From the Editor - November 2, 2014
By Ina Steiner
One of the best parts of my job is hearing from a diverse group of entrepreneurs. This was a topic of discussion in the Letters to the Editor blog recently when a reader scoffed at some of the advice being given to seniors about how to sell online.
Other readers responded, sharing information about their age, what they sell, and how long they've been selling online, such as the 79-year-old engineer and machinist who makes tools and sells them on eBay - one of his bestselling tool goes for $166, he said. Never underestimate people older than you.
There have been a number of developments since our last issue, including an eBay fee increase for high-value items - see, With Slowing Sales Growth, Should eBay Be Raising Fees? And days before implementing an unpopular policy around extended holiday returns, eBay capitulated - see eBay Eases Up on Extended Holiday Returns, with a Catch.
Etsy launched its own branded card reader similar to Square and PayPal Here. It lets sellers who accept Etsy Direct Checkout to process payments in person, and it offers some unique advantages to Etsy sellers.
Amazon announced third-quarter earnings, reporting very healthy sales growth but also reporting a significant quarterly loss thanks to spending to support its expansion strategy. Third-party sellers continue to be important to the marketplace - seller units made up 42% of total paid units.
Interestingly Amazon's Chief Financial Officer said the biggest return on investment for its Prime membership program is that Prime members buy more, "including and especially physical products." And that helps explains the continued adoption of Fulfillment By Amazon among 3P sellers.
Amazon also revealed some statistics about delivery: thanks to its new sortation centers, it offers same-day delivery in 12 cities and will offer Sunday delivery for approximately 50% of the population.
Delivery of goods ordered online is a very important issue for merchants and marketplaces. Same-day delivery is unattainable to most, but the big players are still trying - and now, news comes that even Starbucks is getting into the game. The company announced last week during its quarterly earnings call that it would launch a food and beverage delivery service next year, calling it, "our version of ecommerce on steroids."
In today's issue, we've got a guide to holiday shipping, Greg Holden looks at eBay Promotions Manager, and I take a look at a "portable feedback" system that lets sellers display feedback from Amazon and Etsy right inside their eBay listings.
I'll leave you with this question to mull over - who is eBay's target consumer? eBay CEO John Donahoe raised the question during eBay's recent earnings call, and it may indicate even more changes ahead - take a look at the EcommerceBytes Blog for more information.
Thanks for reading - and don't forget to set your clocks back if that applies to your region.
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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