The marketplace launches zero selling fees for its North America seller community on any sneakers sold at $100 or more.
Source: chunky sole Derby shoes Black
My immediate response is this is a dangerous game of attrition and eBay has chosen to use band aids to stop the bleeding. That’s my first thought; but the reality of this move by eBay, which is a response to the market share GOAT and StockX have taken from the third party site, is that the removal of seller’s fees for shoes sold over 100 dollars is a bit of smoke and mirrors. Remember that I said that this is smoke and mirrors.
I only utilize StockX for my third party sales. I have a vibrant website with a solid amount of daily traffic, but instead of holding inventory as I did in the past as an Amazon account, I sell the shoes I acquire. The only inventory I have is when a shoe isn’t approved by StockX. This shoe refusal happens for a few reasons:
- I don’t make sure the shoe isn’t a B-Grade
- I send a damaged box (rips, water damage)
- The shoe has a problem that I didn’t catch
GOAT allows these shoes to be sold. When I get returns like this I now post them on my site, but I would typically send those products to eBay. I have to be honest that I very rarely get a return from StockX. At the core of this post is this fact. StockX is a better option than eBay because there aren’t any chargebacks, claims and there isn’t any buyer’s remorse. eBay simply can’t compete with these facts. Resale isn’t my job or primary business so utilizing eBay doesn’t have any benefits for me because I don’t want to take on the extra responsibility that comes with turning flipping shoes into a real business. This post has a lot to unpack and would be better served as the foundation of a class where questions can be asked. I will undoubtedly forget to write about certain things as I don’t want this to be too long.
December 2019 should be considered the most important month in the history of 3rd party sneaker sales. Most people who flip shoes haven’t been doing this very long and even the people who have been around typically haven’t seen the same level of sales that I’ve had across every major third party platform. This gives me a unique insight that raises a number of questions about what eBay did at the end of this year.
The December Drop Series
Beginning today at 9am PT / 12pm ET, eBay kicks off their ‘December Drops’ series4 to celebrate the most hyped sneakers and the biggest moments in sneaker culture this year. Teaming up with top seller, Stadium Goods, shoppers can cop the Yeezy 700 in four different colorways, Nike X Sacai LD Waffle collection, Air Jordan X Travis Scott and more. Check out what’s dropping this December below.
eBay partnered with Stadium Goods. This is akin to FootLocker investing in GOAT with the exception that FTL invested. That’s a lasting relationship. eBay is testing the waters at the high end to recapture the hyped sales. This decision to remove seller’s fees to recapture premium footwear sales is the first stage of the smoke and mirrors. The average price per transaction at retail sneaker stores averages between 60-90 dollars. Most sneaker sales happen at the low end. eBay’s removal of fees is taking place on fewer sales, but the attention that big sales garner is a form of marketing. eBay and Stadium Goods and the removal of fees is an attention getting play.
That’s the way this looks. Remember eBay and PayPal are joined at the hip and the company still benefits from the 2.75% transaction fee. When you consider this is the way credit card companies generate revenue and that most sales take place at the low end, do you get why I state smoke and mirrors?
If the December Drops concept shifts to other major stores on eBay and eBay is creating a plan to celebrate sellers and deliver eyes to a variety of accounts that is a very good marketing strategy as well. This strategy is in complete contrast to both GOAT and StockX who keep sellers anonymous. I’ve said in other posts, the person utilizing StockX as a business doesn’t understand business. You can’t build a brand with either StockX or GOAT. On Kixify and eBay you are at the forefront of the sale. People know who you are. You can build a brand, although eBay, like Amazon, frowns upon interacting and attempting to take sales away from their gateways, you can still build a brand. Building a brand comes with its own set of problems as I discussed zapatillas de running Saucony mujer pronador apoyo talón de material reciclado with my Amazon story. I also discussed this in my eBay story where eBay closed my account for no reason. (Search eBay on this site to read about that.)
eBay is reacting to a challenge they took too long to adjust to. The sneaker community complained for years about eBay’s tendency to side with the buyer. It’s why the first exodus from eBay happened in 2013. Three years prior to the launch of StockX or GOAT. eBay is now playing a game that seemingly places them in the crosshairs by removing fees, but remember my statement about the average transaction price at retail. The reactionary moves by eBay establishes that they are reacting and copying instead of truly understanding why people left the platform. eBay has taken on qualities similar to StockX in reporting the trends and sales on the platform via their blog. eBay always had the opportunity to deliver sales reports and information to its sellers. They never did it. They had a chance to highlight and work with sellers, they never did it. Now they are attempting to create content like I discussed in my book. Everyone has to be a media company. Look at the following paragraph in eBay’s recent post:
The unveil of the ‘December Drops’ series follows eBay’s sold out pre-release of the Air Jordan 11 “Bred” made possible by seller Chris Holbrook, also known as Sneaker Jesus. In partnership with Chris, eBay shoppers copped the coveted release without the wait. The drop sold out in less than four minutes5.
Here is the irony. eBay is promoting backdooring. While Sneaker Jesus is an established persona in the sneaker world, Nike has been looking closely at capturing their customers via their own doors. Sneaker Jesus has sold 300+ pairs of the Jordan 11. The question becomes how does a person get that many pairs of a coveted shoe and how does that person sell so many in a pre-order? I obviously have the answer as I’ve discussed this in videos as well as here on the site, but the reason I raise the question is simple, as Nike continues to remove small accounts and as they have begun to implement supply chain strategies including the registering of Cryptokicks, Nike will soon be able to see where shoes are coming from as they enter the third party. The addition of the RFID is an indicator of the future and the blockchain tech behind Cryptokicks will probably take less than a year to implement. Once Nike can begin to track down how shoes are entering the third party things are going to change drastically. This is very important, but takes this post deeper and it’s already getting long.
- in 2017 I had 85 sales for $14,615
- In 2018 I had 4208 sales for $583,244
- New Balance 720 sneakers in gray and blue
Removal of Seller’s Fees above 100 Dollars
At the start of this post I stated that there are a lot of smoke and mirrors here. In Try one of these running clinics near you for a customized evaluatio what has taken place in my own e-commerce utilizing StockX. I also gave a breakdown of the direction of my own sales and where they are trending. StockX was originally a place where resale took place at the premium pricing end of the sneaker spectrum. As StockX and GOAT have been around now for three years they’ve had to advertise to continue growth. The constant Google Ads, Super Bowl Ads and social media ads from StockX introduced a new consumer to their marketplaces. In my numbers above you can clearly see that since I launched on StockX full time I’ve done over 1.3 Million dollars in 24 months. What isn’t shown in this information is that in 2017 my average transaction was 175. In 2018 it dropped to the 130s. In 2019 my average has fallen more and at one point my average transaction was below 100 a pair.
Third party eventually follows the trend and as brands begin to regain control of their products the natural progression for the marketplace is to struggle. This means that account holders, where the majority of third party shoe sales are born are utilizing promotional strategies to reach their consumers. Shoe prices are dropping across the board and this drop in price allows for a different third party seller to rise. I have long operated in the bulk area of resale. I deal with more general release shoes than hyped shoes because the access to those shoes is more abundant. It’s easier for me to shop at 30 stores utilizing sales throughout the year than to try and flip a Yeezy or Jordan 11 for 300 dollars a pair.
StockX changed everything and sellers willing to move quickly versus being patient have helped to shift StockX from being a place where premium price rules, to a site where, like eBay and Amazon, the best price is the lowest price.
Right now on eBay in Men’s Athletic Shoes there are 48 pages to browse with 3,521,130 Results. When you apply the rule .01 to 99.99 you can browse 1-48 pages of 2,512,917 Results. 66% of all shoes sold on eBay are under 100 dollars. It seems that eBay is losing out on over 1 million shoes sold, but the reality is that a percentage of those shoes are auction, some are make an offer and shoes are not guaranteed to sell. The biggest issue is on Amazon and eBay the customer can make returns. On my Seller Central account my returns averaged 30% of sales. I can continue to dive into this discussion and this could be a book, but at the start of this post I explained that eBay’s “No Fees” was a smoke and mirrors tactic. I could have started this post with this statistic from the Statista site: The average selling price for athletic footwear was around 58 U.S. dollars as of 2017.
This price has been falling since 2015. I’ve explained that my average has dropped on StockX considerably so armed with this information what are your thoughts on this strategy by eBay?