eBay Good 'Til Cancelled listings are great. Absolutely great! eBay's Autumn seller update announced changes which present a great opportunity for small businesses, particularly those in cottage industries. From November 2016 all businesses will be able to sell on eBay using Good 'Til Cancelled listings. Something that is currently only available to those with a store. However, the update doesn't mention the 'Out of Stock' feature which you need to be aware of.
About Good 'Til Cancelled
Good 'Til Cancelled listings are a - potentially - never-ending listing (unfortunately you do need to pay for an insertion fee every 30 days). These listings will retain the sales and search history for an item, right back to when the listing was first created.
As a result, Good 'Til Cancelled listings are critically important for generating buyer confidence. Both if you're selling a unique item, or an item that can be bought from other sellers:
- If you sell unique items there is generally no opportunity for a buyer to compare your products against competitors. Seeing a history of other customers will build a customer's confidence in both you and your product.
- If you advertise a product at the same price as a competitor, and have sold a great deal more of them, it’s not rocket science to conclude that the shopper is likely to choose you on the basis of your track record. Using time bound listings, both you and your competitor may appear to have sold a similar number of items. A buyer will not be able to identify the seller with the stronger track record and you may lose out.
BUT! There’s an issue lurking that you cannot afford to be unaware of. If you operate a standard Good 'Til Cancelled listing and your stock level drops to 0 items, your listing will end. A nightmare scenario, which has caught out many sellers and results in the loss of the sales history that you’ve worked hard to build. An unexpected sales rush or issue with re-stocking is all that's required to cause the loss of a listing.
eBay’s 'Out of Stock' feature is the answer, but is surprisingly badly signposted to customers who aren’t aware of it. It's not clear why eBay haven't enabled the 'Out of Stock' feature as standard, with an ‘opt out’ option as opposed to ‘opt in’ as now. The 'Out of Stock' feature is available as a free option and is a must have in our opinion.
How it works
When stock reaches zero, eBay will automatically hide the listing from all buyer searches. The listing will remain ‘live’ but will be unavailable to view or purchase. As a result, you won't sell items that you cannot fulfil and receiving the associated penalties. Replenish your stock before three billing periods have elapsed and your listing will become available for buyers to view again. Feedback and purchase history will be intact.
There's an added bonus to Good 'Til Cancelled listings. Listings with zero stock for a full 30 day billing cycle will often qualify for an insertion fee credit as a result.
Enabling the Out of Stock feature is really simple:
- Go to My eBay>Account>Site Preferences
- Under “Selling Preferences,” click “Show” next to Sell Your Item form and listings
- Click “Edit” next to “Use the out-of-stock option”
- Select the checkbox, then click “Apply”
And you’re done!