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EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 255 - January 24, 2010 - ISSN 1528-6703     6 of 17

Seller's Choice Marketplace Ratings: Bonanzle

By Ina & David Steiner

January 24, 2010

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In January 2010, AuctionBytes surveyed over 1,400 online sellers and asked them to rate the marketplaces on which they had experience selling. An introduction to the survey along with a summary of the overall ratings can be found here, with a link to the results of each of the 15 online marketplaces included in the survey.


Customer Service:


Ease of Use:

Would you recommend:

Year Established: 2008
Description: Fixed Price Listings. General merchandise, collectibles.
More Info

Bonanzle received high ratings in Customer Service, Communication and Ease of Use. This online marketplace had a fast jump out of the starting gate when it launched in 2008, and quickly garnered an active community. Sellers said they liked the unique features, such as the Bonanza promotions and Live Chat. Management's key challenges are in managing growth and community while attracting more traffic and sales to the site. While only receiving an average rating in Profitability, it was rated fourth out of fifteen as a recommended selling venue.

Reader Comments - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly:
There are too many good things to list about Bonanzle. Any problem is addressed within hours - no form answers either. Only had 2 problems in one year. Very easy to sell, reasonable fees only after a sale, sales steadily increasing. Awesome site.
Ease of use is marvelous, and if you don't understand, all you have to do is email customer support. Responses to all our questions or concerns have arrived within 24 hours or less.
The ease of listing on this site is great. Any on line beginner would be wise to start here with the simplification of the site. Everyone is super friendly. Live chats is wonderful. And you can have bonanza's and tell of it in on the people page to invite all who use bonanzle.
Superb site, my favorite listing venue. Easy to use, easy to get help from either the founders or the community, very low fees (and no upfront costs). I've had an excellent sell through rate on Bonanzle thanks to its integration with multiple marketing/networking options, including google, RSS, twitter, and facebook. These tools let a seller focus on promoting their own booth and goods, and build direct interaction with customers. Much less intrusive and much more seller-focused than amazon or ebay.
Question 1 is how profitable is it to sell on Bonanzle and speaking profit (not revenue I'm sure you know the difference) I fair far better than I did selling on eBay. A relative comparison my total sales on Bonanzle if sold on eBay would have cost me (with 15% ps discount & I would be a top seller if i list there) $2011.28. My total fees on Bonanzle for these sales is $384.00. So yes, very profitable selling on Bonanzle.
I find this site very friendly and easy to deal with. If I have a problem I can go right to customer service and it is taken care of immediately. Does need more traffic, but is increasing.
Bonanzle is a very user friendly market. It's easy to use, easy to sell & there are no "hoops" to jump through. Information is easy to find & I can't say I've ever needed customer service for anything it's really that straightforward. I know other sites rely/heavily encourage you to network in chat groups, blogs, etc. That's not always an easy thing for me to do. When a selling period is over for me I usually jump in for a while as sort of a de-stressor. But as soon as my season kicks in there is simply no time. I like to think my selling is my full time job, this means shopping, making listing, photos, research, answering emails, packing, shipping, keeping records, etc. Add on top of that 3 school age it's easy to see why time gets short during selling seasons. I don't feel like that's held against me at Bonanzle. I do love the fact that the fees are so low & that does increase my profit margin. Some things have to sell at a higher price on other sites & most people aren't inclined to spend the extra. Before I found Bonanzle things would just sit around my store for months-years or indefinitely.
Bonanzle is personable, easily accessible, beautiful graphics, innovative and the people who run it treat sellers with much care. However, compared to Amazon customers are few. Bonanzle has yet to have the name circulated around enough to receive the customers Amazon has.
This site is growing in numbers however, this site doesn't tell how many of those new members come back to purchase a second time. My sales on here have been okay however, 99% are from buyers that sign up to purchase once, not to return. The new block user privacy thing can be a pain when a seller needs to view data about a buyer.
The owners of Bonanzle are eager to help. It is a wonderful community of kind and friendly members.
Bonanzle is profitable at present because I am grandfathered in, no fees on sales under $10, it may not be profitable in 2011. If I had higher ASP stock no question it would work.
As much as i like Bonanzle as a community my sales of higher end antiques and collectibles are very poor there. It seems to be more profitable for low $ items and for those who like to play the selling games that are so popular there. My feeling re customer service is mixed...there is rapid response on some things but slow to zero on others. The owners seem more focused on the social aspect and the bells and whistles (twitter connections, interactive stuff etc) rather than on fine tuning important things like checkout, shipping calculators etc. I like the place, but just dont think it is a fit for more serious antiques & collectible sellers. The fact that it is free and low FVF is a big plus.
I was selling antiques and collectibles and felt there was just too many new items on the site. It was billed as the place to find all but the ordinary, but it didn't turn out that way. Great customer service, however, to sellers.
Bonanzle is very user friendly except for when using google check out.I only sold 2 items but checking out through Google checkout is a headache.
Hate the name but this venue works constantly to improve the buyer and seller experience. Traffic is OK. I observed this venue for about two years before finally listing just before the 2009 annual sales season. Sales are slow but occurring without additional marketing at this time.
As a Collectibles Seller I find the customer views and traffic very low. Thus very low sales. It was on a slow uptick until they switched to site wide automatic down loads to Google. I guess my Collectibles attributes just don't get much exposure on Google Search. That makes me feel that Bonanzle like Ebay and Google is favoring the big sellers of electronics etc. I have had a Booth on Bonanzle since Jan 2009. I've done everything Bonanzle has suggested to optimize my sales with no luck. And these are the same types of items I'm selling successfully on Ebay. I'll keep trying Bonanzle a while longer since they are still so new and easy to use and hope for better sales in the near future.
Fairly easy to list however, to include international shipping is a pain - too many other steps involved. Love the integrated GoogleCheckout. Wish it had more traffic. Ease of adding attributes also touch and go. Have had a few sales but nothing consistent.
I have a lot of issues with Bonanzle. I did sell some things there. I am not into the social thing. I paid for upgrades but probably spent as much on that as I made profit on the items I sold. My items came up high in Google search but I don't know why sales weren't stronger there. The site is appealing, fairly easy to use and gives some bulk editing tools which is great. I like the best offer option - you almost need that in the collectibles market. I consider trying it again also - but I have tried so many sites, I just feel like I waste my time doing all the set up and listing for not much reward.
Too many glitches are going unrepaired. Traffic started 2009 out just great but it quickly dropped and has continue to do so through out the year for me. It was promised to me that there was a zero tolerance level for fakes but that has not been so. I felt compelled to remove about $10,000 worth of merchandise that the fakes were "outranking" in Bonanzle's "most relevant" sort after they'd had repeated reports of the fakes with ample back-up proof that they could use to identify the fakes. The fake problem annoyed my clients greatly (they are the ones who discovered it and reported it to me) so I removed the listings at their suggestion because they did not want to do business with me on Bonanzle because of their refusal to take down the fakes. Now they have a few hundred $$ in fakes in a very important category instead of over $10,000 of authentic merchandise. I've devoted a massive amount of time to that site, my booth there and the promotion of it but I'm currently in the process of moving it all to eCrater and have been listing more heavily on eBay to keep cash flowing while I make the move. It makes me sad. After I suffered about 4 or 5 glitches one after another over a very short period of time both in listing and with my customers being unable to complete their transactions (that is a HUGE problem there), I was told by an anonymous note from someone at customer support that they thought I should leave and they gave me a list of suggestions as to where they thought I should move. I took them up on it. Then I got a message from Bill Harding reporting that (after about 3 months) he had finally figured out one of the glitches I'd reported. I was already down to only 5 listings at that point. They really have a lot of problems. I hope they figure it out soon but I'm not going to continue to waste time there with almost no sales. My sales there were very, very good the first half of 2009 but had dropped dramatically after the Google changes and never recovered even 25% of what they had been. It's SUPER easy to list there and they have VERY reasonable fees. One of my favorite things is their image cropping tool. It's a great one. Most people don't take advantage of it but if they did, they'd have much better looking thumbnails and their listings, overall, would look lots better. It's a brilliant tool. Their boards are a big train wreck.
I feel it is challenging to figure out what a seller needs to do to take advantage of their promotional tools. I know we can read and read -- but I find it confusing.
The site is very confusing to navigate. No one special area to go to for site updates and help.
I feel that this site is a bit overrun with destructive behaviour on the part of the sellers. Business discussions many times get squashed due to childish behaviour and it makes it hard to get a handle on the actual prospects of the site. I have 4 booths and maybe a handful of sales - some never completed check out and with no way to contact the customer as emails are masked - there is no way to complete the transaction or notifiy the customer. As a veteran seller I want total control over my transaction to make sure that it goes smoothly. That also leaves fees hanging out there that either are not warranted or can not be paid or just an accounting mess.
I did not find the listing process simple as they claim it is. It was not intuitive and picking categories for jewelry was awkward and not user friendly.
No customers. Profit when item sold is excellent. But lack of customers is significant. They need to market their site. And move their social networking to lower visibility. Great communication between sellers but doesn't bring more customers to Bonanzle. My items sell great on other sites.


Sellers Choice
We thank all readers who took the time to rate the marketplaces. If you have comments about the survey results or the survey itself, please feel free to post them in the AuctionBytes Blog.


About the author:

Ina and David Steiner are publishers of EcommerceBytes.com and have been writing about ecommerce since 1999.

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