Best Match Bombs With Sellers. Could New Shipping Policy Make It Worse?

Since the Best Match search default started on eBay, my sales have dropped off of a cliff.
eBay instituted the Best Match search feature in early March.  Since Best Match was implemented my hits are down, bids are down and sales are down –on some products by as much as 25%.
My outdoor firepit grills used to come up on the first page of results. Now I have one item that comes up on the very bottom of the first page and the rest are on the second or third page.
It is even worse with my EZ Cube light tents.  When I type in the most used keywords (that I have in my titles) I am no longer on the first or second page. Even though I have doubled the number of listings, my sales are down substantially on this product.
According to eBay, “Best Match sorts the listings you see based on a concept called “relevance.” A particular listing’s relevance is based, in part, on past successful buyer behavior for similar items. Essentially, buyers ‘vote’ on relevance every time they search and buy an item, because these activities provide valuable input into the relevance system.
In other words, if buyers running a particular search often end up viewing, bidding on, or buying a certain type of item more often, this will be factored into our relevance calculations. These types of items might then display higher on the page in subsequent searches.”
The problem with the buyer behavior part of this equation is that the items I sell are not typical repeat purchases.  If someone is buying clothing, they are likely to buy several things in that category on eBay. But when someone buys a BBQ grill, it is more likely to be a one-time purchase. Not many people buy BBQ grills every week or so.
Best Match also incorporates other factors such as most searched keywords, category, time ending soonest and so on.  The other big factor is your DSR shipping score –and starting in a few weeks, your shipping price.
My shipping DSR score is 4.9, so I should be getting a boost due to that, but I am not.
The shipping price calculation will cause all types of problems for sellers. For example my firepits are solid steel and weigh about 50 pounds. But there are sellers with cheap copper firepits in the same sub-category that only weigh 5 or 10 pounds.  These are obviously cheaper to ship, so I will be penalized by the search engine because of our higher shipping cost.  I was talking with one seller who sells art prints both framed and unframed.  His unframed prints are shipped in a tube and cost very little to ship. But his framed pieces (which are much more profitable) are very expensive to pack and ship and will be penalized in the search results.
PESA and ECMTA recently had a conference call on techniques for climbing the Best Match ladder.  I am trying to find out if they will post a recording of the call as they had some great techniques for sellers who need to improve their Best Match search position. If they make this available, I will put a link to it here and in my newsletter.
ECMTA is the Ecommerce Merchants Trade Association is having their Spring Meeting in New Orleans this year April 22-25. ECMTA is connected to PESA, Professional eBay Seller’s Alliance, a group that comprises the largest sellers on eBay. If you can attend the meeting this is a great chance to meet some of the largest and most experienced sellers on eBay. I have been to several of these conferences and have always found the large sellers willing to share information, resources and techniques.

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