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Online Selling Trends 2016: Mobile Opportunities

More people will sell secondhand items online this year because of the ease of mobile apps, according to Suzanne Wouk, founder of SnapPost. 2016 will be the year of mobile ecommerce, eventually eclipsing web commerce, according to GoDaddy executive Steven Aldrich. And eBay author Neil Waterhouse said never has it been more crucial for eBay and ecommerce sellers to make sure their listings are smart-device compatible.

The three ecommerce experts weighed in as part of EcommerceBytes Online Selling Trends series.

Wouk believes 2016 will be the year that the term “RE-commerce” becomes a household word. “One of the reasons is that the largest re-commerce (reselling used items) marketplaces on the planet, eBay, is (re)focusing again on its roots, the smaller, causal seller who sells one-off items.”

SnapPost is a mobile app that helps people sell their items on eBay. The customer snaps a picture of the item they want to sell, and SnapPost does the nitty-gritty of researching and listing the item on eBay.

“Part of the problem with second hand goods and selling them on sites like eBay is the daunting task of trying to figure out what the item is worth, what keywords to use in the title, how to write a description and how to figure out shipping costs,” Wouk said. But with the simplicity of apps like SnapPost, “all a seller needs to do is snap a few pictures and most of the friction in selling online disappears.”

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“Just as you don’t need to know how a car engine works to use a car, a seller does not need to know what “optimized” keywords mean. They don’t need to know what category or sub category to place the item in. They just need to snap a few pictures and everything is done for them.”

Wouk said that with the friction gone, more and more casual sellers will offer their goods on sites like eBay, raising the value of these goods. “It will help change the attitude people have towards their un-needed stuff from being dumpster-fodder to assets that can easily bring in extra cash. As a result, there will be more of an appreciation of second hand items and less of an aversion to purchasing them.”

Waterhouse, author of Million Dollar EBay Business From Home, said the trend of buyers choosing to purchase items using their smart devices will continue in 2016. But, he warns, “we will unfortunately see more and more bricks and mortar stores shut down as buyers choose to purchase goods online instead.” One of Australia’s largest electronics chains Dick Smith announced this month they have been placed into receivership.

Waterhouse also said 2016 will bring more Chinese sellers to the eBay market with lightweight items. The year will also see an increase in the number of third party logistics companies (3PLs) entering the market including Amazon FBA opening more warehouses all over the world.

“This is very exciting for eBay sellers as 3PL’s enable small and large eBay sellers to grow without needing to rent a warehouse. They also enable eBay sellers to have their goods stored in a central city which means an eBay seller can live anywhere on the planet as long as they have an internet connection. Today it is hard to justify owning your own warehouse.”

He also believes eBay sellers will do more outsourcing in 2016.

GoDaddy’s Steven Aldrich said a study his company conducted shows 84 percent of surveyed small business owners say it’s important that their new website be mobile friendly, and said small businesses need mobile-friendly online stores so customers can easily buy their items from mobile devices.

He also said email remains an effective method of communication for 2016 and beyond. “Not only will it continue to be the main method of communication, but more businesses will use their email address as a brand-building opportunity, moving away from generic email addresses like @aol or @gmail to more credible domain-based custom addresses.”

An interesting factoid: “Survey data shows customers are 9 times more likely to buy from businesses using a domain-based email address than businesses using generic email addresses.”

Aldrich also said ecommerce via “buy” buttons on social media channels will continue to gain popularity in 2016. “While these new platforms give customers less reasons to leave their social pages, social media platforms will still remain an effective tool for small businesses to drive traffic directly to their online stores. In 2016, online stores that will be most effective for small business owners will be the ones that allow them to drive traffic to their stores as well as sell directly on social channels.”

Also see “Online Selling Trends 2016: Pressure Intensifies for Amazon Sellers” from the January 11th issue of EcommerceBytes Newsflash and “Online Selling Trends 2016: Profits Squeezed” from the January 18th issue of EcommerceBytes Newsflash.

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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). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.