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Thu May 24 2012 17:02:41

Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?

By: Ina Steiner
Sponsored Link
Dear Ina,
I am a long time eBay seller and my search for a new but effective online selling venue began years ago. Ecommercebytes.com, toptenreviews.com, and alexa.com have been my sources for ideas and information while on my quest for a new venue.

I have registered and tried over 13 different ones. I agree like many, that there are already discovered great alternatives to eBay, my personal favorite is webstore.com.

Your Seller Choice Awards are becoming more known and popular, proving my point that between sites like this one, facebook, twitter etc...that people have and are discovering alternatives to eBay.

So now to my great question for you...Sellers now know they do have alternatives, but why are they still not relocating from eBay? The biggest answer of course is where the most buyers are, but if enough sellers set up camp somewhere else, and buyers knew where they were going, I believe that buyers would follow.

I would love to hear what you think, I truly believe alternatives to eBay have been well known enough for awhile, but sellers are still not moving (its like they are waiting for the great migration or something).

Anyways, this is just my outside point of view, I don't think its just location or lack of known eBay alternatives that are keeping sellers on eBay. I think this is worth checking out and would make a great story.
Thank you for your time,
Blythe




Comments (51) | Permalink
Readers Comments

Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?   Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?
This user has validated their user name. by: Ric
       
Thu May 24 18:09:23 2012
Sellers can try all the venues they want but until buyers follow those sellers, multichannel listing is little more than an exercise in creating listings.

We have tried several different venues. One site where we have had live listings for three years has produced 27 sales in 38 months.

Unfortunately, we sell more than twice that volume in a single month on eBay.

If I want to continue being a seller, I have to go or stay where the sales are producing results.

While we would certainly prefer it otherwise, we remain on eBay because that is where the sales are coming from.

If one of the alternatives we list on suddenly produced significant activity, we would definitely focus more of our efforts on that site.

It is always a case of what comes first to grow a site, buyers or sellers.
Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?   Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?
by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu May 24 18:11:10 2012
I've had good luck selling on Etsy and Amazon.
Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?   Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Thu May 24 22:17:39 2012
--- ''It is always a case of what comes first to grow a site, buyers or sellers.''

You forgot to mention ''advertising''. (But apparently, the alt-sites have forgotten all about it too.) A couple of them have reached plateau and just maintained that one level... something that advertising would likely help them to overcome and reach the next level.

Bonanza, I'm looking at you!

They've got the foundation, the hardware, the software, the staff, and a core of loyal supporters. They just haven't reached that critical mass.

A strong, national advertising campaign would surely give them a boost. Until then, they'll remain an also-ran and a hanger-on.

My Bonanza account is now idle. I had results that were similar to Ric's experiences elsewhere. I was lucky if I got one sale every other month. The ''eyes'' just weren't there. Even though it was easy to list... I was only successful when I'd constantly babysit the store (and that was time that was better spent babysitting my OWN web site. And with better results, too.)

If Bonanza would make the leap to include real auctions AND advertise heavily... eBay would be QUAKING IN THEIR BOOTS.

Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?   Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?
by: lonestar This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu May 24 23:01:32 2012
Excellent question!

I do more buying than selling these days but have wondered why after all the complaining sellers don't move.  The buyers will follow if the sellers will move in larger numbers.  Instead they just dribble out a few at a time.

Yes, advertising would help but ultimately the buyers go where the most sellers are and until those sellers move, the buyers will stay with ebay.
Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?   Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?
by: Steve This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Thu May 24 23:04:44 2012
I can tell you why this eBay seller hasn't left eBay completely even though I have found an alternative venue.

1. The alt venue is my own website.
2. I use eBay simply to drive traffic to it (repeat customers)
3. It is still profitable.
Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?   Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?
by: blaumann This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu May 24 23:10:34 2012
I used Bonanza when it had its original name. No sales and a forum where you had to be Mr. Smiley or get thrown off. They insisted on forcing you to fit their mold.  
Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?   Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?
This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow
       
Thu May 24 23:17:18 2012
I've had success on eCrater. The site is free to list and sell, and I'm selling more there than I was on eBay when I left in February 2008.

Anyone who wants success on alt-sites needs to do their own advertising, just as though the had their own web site.
Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?   Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Thu May 24 23:17:24 2012
2. I use eBay simply to drive traffic to it (repeat customers)

There ya go! Over the past couple years, I've learned to view eBay as little more than a signpost to direct customers to my own site.

Most of my website customers are folks that I met at eBay. But some OBSERVANT buyers can look at my eBay store name and easily figure out where to find me on the internet. (I love those customers! No ''courting'' time needed on eBay.)

Once upon a time, I was a bit shy about inviting eBay customers and contacts to visit my site. Now, I'm not shy at all. For most questions that I receive through eBay's message system, I'll find a way to mention my site... and the domain name too. (And in a way that's easily understood by the reader, but that escapes eBay's filter. Not at all difficult to do... considering that these are the SAME folks who cannot differentiate the difference between the WORD ''cookie'' and script that tries to write a cookie.)
Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?   Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?
by: JohnGermaine This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu May 24 23:19:05 2012
eBay is poised to throw everyone who doesn't sell cheap crapola from China out so people are looking for some place else. Right now they seem to be fragmented all over. If one of the alternatives could get their act together, they could pull in all of those fleeing and those who have fled and have another great shopping venue. It'll be a while before that happens though, but I sure wish it would hurry up! Can't wait for it to happen!!
Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?   Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?
This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless
       
Thu May 24 23:22:08 2012
I stay with ebafia obviously not out of choice but of necessity. Sales are just too slow or non existent elsewhere.

Bonanza's problem -- in fact all the alternate venues' problem -- is that none of them want to spend the money advertising.

Instead they expect sellers -- many of whom are doing multichannel selling with few if any personnel resources -- to advertise for themselves for for the hosting venue.

Many home based sellers simply don't have the time or expertise or both to do what's required to maintaqin their online business AND do marketing.

And, puh-leese, don't tell me that Facebook and Twitter can do wonders for a full time business.

We pay fee to these companies, and part of the revenue should be earmarked for marketing rather than repaying venture capitalists who stand to make more if companies do it right rather doing it fast which is true for a lot of things life.

Even ebafia with all its resources including those resting US tax free in offshore banks is reluctant to advertise.

When they do condescend to advertise, their themes are either sexist or just plain stupid and only cover ebafia's pet categories like fashion, fashion, fashion and ee lek tron ix.

The Ho and his cadre of self annointed genuises have transformed the IT is on ebafia into IT was on ebafia.

May The Ho and his heir apparent meet the fate...and very soon.

Ebafia would do well to take a close look at what happened at the Amazon shareholders meeting because it will happen to them.  
Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?   Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?
by: mickeyfinn This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri May 25 00:33:32 2012
I have an eBay seller friend who is in the the throes of setting up their own website... but, like Steve, they too are not planning to totally abandon eBay - but rather use it as an advertising channel that could create some revenue as it drives customers to that web site.
Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?   Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?
by: jleach53 This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Fri May 25 00:48:10 2012
@Steve
Hey how do I send customers to my site? If you can help just email me. Thanks
Yea I sell on Bonanza and I don't know why they don't advertise, you think more sales equal more revenue for them.
Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?   Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?
This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles
       Web Site
Fri May 25 02:19:31 2012
I'm just a hobby seller. My sales are just to support my collection. eBay for me it is just a tool to sell.

I stopped selling in eBay years ago  because I can't stood posting fees. I decide to focus in a 100% free site. So I go in a test of eCrater vs. Blujay. eCrater won for me. It isn't perfert, but works for me. Also I tested some other ''Alternatives'' like Yahoo Auction, Bidville, Plunderhere, Auctionquest, Wensy, Boz (Bonanzle), Addoway, Atomicmall, eBid, Webstore, Delcampe, Bidstar, etc. No one is perfect. No all for every seller. Some of the charged total final fees before eBay added the S&H fee. Some of them don't have International support for buyer. No all of them have program Lister tools. And not all of them are ''Auction'' sites.

Returned again when eBay begin their ''free'' posting fees. As far I can tell you with only the ''free'' promos sales. My eBay sales in 2011 were more than the total of my sales in all these years in the different ''Alternatives''. The fees difference in percent for me wasn't to big.  Also a tool like Turbo Lister can save me a lot of time even offline. More International and combine sales.

As a buyer. It is very difficult to find some items in the ''Alternatives''. If you find it, if you manage to receive the item or contact from the seller, and then return later to buy more maybe you will find the surprise that the seller close his booth/store to return to eBay. True story, it happened to me. I bought an item from a seller in an Alternative, 2 months later was back again eBay. Why? Only 100 transaction in 2 years in an ''Alternative'' against 5 times that in a month in eBay. Anybody with that sell rate will go back.

Also lets no forget the advertising. In all the ''Alternatives'' if you want big sales you need to work for them. I ask to some of me buyers of my eCrater store ''how they find the item?''. All the ones that answer said to me by Google search.

When you see both side as seller and buyer. You will understand why sellers aren't moving to the ''Alternatives''.
Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?   Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?
by: pennyrub This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri May 25 02:26:56 2012
As it says, the buyers are on Ebay, I sell way too much on Ebay to give it up. But I am looking toward my own site to land should things go wrong on Ebay. Got a place on Bonanza and what a joke that site is...same with Goantiques.com...
Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?   Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?
by: teddychan This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Fri May 25 03:31:10 2012
The reason is simple. None of the alternative sites have emerged as the best option because they have few customers and/or other issues.
I've tried most of them. Addoway and Bonanza have almost no buyers. iOffer "buyers" renege almost half the time, it has constant system glitches and awful customer service. Atomic Mall won't refund seller fees after the buyer returns the item. eCrater refuses to allow bulk upload inventory updating. Yardsellr repeatedly refused to boot a suspended eBay seller whose fraudulent activity was posted all over the internet. The best of the bunch is probably Webstore because it's free and has good customer service, but unfortunately not enough buyers yet.
Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?   Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?
by: BeenThereDoneThat This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri May 25 08:12:14 2012
Ebay is a household name. There is a vast variety of sellers and items that other sites just do not have. Buyers go there knowing they can find just about anything. As to alternatives, well, people will find you if they are doing an internet search for your item, however it's easier to just go to the big ol site of ebay.

Bonanza, interesting place. Logic of a business mind does dictate that they would want more sales as it would put more money in their pocket, however, this is not the case for them and never has been. The site is a huge video game for the children who run it. Somewhat like children playing with live interactive dolls. Lets see how far we can mess with sellers and how far we can push them.

blaumann said, "and a forum where you had to be Mr. Smiley or get thrown off.They insisted on forcing you to fit their mold." This is very true. The forum, run by "The Director of Happiness", however, that is actually spelled wrong. It should be "The Dictator of Happiness", a total control freak.

All of that could be lived with, stay off the forum, but, there are just no sales from lack of advertising and so many site glitches and unnecessary tools on the site.

Guess you get what you pay for. So, back to ebay many go. Bonanza is one of the worse alternatives IMO, but there really are few that are great. Etsy for those whose items fit there, they do advertise.
Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?   Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?
by: Galatea This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri May 25 09:08:13 2012
I think sellers ARE moving to other alternatives. Two good examples of this is Yardsellr and Copious. I actually tried both sites, and the sell through rate is comparable to Ebay. For some, the sell through rate is better than Ebay. Of course, both have hiccups and growing pains but people are making sales there. Sites like Bonanza are often community-dependent. Individuals who participate in community games tend to do better than those going it alone. Etsy is promising, and I've sold there too, but they have problems managing size and scope. Thing is, ex Ebay sellers are everywhere, and the number of defections is growing.
Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?   Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?
by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri May 25 09:21:31 2012
I think that all of us are in the same boat. We dont hate eBay itself, we hate the assinine, moronic rules that the people ''in charge'' make up every day - the ones that make our lives miserable.

Id prefer to spend my time getting new items to sell, finding deals, helping customers (im a buyer too - so I know the joy of a seller finding the item I was looking for ''especially for me'') but instead I spend my time jumping through eBay hoops - fighting to get back my own money.

I cant and wont speak for anyone else here - but for me - selling on line is my job. I try (and you can look up what my positive feedbacks on eBay say) to do the best I can - ship on time, post alot of pictures, offer the best prices I can etc - I would guess that most here are similar in thier approach to eBay.

Theres no reason why eBay cant grow its sales in what ever category they wish - with out harming my business - which is what they seem to want to do. eBay - stay out of my listings - let me put up pics the way I want to , let me decide on returns, dont hold my money, dont favor only certain groups, stop using VERO to chase people away who do nothing wrong - just plain STOP.

Sears.com, Buy.com, Bonanza etc are all small players in this game. The 800lb gorilla is Amazon. And if you do Amazon and you arent a professional seller doing FBA - you get squashed. AS well, Amazon blocks entire categories and brands ''just cause they feel like it''

Im working on my own web site - but its second after the retail location that we are in the middle of designing. Im not rushing to leave eBay, when the ''pain'' gets too unbearable, maybe.

I got my Paypal hold removed (%10, 60 days). It took alot of calls, alot of threats, alot of ''Im going to join that class action suit in CA'' but I got it done. I ship via usps with eBay shipping so theres no arguement if something shipped. My issues are the returns and the new picture rules.

We are almost 1/2 way through the yr - lets see what eBay does ''next'' ....
Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?   Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?
by: fadedglitter This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Fri May 25 09:30:21 2012
i am completely off ebay now and sell exclusively on etsy,i find it much cheaper,friendlier and my sales are the same as on ebay.i sell vintage jewelry and findings on etsy and love the high volume of traffic they receive,im so glad i got off ebay and found a wonderful altennative!!
Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?   Why Aren't Sellers Moving to eBay Alternatives?
by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Fri May 25 10:03:23 2012
I have made the switch from ebay to ecrater years ago and continue to be happy that I did. However, I can see why many sellers don't make it on alternative sites. They don't even bother to read about the site, they just start listing. On ecrater we are allowed 100 characters for the title. I've seen some ebay escapees 'write' listings that between the 'title' and the 'description' they don't even use 100 characters. How does anyone anywhere expect to sell something that has no keywords for the search engines to pick up. That is something you have to be very aware of is how to write proper titles and descriptions that are SEO friendly. They also have no concept of promoting their stores or marketing. They still ship with no return address or packing invoice so that the buyer knows where to go if they want to visit their store again. I've seen many ebay sellers in this situation also--getting 2 packages of basically the same item with no return label or packing slip in either package makes it very hard to determine who sent what and who to give the inevitable negative to as these types of sellers mess up just about everything. They may have their store open for several weeks and then ask what the fees are (none on ecrater) An so it goes. They come on the forums and ask to be spoon fed all the information that is there for the reading on the forums and then get mad and abusive if we don't answer all their questions over and over again.

If you want to try an alternative site, take a week or two to get to understand the site by reading all the information about the site, then put good listing practices into place and open up your store. Those trying to list on 3-10 alternatives at the same time should probably cut back to 1 main site, with a secondary site if needed since it is physically impossible to do justice to trying to list and keep up with mulitple sites. It is easy to say that you gave a site a chance, but if you only loaded 10 items or less into your store and are asking 2 days later why you don't have any sales yet, the answer should be self-evident. No matter what site you sell on, if you sell within a niche category you should do better than a mishmash of all sorts of things. Let your store stand for you being an expert in an area. Drop shippers who sell straight from catalogs are competing against many more sellers selling the exact same product which means your store has to stand out no matter where you sell.

Lots of problems with switching over to an alternative and I realize that not all alternatives fit everyone's need, but give them a chance. I started listing on ecrater about 6 months or so before leaving ebay. The more I listed, the more sales I got, so when I had it up to the top of my head with ebay, I shut ebay down and focused on listing all my stock on ecrater. Within about 4-5 months I was hitting the same amount of sales as I had at ebay and without the fees, I was making more! Was it hard work? Yes. Was it scarey to change places ? Yes, but I knew if I didn't I would just keep drownding at ebay.
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