My feeling about this whole thing is this:
eBay stores is not a good ecommerce platform. It is good for auction users and for having more flexibility with your auction settings, but it cannot hold a candle to most ecommerce software out there. And the reason is simple:
It is incredibly complex for the average non-eBay user to buy something from your store. Listen, when you’re selling hard to find stuff, you can pretty much make people call your dog and place an order with your dog. Because the stuff is hard to find, people have to do what they do to get it. Like this site. I can get away with some things I could never do on a normal ecommerce site because you so badly needed this information and did not have many quality alternatives from which to buy. I break a lot of “ecommerce rules” and I know I do, but I know I can get away with that.
But since most of you are selling readily available designer merchandise and have a lot of competition, you do not have that luxury. You just don’t. So you have to make it simple to buy from you. And this is what all this eBay stores stuff comes into play.
Not everyone who shops online uses eBay. And not everyone who uses eBay finds it easy to use or likes to use it. Some people use eBay because they have to, they are looking for a bargain, they can’t find the item anywhere else, or they are simply eBay fanatics who would buy their groceries on eBay if they could. But some people might prefer to use a normal ecommerce website and be done with it, if given the choice.
And some people will never use eBay. Sometimes we overestimate the technical acumen of the average internet shopper. A lot are just simple folks who like a simple buying experience. And they will never buy on eBay because they find the entire process to complicated.
Tit for tat, buying on eBay is more complicated than buying from a normal, well constructed ecommerce website.
And this is where referrals come into play:
If you are getting your referrals through a normal search engine, the chance of you getting them to convert into a buyer through your eBay store is small, *if they have other suitable places to buy*. So, for example, you have someone searching on google for, hmmmm, a pair of Juicy Couture velour pants. The find your store listing because you promoted it in the search engines or you did some pay per click advertising or whatever. Now this person, even if registered on eBay, might prefer to buy those items from a normal website than through your store. But even if they decide to buy through your store, they probably won’t do so right then and there in that session and you lose the referral credit.
More in part 3…