Look at your calendar – it’s July 1st tomorrow, summer time! And this could be the reason why your eBay sales are slowing down.
This happens in many niches every year and this shouldn’t come as a surprise to you if you’re an established business. For new eBay sellers though it can be a difficult time as they will try to find all kinds of reasons why their sales are slowing down while in reality it’s simply because it’s summer time.
I have been doing this for over 10 years now and I can easily spot such trends just by looking at my sales data from previous years. If you don’t have such historical data to go over, there are still a few things you can do to verify the cause of a sudden drop in eBay sales.
First of all, you need to understand two simple statistical numbers and what they mean:
- Listing views – this simply shows how many people have viewed your listing. So for example, if this number is 100, it means that 100 people have looked at your listing.
- Conversion rate – this shows how many of those views converted into sales. So for example – if 100 people viewed your listing and you got 10 sales, that means your conversion rate is 10% (use this formula to calculate the percentage for yourself: Sales/Views x 100%)
Without knowing these two numbers, you can only guess as to the reason for a drop in sales! If you’re a smart seller (like I always talk about) then you DON’T want to guess ANYTHING! You only want to look at real numbers and make educated decisions based on this data.
But where can you find out your listing views and sales in order to calculate the conversion rate?
There are 3 ways to do this:
1) Using the Terapeak My Sales feature (which is FREE to use!). This is by far the easiest and most convenient method of monitoring your listing views, conversion rates and other crucial data. Super easy to use; this will make the process of monitoring your eBay sales a piece of cake!
2) Using the Reporting feature in Selling Manager Pro. If you go down this route, you’ll have to run reports for each item you want to check, for a set period of time.
3) Using a views counter and manually counting sales. This is another FREE option but will require you to manually monitor views (using a views counter within your listings) and sales to get conversion rates.
Obviously, out of the three options, Terapeak My Sales is the best way to go as you won’t have to lift a finger to get views, sales and conversion rates for any period you want, with the click of a button. Terapeak will also compare your data with eBay’s average so you can instantly see how well (or bad) your listings compare to competitors’.
So far so good, right? You now have your views and conversion rate to hand – what next?
Compare them to previous periods, which is usually month by month. So for example, if it’s the end of June now, compare this month’s (June’s) data to the previous month – May:
Now it’s starting to get interesting, right? We can now see that traffic (views) to your listings has gone down by 100 in June compared to May, but the conversion rate has remained stable at 2%.
What conclusions can we draw from this?
Total sales are going down but the conversion rate remains stable. This usually means that you DON’T have to touch the listing description as it’s performing as well as the month before.
Views have plummeted from 250 to 150 and this is the real problem you need to address. It could be that your listing has lost its position in search results (most frequent cause) OR it could be that demand for this item has gone down. Or it could be that a new seller has started selling the same item for a cheaper price.
If you’re using Terapeak My Sales, it will also show you the click-through rate which is another important number to look at. Click-through rate means how many people click TO your listings from search results. So if this number goes down, it could be that a new listing created by a competitor is taking some of your traffic as buyers are clicking onto their listing instead.
And as I said in the beginning, you also want to check trends for the product you sell. You can simply use Terapeak data and compare this month’s total sales to previous months’ to see if there’s a trend that indicates that sales are slowing down for ALL sellers in that niche.
To even further support this data, you can also do a search on Google Trends which should reflect what Terapeak says.
What to do to improve sales?
As you can see, it’s really not a question of guessing what’s caused your sales to slow down on eBay – with Terapeak data you can easily see where the problem lies and try to fix it.
Let’s cover a few of the most common scenarios and go over what sort of action you should take:
- Total sales down, views down, conversion rate the same. Check if it’s a seasonal trend or not. If sales for other sellers haven’t decreased, chances are your listing has lost its search position. If that’s the case, you can try lowering the price a bit, improving your listing’s title, adding a sub-title and changing the gallery image to climb back up the search results.
- Total sales down, views same, conversion rate down. This is a clear indicator that something is wrong with your listing/offer and you must act fast! If you don’t make immediate changes, your conversion rate will stay low and eBay will then lower the search position for that listing, further exacerbating the problem.
Usually in cases like these, your offer simply isn’t competitive enough anymore so you have to lower the price OR improve the listing, images etc. (your overall offer) to get those numbers back up again. It could be that all it takes is something simple to improve your conversion rate like introducing a free gift to the offer or getting new product pictures.
Also, just to be sure it’s not caused by a technical glitch; visit your listing on eBay manually to see if all images and template files load properly.
There can be other scenarios too but in most cases:
- If the conversion rate stays the same, the problem is not in your listing’s description.
- If the conversion rate goes down, you have to improve your offer.
- If views go down, you have to get them back, by improving your listing’s search position.
The important thing here is to have those numbers on hand so you can at least try to identify the problem which is potentially causing your sales slowdown. So if you haven’t already done so; sign-up for a Terapeak My Sales account, which is totally FREE to use, and start properly monitoring your eBay sales data!
If you’re selling on Amazon or the Magento eCommerce platform, you can also link these accounts to Terapeak and compare data across all channels.
Hopefully now you see how important data like views and conversion rate can be used to find the cause of your decrease in sales on eBay.
In many cases though you won’t be able to easily fix the problem simply because it’s been caused by eBay’s search algorithms (Best Match & Cassini)! The way Cassini works is that it gives chances to new listings, or even older listings, by putting them higher in search results and monitoring conversion rates. If they’re good, the listings keep their position, but if not they go back to their old spot and new listings take their place.
Obviously, this process can’t be calculated and is in eBay’s hands so don’t get desperate if suddenly eBay puts your listings lower in search results. It could be a temporary change which will revert back in a week or two.
Don’t forget about the “summer factor”! In many niches sales go down each summer and start picking up in August or September. If you work in such a niche, there’s simply no point in worrying about something you can’t change! Use this time to work on new products, your eCommerce shop or marketing to get a boost in sales when summer is over.
Lastly, knowing all this, it only makes sense to mention risk diversification once again. If you rely on just one or a few listings, chances are you’ll have a stressful business. Whereas if you have dozens of products for sale, a decrease in sales for one or two products won’t be as noticeable. And chances are – while some listings will occasionally lose sales, others will improve so it will all level out altogether, allowing you to run your business a little more stress-free!