June 30, 2014 by Andrew Minalto - 13 Comments

Why Are My eBay Sales Going Down?

ebay-sales-going-downLook 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.

sales-downFirst 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:

my-sales1) 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:

compare-salesNow 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.

desk-lamp-trendWhat 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.

Conclusions

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!

Best Regards,
Andrew

13 Comments
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  1. Hi Andrew,
    You are really a very smart guy. I have read most of your eBay posts and applying the knowledge to my 1 month old eBay store and already seeing the results. I quit my soul sucking full-time job 4 months ago in order to start multiple E-commerce businesses and hope that one day I will be as successful as you. I consider you one of my Gurus in addition to other successful E-commerce business person like Jim Cockrum (PAC course), Andrew Youderian (Ecommerce Fuel) and Steve Chou (Mywifequitherjob). I aspire to become a successful E-commerce Businessman within 1 year and am ready to work 90 hours a week to make it possible so that one day I don’t have to depend on 40 hours per week job salary.I currently live in Canada but have eBay store selling mainly to customers in USA. I am dropshipping currently so margins are thin. May I know if following your Easy Auction Business completely will help me make a full-time living from eBay. I understand nobody can provide any guarantees. But all I am hoping to do within next 4-6 months is establish a successful eBay business which will make me a profit of at least USD $8,000-$12,000 per month. So I was just curious to know if your EAB course provides insights on how to make this possible? Also have you got any feedback from your current EAB students who have applied the technicques in the course and launched successful eBay businesses? I would really appreciate your response. Thanks ahead of time!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Ansh,

      Thanks for your comment & kind words.

      Yes, of course – EAB is perfect for people like you. It will show you step by step how to reach your goals and really provide an in-depth knowledge on many, many topics related to eBay & eCommerce in general.

      There are many testimonials published on the EAB website with hundreds of more I haven’t published.

      From what I hear, you’re really passionate and will make it happen no matter what. Those are the people who reach their goals.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  2. It’s sad to see so many sellers are not doing well on eBay. I have several different accounts and their sales did drop drastically within a very short amount of time but figured out what was going on within a few weeks by studying eBay’s algorithm and how it displays search results, etc. I made a lot of major changes to how I listed and marketed my products. Now my sales are back up again.

    You really need to stay on top of all the changes eBay is making on a monthly basis. It affects how buyers find and see your items. Buyers are becoming smarter and smarter so it’s not as easy as it use to be to sell on eBay.

    If you play the role of the buyer and you cannot find your listing on eBay, then you have a problem. If they do find your listing but if it they are turned off by it for any reason, you also have a problem. You have to then find a way around it so buyers can find your items and if they do find it, it will actually convince them to buy it. There is always a way around the system that eBay has set up.

    eBay cannot survive if there is not a large variety of products on it’s site. Amazon is doing great because you can find almost anything on it. Products are only put there by the sellers so eBay needs its sellers just as much as it needs its buyers.

    Contact me if you need my help.

    Jon Young
    Kyson & Associates

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for your comment Jono, well said! 🙂

      Andrew

  3. Sabina Yasenof

    Hi Andrew,

    This month I have that kind of problem. July was successful to me. But august is a disaster. I have only 8 sales this month. Yes, I do not have a lot of listed items- only 60, but I see activity on my lists- watchers, views but no sales. A lot of these items were sold successfully in June and July. No sales for 10 days. What might be the reason for this? I had my first negative feedback a month ago.I wrote to you about it and you told me what could be done. But I could not made a deal with the buyer. So my rating went down. I am a top rated still 98.6% Positive feedback (115 ) ratings. So what would you advise me to do? Shall I keep listing or what?

    Thanks, Andrew.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Sabina,

      I would simply buy/re-sell some 30-50 used Blu Rays to improve your feedback score quickly following this guide:

      https://andrewminalto.com/get-top-rated-seller-account/

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  4. Hi Andrew

    So I had started an eBay biz just before x-mas and did very well with a good income , then the Chinese festival hit and 6 orders had to be cancelled on the same day because we couldn’t fulfil due to supplier been on holiday, I had actually put a notice on the BIN listings (still a private seller without a shop and away on holiday feature) that ‘hey everyone orders will be processed after the 15th of Feb so please don’t order unless you’re happy to wait, those 6 customers said they hadn’t noticed that part of the description and had only looked at my feedback (100% since 2004 with over 70 seller feedback ) but said its no problem they’d cancel and everyone was happy.

    Here comes the harsh reality I didn’t realise that cancelling and putting out of stock because there was no other representative option to tick meant it was counted as a defect I didn’t even know about seller performance or evaluations until the next one and I was slapped with a below standard as 6 of 99 transactions were classed as defects meaning my defect rate was over 6% and thus suddenly sales enquiries everything literally almost came to a stand still took me a while to realise that’s what had happened when I got in touch with eBay they have now pretty much said I’d need to make over a 100 sales to even out that defect and go back to my above standard, but views have gone from around 200 a day to maybe 10-20 and the way things are going it would probably take 4 months to get that number of sales as exposure and rankings in best match have been seriously slapped (page 3 from higher end of the middle of page 1, i.e first 50 results)

    So my question is essentially what do I do I thought I’d found a biz and something that was working and it was only for 6 orders which the customers were happy to cancel but on very good relations to now affect my whole seller ability and to the point I have to make almost 20 times the defect to get things back to normal.

    Hope you or someone can give some advice and a plan of action in this scenario, I was thinking at first maybe to sell 100 envelopes or something but the lowest BIN is 0.99 and then I thought well envelopes are even more saturated from the little research I did.

    Thanks a lot

    1. having the same problem lost over £1000 in a month any advise for getting back on track welcome

  5. […] However, these seasonal trends are completely normal, and nothing to worry about at all. Of course for new sellers it can be very frightening to see a sudden drop in sales, and that’s exactly why I wanted to mention this in today’s post – before I get hundreds of emails from worried sellers. Take a look at my previous article if you want to read more about this: Why Are My eBay Sales Going Down!? […]

  6. My ebay business has gradually slowed right down over the last 6 months.

    A lot of good advice – thanks..

    BUT – conversion rates only work if your selling lots of any 1 item.

    All we sell are one off niche items – each listing is for one different item.

    Any advice or tips ?

    Thanks…

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Russell,

      Are you a TRS and have eBay Premium Service on all listings?

      What listing formats do you use?

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  7. Hi!
    Can you give me an advice which software to use for customizing CSV file from my vendor that has 4000 items to fit eBay or any other platform. thank you!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Same old Excel is best for working with CSV files:

      http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/excel/

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