EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 3119 - July 30, 2013     2 of 4

Bonanza Encourages Sellers to Become Brands

By David A. Utter

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The world of online selling demands ecommerce pros find a way to stand out from the pack. Competition for eyeballs and wallets remains fierce, and dropping a listing on eBay and hoping for the best may not be the optimal choice for many sellers.

That's opened a niche for more specific marketplace destinations to step in and offer sellers an opportunity to be part of a narrower but deeper environment. Etsy's business model with its handmade and vintage focus stands out here. Bonanza similarly hopes to grow to such a standing.

Bonanza recently launched an effort to help sellers build their own brands, a step Bonanza believes will benefit all parties in the long run. Their brand-building tools will be part of Bonanza's new product catalog, which it is calling KaleidoGuide.

Bonanza told sellers, "Any merchant who creates their own products (i.e., handmade vendors) or those who have created their own supply chain to get products created on their behalf (i.e., many of our custom t-shirt sellers) can benefit from building their own brand identity. The benefits of owning a brand will no longer be limited to corporations with factories and warehouses."

EcommerceBytes reached out to Bonanza CEO Bill Harding for some details about his company's work on behalf of online merchants:

How many sellers are currently using Bonanza?

Bill Harding: We've got about 25,000 sellers currently.

Can you share any figures about sales taking place through Bonanza?

Bill Harding: We can say that, adjusted for seasonality, our sales are as strong as they ever have been. As usual, a lot of the action comes through Google Shopping, though we've been very encouraged to see the number of direct-to-Bonanza customers having more than doubled since this time last year. Becoming a buyer's first shopping destination is our foremost goal, so seeing this traction has been very encouraging.

What would be the key benefits for a seller to bring eBay and/or Etsy listings to Bonanza?

Bill Harding: I think that you guys' yearly seller survey summarizes the difference between Bonanza and other marketplaces pretty concisely: we've been named as the marketplace with highest "Ease of Use" for two years running, with more than 10,000 sellers voting in 2013.

Our "secret sauce" is listening intently to our sellers as we roll out new features. One of my favorite new tools for this has been the Feedback.Bonanza.com site, where we keep a constant pulse on the most popular features our merchants are asking for.

We were also the first marketplace to integrate with the new Google Shopping pay-to-play model, and we have consistently been the first to adapt to new Google changes as they're released. We can do this because our development team gets stuff done faster than any other marketplace (even those like eBay, that outnumber us by a lot).

Can you discuss the seller response to your branding features to date, and do any in particular stand out right now?

Bill Harding: As you can see from the blog, it's been almost universally positive. It is a change that doesn't apply to all of our sellers, but amongst those that sell merchandise they manufacture, adoption has been brisk. More than 50% of our handmade/dropship merchants have setup a brand since the feature's release, and we now have customer product reviews collected for thousands of different products. To say that we're optimistic about the future of our catalog and self-branding features would be an understatement.


About the author:

David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. Send your tips to media@davidautter.com and find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.


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