eBay is announcing a series of changes to its fee structure today in an effort to persuade more fixed-price sellers to use it as part of its move from a â‚¬38 billion turnover auction house into a global mall.
According to The Guardian newspaper, new fee structure for fixed-price items and greater protection for buyers are part of an attempt to attract shoppers for everyday goods as well as bargain hunters.
Fees for listing items will be slashed and the fee for a successful sale will be increased in an effort to get buyers to list a wider range of goods and increase choice. Sellers will receive discounts on those fees and better search listings according to the volume of sales and quality of service.
Critics argue that the latest move will benefit big retailers at the expense of smaller traders on whose back eBay grew.
The company will highlight the fact that fixed price goods already account for 43% of its global sales, an increase of 60% over the last six years. It is close to equalling those generated by auctions.
eBay has had a trying year. Wall Street was not impressed by a 22% jump in profits in Q2, fearing its market outlook was softening.
An attempt to increase profits by forcing all transactions through PayPal in Australia was severely criticised by buyers and sellers, and blocked by competition authorities there: it was widely believed to be a precursor to introducing the move in other markets, including the
Then there was the Louis Vuitton case whereby the luxury goods label won a French court case over eBay allowing fake goods to be sold on the site. The court deemed it responsible for checking the authenticity of articles is makes money from. eBay plans to appeal.