From the Editor
By Ina Steiner
Black Friday and Cyber Monday were exceptional days for online and brick-and-mortar retailers, as I reported in last week's Newsflash. But I was also happy to see a new day called Small Business Saturday that encouraged shoppers to buy from small businesses. The day was dreamed up and sponsored by American Express, which got a lot of support from organizations, government leaders, retailers, and shoppers. It estimated there was a 27% boost this year in sales of small retailers that accept American Express Cards compared to the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2009.
The growing "buy local" movement is also helpful to small businesses - the Boston Globe published a piece on Thanksgiving day about the "buy local" movement that reminded Black Friday shopping-mall deal-hunters about small shops on main street.
Curious about how online marketplaces performed on Cyber Monday compared to retail sites in general, I published a report in Thursday's Newsflash newsletter - take a look at the results and commentary in this AuctionBytes Blog post, "Sellers, Are You Feeling the Love from Cyber Monday?" It may surprise you to see how eCrater, ArtFire, Atomic Mall, eBid, Etsy and Bonanza are doing this holiday shopping season.
And speaking of marketplaces,...I'm thrilled to report that nearly 3,000 marketplace nominations have come in for our Seller's Choice Awards that will kick off in January. The top spots have been set, but there is a mad scramble for the last few slots on the final ballot, so make sure you nominate the marketplaces you'd like to see in the second annual "Sellers Choice" Marketplace Ratings Survey so you can vote for them in January.
This is a good time of year to remind shoppers to be careful. The New York Times wrote an in-depth article recently about an online merchant under investigation for fraud and for harassing customers. There were a number of interesting aspects to the case, including the issue of whether Google rewards merchants for bad ratings and reviews. As I noted in my piece on the AuctionBytes Blog, people had been complaining about this merchant as far back as 2008, but he continued to flourish undaunted.
Tonight (December 5), CBS television's 60 Minutes program will be airing an interview with Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. A lot has happened since Leslie Stahl first interviewed the founder of the leading social networking site in 2008, including the release of the movie about his experience creating the company that came out this fall called, "The Social Network."
But one thing hasn't changed about Facebook, and that is the attempt by businesses, including online sellers, to use the site to connect with customers. So today's article by Mark O'Neill on Facebook is quite timely. In it, he explains how to create a Facebook Page for your business, and he'll be back with additional articles on how to promote your online business through social networking.
There are many social media skeptics, but be aware that search engines Google and Bing are now counting social signals in search results. Don't ignore sites like Twitter and Facebook, at least from a search-marketing perspective.
Also in today's issue, SLI Systems CEO Shaun Ryan breaks down "Five Things Online Merchants Should Know about Search," and AuctionBytes Contributing Editor Greg Holden shows us an effective way to get feedback that can make your web store and product listings more shopper-friendly.
Our EveryPlaceISell Merchant Profile looks at CharmCraze-y, a one-woman business that sells vintage charms on eBay, Ruby Plaza and on her own website, The Charm Cellar. Wanda Fitzgerald shares some tips along with the story of how she got started selling online.
Collectors Corner Editor Michele Alice gets in the holiday spirit with a look at glass Christmas tree ornaments, and we wrap it up with Letters from the Editor.
Here's hoping your holiday sales are going well, and 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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