eBay Embraces Big Sellers, Cyber Monday Trends

This week the auction giant rolls out a beta version of its new Large Merchant Services for high-volume retailers. Plus, the latest stats and trends from Cyber Monday.

Large Merchant Services Officially Announced, Cyber Monday Trends

This week the auction giant  rolls out a beta version of its new Large Merchant Services for high-volume 'catalog' sellers and retailers. Plus, the latest stats and trends from Cyber Monday.

EBay quietly announced that its Large Merchant Services (LMS) is now in beta. As reported back in October on ECommerce-Guide, the purpose of "Operation Catalog" was to welcome high-volume, large-catalog sellers that could fill out eBay's inventory by offering them tools to make it easier and viable to list in large quantities.

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In a recent eBay developer announcement, the company said that the Large Merchant Services, which is a set of APIs, is designed to assist larger eBay sellers process large numbers of transactions more efficiently. The LMS service includes merchant-friendly features such as SKU-based inventory management, line number orders for all transactions and can also be used to handle the handoff between eBay and Merchant applications.

Basically, it gives sellers a way to list and manage items in bulk, and also allow sellers to react quickly to marketplace dynamics through bulk editing and revisions.

For sellers, the LMS will enable you to do several things, including manage your items by SKU, bulk revise the price or quantity of active listings, bulk download orders for fulfillment, bulk upload tracking information and also access eBay's list of your active items (to reconcile with your inventory management system). 

Sound familiar? For those who use both eBay and Amazon selling platforms, you might have noticed some similarities between eBay's new Large Merchant Services and Amazon's Pro Merchant Service.

LMS is not being welcomed by many of eBay's smaller and lower- tiered PowerSellers. With the introduction of LMS, some sellers could find themselves competing with the manufacturer of the very products they are selling.

Additionally, smaller sellers will likely be paying higher fees than the larger retailers as the smaller merchants are not entitled to the Diamond PowerSeller fee breaks.

Cyber Monday Stats and Trends

On Cyber Monday, the day that typically kicks off the online holiday shopping season, eBay reported that hot items such as the Nintendo Wii Console, the most popular item on the site this season, was selling at an average price of $349. Additionally, eBay Inc. company PayPal saw a 27 percent increase in online payment volume on Cyber Monday, up 60 percent from Black Friday 2008.

A recent survey of Shopping.com merchants found that nearly a quarter of them experience the highest shopping peak of the season on Cyber Monday. In fact, on the site Cyber Monday traffic was 15 percent higher than Black Friday and conversion to sale was 20 percent higher than 2007.

Busiest Shopping Day Expected on Green Monday

Although eBay, PayPal and Shopping.com saw solid activity on Cyber Monday, the companies once again expect the busiest online shopping day to come on "Green Monday," the second Monday in December.

Based on internal eBay Inc. research, the second Monday in December has been the busiest online shopping day since 2001. Historically, PayPal's Payflow Gateway has 8 percent more transaction volume on Green Monday than Cyber Monday.

In addition, the busiest day in Shopping.com history was December 10, 2007, when the merchant leads increased 54 percent over the previous years, according to eBay.

In-Demand Holiday Gifts

Below are some of this season's most popular gifts based on Cyber Monday eBay shopping activity:
  • Video Game Consoles: Nintendo Wii: 3,017 sold for an average selling price of $349; Nintendo Wii Fit: 1,305 sold for an average selling price of $143; and Sony Playstation 3: 276 sold for an average selling price of $373.

  • Consumer Electronics: Garmin Nuvi GPS for an average selling price of $264; iPod Touch for an average selling price of $298; iPods/iPod Classic for an average selling price of $238; and iPod Nano for an average selling price of $180.

  • Smartphones: Apple iPhone 3G for an average selling price of $541; BlackBerry Storm for an average selling price of $589; BlackBerry Curve for an average selling price of $274; and T-Mobile Sidekick for an average selling price of $217.

The most searched for product on eBay across all categories this Thanksgiving weekend was the Nintendo Wii; more than 13,000 sold. Following behind this product was the Nintendo Wii Fit and Apple iPhone. On Shopping.com, the Nintendo Wii Fit surfaced as the most searched item; trailing closely behind was the Nintendo Wii and iPod Touch.

Vangie Beal is a seasoned online marketplace seller, frequent contributor to ECommerce-Guide.com and avid online bargain hunter. She is also managing editor of Webopedia.com.

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