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End all your good til cancelled listings

By Chris Dawson January 3, 2010 - 4:24 pm

It’s almost the first Monday back at work and like many sellers I’ve been making some changes ready for the New Year. The lull between Christmas and New Year has been a great time for evaluating my business and getting organised for the future and the biggest tip I have for anyone else doing the same is to end all your good til cancelled listings

Good til cancelled (GTC) listings are for lazy people. They’re the worst listing format for keeping control of your business and the easiest way to lose control.

The big problem is that (unless you run out of stock) your listings will never ever end. You may or may not be getting sales and you probably don’t even know if you are. The chances are that your listings are way out of date and either the price is wrong or the product itself simply isn’t desirable to buyers any more.

The most shocking fact I ever heard regarding GTC listings was that there were some GTC listings over five years old on eBay UK, that had never had a sale. These were the old Shop Inventory Format GTC listings that have now been retired and rolled over into 30 day fixed price GTC.

When researching a new product or checking prices on eBay it’s not unusual to see competitors with pricing way above the norm. Now there’s a lot to be said for not being cheapest but if the average sale price is around £25 – £30 there’s not much point having a listing at the £90 – £100 price point that the product sold for when it was released a year ago. The price might have been competitive when the listing was created, but a year or so later they’re at the bottom of Best Match and unlikely to ever attract a sale.

30 Day Fixed Price listings force you to review your listings and pricing every month. If an item ends without a sale you’re prompted to ask yourself why before you simply relist it. Is it the price? The product? Have you got the wrong desciption or wrong picture? Have you deleted the picture from your webspace? Has eBay changed the categories or Item Specifics?

There are many reasons why a product might not be selling and almost always there’s an easy way to start it selling again. GTC listings hide this vital information and leave stock sitting idle on your shelf costing time and money instead of making money for you.

There is only one advantage that GTC listings have over 30 day listings, and that’s the ability to use Mark Down Manager to hold sales. Few sellers use Mark Down Manager though and if you’ve not used it in the last three months don’t use it as an excuse to keep GTC listings running.

To regain control of your listings bite the bullet and end all of your GTC listings. Any GTC listings that have had sales in the last 30 days can be relisted as Fixed Price 30 day listings and the remaining items need a spring clean.

Go through the GTC items without sales one at a time and research why they’re not sold. Use Terapeak to check average selling prices and sell through rates. For old stock, especially if you only have one or two items remaining, liquidate the stock using auction format.

All sellers are aware what’s selling and what products are making them money. What most sellers don’t know is what’s not selling and what products are costing them money.

Ending your GTC listings and changing to fixed price 30 day listings will force you to kick start your sales on items that might not have had a sale for many months. More importantly it will give you back control of your business for the future and ensure you know what’s not selling just as well as you know what is selling.

  • northumbrian
    8 years ago

    Auction only saves all this palaver 😀

  • 8 years ago

    I keep hearing that you should & shouldn’t have GTC listings so I am confused about it!!!

    Ebay is no longer our main source of income and we just have a small amount listed but want to extend it more now we have been back on for a year.

    I thought GTC listings will help with best match, so where I have something that we keep selling and selling I just keep it running and top it up if needs be, is this not the right thing to do?

    • 8 years ago

      GTC helps no more in Best Match than a 30 day listing relisted. The Recent Sales value is only carried over on the first relist so at most it’s valid for 60 days regardless of format.

  • Gary
    8 years ago

    I would accept that monitoring of what is selling and what is not is important. And having a sales timeframe is equally important. I’m not too sure about this strategy and its application for those who sell one off collectables and those who encourage combined basket style multiple purchases. What I find is that as long as you keep adding stock then ultimately a basket of multiple items are purchased that include items that are months old. It is overall more cost effective for the customer to do this than to shop around and purchase the same items from several different sellers and at the same time making several shipping payments. GTC does reduce admin (IMO). If something does not sell in your given sales timeframe and you want to shift it simply reduce the price! The strategy of ending GTC listings implies a 30 day maximum sales timeframe and this for many may be too short.

  • jimbo
    8 years ago

    I’m lazy and think GTC is the best format. I keep a tab on non moving stock by running reports through sage.

  • uk-vendor
    8 years ago

    There’s nothing wrong with GTC listings, when we were on Marketworks we would monitor sales every month and clear slow selling lines using Markdown Manager which worked really well for us.
    Now we have moved on to ChannelAdvisor we are restricted to 30 day listings only, so no Markdown Manager because of the UK law stating that items must have been on sale for at least 30 days at the higher price.
    C.A. did say they would look at bringing in GTC this year.

  • 8 years ago

    All our listings are GTC & yes we’ve had some single unit items listed for 3-4yrs, as we sell VW parts, its finding the buyer for some rare/obscure parts.

    Previously we’ve even listed these on a 99p start auction without any success, so GTC they’re to stay until sold

    • 8 years ago

      Wouldn’t you be better having a website for these instead? It would be cheaper and if the parts are that rare people are going to be searching the internet as well as ebay?

    • 8 years ago

      Yes, we have them on our website & partspool.com

    • 8 years ago

      Shame you don’t sell Ford Ranger parts – just had to buy a starter motor for mine 🙁

      (I did look at your listings just in case though :-))

  • Sherry B
    8 years ago

    Actually there’s a very good reason and simple reason not to use GTC. GTC listings don’t show up in searches for new listings. I find that I often sell items have been sitting around for a month the first day after I relist it. I’d say this happens 3 – 5 times a week, so it’s definitely worth the 10 seconds of my time it takes to relist.

  • 8 years ago

    Like Jimbo I am lazy.

    If an item doesnt sell on a 30 day listing, you change title and price and relist, is it classed as a new listing and will it get a boost in search? or did I read somewhere they have done away with boosting new listings?

    • 8 years ago

      I did read that on eBay.com (I think!) that new listings would receive a certain amount of impressions in search as otherwise they’d never surface, but I’ve heard nothing to suggest it applies to the UK site apart from anecdotal evidence from some sellers that it appears to have an effect.

      Would suggest trial and error testing…

  • Alan
    8 years ago

    This is one idea which I can’t agree with. I have around 700 listings on gtc and ‘top of my head’ there is possibly 100 or so without a sale or only one sale over the last year, and yes there are probably a handful without sales for over a year.
    I reckon on a year without a sale is acceptable (60 pence).
    I am intending to go through my slow or non sellers and weed them out or revise accordingly but I will still keep everything on GTC. If you download your sales and export to excel you can see what is selling or not as the case may be.

    • 8 years ago

      I think the problem is Alan that many sellers *don’t* download their listings or analyse what’s selling and what’s not. Also it’s very easy to browse a list of items and think everything is in order, but it’s only when you open each listing individually one by one that you discover things like missing or blurred pictures which might be the reason the item isn’t selling.

      Even if you end all your GTC listings and relaunch them the act of physically examining each and every one, one by one, will force you to assess why it’s not sold.

      If you have lots of unique items the argument is different, but for listings with multiple quantities those products are taking up valuable shelf space and need to be sold, liquidated or worst case disposed of.

      The start of the new year is a good time to check over every item and decide if it still deserves space on your racking or if it’s simply costing you storage space for no profit 😉

  • 8 years ago

    We sell antiques.

    So this policy would not work as we have a wide stock base.

    And sell out of that stock base.

    Mark 🙂

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