We want to keep you, our valued sellers, up to date with the changes being made to GunBroker.com. Included in this letter is information regarding changes in the GunBroker buyer experience, seller tools, and fee changes. We are also announcing changes related to customer support and our marketing efforts. This is the summary of the changes.
The GunBroker Buyer Experience
Over the last several years much work has been done to improve the buying experience on GunBroker.com. We have substantially improved site functionality on mobile devices. We have improved the site search to provide relevant products instead of more technically oriented keyword-only searches. We have implemented a Checkout system and driven adoption of the Immediate Checkout process to more sellers. We have recently launched our Take a Shot system to allow buyers to negotiate price directly with sellers.
Keep in mind, the buyer is the one who is purchasing your goods. Without buyers you will not be making a sale. Buyers have a lot of choice in where they choose to spend their money. To generate sales the site has to function well and the seller has to deliver in a reasonable amount of time.
Not every aspect of the buyer experience can be controlled through technology or by GunBroker the company. You, the seller, are the one who creates the item listing, sets pricing, ships the product, and provides tracking information. The number one complaint we hear from buyers is the inconsistency of the post-bid process. Some sellers use Immediate Checkout to allow the buyer to pay immediately, without a phone call or need to mail a money order. Some sellers ship quickly and provide tracking information. The sellers who do not make it easy to pay and do not ship quickly or do not provide tracking information hurt the overall buying experience for the sellers who do. It is important to the customer to get a consistent experience regardless of who the seller is.
Effective in December of last year, we made the decision to make thumbnails free on all listings. We are making that change permanent. Thumbnails drive views of the item being sold, and views lead to sales. Sales have been up meaningfully since the thumbnail experiment.
Effective in February of this year, we eliminated identity verification fees for buyers. Buyers disliked those fees, so they have been discontinued. We are still verifying buyers but we are no longer charging the buyers for the verification. Additionally we are streamlining the registration process to make it easier for people to register to buy. More buyers inevitably lead to more sales.
To provide a more consistent experience overall, GunBroker.com is going to implement or increase fees on things buyers hate, like Reserve Price auctions, and 1 Day and 3 Day Auctions. We will be providing financial incentives to sellers who use Immediate Checkout and our current and future shipping options. We are going to announce integrated payments and expanded shipping and tracking options in the coming months to make it easier and faster for buyers to pay, and to keep buyers informed when an item is shipped, when it is expected to be delivered, and when it arrives.
Reserve Price Fees
We are now charging a fee to create a Reserve Price listing, and limiting the amount of time Reserve Price listings can be relisted for free. Buyers do not want to waste their time bidding on what they perceive to be overpriced items which tend to clog up the overall site. We recognize that Reserve Price items have a purpose in some cases so they are not being eliminated. If you do not want to pay the Reserve Price fee, create a listing using Take a Shot to let buyers make you an offer on the item.
1 Day and 3 Day Auctions
1 Day and 3 Day Auctions are being abused by sellers, especially those who use our API to list items for sale. At one time, listings were being sorted from “Ending Soonest” down, so the ending date made a difference. That is no longer the case. Listings are now sorted by relevance. There is no reason to constantly list 1 Day and 3 Day Auctions to stay at the top of the listings. Anyone who lists a lot of product via our API should make sure that they are not using 1 Day or 3 Day Auctions. Instead, use one of our fixed price BuyNow formats.
We are no longer allowing unsold items to be relisted indefinitely. Unsold items will be permitted to be relisted free of charge for up to 90 days, except for Reserve Price and 1 Day and 3 Day Auctions which have their own rules. If these items are relisted after the initial period, fees will apply. If an item does not sell within 90 days then likely something is wrong: the price is too high or the terms are unacceptable to the buyers in mass. As with Reserve Price items buyers do not want to see a lot of over-priced or otherwise unsellable items.
Excessive Shipping Charges
GunBroker is following the lead of other top ecommerce sites and will begin charging its selling fees on the total cost of the sale including shipping (but not including sales tax). Sellers who use GunBroker’s integrated shipping options will receive a credit back on the fees paid on the actual shipping cost. This policy is meant to discourage sellers from listing a low price and charging excessive shipping to appear to present a lower price to customers or to avoid paying fees. Buyers get irritated when they see an item priced at $450 with $75 shipping, and that hurts the overall buyer experience on the site. Please take the time to set a reasonable shipping price that does not turn off the buyer.
This change is taking effect on July 1, 2018.
Final Value Fees
We have changed our Final Value Fees to provide a base fee structure for all sellers, with discounted fees for our Top 100 Sellers and Top 1000 Sellers. For volume sellers, we will be rolling out tools to help you understand where you rank and what you need to do to get into the next higher tier. Your rank will be re-evaluated quarterly.
This change is taking effect on April 1, 2018.
To qualify for a reduced rate tier, a seller must accept credit card payments through the GunBroker Immediate Checkout feature. We are giving sellers until June 15, 2018 to enable Immediate Checkout on their listings. We strongly recommend that you do not delay. Internet enabled merchant accounts can take a month or more to establish if your current processor does not offer them. GunBroker has partnerships with several merchant account providers and can help you with the technical aspects of setting up Immediate Checkout.
Customer Service and Marketing
GunBroker.com wants all of its customers, buyers and sellers alike, to have the best customer service possible. Over the last few years we have upgraded our support system to use ZenDesk, rolled out real time chat-based support, and worked hard to improve our response times. We are committed to increasing our customer support staff. We are looking to increase our support hours and providing telephone support for our sellers.
GunBroker has been increasing its marketing efforts to drive more traffic to your listings. We will continue to step up marketing and advertising efforts to drive more buyers and generate more sales volume.
On-Site and Off-Site Advertising Opportunities
GunBroker is working on a new advertising vehicle similar to other sites’ Promoted or Sponsored Listings. This approach will let you target customers by demographics, interests, and search terms to generate additional exposure to brands and Individual listings. We are setting this up to be a self-service system where you can decide how much to spend and what listings you wish to promote. The new advertising can be run on the GunBroker.com site or on other sites like GunGenius.com. We will announce the new advertising solution within a few months. As a bonus, much of the current ad placements will go away, and we know people are going to be excited about that.
For details on all Optional Services and Fees, please see the Fees and Services page.
For information about discounted fees, please see the Top Seller fees page.