eBay recently announced an update to the fees and features for sellers that will begin May 1, 2015. While the changes will have a direct effect on those who sell sports cards and memorabilia on eBay, there will also be indirect ramifications for buyers as well.
Changes for Sellers
Centered around auction-style listings, ten-day listings will be encouraged with the removal of the added feature fee. Sellers will also be credited the insertion fee for most auction-style listings that end in a sale. Short auctions, specifically one- or three-day listings, will incur an added $1 special duration feature fee per listing.
However, while the monthly subscriptions rates for eBay Stores will not change, the number of free listings will be altered. The total number of listings included at each tier will also remain the same (Basic - 150, Premium 500, Anchor - 2,500) , but the key difference is that the amounts will only count toward fixed-price listings instead of auctions. Additionally, each subscription level receives 100 auction-style listings in the Collectibles categories.
Sellers without an eBay Store will experience changes as well. Total free listings will drop to 40 per month, but auction-style insertion fees will still be credited back for most sales.
Although they are not as common as they used to be, Reserve Price auctions will see their feature fees increased to $3 per listing or 2% of the reserve price, whichever is greater. The fee will be capped at $100 per listing. Instead of a Reserve Price auction, eBay recommends a fixed-price listing with Best Offer.
A full breakdown of the changes beginning in May can be seen here along with commonly asked questions. For comparison, the current fee structure can be viewed here. Sellers can approximate fees using eBay's fee calculator here, but the upcoming rate change will not be available using the calculator function until May 1.
What This Means for Sellers
Basically, eBay is trying to steer sellers to auctions for rare or high-end items and make fixed-price listings the new norm for low-end items and items with an established market price. While eBay states that "most sellers will experience no change in fees," sellers who mostly utilize shorter auction listings or sell heavily in the low-end segment of the card market will likely have to adjust significantly.
The upside is that the more in-tune sellers are with the market, the more sales they will see from their fixed-price listings. The downside is that true auctions usually offer a higher sell-though rate. Additionally, fixed listings may sit longer, especially as the competition increases in that format.
Changes for Buyers
For buyers, the difference will not be as large, but there will will be some noticeable changes. The added fees for short auctions and the emphasis toward longer auctions means that collectors may have to wait to obtain the newest releases unless they utilize the Buy It Now listings.
Because auctions will be less common for base singles or low-value items, the practice of combining shipping by buying multiple items from the same seller will also be more difficult unless all items are purchased at the same time. It will also likely lead to higher prices for low-end auctions as sellers will need to recoup the added fees. Buyers may also notice fewer listings for cheaper items and cards that might have smaller overall demand.
However, it should also mean that sellers will set their fixed-price listings more in line with the going rate and increased competition in this format will mean lower prices for collectors. This should ultimately save buyers money and re-introduce Buy It Now listings as a viable purchase option as many avoid them given that most are priced well over the market value.