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Sun Feb 28 2010 14:18:47

Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?

By: David Steiner

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I consider myself a very active online shopper. A decade ago I may have purchased 5% of my commodity items online, today, that number has increased to about 90%. I rarely step out of the house to buy non-perishable goods without first checking prices online. If the price and shipping time are acceptable to me, and if I feel comfortable purchasing from the retailer, I hit the "buy" button and leave the car keys hanging on the hook.

I shop a wide range of online sites - eBay, Wal*Mart, Target, Barnes & Noble for many mainstream items, small independent retail sites and smaller marketplaces for buying unique and hard-to-find goods. And of course, I shop on the granddaddy of them all, Amazon. I couldn't begin to tally how much I've spent with Amazon over the years, and I've not once had an experience that made me question whether I would purchase from them again.

To be sure, there have been mistakes - wrong orders, merchandise that has not arrived on time, products that I've received broken, duplicates - but those instances have been very few and far between, and the important part is that Amazon knows how to make it right. Actually, the reason that I enjoy shopping on Amazon is based on the rare occasion when a transaction has been less than perfect. The successful, uneventful purchases all blend together. But whenever there has been a problem, the way Amazon has handled them stands out, and as a consumer, has made me an unabashed fan and gives me the confidence to return as a customer.

But it also got me thinking about why Amazon can afford to make the customer whole when a transaction has gone bad. How can a retailer afford to eat return shipping costs, or allow me to keep a duplicate item if they err? Granted, it doesn't happen often, but multiply my experiences with the millions of people that shop on Amazon and the cost of a screw up can add up quickly. To me, it all points back to one thing: Buying Power.

Amazon, Wal*Mart, Target buy merchandise in such prodigious quantity, that they can build the cost of returns and breakage into their prices, undercut competition, and still maintain margins that allow them to operate profitably. Mega-retailers make most of their profit on the buy side. Continuing along that line, I began thinking about our audience - small and medium online sellers. How can those merchants possibly compete with retailing giants that will always be able to undercut their prices?

They probably can't. So does this mean that as the Internet matures, it will no longer accommodate the smaller merchant? No. Does this mean that a fairly large percentage of small online retailers will no longer be with us in five years? Yes, I think it does.

Again, as a consumer, I love the way Amazon does business. That's because when I'm shopping for commodity items, I have just a few, very basic requirements of a retailer - price, convenience and assurance that my product will arrive in a safe and timely manner, and if it doesn't, that I will be "made whole." Simple. Sure, there are exceptions - customers who will only buy American, purchase green products, but I would argue that the average consumer has a similar mindset as mine when they're shopping online. Combine that narrow-vision consumerism with the ability of a large retailer to accommodate those needs and it spells trouble for mom and pops.

So which small merchants will be still selling online in five years? I believe antiques and collectibles dealers will be fine. Merchants who craft or produce their own product will thrive. Merchants who have a secure pipeline of inventory should be ok - unless their source of inventory is not as secure as they thought. I'll get back to that in a minute. Why do I feel that these types of sellers are more suited to be able to handle the changes coming to ecommerce over the long haul?
  • Antiques and Collectibles dealers generally have a deep base of knowledge about the merchandise they sell. Like large retailers, they also make their money on the "buy side" by knowing which pieces are likely to bring the best return, and which pieces to avoid or sell off-line. Selling this type of inventory takes a lot of leg work, but the smart A & C sellers still know where to find inventory, and how to extract profit.
  • Crafts sellers, artists, artisans and merchants who create their own product (whether "practical" items or arts & crafts) are in a great position to succeed. Typically, the expense is not in the materials, but in the hours of labor that it takes to create product. It's fairly obvious, but the more control you have over the product you sell - including your skills and talent, the better position you are in to succeed.
  • My optimism toward merchants who have solid sources of inventory - whether they be liquidation items, CDs or DVDs that are not mainstream, one-off clothing lines, jewelry, refurbs - is a bit more tempered.  The secondary market is hot, and eBay has also expressed interest in focusing on this area. If a merchant is confident that their inventory stream is not in danger of being poached by a competitor, they should be fine. But expect your sources of supply to have other suitors if their product is in high demand.
Which sellers are most at risk? Obviously, if Amazon cannot be undercut on price, any merchant selling new merchandise is treading very thin ice. Heck, if I'm selling shoes, clothing, jewelry, pet supplies or electronics, I'd probably want to be selling on Amazon, because of the immense number of eyeballs that will be sent my way. I might even join Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA), send them inventory and let them fulfill it for me. But this is where it gets tricky because Amazon has all the data on how quickly merchandise on their site moves, and what is trending up and down. If you have an item that is a hot seller, you may suddenly find that Amazon is offering the same product as you, at a reduced price and free shipping. Good luck competing with that!

Even if you're a commodity retailer not selling on Amazon, and have multiple sales channels, including your own, you may find it tough sledding. Not only might you find Amazon carrying the same line of product that you offer, but some online merchants have accused Amazon of "unleveling the playing field" by not complying with manufacturers' Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) policies. If you want to learn more about MAP, there's a good article here.

Suffice it to say that I may love Amazon as a shopper because they treat me so well, but sellers may not find them nearly as benevolent. Nothing in this industry (or the world, for that matter) happens in a vacuum or goes unnoticed. As an online merchant, it's virtually impossible to run a business "under the radar" without having a competitor or two pop up along the way - and the now competition will be larger and coming from the marketplaces themselves.

I realize that when I shop online, my decisions positively affect some retailers and adversely affect others. But to entice me to hit the "Buy" button, it still comes down to price, timeliness and comfort factor. So have I overlooked something? How will smaller commodity retailers, and those that deal in practical goods compete? I'm not sure they can. One last thing - the irony is not lost on me that the sellers that seem to be best positioned to succeed long-term, are the ones that feel the most disenfranchised by eBay.

I'm open to being convinced that I'm wrong - tell me, where do you see your online business in five years? What do you sell, and how optimistic are you that you'll still be selling online in 2015?

David Steiner is President of AuctionBytes.com.




Comments (64) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?   Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?

by: Pat

Sun Feb 28 14:34:43 2010

Yikes! I don't disagree with you David, but I have to admit that it bums me out...

Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?   Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?

by: Jim This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 28 14:44:08 2010

About 10 years ago, I attended a class on starting a small business.  One thing that sticks in my mind is that you cannot compete against Walmart.  You have to have a niche that is too small for the big guys and is large enough to make enough profit at.

My niche is used computer parts sold on consignment.  My cost of goods is zero, though shipping, packing supplies and fees are significant, I can still turn a modest profit.  I am horrified at selling items I actually pay for and going against the big guys.    

My problem is that buyers that buy used are sometimes unhappy that they did not read the description entirely or it died or it is not compatible with newer software or hardware.  Which is bad under eBay's new rules.  

Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?   Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?

by: Marvin

Sun Feb 28 15:22:47 2010

The only problem with your way of thinking is that it is pretty short sighted.

Shopping basically on prices means merchandise built in the US can't necessarily compete with foreign manufacturers, especially with all of the regulations placed on US manufacturers. How does that do anything but help to continue the decline of the US?

There are other considerations besides just price.

Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?   Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Sun Feb 28 16:08:02 2010

Marvin, you obviously are a “selective” reader; try reading the story again:

“... it still comes down to price, timeliness and comfort factor.”

And, even if it was “just price”, what’s wrong with that, all other things being equal?

If you want a straightforward “retail” experience, undoubtedly Amazon is the place to go, which I why I am at a loss to understand “Turkey” Donahoe’s dysfunctional attitude towards eBay’s greatest strength—its auctions.

As a “buyer” I think I will just sit back and watch the fun. In the meantime less than 60 days to 20 April; who’s keeping book on another eBay marketplace disaster?

Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?   Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?

by: ken

Sun Feb 28 16:18:18 2010

I have to disagree with you on Amazon. Amazon is fine for items THEY SELL, but when you get to looking at stuff like books, especially books with multiple versions [like price guides] where Amazon is NOT the seller, there site layout is HORRIBLE.

#1. Amazon may link MULTIPLE versions of the book, to the same new/used other seller section WITHOUT INFORMING the potential buyer.

#2. Also, those sections NEVER state the specifics about the book. That means the book home page you clicked through from may make you think these are X edition books, when they could be X, Y & Z edition books.

#3. Since it is such an automated process for 3rd party sellers, unless the seller specicially took the time to state what edition of the book they are selling, your guess is as good as mine.

#4. Lastly, since you are dealing with 3rd party sellers, if they send you their book [which you don't want due to AMAZONS bait and switch regarding their links] you either have to take it out on the 3rd party seller [who isn't at fault, since it is an Amazon linking issue] or eat the money yourself.

Obviously that doesn't make for a very good seller experience. So all is not fun & games at Amazon for BUYER or those 3rd party sellers.

Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?   Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?

by: Buck Efay This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 28 16:37:50 2010

Ken, as a seller on Amazon, I agree, they should not be linking items just to make the catalog smaller. Their own rules state to not list a different version, then they go ahead & consolidate things without your knowledge or consent. If they do wamnt to consolidate, they should send ALL sellers on the item that info right away so they can insure a problem free sale. I think I'll still be selling as long as there is an online, because I have a huge inventory of collectibles built up, and we also produce new items, and import specialty goods. But as a whole, I agree with David. Too many NON business people/ drop shippers/ Chinese junk dealers are selling online and giving a bad rep to the whole game. There is still tons more potential for growth with mobile apps, and let's face it, retailers like Best Buy do not even scratch the surface of the thousands of titles issued annually on CD or DVD. The biggest threat to my business is if the studios ever get full films online in a quick to download cheap format, that would kill off my rare DVD & VHs sales, just like CDS. And you know Amazon will compete on those! Amazon actually has prevented me from listing products which they have available as MP3. So far I've had 3 LPS that were blocked from listing & all were available as .99 Dls.

Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?   Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?

by: chris

Sun Feb 28 17:13:34 2010

Ebay Sucks. Period.

Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?   Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?

by: msfish213 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 28 18:29:38 2010

David, I think your take on internet ecommerce is right on target.  Its going to be VERY hard, if not impossible, for small sellers of generic, every day items to compete.  I did all my holiday shopping on Amazon this year...I had most items in 3 days (no whining about road conditions, or the kids were sick and it couldn't be shipped promptly), every item was as advertised (no ''well it was fine when I shipped it, so no refund'') and the prices were just unbeatable anywhere!

I am not trying to irritate any small sellers, because I am one too.  But THAT is the competition--low, low prices, low shipping costs, no questions asked returns.  It is going to be really hard to keep up with that. Most smaller sellers don't have the capital to eat the cost of shipping, or returns, or beating lower cost competitors.

Where will I be in 5 years? Who knows? I will keep selling and change my business model to suit the industry but if all else fails... I hope I am on a beach and with drinks with little umbrellas in my hand!

Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?   Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?

This user has validated their user name. by: Nan
Web Site

Sun Feb 28 18:39:27 2010

Hmmm.  In five years - I see my business being driven by content (blogging, etc.) driven SEO rather than just-throw-it-up-on-ebay-it'll-sell marketing.

I sell handmade jewelry and art.  Kinda unique but not too obscure.

It's my belief that we niche sellers cannot compete with Amazon*Mart.  It would be a loosing battle.  And everyone would end up selling the same thing.  What we CAN do is carve out our own spot in cyberspace and offer something that they can't.  A product, a service, information, plans, tutorials, education, the list is really endless if you break out of the ''iPod mentality''

Hey, I shop at Amazon too.  A lot.  I shop there for current fiction, music CD's, audiobooks and electronics.  Like David, I find it's the fastest, easiest, and (if the item inventory is saturated) best price.  

I won't compete with them directly, but I can damn well get in a side door and build my brand unhindered by a schizophrenic gorilla.

So yes, I'm optimistic that I will be selling in 2015.  I'll just be selling differently than I was in 2005.

Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?   Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?

by: Stefano
Web Site

Sun Feb 28 19:19:12 2010

I started selling old postcards & photographs online on the old AOL talk boards. I just put lists w/o pictures & sold stuff. Actually quite a lot of stuff , then I ''created'' a website (pacific attic online) with pictures to go with my lists. Sales rose. I then got a group of like minded dealers together and we created an online mall of dealers called Web-Pac. Sales rose again...then a little thing called Ebay arrived and killed it off...so I jumped onto Ebay and became their #1 seller in my category for 6 straight years. At one point my wife & I were sharing drinks with Meg Whitman in California (On Ebay's nickel)..two years later I became fed up with Ebay..looked around and found Delcampe.com. Now I am their top seller for the last three years....meanwhile I am always on the lookout for other sites to sell on...Now I sell on three sites, Delcampe, Playle & Ecrater . com...and I am slowly working on a private commercial site for me again. So where will one be 5 years from now? ...somewhere else..selling the same quality items to people via some different manner. The Point is to adapt & change, never rely on one ''nest'' to make all your $ from,..and always look around and try to anticipate the next big change in online selling.  Or watch out...you could become the next AOL or Ebay. Number 1 at some time in the past..but only a faded memory or slowly deteriorating marketplace for people too afraid to change or adapt

Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?   Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?

by: J.G.

Sun Feb 28 19:25:43 2010

I hope to be still selling online in 5 years right along with Amazon, Bonanzle, eBid, eCrater and Atomic Mall.  Amazon is the premiere retailer and will maintain its status by 2015. Online sales will account for more than half of retail sales in the United states.  The Walmarts, Targets, etc. remain much as they are today.

Ebay survives but would be unrecognizable to today's eBay buyers and sellers.  The BIG FEE DECREASE of 2010 led to huge numbers of sellers fleeing eBay's marketplace when the fee for their 3 cent listings INCREASED from $15.95 a month to $300.00 a month.  Ebay became much larger internationally with domestic sales down to 10% of marketplace sales. It could no longer sustain it's auctions but concentrated on multiple Buy it Now listings of common identical items, row after row.  EBay's traditonal buyers left out of sheer boredom, which caused more of the sellers to leave for the other 3 or 4 big marketplaces. In time, two of the online sites merged to form an entity large enough to take on eBay and gain enough buyers and sellers to be a viable site, run by former eBay sellers.  And all was good in the land.

Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?   Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?

by: biteme

Sun Feb 28 19:53:11 2010

not many sellers will survive that are dumb enough to rely on 3rd parties like amazon/ebay. also online selling is such a grind that it maybe better just to go to school and get some marketable skills. if you have a niche then work it.

Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?   Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?

by: On Lies and Secrets This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 28 21:26:53 2010

Thanks David, for such a thoughtful post on the future of ecommerce selling.  I have been a buyer on Amazon for over ten years, and like you, I have encountered very few problems and they were quickly resolved to my satisfaction.  The biggest problem I had happened several years ago (way back when they were called z shops) where I bought a book that didn't arrive by the expected date.  I contacted the seller and didn't receive a reply.  I did a quick search of amazon's help pages and found out how to get my money back by filling out a simple online form and allowing them to investigate the matter.  I had money back in a short amount of time.  Amazon has great, responsive customer service in my experience of many years shopping there.  It was easy to find their policies and it was easy to get help the few times I have needed it.  I think all of the early, positives experiences with amazon have made me a repeat customer year after year.  

I have different shopping patterns than you do for new goods.  I tend **not** to buy common, mass market goods that I can easily find in a nearby B&M store  online.   The shopping areas are on paths that I regularly travel so I get these purchases on my regular trips (often to and from work).  I don't like to buy these ordinary items online because the resources used (extra packaging materials, fuel, etc.) for small shipments of mundane goods add up and have an ecological impact that I would like to avoid.  Many people where I live don't have broadband access so merchandise will probably always be in stores because that is how many people here shop.  Since there is a reliable and efficient distribution system in place (via B&M stores), I feel that it is wasteful for me to buy common items online.  Also, the B&M stores in my general neighborhood do provide a few jobs for people living nearby (some of whom rely on public transportation and need work close to where they live). So it makes sense to me to shop locally for as many things as possible, in part to help my community which has pockets where some people are really struggling right now.  Big retailers will sell these things online, but in buying these goods online, people in my community don't get any benefit from my purchase.  As a consumer, I like to buy locally when I can.

I do buy unique, handmade, collectible and used items online because I can't get them locally, so I agree with your analysis of these types of businesses thriving online in the next five years.


The article above asks:
'' it still comes down to price, timeliness and comfort factor. So have I overlooked something? How will smaller commodity retailers, and those that deal in practical goods compete? ''

I do see some opportunity for a few small sellers of regular goods. I think you have overlooked the role of extraordinary customer service in the analysis.  Not all consumers are first-cost or price sensitive.  I think there are some opportunities out there for small sellers of more common items who can  provide value-added services that customers will pay more to receive.  The major retail outfits have efficient ways to distribute goods, but I think there is a segment of customers who can and will pay more for enhanced services along with their goods.  Small sellers are usually flexible enough to easily handle many special requests that retails chains wouldn't bother with because it isn't adequately profitable for them to do so.  So I think there are some spaces of opportunity for small sellers of common items, but they have to provide value-added service for which customers will pay a little (or a lot) extra.   A quick example could be a consumer with a chemical sensitivity to a particular type of packing material.  This consumer may be more inclined to buy from a small seller who, on request, will ship the item packed in newspaper rather than with a plastic packaging and this consumer wouldn't mind paying more for special handling so that their shipment doesn't make them sick.  This probably isn't the best example, but I think there are a lot of niches for enhanced services that large retailers aren't going to bother with.

Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?   Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?

by: Patricia

Sun Feb 28 23:37:47 2010

You're not wrong David - you're absolutely correct.  The few things I've sold where I had to buy my stock first was a horrible experience.  I have no idea how the sellers are doing it and getting squeezed by Ebay to boot!  I'm an artist.  I can paint hundreds of paintings with a couple of pads of watercolor paper and my pan watercolors....or I can stock up on canvas when there's a sale and tubes of acrylic paint lasts like forever.  I have no idea what sellers are paying for the stock they list - I know I couldn't do it and make a profit.  Ebay is blind and stupid - they cannot compete with Amazon and pushing sellers around sure isn't going to get them to their goal.  Logic is needed....and there is NONE!

Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?   Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?

by: Patricia

Sun Feb 28 23:44:56 2010

''Amazon has great, responsive customer service in my experience of many years shopping there. ''

I agree - the only problem I ever had with Amazon (and I've been buying from them since they had auctions) was also a book that I did not receive.  The seller got downright rude when I asked when he mailed it out....so I hunted around Amazon and found a customer service number.  I called and a recorded message said to leave my phone number and they'd get right back to me.  I thought...yeah, I guess they'll call me back when H3ll freezes over.  Nope...within 10 minutes they rang me back and upon hearing my complaint the customers service rep said - ''don't worry we can get you your money back in 10 days''.  That was so reassuring!  They then went about filing a report for me and I got a copy in my email.  As luck would have it my book came in the next day (6 weeks late).  I called Amazon and cancelled my refund.  That was the only problem I've had with them in umpteen years.  Somehow, I can't see Ebay doing that....I can't even see their diamond sellers handling the problem in such a professional manner.

Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?   Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Mon Mar 1 00:27:50 2010

The big difference between the two, as everyone is noticing: Amazon is a "professional" organization that plans to be around in the long term. eBay (and its ugly daughter, PayPal) is an amateur, dysfunctional organization that grew too quickly and literally outgrew the idiots who happened to be in control at the time; it was then handed to another idiot whose primary interest is in getting “rich and tired” as fast as he can, with no thought further ahead than tomorrow. And, clearly, the current eBay directors must be thinking likewise.

Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?   Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?

by: David Rocinante

Mon Mar 1 01:52:01 2010

Amazon is entirely automated, no ability to react or think based on individual cases.  They are the Borg of online and they decide most everything in favor of the buyer, with a few exceptions, none basd on the facts of the matter. This has created scary situations.  about once a month among about 1000 transactions, I meet a pure extorionist, who buys and then tells me, usually by phone that he'll need a refund and the book (high priced item) or there will be negative feedback.  Dealing with this is tricky. Worse, there are sellers who target me by buying and leaving negative feedback. Im doing OK because of the overwhelming amount of positive I get from legit buyers, but this platform is not long for this world, in my view, at least for items worth stealing. Its the easiest and only entirely legally theft on earth...

Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?   Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?

by: Terri

Mon Mar 1 01:58:07 2010


I am at Bonanzle now and plan to be at Bonanzle in 5 years, and longer. As long as they are around I will be there, and I will continue to pass the word around to everyone to sell AND buy on Bonanzle, NOT ebay.
Bonanzle will be the next eBay, mark my words, but the BIG difference with Bonanzle compared to ebay is that they treat ALL users with respect, not just the buyers as ebay does.
As a matter of fact, I hope I will be working at Bonanzle someday!
I love that site!!

Other differences between Bonanzle vs ebay is:

It's FREE to list on Bonanzle, so list as much as you want!! VERY small fee when something sells!! They are NOT greedy, like ebay is!!

If you take paypal payment, you have that fee too, but keep in mind that ebay owns paypal, so to feed paypal is feeding ebay.
You CAN accept money orders and personal checks (or cash) if you want on Bonanzle, it's up to you.
You can run your Bonanzle booth THE WAY THAT YOU WANT TO RUN IT!

No auctions there (not yet anyway). Just fixed price, but no problem with that, especially with the no fee to list whatever and however much you want and including low ending fee's!

Never ''canned'' responses from Bonanzle like you get from ebay. As a matter of fact, I've had great continued help with any questions I have, thru my email from Tom at Bonanzle.

People running Bonanzle are ex-ebay sellers, they understand what ebay sellers or ex-ebay sellers have gone through.

You can also import all your ebay feedbacks and the current items you have on sale at ebay, over to your Bonanzle booth. Just make sure if you continue to sell at ebay until the day comes when you leave for good, if you keep the same items up on both sites to end from the one site if it sells at the other.

On 2/18/2010 at 4:50 om, Bonanzle had 195,358 users.
As of this writing on 3/1/2010 they now have 202,512!!

Pass the word to everyone you know to sell AND buy on Bonanzle, instead of ebay!!

Horrah for Bonanzle!!





Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?   Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?

by: WhoGoesWhere

Mon Mar 1 02:38:37 2010

Another "doom and gloom" article predicting the "end of the world" as far as ecommerce is concerned.  And just as full of BS as all the rest.

It wasn't that long ago, when I was engaged in B&M commerce and then the "big boys" started moving in.  First Best Buy, the WalMart, Circuit City, etc.

Each of these big outfits was going to put my little shop out of business.  Not a single one of them did.

Best Buy did manage to do one thing...increase my customer base.  I offered items that Best Buy wasn't able to get ahold of, and Best Buy employees became some of my best customers.  The same with Circuit City.  Sam Goody's employees used to send customers to me, for items they wished they could offer.

As for WalMart, their own corporate policies prevented them from doing any real damage to me.

So now it's your turn to try and scare the small to medium sized etailer into going out of business.

I have to ask you David...when did you start going to work for Amazon and WalMart?  I can't believe that you are shilling for them for free.

This article makes me sorry I ever signed up for your reports, and I guess it's time to end our relationship.

Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?   Which Online Sellers Will Survive the Next Five Years?

by: Smitty This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 1 02:39:54 2010

David,

Very timely subject and I'm 99% in agreement with your observations. My 1% is just this and it is true, because it is what I have been doing for many years.

The big timers, have an item with a stock picture supplied by the manufacturer and no real specs. They do have a low price though.

I have multiple great photos and every important spec (gph, kw, mw, exact dimensions etc etc ). I do have a price allowing me a decent profit though.

Buyers don't mind paying my price, because they know the item will work for them.

I'm sure this method is not suitable for all categories/items, but it can allow small time sellers to hold their own against the mega sellers.

Use your knowledge of the items you specialize in, and present them in a surperior manner to the diamonds, and there is a future. I've been doing it for over 10 years and we are still eating 3 squares per diem.

In these troubled times, as long as we can keep the house warm and the babes well clothed & shod with their bellies full, we are satisfied.

Smitty

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