making a profit.

To my mind the question has the wrong focus. Conversion (the number of items you list that sell) and take rate (the percentage of turnover paid to eBay/PayPal) are hugely variable across the eBay site. There aren’t any neat answers as to what’s good or bad. But since you ask, it’s worth suggesting some general principles:

  • You want to sell as many of the items you list as is possible.
  • You want to pay eBay/Paypal as little as possible. (And Mountie is the expert on that!)

The nub of this question is really about profitability. A seller can list a fair few high value items consistently over a few months, not sell a thing, pay a whack in fees and then make a single sale and be profitable. Equally, another seller could list thousands of items, sell them all, pay a low percentage in fees and still lose money.

The bottom line is, to state the obvious, the bottom line. Your conversion rate and take rate are personal to you and they are just numbers you’ll need to inform your decisions because they help you assess profitability. This is business. Profit is sanity. Everything else is vanity.

If you have questions for Dan, post them in our forum.