We made a pretty bold decision in our 2016 strategy meeting – to remove virtually all our listings from eBay.
When we started selling sporrans on eBay in 2004, we were one of the first, if not the first, to do so as a business. Most trade on eBay at the time was personal sales of second hand goods, being sold in auctions rather than fixed price listings. There were some businesses on there but no where near the same level as there are now.
Over the years we moved to fixed price listings and competitors flooded the market. Our prices went down, and down, and down. To the point that on some products we were losing money, or making pennies on a single sale.
We have also eBay begin to get outpaced by other marketplaces. It’s a low price destination and there is no product differentiation. When you search for a sporran it’s very hard to tell the difference between the many listings – some of which may have very similar or identical photos. The lack of product reviews means that buyers have no way of gauging the quality of one product vs another, and therefore no incentive to buy anything other than the cheapest product.
When you’re competing against overseas manufacturers, it’s very hard to make your product stand out.
We care about the products we sell and we’re often not the cheapest, because we choose great quality products. We don’t sell anything we wouldn’t wear ourselves. This doesn’t always mean we’re expensive – we might sell a product at £15 when there are others in the market for £10, but we feel the extra £5 is worth it. You can’t communicate that effectively on eBay. Unfortunately sometimes the customer on eBay expects a £20 product at £10, so managing their expectations is also hard.
We therefore decided to focus our efforts in other places and reduce the time we spend managing eBay. We want to provide great products, at great prices and make sure we thrill our customers in the process. That’s really hard to do on eBay at the moment.
It feels like a pretty big change given the roots of the business, but it’s an important part of building our future.