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Will eBay force sellers to use eBay GTC and scrap short listing durations?

By Chris Dawson February 21, 2019 - 10:00 am

eBay may be about to force all force all sellers to use eBay GTC instead of short duration listings. Sellers in Australia have started to notice that 3, 5, 7, 10 and 30 day fixed price listings are no longer available and, unless they list in auction format, the only remaining option is eBay GTC (Good til Cancelled)

There is a note hidden away on the eBay Australia Seller Centre explaining the new policy but nothing on the eBay Australia announcement board.

“From 19 February 2019, we’re moving all fixed-price listings to Good ‘Til Cancelled. This means short-duration options will no longer be available for new fixed-price listings. This is to create a better shopping experience, retain sales history, and secure more of what your buyers love on-site.”
– eBay Australia

Auction style listings on eBay Australia can still be listed with a choice of 1, 3, 5, 7 and 10 day durations. The strategy could drive sellers to list auctions with high prices that won’t really be auctions and may only ever get a single bid – effectively a Buy It Now with a wait to win the item. Sellers could of course add immediate purchase to short duration auctions which generally involves an additional AUS$0.50 fee so won’t be an attractive option.

Why do sellers like short duration and 30 day non eBay GTC formats?

Whilst we acknowledge eBay’s benefits for sellers such as the retention of sales history, there are a number of issues here which sellers won’t like, not least of which is that eBay GTC listings will continue to automatically renew every 30 days and incur a fee each time that they do so. We also know of sellers who prefer shorter duration as newly listed items do appear to get a boost in eBay search. Sellers who continually relist shorter duration listings aren’t worrying about listing fees as they can essentially be free with eBay shop subscription.

Other sellers prefer listings that end as when they relist they can keep a check on sales, for instance has the picture gone missing, or is there another reason a listing fails to attract sales – They may even use the 30 day format, just not eBay GTC. Having listings end, it gives an opportunity to periodically review them and check pricing and other listing details – if a listing never ends there is no reminder to review them and find out why they aren’t selling.

eBay told us they don’t like eBay GTC listings that run forever

It’s worth remembering that almost four years ago to the day (March 5th 2015) eBay told UK sellers that they would be fined 10p every time an eBay GTC listing renewed without a sale in the preceding 18 months. Due to seller outrage, the fines were eventually scrapped before they kicked in, but eBay still spent a ton of time tidying up the site and ending aged listings without a sale. They clutter up the site and they cost eBay money in hosting fees so if a listing isn’t performing and attracting buyers eBay don’t want it.

Moving entirely to GTC listings will inevitably lead to old listings that never attract a sale. There’s no easy way for sellers to monitor their inventory and, as just about every veteran seller will tell you, they have a crap shelf somewhere in their warehouse with inventory that sits gathering dust and never shifts. If sellers can’t monitor how long a listing has been live without a sale then they’ll never review their listings.

eBay could solve this – perhaps triggering a notification every time an eBay GTC is about to relist without a sale (potentially triggering a listing fee) or they could set (or give sellers the option to set) how many times a GTC can renew without a sale before it automatically comes to an end.

What won’t do eBay any good is eBay GTC listings renewing month in month out for years on end as the chances are that prices drop, a competitor has a better offer, or the product is so obsolete that the listing will simply never sell no matter how long it remains on the site.

Will short duration listings be scrapped in the UK?

Obviously there are advantages in both short and long duration listings as well as the never ending eBay GTC format, but Australians no longer have the choice of which duration to use. In the past we’ve seen eBay test new site features in one territory before rolling them out around the world so scrapping short duration listings is something that could potentially come to the UK in the near future.

Is this just eBay tinkering and interfering with sellers who know what’s best for their individual businesses, or in this case do eBay know best in which case why is the change not being rolled out on every country site?

  • 1 month ago

    “This is to create a better shopping experience” – this is the phrase Ebay uses when it can’t find even a fig leaf to justify what it is doing.

    Hey Ebay, here’s another version of GTC – Going To Close my account

  • Joanne
    1 week ago

    To andy: What an excellent post!

  • Mary Tiffault
    6 days ago

    Taking away short term durations and replacing them with this awful “Good Till cancelled” option is just a way to try and grab more money from small sellers.

    This policy change is going to harm my business. As a small seller, I was building a repeat customer base and always searching for better and more items to offer for sale. My sales have grown and I am paying Ebay more and more every month as a results.

    I fear that I will not be able sustain 10 day auctions for 300 plus items a month.

    Too bad Ebay, you messed up this time. with your greedy policy change.

    squeeze out the little you are nothing but corporate greedy monsters. Remember your roots you shits!

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