EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 303 - January 22, 2012 - ISSN 1528-6703     2 of 6

Kyozou Automates the Back Office for eBay and Amazon Sellers

By Greg Holden

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Browse through the categories of brake pads, fuel pumps, belts, and other merchandise at the Mac Auto Parts online store, and you get an idea of the challenge David Palmeri faces when it comes to keeping track of inventory. Or, I should say, the challenges he would be facing if he didn't make use of an inventory management service.

Palmeri's store, based in Port Chester, NY, has 47,000 items in its online catalog. He uses Toronto, Canada-based Kyozou, which specializes in software that helps ecommerce businesses manage their inventory. Back in the mid-2000s, he was struggling to keep track of everything manually.

"Before Kyozou we were using eBay's Selling Manager," he explains. "We would have to print out every order manually, process shipments manually, and would have to enter all items to list on eBay manually, which would take a very long time. There were many steps to all these processes, and anytime you needed to do something, like leave feedback or mark an item unpaid, it was a long process through eBay. Kyozou helped streamline these tasks."

Kyozou At a Glance

Marketplaces supported Amazon, eBay, eBay Motors, private marketplace and auctions, shopping comparison sites
Services Inventory management; listing automation; shopping cart/checkout; shipping automation for all major carriers, reporting, and custom development
Platform Hosted (SaaS) Browser-based
Ecommerce hosting Yes
Fees Starting at $300 per month
Read Ratings & Reviews Click Here
Learn more Click Here

Kyozou, like Mac Auto Parts, has its roots in eBay. The company's founders were high volume sellers in the site's consumer electronics category. "After about a year of solid growth, they ran into the usual bottlenecks that challenge most large sellers," says Larry Velman, GM of Kyozou. "Keeping track of everything became more and more difficult." At the time (2003), none of the inventory management platforms that were available to eBay sellers was ideal for tracking inventory from the point it entered the warehouse to the point it went out to the customer, Velman said.

Kyozou's founders decided to build their own system, "Merchant," followed by another system called "Virtuman." This product handled inventory and eBay listings, and automated the shipping process. As users requested new features and functionality, Kyozou was built and introduced to the public at the 2004 eBay Live conference in New Orleans.

If you're wondering about the name (as I was), it comes from a Flash cartoon of Japanese drummers that went email-viral in the early 2000s. That inspired the design of the company's logo. "The word Kyozou sounded interesting and the domain name was available, so Kyozou became our new name," says Velman.

"Most of Kyozou's customers are online merchants (eBay, Amazon, or ecommerce website) who have reached a point where the need for automation has become self-apparent," says Velman. The company's customers range from consignment sellers, drop-shippers, liquidators, wholesalers, recyclers, and standard brick-and-mortar retailers. "Since Kyozou is completely scalable, it is as functional to large volume sellers as it is to mid-sized ones."

Kyozou is a browser-based, Software as a Service (SAAS) platform, meaning you don't have to download software to your desktop computer. It integrates a company's inventory with online marketplaces, payment systems, shipping carriers, and other services to help sellers get products sold, paid for, and shipped smoothly. Additional features such as barcode printing and scanning, multiple warehouse support, user profiles, pickup scheduling, product returns and reporting are also available.

Kyozou is presently integrated with eBay (it is an eBay Certified Solutions Provider), Amazon Marketplace and Seller's Central, and various shopping comparison sites. It also lets customers set up their own ecommerce websites. Cost starts at $300 per month, though Velman says the pricing model "adjusts to suit each seller's specific listing and selling volume."

There are many services that handle inventory management - Kyozou says it distinguishes itself from the competition by providing what it considers to be more functional and intuitive toolset and user interface. And, Velman says, "Kyozou is a complete end-to-end business management system for online sellers. We provide full one-on-one training to each new client, we advise them through each step of the onboarding process, and we are always ready to accommodate requests for development of specific features to suit every client's needs."

For David Palmeri, Kyozou has reduced the "monotony" of selling on eBay and other channels. The resulting automation has allowed Mac Auto Parts to grow. "Kyozou has been an integral part of helping us grow our business," he says.

Velman is optimistic about the ecommerce outlook for 2012. "I expect 2012 to be an excellent year for online sales. Although the ecommerce space seems to be reaching a point of maturity, more and more retailers, manufacturers, and wholesalers are making the move to direct business-to-consumer (B2C) online sales. Also, given the lower than ever barrier to entry and huge market reach of ecommerce, it should remain a very attractive proposition to small and medium enterprise."


About the author:

Greg Holden is EcommerceBytes Contributing Editor. He is a journalist and the author of many books, including "Starting an Online Business For Dummies," "Go Google: 20 Ways to Reach More Customers and Build Revenue with Google Business Tools," and several books about eBay, including "How to Do Everything with Your eBay Business," second edition, and "Secrets of the eBay Millionaires," both published by Osborne-McGraw Hill. Find out more on Greg's website, which includes his blog, a list of his books, and his fiction and biographical writing.


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