EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 399 - February 12, 2017 - ISSN 1528-6703     7 of 12

Sellers Choice 2017 Marketplace Ratings: Bonanza

By Ina & David Steiner

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In January 2017, EcommerceBytes surveyed over 10,000 online sellers and asked them to rate the marketplaces on which they had experience selling. An introduction to the Sellers Choice survey along with a summary of the overall ratings can be found here, along with links to results for each of the 10 online marketplaces included in the survey.


Profitability:

Customer Service:

Communication:

Ease of Use:

Would you recommend:

Bonanza
Year Established: 2008
Description: Fixed price listings, general merchandise, fashion, collectibles
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Summary:
Bonanza came in fifth place in the 2017 Sellers Choice Awards for Online Marketplaces for the second consecutive year. It also came in number-one for communications.

Easy to use, reasonable fees, pleasant interactions with staff and other sellers are among the praise Bonanza received from sellers.

One seller said that while Bonanza rolls out new features regularly, "it is only necessary to update listings if you want to use the new features. Unlike eBay, there is not a constant onslaught of required changes due to "rules" changes."

But they went on to say that "most site traffic is generated through your own efforts and web search results... it's not as much of a "destination" site as a place like eBay or Etsy."

"Because Bonanza doesn't have phone support it is more difficult to communicate with them especially if a seller needs immediate help," wrote another seller.

Among some ardent fans of the site are those who wish for more sales, as this seller who wrote, "I love all the features and the interaction with Bonanza. Especially the fact, it allows me to pull listing from other venues. It made listing here is very easy. Unfortunately, my sale revenue here is rather low compared to the more established eBay and Etsy."

However, another seller said once they learned by talking to other sellers that they had to promote their Bonanza booth, they began getting sales. Promoting includes pinning at Pinterest and tweeting at Twitter:

"I signed up in 2012 sold a few items here and there. Found out in 2016 I should be promoting and from June through December as well as until now I am have sales either each day or once a week. I wish Bonanza would have made this known prior when signing up so I would not have had to keep eBay sales going to try to make up for Bonanza. Now I hardly sell at eBay because I know the "Protocol" for Bonanza. Bonanza is amazing once you know how to use their site. I don't want to go anywhere else as it feels like family. Thank you!"

But another seller wrote, "If Bonanza could get some of their own traffic instead of depending on sellers bringing their own customers then this would be a nice venue on which to sell."

One seller said they wished Bonanza offered additional payment services, and one wrote, "Bonanza is relatively easy to set up and use, but lacks some inventory management functionality which makes it a bit cumbersome to integrate into multi-portal sales tools."

Ando some sellers complained about shipping limitations, such as a seller who said, "Buying shipping through Bonanza is too expensive and there are very limited choices. I am forced to use a 3rd party shipping method for something as simple as variable flat rate shipping." Another wrote, "International shipping rates still need work. Domestic shipping need more carriers for larger items."

And another said they wished Bonanza could connect with Stamps.com so they didn't have to mark items shipped manually. "Connecting with the shipping program would make it easier for sellers to have proper tracking as well as buyers being able to see what has shipped."

There were a few mentions of inventory not syncing properly with eBay (syncing is important so a seller won't oversell a single item after it's already sold on another marketplace).

Bonanza received a 5.53 in Profitability; a 6.11 in Customer Service; a 6.22 in Communication; and a 6.16 in Ease of Use. It received a 6.21 from sellers when asked, "How likely are you to recommend Bonanza as a selling venue to a friend or colleague?"

Reader Comments:The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Bonanza is user friendly, the staff is professional, knowledgeable, concerned, & sincere. Bonanza is a GREAT site !!

Not difficult to use; low-cost, folks are approachable there.

Bonanza has been a great platform to sell only find its customer service is a little lacking.

Despite a smaller buying audience than some other selling sites, I feel like Bonanza is the most productive site I use in terms of sales.

Easy to upload items from other market places, option to sell without charges other than final value fee. Sale fee can be high compared to eBay. Great customer service comms and useful training info provided. Sales only a small >5% of monthly revenue though. Little effort for extra sales I wouldn't have otherwise made.

Love that I'm not charged for a store or any extra things I out on my listings like additional pictures, etc. Prices they charge on sales is VERY reasonable!

Selling rates are great in comparison to other sites and customer service is better than most.

Very user friendly site. Great that you can post listings free. Sale fees are low. Lots of community support.

Even though you can't get a live person, communication is fast and efficient (tell you exactly what you are asking), no run around. I feel I'm profitable mainly because I do extra advertising via other venues, but I do sell more (not extra advertised items then I do on Amazon by far) and Amazon limits catagories as well unlike bonanza. I would recommend bonanza to a friend over Amazon any day.

Bonanza became very profitable to me after I learned all aspects of using this marketplace.

Bonanza's team is superlative, and human, a great support combo because they're always looking for improvement, and willing to listen, it's trust like family effort! Very rare in this day and age, when most do not even trust their neighbors. KUDO's to Bonanza's team organization!

I find Bonanza platform as a fair market venue and better than most for a seller. Their charges are not excessive nor unreasonable. The communication is reasonably good with the seller. As long as fairness between the platform venue and the seller remains fair, I will continue my service.

Selling on Bonanza has always been positive and profitable when procedures are implemented correctly. The staff goes beyond the expected level of customer service with resolving technical issues quickly with an explanation that is resolves the problem and does it in a manner as to assist the seller. Bonanza does not talk down to sellers for common oversights but rather offers a resolution with patience and understanding in terms that a non techy individual may understand. The fees are very reasonable and exposure to traffic is above average.

As a former seller on another site, Bonanza was a breath of fresh air "so to speak". The site is so easy to navigate. But especially important is their ability to provide security without bombarding the user or seller with incentives to add more security measures by way of releasing our personal information. I just wish that they used more payment services other than PayPal or Amazon. Bonanza is a true winner and will be as long as they keep the respect of the people first.

If Bonanza could get some of their own traffic instead of depending on sellers bringing their own customers then this would be a nice venue on which to sell. It is fairly easy to navigate (although they tend to "adjust" things which many times make it more time consuming and confusing). Customer service always has and still is (although I haven't used it in a year) fairly quick to respond (within a day or so). No fees for listing so it is a nice place to "park" items but unfortunately, if you don't bring clients, there isn't much in the way of sales.

Bonanza has a wonderful array of features for a seller wanting to open a free shop (booth) there. There is an onsite community, ability to upload MANY product images, and shop categories can be created. Advertising and promotion levels can be increased, and for those needing advanced features, there are several subscription levels to buy. Last, but not least, a seller can open multiple shops at Bonanza, AND link them together into a convenient seller dashboard. Bonanza is a great place for handmade sellers, as well as resellers, vintage and art sellers.

Bonanza is a great site to sell because of the features that free shops (booths) can use. Creating shop categories is very important to me, as well as being able to add multiple images, which at Bonanza I can add a lot of them. There is also a free cropper and background burner for use by sellers. Very few handmades selling venues have an onsite community/forums, and Bonanza does. I'm very happy that I joined Bonanza, and I look forward to increased sales as I make more time to create and market.

Aside from having low fees and excellent ease of use, Bonanza is a very friendly place to sell online. I feel like a valued member of the community there. They actively take suggestions from their users, and their support team is the best I have experienced (they are very friendly and provide personalized support, not just cookie cutter responses). Additionally, they offer many tools that make it easy to get your products out there, at lower fees than I've seen elsewhere. From making it easy to ship internationally to providing packages to up traffic to your booth through Google Shopping, they show a ton of support to their sellers. I love Bonanza!!!

Overall, it's a great venue when I have U.S. buyers. I require notice for foreign buyers to work out the special shipping, and I've had some technical problems with Bonanza which have delayed completing some of these transactions. But usually I have no complaints about them, and they have been helpful in helping me deal with any problems.

I have been selling on Bonanza for going on 7 years now and love my selling experience. Their sellers platform is phenomenal and their Customer Support is the best. Because of Bonanza, I have been able to create and maintain a very nice income from my online business!!

Very friendly site and easy to use. Extremely impressed that Bonanza provided me with Google Shopping Advanced Diagnostics which was quite eye-opening. If my sales on Bonanza could equal my eBay sales and traffic, Bonanza would be a perfect 10 across the board!

I can't find much wrong with this site. The way it charges me is confusing (it's not the same - I think there's advertising on Google and I think it charges me for it, but I'm not sure how or why that started, but it's not much and it helps with sales)

I love Bonanza's customer service team. They're friendly and provide helpful, prompt responses. However, I feel that Bonanza's fees are very high. Their Monthly membership fees starting at ~40 is too exorbitant considering the small amount of sales. In addition, I've been charged upwards of 30% commission on some of our individual sales. That must be reduced dramatically for us to stay with Bonanza! I also fee there is too much off shore competition reducing our visibility and affecting quality perception of the goods offered. I hope they also address this matter.

Not as known as other websites-less buyers. Bonanza does not provide a phone number to sellers unless you pay for a store. Some listing/copying errors from other sites. Does not provide a shipping discount but adds a little fee to ship via the website.

The listing process can be confusing sometimes, and glitches are fairly common, although one can get used to it if one posts regularly. Customer service is prompt and friendly, but doesn't always provide accurate answers to questions. Overall still a great site.

I like selling on Bonanza, but some issues cause concern. I have not figured out how to relist a product once it was sold. I would like to figure out how to duplicate a listing, but have not yet. I don't like the fact you cannot just cancel the order without going through several steps. Much easier to cancel orders on amazon. I like the support, but wish there was an option for phone support. I don't find profitability is nearly as good on Bonanza as on Amazon, but it seems to be growing.

Bonanza is great for getting even more potential buyers to view your products. Bonanza is not user friendly, it can be very hard to learn to use, and you cannot view all your items at once as you can with other channels. Overall buyers on Bonanza are very pleasant and we enjoy working with them. We gave a lower rating for seller support because it can take days to get an answer for help with an order by sending a ticket. Being able to call Bonanza would be much better, there are times were in order to best please our customers we need fast support from Bonanza and it is just not possible at this time. We tend to feel like we are "on our own" most of the time. Our last issue, the most important reason we are not full time Bonanza sellers is this: inventory not updating and we have sales on out of stock items linked to our eBay account.

Bonanza is a great venue, but I just do not sell many items on here, compared to other markets. As well, it seems that the follow-through rate with buyers completing transactions is much lower than any other venue. I originally tested Bonanza as a way to migrate my eBay listings to them. The auto creation tool did not work for me and I contacted them several times about it and never received any help with the case, so my eBay inventory was never input.

Sellers have to email bonanza's customer service in order to receive credit of the fees for cancelled sales - the seller should be able to cancel the sale and bonanza's commission and fees should be automatically credited to the seller's account without the need to contact bonanza.

Their fee structure is such that you can elect into higher marketing thus higher fees or stay at the lowest tier which is only 3.5%. Customer service always responds quickly and almost always answers the question or solves the problem on the first try. My biggest beef if the amount of money they want for a "store" or their platforms of silver, gold, etc. For that kind of money you could have your own dedicated website and be able to make it look the exact way you want it rather than being stuck with the "themes" they have come up with.

It can be difficult to edit/manage your booth. It also isn't intuitive how to cancel a sale.

Too quirky to list things and the requirements on listing tool make little sense. Fees are low, but advertising costs dilute Bonanza's low fees since the sales vol. is so low. Had very limited customer service experience but it was negative. Positives are that the listings stay on, not expiring, and it imports from other sites. Nice.

Bonanza is not profitable unless you are willing to spend 20% of your sales no advertising. Better to have your own website and advertise through google ads. Also, buyers can cancel sales through PayPal after an order has been even shipped and Bonanza does nothing to protect sellers. They just say, "it's between you and the buyer." Simply awful.

I have a few problems: 1) Bonanza claims to have low commissions however their commissions vary a lot leaving low ability to price competitively. 2) I had a plan that included one-on-one sessions with a coach to boost sales but multiple requests generated no response. 3) Can not generate the volumes that the larger platforms do!

I do not like how they constantly break things when they make changes in their website. When I contacted them, they blamed my browser being too old. However I do not have issues with other websites, just with Bonanza.

Started selling on Bonanza with comparisons to other sites thinking might be cheaper to sell there but at the end of the day it doesn't work out to earn anymore because I generally have to offer a coupon to get the sales which eats up any savings I may have had.

Sales are sporadic, so I don't feel like paying for an upgrade would have any more benefit. My items don't always sync correctly with eBay, there are duplicates, and if something sells on eBay, it is not always taken off of Bonanza. I often have to go through my listings manual to remove them.

In auto-importing listings from eBay to Bonanza, there needs to be a mechanism in place where items sold on eBay is deleted from Bonanza so that I do not have to manually go find it and delete. It is very time consuming to manually find the item with over 700 listings.

Hate how the shipping is calculated. It's ridiculous for the customers. I get many questions and they feel they are being overcharged. They were not, but it looks that way with the calculations.

I like Bonanza and have been there a long time. I don't, however like when they tiered their advertising and made it a lot more expensive. When I opted out of expensive advertising my sales and went to near zero. I don't like that fact, so I am willing to look around for perhaps a more expensive sales platform that gets me MORE VIEWS!

Bonanza's commission rates are way too high, forcing me to jack my prices up. The end result is it not a good value for consumers and sales suffer. Everyone loses! Furthermore, I think Turbo Traffic is an ill-conceived "pay to play" program. On top of the extremely high commission rates sellers already have to pay on the back end, you also want them to pay extra for increased traffic on the front end? I understand Bonanza is a business that must make a profit, but it seems overly money hungry and that is a real turn off. It would benefit Bonanza to ALWAYS drive as much traffic to its sellers as possible without charging them extra to do so. The extra traffic would generate additional sales, which means additional commissions for Bonanza. With Turbo Traffic, however, you want to gouge sellers up front, too. I do not think it is good business practice to bite the hands that feed you. If you would lower your fee structure, I am confident you would more than make it up on volume since it is better to make a lot of quick nickels instead of one slow dime.

Sellers Choice Awards:
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 EcommerceBytes 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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