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Bonanza Attracts eBay Sellers, Next Target: Amazon

Bonanza shared the results of its recent seller survey on Tuesday, revealing that the largest contingent of its sellers are those who are also active on eBay. Other marketplaces its members used during the past year included Amazon and Etsy (nearly tied), “another marketplace other than those listed,” Bonanza-only sellers, and “a webstore platform.”

Bonanza surveys sellers each year and uses the results to determine what features and improvements to focus on in the coming year, which is part of what makes it “the most seller-driven marketplace,” it states.

Bonanza founder Bill Harding said Amazon’s emergence as the runner-up platform, representing almost half as many Bonanza sellers as eBay, “is a testament to having built a toolset that can handle the needs of both small and large stores.” He continued, “With all the great merchandise listed on Amazon, we are excited about the opportunity to provide an increasing number of Amazon sellers with a platform that’s more affordable and less anonymous.”

He also revealed sales revenue rose more than 300% in December compared to December 2013, even though its seller count increased by 50%. “This means the average active seller on Bonanza is making almost twice as many sales as they did a year ago.”

Over the past year, Bonanza spent about $1 million on advertising through various buyer acquisition channels, including Bing Shopping, Google Shopping, Nextag, TheFind, and Pricegrabber. “In the year to come, we plan to dig deeper into exploring the non-online channels that can increase Bonanza’s brand presence and get our sellers direct buyers,” Harding said.

Bonanza is hiring a Marketing & Advertising Manager, who should be in position by the end of January, “whose chief role will be to help Bonanza use its growing advertising budget to find more buyers in more places.”

The survey revealed that sellers drive traffic and sales to their stores in a number of ways. Organic searches topped the list, followed by social media campaigns and other shopping engines, Google AdWords, email campaigns; and paid clicks from a search engine other than Google.

Sellers told Bonanza the top five tasks (“busywork”) that kept them busiest in 2014 were 1) taking and processing pictures 2) finding merchandise to sell 3) shipping 4) managing and locating inventory and 5) determining price.

Harding said one of the company’s main goals for 2015 would be to reduce the time sellers spend taking and processing item photos by half. Referring to its photo-editing tool, he wrote, “In particular, I believe Bonanza has the opportunity (and the tech talent) to create a mobile experience that can combine with the Background Burner to get studio-quality pictures posted to all of your selling channels in about one minute per item. That is one of our audacious goals for the year.”

Bonanza also plans to make improvements in the areas of shipping, pricing and communicating with buyers.

The latter is an area Bonanza has a lot of room to improve during the coming year, Harding said. “Providing automated responses, and allowing frequently asked questions to be saved with products can save sellers time and help buyers get responses faster, increasing conversion.”

Mobile will be another focus for the marketplace in 2015. “While the mobile-optimized version of Bonanza already drives conversion above the industry average, there’s no reason we can’t make our mobile site into a destination for buyers who’ve got a couple minutes to kill at some point in their day. We’ll be experimenting with many ideas in this vein over the coming year,” Harding said.

The full post is available on the Bonanza blog.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.