January 26, 2010, 12:00 AM

eBay announces a new fee structure

In an effort to attract more sellers and listings to its online marketplace, eBay announced today pricing changes that reduce listing fees for fixed-price items and do away with listing fees for sellers who occasionally auction items on its site.

Zak Stambor

Managing Editor

In an effort to attract more sellers and listings to its online marketplace, eBay announced today pricing changes that reduce listing fees for fixed-price items and do away with listing fees for sellers who occasionally auction items on its site.

The moves reflect eBay’s realization that it has two main types of sellers-professional merchants and hobbyists-on its online marketplace, says Scot Wingo, CEO of ChannelAdvisor Corp., a provider of e-commerce technology and services that help retailers sell through multiple online channels. “The moves reflect a win for both types of sellers,” he says.

Starting March 30, eBay is introducing a four-tiered price structure for its fixed-price listings. There are three monthly subscription levels-basic ($15.95), anchor ($49.95) and premium ($299.95)-that offer discounts on listing fees. The rates reduce the fixed-price listing fees per product from 50 cents for sellers without a store, to 20 cents for basic, 5 cents for anchor and 3 cents for premium stores. Subscribers also can insert eBay-hosted pictures for free.

“Lowering the threshold to list an item means that merchants will increase the number of items they put on the site,” says Wingo. “Those merchants could see significant savings on upfront costs.”

EBay also says all of the site`s fixed-priced inventory will appear in eBay`s main search results.

Starting March 30, sellers will be able to auction up to 100 items for free every 30 days. When an item sells, eBay will take 9% of the sale price or $50, whichever is less. EBay currently allows sellers to auction up to five items for free every 30 days and charges 8.75% of the sale price or $20, whichever is less.

After sellers exceed the 100 free listings, they are subject to new listing fees and commissions that vary depending on the item’s starting and sale prices. The fees range from 15 cents to $2, depending on the item’s starting price. EBay’s current range is 15 cents to $4.

EBay made a similar change to fees in some European markets in 2008, and those changes nearly doubled the number of listings on eBay in those countries, CEO John Donahoe told analysts last week.

EBay is also expanding its buyer protection service to all buyers. The service gives buyers and sellers access to customer service representatives to resolve disputes. If a seller cannot resolve the issue, the service, which excludes categories like real estate and vehicles, will refund a buyer’s money. Previously the service was only available for transactions that used eBay’s payment service, PayPal.

“With eBay buyer protection, customers can shop with confidence as they take advantage of the great deals and selection eBay sellers offer,” says Lorrie M. Norrington, president of eBay Marketplaces. “We’ve now got you covered on eBay every day.”

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