eBay Changes Fee Structure To Drive Growth

eBay yesterday announced a major shake up in its fee structure in an attempt to revitalize their core auction business.

Amazon surpassed eBay in US traffic in December for the first time according to Nielsen, and growth rates on eBay have been either static or minimal over the last two to three years.

Under the changes, eBay will slash listing fees by up to 50%, but in turn will increase its commission on items that do sell. Extras such as including photos with listing will now be offered for free. eBay will also increase fees on specific items, including goods sold for less that $25 to 8.75%, a 67% increase according to AP.

An example of the new price structure:

selling a purse at auction for $25 would have cost the seller $1.91, including 60 cents for listing the item plus eBay’s commission of $1.31. Under the new structure, the seller would pay $2.74, including 55 cents to list the item plus a higher commission of $2.19.

Another AP report suggests that eBay sellers are not happy about the changes, with one eBay user saying that “It looks like what they are trying to do with the fees is make it more difficult and expensive to sell low-end items. The people that are selling low-end items are going to feel this fee increase the most.”

ebayamazon.jpgcomScore stats show that eBay still retains a lead of Amazon (graph right) but the gap is closing. Amazon has continued to build a non-auction based alternative to eBay, complete with independent sellers and a used items marketplace that has seen solid growth at Amazon at a rate eBay simply hasn’t matched. With new leadership at eBay after the announcement of long term CEO Meg Whitman’s retirement this announcement will likely be the first of more to come as eBay looks to find growth from what is still one of the leading Ecommerce providers on the planet.