Auctiva Adapts to eBay Changes and Offers New Ways to Sell Online
By Ina Steiner
When eBay disrupted the business model of its largest third-party service provider Auctiva in 2009, the vendor was forced to impose fees for its seller tools. While never easy going from a free to paid model, Auctiva says it has continued to sign up new users and has retained 60 percent listing-GMV year-over-year. The company continues to invest in its eBay seller tools - an iPhone App is on the way, for example. It also launched a storefront service last year for sellers expanding beyond eBay, and it is now beta testing a new marketplace platform.
Auctiva had offered free tools and services to eBay sellers since June 2005, but a change in eBay's affiliate program and shipping-insurance policy last year forced it to look for alternative revenue streams, and it instituted fees for sellers in July. "The majority of our users transitioned with us, and we're adding more subscribers every month," according to Auctiva Communications Specialist Robert Green.
Auctiva has continued to invest in its flagship project, adding several features over the past several months including Advanced Relist Editing, which allows users to edit closed listings before relisting them while preserving the eBay relist credit; Bulk Live-Listing Revisions, which allows editing of multiple active eBay listings at once; Auctiva Shipping Insurance Auto-Purchase Rules that can be configured to automatically insure sellers' shipments based on a configurable price threshold; Customizable Packing Slips; a new Auto-save feature that preserves listing descriptions for users who get distracted when creating/editing listings; and new Listing Templates.
Mr. Green said Auctiva also has a number of features in various stages of development for its eBay offerings in the coming year, including the following:
- An iPhone listing application that syncs with Auctiva.com;
- Support for eBay's Multi-variation (Multi-SKU) listing option;
- Fitment, a new eBay feature for Motors Parts & Accessories and Consumer Electronics that will allow sellers to specify the various product models an item works with (e.g., this brake shoe fits these specific car models);
- More foreign-language translation, beginning with German.
Auctiva's off-eBay Ecommerce Solution
In January 2009, Auctiva launched Auctiva Commerce, allowing sellers to set up storefronts independent of eBay. In recent months, Auctiva Commerce added support for Google Checkout, a redesigned cart page, and multiple improvements to help users get their items listed in Google Search results. The company says it now has over 7,500 active Auctiva Commerce stores (free through March 2010). Auctiva reports it will be launching significant enhancements to allow merchants to more completely customize their stores, including:
- Storefront customization that will enable users to edit the left and right rails of the storefront, configure the title of the Featured Products grid and the number of items to display, and allow better positioning of the store logo.
- The addition of more payment gateway options (i.e., Sage Pay and eWAY) to the already supported Authorize.Net.
Elefy.com and Looking Forward
Auctiva recently launched in beta Elefy.com, a shopping portal site that displays products from its Auctiva Commerce stores.
When asked about the Elefy and how it plays into the company's future plans, Vice President Kevin Kinell said, "Elefy is a site built on a marketplace platform we're developing. We're focused on creating innovative ways for our current and future sellers to get what they're selling seen by buyers all over the Internet. We expect to make an official announcement about the platform, and the innovative ways it will help our sellers market their products, in the next couple months."
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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