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When Is an eBay Store Worth It?

Published at Feb 19, 2019.

Is an eBay Store worth it? It really comes down to one thing: fees.

Having an eBay Store won’t have a huge impact on your sales. In fact, unless you work hard on marketing your eBay Store, it might not bring in any new customers at all. But it can save you thousands of dollars in fees!

C&R Crafts eBay Store

Above: An eBay Store. You can visit it here.

There are a few other eBay Store benefits that might influence your decision, and we’ll cover those, too. But those are straws on the camel’s back. The fees are an anvil.

When Is an eBay Store Worth It?

Here’s when a Store subscription might save you money, and when it definitely will:

  • Starter might save you money if you create 65 to 176 listings* per month.
  • Starter will save you money if your monthly sales are lower than $366 AND you create 73 to 146 listings* per month.
  • Basic might save you money if your monthly sales are $366 or higher, OR you create 147 to 712 listings* per month.
  • Basic will save you money if you create 177 to 328 listings* per month.
  • Premium might save you money if you create 329 to 5,300 listings* per month.
  • Premium will save you money if you create 713 to 3,416 listings* per month.
  • Anchor might save you money if you create 3,417 to 64,000 listings* per month.
  • Anchor will save you money if you create 5,301 to 62,500 listings* per month.
  • Enterprise might save you money if you create at least 62,501 listings* per month.
  • Enterprise will save you money if you create at least 64,001 listings* per month.

* Count anything that might incur an insertion fee as a listing. For example, if you list something in two categories, that counts as two listings. If you have a Basic Store or better and exceed your zero-insertion-fee auctions for the month, any successful auctions above the free listings are also free and don’t count.

These calculations are based on info available here and here, last confirmed accurate on 2/19/2019.

You probably noticed that the ranges for when a Store might save you money are usually way bigger than for when it will save you money. That’s because the fees are pretty complicated. Let’s take a closer look.

eBay Store Fees vs. No Store

Is an eBay Store Worth It?

Getting an eBay Store subscription costs money. However, it can save you money on final value, insertion, and possibly Promoted Listings fees. There are a lot of variables!

The chart below shows how one seller could save hundreds every month with the right Store subscription. But with the wrong one, she could waste thousands.

eBay Store Fees vs. No Store

What would cause you to save money with one Store and lose it on another? That depends mainly on two things:

1. What You List

With a Basic Store or better, most final value fees drop. By how much depends on the category or categories you sell in.

You can see fees without a Store here and fees with a Store here. Take a moment to find out how far your fees would drop, if at all.

Some categories’ final value fees drop by a lot, getting cut to less than half of normal. But others drop by less than 1%, and some, like books, stay exactly the same.

The chart below shows whether you would save money on a Basic Store. Just note it’s only 100% accurate if all of your listings would have the same savings and you wouldn’t save a dime on insertion fees:

eBay Store Fees vs. No Store

Of course, it gets more complicated if you sell in different categories that save different amounts. You can use the formulae at the end of this article if you need to calculate that. For now, just make a note of how your final value fees would be affected.

2. How Much You List

A Basic Store isn’t the lowest Store level. The cheapest option is a Starter store. Starter doesn’t reduce your final value fees—it only helps with listing fees.

A Starter Store doubles your free listings from 50 per month to 100 per month, and the fee for any additional listings drops from $0.35 to $0.30.

When does that help? A yearly Starter subscription will save you money if you create about 65 listings per month, and a monthly plan is worth it if you create at least 73 listings per month. (For the math behind this, see the Starter Store section in our article on eBay business strategy in 2019.)

As you go into higher Store levels, you get more free listings, and the insertion fee drops further.

Stores at the Basic level and higher also have a bonus benefit for auctioneers. If you pay an insertion fee on an auction in a qualifying category and successfully sell the item, you get your insertion fee payment back. This means you theoretically have unlimited free auctions if they all sell!

Other eBay Store Benefits

Online Store

Beyond the potential for huge savings on fees, you might want a Store for the benefits below:

Promotions Manager Access

With a Store (even a Starter Store), you gain the ability to use the Promotions Manager. This is a powerful marketing tool that can boost your sales. If one benefit other than savings might make an eBay Store worth the cost, the Promotions Manager is it.

You can learn how to use promotions and markdowns effectively in our article on marketing your eBay Store.

Having an eBay Store

big-e-direct eBay Store

You can visit the Store shown above here.

It’s called a Store for a reason! You basically get a mini-website on eBay that features only your products.

This isn’t as good as having your own website. You still have to pay eBay’s fees and follow their rules. But, anyone who visits your Store will stop seeing your competitors and only have your products to choose from.

That’s great. Of course, few shoppers are likely to be curious enough to visit your Store rather than going back to a normal eBay search. Not a lot of people are likely to find your Store on search engines like Google, either. Only artists, craftspeople and very distinct brands should expect any real results from this benefit.

Consider the Store itself a minor perk that might boost your sales a little. For tips on making the most of it, see “5 Strategies for Marketing Your eBay Store.”

Vacation Mode

Vacation

With an eBay Store, you can set your Store and listings on vacation. That way, you won’t have to deal with people placing orders while you’re away.

This is great in theory. But in reality, it can take days for all your fixed-price listings to become hidden, and auction listings don’t get hidden at all. Possibly worse, it takes days for your hidden listings to become visible again once you turn vacation mode off.

So, this doesn’t eliminate the damage caused by taking a vacation, it only reduces it, and it’s only worthwhile if you’ll be gone for more than a few days.

You do get an out-of-office response option. Of course, you’d be a lot better off just setting up an eBay autoresponder that you could use whether you were on vacation or not.

Dedicated Support

Customer Support Representative

If you have an Anchor or Enterprise Store, you get dedicated support. eBay doesn’t elaborate on this much. Presumably, it means you’ll have an account manager and/or dedicated customer service representatives on eBay. This person or team would know you and your Store well.

Theoretically, you’ll receive better support this way. What that’s worth depends on how often you need support from eBay.

Note that this does not mean eBay will answer customer requests for you. You’ll always have to hire people for that! If you’re looking for a way to save time and money on support, linking eBay to a helpdesk is a better choice.

Promoted Listings Credits

If you get an Anchor or Enterprise store, you’ll receive a $25 credit toward eBay Promoted Listings fees once per quarter. That’s the equivalent of an $8.33 discount per month. Not much, but it could tip the scales if you’re on the edge of getting an Anchor subscription.

Promoted Listings are awesome, so use this credit if you have it!

Other Discounts

Discounts

Other discounts include savings on eBay-branded shipping supplies and partnered services like QuickBooks and TurboTax.

These discounts could theoretically amount to hundreds of dollars. You’ll more likely save less than $50, though, most or all of it as a one-time savings rather than a monthly cost reduction.

There is one meaningful discount. If you’re paying for Selling Manager Pro, it becomes free when you have a Premium Store or better. That’s $15.99 off every month, which can make a big difference when considering an upgrade.

How to Decide Whether to Get an eBay Store

Business Decision

You’ll have to account for four factors:

  1. Final value fee savings.
  2. Insertion fee savings (these are complicated).
  3. Promoted Listings credits and any other savings you want to consider.
  4. The cost of your Store subscription.

It can be tough to figure out exactly how much you’d save or lose with a Store subscription. If you’re familiar with basic algebra, you can follow the steps below to calculate your savings precisely.

We’ll cover both Starter and Basic Stores here. Either one could save you money even if the other wouldn’t. If you determine you’d save with one of these subscriptions, then an eBay Store is worth it for you!

1. Calculate Final Value Fee Savings

To account for final value fee savings, pick one of the categories you sell in. Subtract the final value fee for selling with a Basic Store or better from the fee for selling without one. So, if you sell antiques, you’d subtract 9.15% from 10% and get 0.85%.

Next, divide that number by 100 so you can calculate it as a percentage. 0.85% / 100 = 0.0085.

Now, multiply that number by your average monthly sales in that category. 0.0085 * $2000 = $17.

That’s how much you’ll save in that category! Repeat the process for all categories you sell in and add up all the savings. Write down that this value equals X and use it in the equation at the end of this section.

2. Calculate Insertion Fee Savings

Total your average number of fixed-price listings created per month. Use this value as P.

Now total your average number of auction listings. Use this number as W.

Now use these numbers in this equation:  (P + W) – 50 = Y.

Y is how many insertion fees a Store may save you money on every month. You’ll need to know P, W and Y to complete the equations below.

3. Find Your Subscription Cost

You can find the current Store subscription fees here. Decide whether you want to pay annually or monthly. Q = the cost of your subscription.

Adding It All Up

Complete the following equations to find out if a Store will save you money. If neither a Starter Store nor a Basic Store offers any savings, using a Store probably isn’t a great idea just yet.

Important: Never enter a negative number. If a value is less than 0, enter 0.

Starter Store

A Starter Store saves you money on insertion fees only. You can find out exactly how much by completing the equation below:

  1. If Y equals 14 or less, skip straight down to Basic Store, as you won’t save any money with a Starter Store. Otherwise, go to the next step.
  2. Is Y lower than 51? If no, go to the next step. If yes, G = Y * 0.35. Solve for G to determine your monthly savings on insertion fees and skip to step 5.
  3. C = Y – 50. Solve for C and continue to the next step.
  4. (C * 0.05) + 17.5 = G. Solve for G to determine your monthly savings on insertion fees and continue to the next step.
  5. G – Q = your total savings with a Starter Store.

Basic Store

A Basic Store saves you money on insertion fees and final value fees, but is much more expensive than a Starter Store. Use the equation below to find out if one would be worth it for you:

  1. If Y equals 0 or less, skip to step 8 and enter 0 as G. If Y equals 1 or more, go to the next step.
  2. Are both P and W lower than 251? If no, go to the next step. If yes, G = Y * 0.35. Solve for G to determine your monthly savings on insertion fees and skip to step 7.
  3. T = (the lesser of 250 or P) + (the lesser of 250 or W). Solve for T and continue to the next step.
  4. B = (T – 50) * 0.35. Solve for B and continue to the next step.
  5. C = (P – 250) + (W – 250). Solve for C and continue to the next step.
  6. G = (C * 0.1) + B. Solve for G to determine your monthly savings on insertion fees and then continue to the next step.
  7. (X + G) – Q = your total savings from a Basic Store.

Does either Store have savings above 0? If so, an eBay Store is worth it for you!

Example Starter vs. Basic Comparison

Right now, I’m selling $2,000 of Home & Garden goods and $2,000 of Automotive Tools & Supplies per month. I calculate that I’ll save $17 on Home & Garden final value fees (because the fee drops by 0.85%) and $37 on my Automotive Tools & Supplies (which drop by 1.85%). 17 + 37 = 54. So, X = 54.

I create 300 fixed-price listings per month but never use auctions. P = 300 and W = 0. (300 + 0) – 50 = 250. So, Y = 250.

My Home & Garden sales drop significantly in the winter. I decide to try a monthly plan rather than a yearly plan at first, since I’m not sure I’ll need a Store all year long. Q = 7.95 for Starter and 27.95 for Basic.

Here’s my Starter Store worksheet:

  1. Y is 250. This is more than 14, so I’ll go on to the next step.
  2. Y is not lower than 51, so I’ll go to the next step.
  3. 250 – 50 = 200. C is 200.
  4. 200 * 0.05 = 10. 10 + 17.50 is 27.50. G is 27.50.
  5. 50 – 7.95 = 19.55.

So, I’d save $19.55 per month with a monthly Starter Store subscription. Not bad! Would a Basic Store be better, though?

Here’s my Basic Store worksheet:

  1. Y is 250. This is more than 0, so I’ll go on to the next step.
  2. P is not lower than 251, so I’ll go to the next step.
  3. The lesser of 250 or P is 250, and the lesser of 250 or W is 0. 250 + 0 = 250. T is 250.
  4. 250 – 50 = 200, and 200 * 0.35 = 70. B is 70.
  5. 300 – 250 = 50. 0 – 250 = 0. 50 + 0 = 50. C is 50.
  6. 50 * 0.1 = 5. 5 + 70 = 75. G is 75.
  7. 54 + 75 = 129. 129 – 27.95 = 101.05.

I’d save $101.05 with a monthly subscription to a Basic Store—$81.50 more than with a Starter Store! I know which Store I’m going with!

Higher-Level Stores

Storefronts

If you save a lot more with Basic than Starter, you might also want to consider the other Store levels.

Premium, Anchor and Enterprise Stores can be worth upgrading to once you reach the listing thresholds covered earlier in this article. But, this is just “When Is an eBay Store Worth It?” and not “When Should You Upgrade Your Store?” We’re not diving down that rabbit hole yet!

Note that once you have a Basic Store or better, you don’t just get a number of zero-insertion-fee auctions every month. You also get the insertion fee refunded for any successful auctions.

This means calculating savings on auctions for Premium or higher can get complicated. For example, if you’re upgrading to Premium, your number of zero-insertion-fee auctions increases from 250 to 500. This sounds like you’re getting another 250 free auctions.

In reality, you’ll only get additional free listings for any auctions that fail between 250 and 500 listed. If you list 500 auctions per month and only 10% fail, that’s 25 extra free auctions, not 250. Always account for this when considering an upgrade.

So, Is an eBay Store Worth It?

An eBay Store is worth it if you’d save more money in discounts and credits than you’d spend on fees. You may also want to consider it if you have a solid strategy for using Store-exclusive tools like the Promotions Manager.

If you do get one, make sure you learn the basics of marketing your eBay Store to get the most out of your investment. Good luck, and happy selling!

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