I am a dealer (Openbinders), so this may come off sounding like a plug, but honestly I am interested in why the bulk of collectors are so stuck on Ebay. Here is an estimate of my daily experience: Ebay 25 shipments; Amazon 3 shipments; Openbinders Website 1 shipment. (This is probably 50% Nonsports, 25% Sports, 25% Stamps). As you can see Ebay dominates.
As a dealer that kind of stinks as the Ebay fees are the highest. It is not because of the Final Value Fee, which is much lower on Ebay than Amazon. It is those pesky Ebay Monthly Listing Fees (which Amazon does not have). With 60,000 Ebay listings, the first $2500 in sales goes to just pay those fees.
Maybe I am just a fool to have that many listings on Ebay, but as you can see, that is where the collectors are. Well, correction, I may be wising up as I am in the process of pulling about 20,000 listings off Ebay to reduce those fees. They will still be available on Amazon, or better yet, cut the middle man out and use my Website WWW.Openbinders.com where you can get 10% off by using the Coupon Code TAKE10. (Hint, Hint, Hint, everything I have on Ebay is on my Website).
So the questions stands. Why the collector loyalty to Ebay? I would love the feedback.
Understandable. Thanks for the feedback. My experience with auctions is they are great for scarce/high demand cards, but very hurtful to the pocket book for cards that are less than that. Not too many people looking a T118 Fridtjof Nansen on a daily basis. Your right though, the auction deals on Ebay are a nice draw.
Hi Phil I have bought from you several times on eBay and I think maybe once or twice from your website. I've never really given Amazon a try, plenty of stuff on eBay.
eBay is great for us buyers! You said it, that's where the collectors are!
Thanks Larry, I appreciate the business. I guess if you are looking for something inexpensive to complete a set, like a War Bulletin or Beatles Single, take a look on Amazon. Dealers don't get the Listing Penalty (fee) for keeping those type of cards up there. That leads to a lot more inventory to select from. I think you would be surprised at how much they have.
Well, if those are the storage fees you're paying on eBay, you might as well send your cards to COMC. 1 cent per card per month to continue listing on both eBay and Amazon and COMC. I've found nonsports like Garbage Pail Kids, Rails and Sails, and Wacky Packages to sell the best through Amazon. Oddball stuff that
No scanning, identifying, listing, packing or shipping. I subcontract all that. I've got 14,000 cards listed on COMC and 8,500 are on eBay as well.
Yes, I'm paying higher sales fees than straight on eBay, but I'm not doing any work. Give me a call if you want to discuss it. I've sold $1,000 on COMC this week since I've been running a 50% off sale, but many of my high value cards are selling for more (and I'm making even more) on eBay.
Here's an example. I bought a Topps Allen&Ginter autographed card of Jeopardy! Champion Ken Jennings two weeks ago on COMC for $30. I think someone might pay $79.50 for it, so I relist it for $79.50 on COMC. It shows up on comc_consignment's eBay store for $84 so they can claim it comes with "free shipping." It shows up on Amazon at probably $79.50 with shipping additional. Since my cards on COMC were on sale for 50% off, someone could have bought it for $39.75 and I'd have a $10 profit. It sold on eBay at $84, of which COMC took the $4 back for shipping/insurance, and then took 20% off the top to cover their expenses and eBay/PayPal fees. So out of the $79.50 I listed it for, they deposited $63.60 into my store credit account. Sale prices on COMC don't port over to eBay or Amazon listings.
I never touched the card and made $33.30 off of it. I just took the risk when I bought the card that it was worth more than I paid. Then I buy a different card and repeat the process or buy a card and have it delivered to me for my personal collection. I work a full time job, so I don't have time or interest in selling a bunch of cards directly on eBay.
I'm a set builder and am always looking for wants from my list. I search your new additions to the R card section probably twice a week and if I see something I need I buy direct from your website. If I see something on eBay that's yours that I want (and they are easy to spot with your trademark side by side front/back scans) then I go to your website and buy there as I realize it's better for you. Your site is great and either the TAKE10 or WRAPPER discounts are appreciated. I tried TAKE90 but it didn't work; seriously, I did this. So, as far as I know I have purchased what I need from your inventory but know that it constantly changes so I stay on top of it I think.
I buy from the Wrapper and always try to order at least something from two or three advertisers as I full on support what the Wrapper is and does. I'm fairly specialized in 30-40s R cards but still, the Wrapper has been my favorite magazine for decades.
I troll eBay for what I need/want. Obviously the big plus here is the photos/scans of the cards. I do this, mostly, as it's the simplest way to pick up cards and at times, by far, the most economical. Look back at this months pickups at the War News dirty dozen VG card I got for less than $2. I'm not finding those deals anywhere else.
I had no idea that you could get cards on Amazon.
I find the search feature on COMC to be borderline unusable. I wish they would put foreign cards in a whole separate category as the lion's share of 30-40s cards seem to be Gallagher or whatever.
All this being said here's one of my pet peeves. I send my want list to almost anyone who will communicate with me. This includes nearly every dealer that I buy from. I can count on one hand the number of times that a dealer has come back to me after a purchase letting me know that they have other cards on my list. If I were in the business of selling cards and someone sent me their want list I would keep it on file and every single time that I brought in a group of cards that had something in it that I knew someone wanted I would contact them looking for the sale. Certainly not aiming this at Phil as I'm pretty sure that I have not sent my want list to him; he has been great for me. To my knowledge I'm not backing out of deals and always pay up so I find this strange at times; it's like they just toss want lists. Sorry, I'll shut up but finish with maybe adding a submit want list feature to your site. The more eyes that are on something the more likely I am to keep crossing off those wants.
Phil - I am quite surprised at the percentage numbers you posted.
For me, exactly the opposite, less than 1 percent of my sales are through ebay; with most (not all) of my first-time customers coming through my website. Other first time buyers through radio advertising and word of mouth. Actually, I gave up on selling on ebay, as ebay individual sales (by auction) only would reach from 30~60 percent of value. Buy-it-nows are better, but still prefer my own website for sales.
As for my buying habits on cards, it depends on whether it is my standing want lists or if I digress into a new area.
Standing want lists are just set to ebay searches, and once in a while something turns up (I have already checked every card dealer of which I am aware without finding these cards).
When I try something new, I check ebay first to try to buy a large group of the cards. The next step is the various dealer websites including yours. What I don't find from the dealers then goes into the standing want lists as above.
I was unaware that amazon sold cards; but after reading this thread, I decided to try them. After several minutes of trying to navigate a site that may as well be written in hieroglyphics, I finally found non-sports cards, and then was able to get around, but no where near as easily or quickly as ebay. COMC was mentioned in this thread, and I have found the same results there. At my age, time is the most important asset; and I will not visit user-unfriendly websites more than a couple of times. Just for the record, I have not (to my knowledge) EVER purchased anything from amazon.
And if I should start another collection, you and Scottsdale will be my second visit (after trying to find an initial accumulation).
I purchased a card from you recently. I browsed your openbinders website and then purchased it on ebay after looking at your other stuff on ebay - sorry about that, probably force of habit with the process. From now on, I will try and use your website plus the coupon code. Incidentally, your website is the only decent one I have seen selling the scarcer types (apologies to anyone else's websites that I have not had drawn to my attention!), so appreciate the work you have put in.
Well, it depends how you look at the problem, buyers are on eBay because that's where the sellers list their cards, if all the sellers who are complaining about eBay would stop listing on eBay and start selling somewhere else Ebid for example, than the buyers would follow, the sellers must do it first, stop feeding the ogre.
Saying that "sellers taking their cards to other sites" would make the buyers leave eBay, IMO, is flawed. People only have enough time/interest/logins to have a couple unless they are master collectors. Any other site (that doesn't cross-post to eBay) is like a single card fair in Iowa. eBay is like all the card fairs at once, plus all the dealers across the country. Why search 10 places when you can probably find your item at a similar price on eBay first?
And then, if you forego eBay (or COMC, etc. >>> eBay), you forego 90% of the buying public. And then you're no longer looking to sell your cards either quickly or for top dollar, depending on your sales goals. The main problem when leaving eBay is going: where next? Because then you've got Facebook groups, countless sales websites, auction houses, etsy, Craigslist, and phone apps. eBay is the 1000 lb gorilla because it has first mover privileges. Everyone who buys collectibles has an eBay account, and is trained to look there first for items. And most of those people are fully satisfied with the billions of listings available on eBay at any given time, rather than focusing on websites with 100 items listed, or 1000 items listed, or even a million items listed.
Thanks for all the feedback. Lots of good ideas. I guess there is more than one way to skin a cat. My problem with Ebay is that for ten months they kept giving more and more “Free” listings, asking that I put my whole inventory on their site. When I got up to 69,000 on April 1st, with no hint, they ended all the free listings. Back to $0.05 per listing each month. (Well, with a Premium Store you get 10,000 free each month, so still get those). The old “Bait and Switch” I guess. I spent three weeks with Ebay Support trying to get an explanation and a chance to argue my case. But Support is a Stone Wall. They are not authorized to make decisions and can not (or will not) direct you to someone that is. So still with no answer, last week I started pulling the inexpensive stuff off.
It is just a shame. Because my goal, as I am sure is the goal of the other dealers on this forum, is to bring new people into the hobby. If someone browsing Ebay finds a Victorian Card of an Old Drug Store from their hometown, or a card of an Arm & Hammer Bird that frequents their yard, that could be the start. To me, the more crumbs you put out there, the more bites you will get.
But for now, that is not to be on Ebay. That is why I mention Amazon. Although the problem with Amazon from a Sellers point of view is that they take 20% of the sale, compared to 10%-12% on Ebay. But with no monthly listing fees, it makes sense for low cost, slow moving items. The answer of course, as has been mentioned, is to direct customers to your own Website. To this point I have found that easier said than done. I do thank those of you who have used my site. As you can see, it makes a big difference.
Phil, I collect a particular set of which you have hundreds of listings. But I have them all. While you may add to the linventory, I will rely on eBay "newly listed" searches. Makes no sense to check your website along with the websites of 6 other sellers and then still need to check eBay for new sellers. But....... if I see something on eBay I would certainly buy from your website which will save us both some money. Although I might not do so if I didn't know you as a stand-up seller who will stand behind your sales. Otherwise the eBay buyer protection is important.
Yes, looks like you got taken by the bait-and-switch. Don't know if this possible, but can you rotate your listings? Put group A of 10,000 listings in April, group B of 10,000 different in May, etc. Then start over with Group A in September. His would also keep the searches fresh, I've seen most of your cards for years and really, if you add a new one I need I might miss it.
Added: As a buyer I am glad they add the listing fees. Would love to see certain sellers drop those crazy prices that will never sell. Maybe listing a $15 card for $100 doesn't seem such a great idea if they need to pay $1 or so per year.
Idea: I would love to see a reverse-auction buy-it-now format when an item starts somewhat high but then drops in price by 5% every week until someone grabs it. But I suppose that would be manipulated by the sellers who end it early while still too high. That would work on COMC since they have then in-hand.
John, does COMC protect against bankruptcy? What if they go under, would your inventory get returned? I imagine they can't keep it if it's a consignment and not their property. But then again they may not have the time or cash for return shipping either.
Good question; part of the storage fees on COMC pays for the insurance on the building and contents, I've been told. And yes, COMC is a consignment house and is only storing your cards. In the event of full bankruptcy where no company comes to take it over, I would guess you would either pay an intermediary to locate, package, and mail your cards back to you, possibly as a liability against COMC. I can't see them letting any people go in and get their own cards out, because the risk is too large that you take other peoples cards as well.
I know the ownership has an insolvency plan, but don't think it's public knowledge. There is some trust required. However, COMC fought Beckett in court last year after they refused a Beckett takeover, so the company is probably very profitable and as first mover in that space, may not ever go out of business.
Why is it that when I'm looking for a particular item, as a shopper, and there's a number of sellers selling the same item (let's say a cell phone case), some people will have bid multiple times and paid over $27 for that item, when another Top Rated Plus seller has the same case for $4.99 with free shipping?
People are sheep. The do what they know. They know ebay. They have the nifty app that they're used to. It makes pretty sounds when something useful happens.
Good comments Paul. You sure do notice stuff like that on ebay. There are MANY price points for stuff. All over the board. Ebay has the advantage of being the first mover for the stuff that they do. In the infancy of the internet, they were the first kid on the block. With that early arrival, they got the bulk of the sellers to use their service and they built it and monetized it. Unfortunately, since that point, they've worked pretty hard to screw up many aspects of their system. Feedback, hiding bidder accounts and other things have served to make their system less valuable in my eyes. I just don't think Amazon advertises their collectibles section of their website well enough. Amazon mostly advertises Amazon and Amazon Prime anymore.
It's a shame that sellers like Phil can't indiscriminately list items and ebay wants a plug nickel from everything listed. $2500/month is a huge fee over and above the "free" listings he pays to have an anchor store, I'm sure. Much of his sales probably come from the density of the items he has listed, so if he has to pull 50K items off ebay it'll affect his sales significantly. At the end of the day, ebay only cares about making money though. They're a public traded entity and trying to maximize earnings. Increasingly, it seems like they're less and less concerned with the little and medium guys and only want the static items from the very large customers who I'm sure have some sweetheart deals with them. I would try to escalate any calls with someone to see if you can negotiate some better rate or something than the 5 cents per item. They will go from an incremental $2500 a month from you to ZERO. And if they know that, maybe you can talk them into something more palatable for you and for them. Have NO idea where to begin to start a conversation like that. Maybe ask that first line person for their supervisor and then their supervisor and so on...............
As an aside, Amazon is our single largest customer at UPS and I can tell you, they are tough to deal with. The percent of our business that is Amazon is pretty scary. And ultimately, they have no idea how much volume or sales they are going to have. We have estimates that are crazy. My belief is they are angling to take over the world......and if you bought any of their stock about a year ago, you too can participate in taking over the world.....
I started to watch the video that Paul linked to. But it seemed like the kind of video I would be told to watch back when I was working LOL! I'm sure there was some good information there, but I just couldn't watch it:)
I think the answer though, is what Paul suggests. Somehow driving customers to your website. In todays mail, I got two different eBay wins. One from Deans Cards, and one from Scottsdale Baseball Cards. Inside (in addition to my purchases) were glossy business cards, offering discount codes if I went straight to their website. So it would appear you are not alone.