From the Editor
By Ina Steiner
Summer is 2 weeks away, often a good time to review your business and improve the efficiency of your operations. There are a number of areas online sellers can improve, including fulfillment (packing and shipping), customer service, product-sourcing, product photography and listing.
Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos is famous for his efforts to cut waste, and he uses the kaizen process of continuous improvement. Reducing clutter and getting better organized along with investments in tools can save you time and eliminate some of those annoyances in your daily life.
One area that may be difficult to tackle is the amount of time you spend engaged in social networking activities. It's important to stay connected with customers and colleagues, but checking Facebook and Twitter all day long can be a huge distraction. You should develop a thoughtful strategy along with a schedule, otherwise you may wonder each evening where the day went.
In today's issue, Contributing Editor Greg Holden starts a summer-long series on shopping cart options. Today he reviews four tips on selecting an ecommerce shopping cart for your website. In future columns, he'll review carts including ZenCart, Magento, 3Dcart, and more. The sheer number of choices available to you can be overwhelming, and Greg breaks it down to help you make the best decision for your online store.
Today's EveryPlaceISell.com merchant profile is Bubblefast. Robin and Mark Le Vine sell shipping supplies on eBay, Amazon, Bonanzle, eBid, BuyItSellIt, Wigix, Addoway, Netspray and on their own website at Bubblefast.com. Mark and Robin explain their business and share some useful advice. I broke out their advice on how to select a shopping cart and web designer into a separate sidebar because it's chockfull of information based on their experiences.
At AuctionBytes, we've rolled out a new and improved version of the AuctionBytes Classifieds. We've run the classifieds section (previously called, "Buyers Market") since 2002, and it has developed a loyal following of users. AuctionBytes Classifieds ads are included in the NewsFlash email newsletter and in a banner rotation on the AuctionBytes home page.
Some of the new features for the classifieds include the ability to add up to 6 images to a listing, thumbnails that zoom into the full-sized image, and a WYSIWYG editor for descriptions.
You can try the AuctionBytes Classifieds for free for 7 days, and upgrade to a paid ad for $25 for the year - you can log in and change your ad yourself any time, as often as you like. Peruse the ads here.
Greg Holden and I will be reporting from Chicago this week from the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition. Attendance for IRCE is expected to exceed 6,500, and I've found it to be a great place to find out how multi-channel sellers are growing their businesses. For the second year in a row, I'll be chairing the Small Retailers sessions, which are always interesting. If you'd like to follow the Small Retailer sessions on Twitter, I'll be using the hashtag #IRCESR.
For all the news coming out of IRCE, be sure and subscribe to the free AuctionBytes Newsflash newsletter. We'll keep our eyes open for tools that help you drive traffic to your products, increase your sales and help you become more efficient - stay tuned via the AuctionBytes Blog, podcasts on Ecommerce Industry Soundbytes, and through my Twitter feed. And of course, if you're attending IRCE, please stop me and say hello!
Thanks for reading.
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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