Could eBid be Your New eBay?
Now, unless you’ve been living on Mars you’ll know that eBay isn’t the only online sales platform nowadays. So, we think it’s only right that we investigate eBay alternatives from time to time and let you know if they could be of any use to you.
This week we’re going to look at an alternative sales platform which, in name at least, couldn’t be any closer to eBay… and that’s eBid.
What exactly is eBid?
Not all alternative sales platforms are auction sites. But eBid is, and I don’t think even eBid would deny their aim is to be a “better eBay”.
Although it’s nowhere near as well known as eBay, eBid has actually been around since 1998. It’s currently available in 120 countries worldwide, although private and small business sellers are only allowed in a few of them: UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Belgium, Austria, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Denmark, Hong Kong, India, Norway, New Zealand, Portugal, Sweden, Singapore and South Africa.
eBid receives generally positive reviews on review sites and Webuser Magazine has described eBid as the “Best eBay Alternative”.
How big is it?
It varies of course, although there are typically 3-4 million auctions taking place at any one time compared to eBay’s 10 million plus. Which looks pretty good on the face of it… but Internet traffic statistics suggest that eBid attracts around 60,000 visitors a day compared to eBay’s 6 million plus. So although eBid has about a third of the auctions of eBay it currently has only about 1% of the traffic.
This isn’t necessarily the problem it might appear however: some experts suggest that because eBay is so well known it attracts a lot of browsers who rarely buy much if anything – while smaller sites like eBid attract more “serious buyer” traffic.
What can you sell here?
eBid’s proud claim is that you can buy and sell “anything” there – although it’s not as simple as it seems. The basic list of prohibited items is much the same as on eBay (eBid does have an “Adult” section though!).
To give you some idea of the types of things you can sell and the relative popularity of each with users here’s a list of main categories. I’ve categorised them HOT (over 100,000 current auctions), WARM (10,000- 99,999) and COOL (9,999 and under):
• Antiques HOT
• Art WARM
• Baby Stuff COOL
• Books, Comic & Magazines HOT
• Business, Office & Industrial WARM
• Cars & Vehicles WARM
• Charity Auctions COOL
• Clothes, Shoes, Accessories WARM
• Coins & Banknotes WARM
• Collectables HOT
• Computing WARM
• Consumer Electronics HOT
• Crafts & Sewing WARM
• Dolls & Bears COOL
• Health & Beauty WARM
• Home & Garden HOT
• Jewellery & Watches WARM
• Movies & DVD HOT
• Music & CD HOT
• Musical Instruments COOL
• Occasions & Seasonal WARM
• Photography COOL
• Porcelain, Pottery & Glass WARM
• Spirituality & Metaphysical COOL
• Sport Memorabilia & Cards WARM
• Sporting Goods WARM
• Stamps WARM
• Tickets & Travel COOL
• Toys & Hobbies WARM
• Video & Computer Gaming WARM
• Whatever’s Left! WARM
• Wholesale & Large Lots COOL
Just like eBay, it’s very important to scrutinise your categories and sub-categories before listing anything. In some sub-categories you might find there aren’t many listings. And bear in mind that a number of auctions in each case are overseas.
What about its “buyability”? Browse eBid as a buyer and you’ll find it’s pretty easy to use. Buyers are nudged towards listings in various ways, such as recent searches and new auctions. eBid Stores (more about these shortly) are well promoted. All this can only be good news for sellers as well of course.
Getting started with eBid
I think it’s fair to say that creating an eBid listing is a fair bit easier than eBay. Once you’re registered (more about the joining options later) and have been verified (you need to register a credit/debit card to do this) you can start listing. Just choose a category, reserve and starting prices, a “Buy Now” price if you want one and the length of your auction. Multi-item auctions are also possible.
As with eBay you can enter as many or as few details as you like. There’s a limit of 500,000 characters for your listing and you can enter your text with a WYSIWYG editor or using HTML.
You can add pics, although most sellers only seem to use one image. You can also add videos if you have a Seller+ account. As video is becoming really popular now this could be a powerful and useful tool for professional sellers. Acknowledging the growing popularity of the social media you can also promote your listings on Facebook.
Importing your listings. Another important feature of eBid is that you can import your listings from other marketplaces (including eBay and Amazon) into eBid using a tool known as “Ninja Lister”.
Selling using eBid
The further you get into eBid the more subtle differences you’ll find.
Auction types and features:
eBid has six auction types and various options. They are all fairly different with some available only to Seller account or Seller+ account holders (more about this shortly) and are as follows: Standard/ Platinum/ Free/ Gallery/ Featured/ Frontpage.
There are also small charges for enhanced listing features: bold, highlight, subtitle, extra photos, listing in extra categories, etc. depending on your account.
Other seller tools: These include On First Bid, where the sale starts only when a bid is made, Run Til Sold which last until the items sell, and Auto Extend, which extends the auction by 60 seconds if a bid is made in the last 60 seconds.
An interesting feature of eBid is that if your winning bidder doesn’t go through with the sale you can contact the “underbidders” and sell your item to them – handy for when a winning bidder lets you down. You can also “Blackball” unwanted bidders to prevent them bidding in your auctions.
Advanced sellers can also make use of bulk uploading and editing tools, as well as the Ninja Lister.
Buyers can use a variety of payment methods including PayPal and Google Checkout, but are gently “nudged” towards PPPay. PPPay is a bit like PayPal and can be used for sending and receiving payments in either pounds sterling or euros (UK site). PPPay allows both Instant Payments and Escrow Payments (where a payment is held back until the buyer receives their goods). It’s free to send payments and costs about the same as PayPal to receive them.
As you might expect eBid also has a feedback facility, with some slight differences. Sellers get a “running feedback” score where any bad feedback is deducted from good feedback to give an overall total.
Another interesting difference is that sellers can reply to feedback left by a buyer. It gives you a chance to redress the balance if something goes wrong and also helps reinforce your customer service credentials.
Just like on eBay you can open a store. Once you have upgraded to Seller+ you can open up to five eBid stores straightaway at no extra charge (small extra charge for additional stores). There are currently about 9,500 stores on the site as a whole and they are very prominent in the category listings.
The eBid Buddy Points programme is eBid’s own loyalty card system. You can earn and accumulate points during your trading career that can be used throughout the site to buy things in special Buddy Auctions. I’m not quite sure what value this really adds for sellers, although it might help keep buyers interested and buying.
Lastly, it’s also worth mentioning that you can register as a ‘Buyer only’ on eBid, if you just want to source things this way and don’t intend to sell. What does it cost to sell?
This is where eBid and eBay start to get very different.
Listing a basic auction on eBid is free. A percentage final value fee is paid when you sell, which can be zero in some cases.
There are two “paid” selling options – Seller, where you pay a 3% final value fee – and Seller Plus+, which is most likely aimed at the seller with Powerseller-type ambitions.
With Seller Plus+ you pay a regular subscription (depending on how long you subscribe for) or a one-off lifetime fee, which is currently £49.49 (but changes from time to time and requires you to take it within 24 hours of signing up otherwise you are charged more). In return you pay no final value fee for a basic listing and only 2% for enhanced listings.
eBid’s own figures gives a fees comparison as follows:
Minimum listing fee: eBay $0.10, eBid free. Maximum listing fee: eBay $4, eBid $0.50. Minimum final value fee: eBay 8.75%, eBid free. Maximum final value fee: eBay 13.75%, eBid 3%.
So overall you will probably find that eBid is likely to be a fair bit cheaper than eBay, especially since the maximum final value fee you can ever pay is 3%. (Of course, there’s no guarantee that eBid will always be this inexpensive, especially if it gets more popular.)
So, what do I really think about eBid?
It’s difficult to deny that eBid is a very, very close alternative sales platform to eBay. It doesn’t LOOK that much like eBay, but using it certainly FEELS like eBay!
But overall I think it’s very important to point out that eBid is still significantly smaller than eBay (although it is growing steadily). Then again, it is also significantly cheaper for sellers. So it’s a case of swings and roundabouts.
Of all the alternative sales platforms this seems to be one of the most direct and viable alternatives to eBay. But, while I wouldn’t suggest you give up eBay for eBid it could be well worthwhile duplicating your eBay listings onto eBid (assuming your products are sold in popular categories). It could be a way of getting more exposure and more sales at relatively little cost.
A couple more possibilities to bear in mind with eBid:
Because of the lower selling fees you could possibly sell things that aren’t economic to sell on eBay – such as cheaper products and low margin lines. There’s also the possibility for canny sellers to “flip” goods, that is to buy cheap on one site and sell for more on another, as you’ll sometimes find goods listed on eBid are cheaper than the same goods on eBay, and vice versa.
In short, as long as you’re realistic about what extra sales it might bring, I do think eBid is worth a try.