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Wed Nov 9 2011 08:10:34

Survey Results Are In: Bigger Is Better for 2012 Holiday Sales

By: Ina Steiner

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An EcommerceBytes survey found that smaller online sellers experienced a tougher October compared to a year ago, and revealed that the higher the respondent's annual sales volume, the more likely they were to report improved year-over-year sales.

EcommerceBytes conducted an online survey of readers in November 2011, 2,550 people completed the survey. Respondents were asked about their October sales compared to last year, and were then asked how they felt about the 2011 Holiday shopping season based on their October 2011 sales. The survey results are published in Wednesday's newsletter.

There could be a number of reasons for the discrepancy in sales between smaller and larger sellers, ranging from a business models, exposure in search and the level of marketing. In addition, very small marketplace sellers may have less flexibility over their inventory and fewer resources to spend on marketing and exploring multi-channel selling, leading to less diversification.

Concerns over the economy could also be causing sellers to pull back on the amount of inventory investment - a "riding out the storm" strategy. We'd like to hear from readers about the why they think the holiday season will be better, worse or the same, and how November sales have been shaping up.

Take a look at the EcommerceBytes survey results, and let us know what you think.




Comments (12) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Survey Results Are In: Bigger Is Better for 2012 Holiday Sales   Survey Results Are In: Bigger Is Better for 2012 Holiday Sales

by: OhForPetesSake

Wed Nov 9 08:36:29 2011

My sales are doing very well on Fleecebay. My store has over 15000 items and sales are brisk. I look for the same $$ sales in November and December.

Although my suppliers aren't to happy as I have not been replacing items that sell. When I carried 10 of something I'm now only carrying 3 of them.

Doesn't make any sense to invest in the same amount of inventory with the economy being what it is. (even thou the white house says its doing good).

Survey Results Are In: Bigger Is Better for 2012 Holiday Sales   Survey Results Are In: Bigger Is Better for 2012 Holiday Sales

by: Rich

Wed Nov 9 08:40:41 2011

I think the 2 main reasons for lower sales for 58% of Ebay respondents would be the bad economy and lower search visibility.  Even top rated sellers have been complaining the search is busted.  Bad ebay policy and rising fees  has chased away a lot of sellers who used to buy and then resell.  So a lot of factors even after search problems and bad economy

Survey Results Are In: Bigger Is Better for 2012 Holiday Sales   Survey Results Are In: Bigger Is Better for 2012 Holiday Sales

This user has validated their user name. by: Bijoux Dragon
Web Site

Wed Nov 9 09:29:55 2011

Actually, I have a Ruby Lane and a Ruby Plaza shop.  Plaza had picked up nicely and Lane was doing well - then the changes, both sites were down for days and I haven't seen a Plaza sale for over a week.

Ruby Lane has gone wild this month and I am going to be listing like a mad woman just to keep up.  Hope this continues and there are no major financial disasters in Europe before Christmas.

Warmest wishes to all for a busy, wonderful holiday season!

Survey Results Are In: Bigger Is Better for 2012 Holiday Sales   Survey Results Are In: Bigger Is Better for 2012 Holiday Sales

by: Moonwishes
Web Site

Wed Nov 9 15:05:22 2011

Seems like many are complaining about the requirements at Google changing and the decreased visibility in search. NO wonder. If I remember correctly, Google hired some 'top' ebay folks who obviously came to Google with their warped ideas of what people want from selling venues and have been pushing all these changes into place. (this is just my theory, I have no proof of this) How can searches be better when it gets increasingly hard to find what you are looking for on google, and I'm not talking about just finding things to buy!

We are hoping for a good holiday season, although we don't sell holiday gifts per se. We tend to average about the same in sales through out the year. I would love to see an increase in sales though. I think we all would. So we try to list as much as we can, write our listings to get good visiblity in search and do lots of promoting and marketing. It is hard to know which is the most important--listing or promoting-- when time is limited, so we do some of both.

Survey Results Are In: Bigger Is Better for 2012 Holiday Sales   Survey Results Are In: Bigger Is Better for 2012 Holiday Sales

by: craftstation This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 9 16:41:52 2011

Thank you for a thoughtful and informative post, the best one in a long time.  It shows how savvy small sellers have become while their particular needs are ignored and stomped on.  The big guys ebay and Google cater to big brands and ignore the collective power of small sellers at their peril.  Once the income is gone, what will they do since they all look the same and flog the same brand name products.  Small sellers need extraordinary help from their host sites in 2011 but even Etsy, forever the laziest company in the business, chooses to sit back and make their sellers do all the work - again.  Even Etsy doesn't pay attention to the special needs of its small sellers.  Most will give up and disappear in 2012.

Survey Results Are In: Bigger Is Better for 2012 Holiday Sales   Survey Results Are In: Bigger Is Better for 2012 Holiday Sales

by: Et tu, Brute!

Wed Nov 9 20:02:35 2011

I'm a little suspicious as to the veracity of the Artfire claims being so high.  Add to that the changes that Artfire made around that same time and a sound site became wishy washy and highly problematic.  Not good for traffic during holiday season to frustrate potential buyers!

I dropped two pro accounts there because the sales are just nothing.  I have two close seller friends who have done the same.  Both were also pro.  It seemed that when Artfire insisted all sellers go pro -- and paying the monthly fee (mine was locked in at a low rate) it seemed to force a many sellers to evaluate and decide it just wasn't worth it.  

By the same token, I had three -- THREE -- friends who were wanting back up venues to give Artfire a try, since you could do that free.  They changed their minds flat out when in August Artfire forced the pro seller condition.

Since then, Artfire's ranking according to Alexa has been dropping, dropping, dropping.  And they had actually been building their online presence quite nicely.  They've been in the red for some time now.

Too bad.  Maybe if they ''roll'' that back, they'll regain some traction.  Bad time of year with the worldwide economy such as it is for that kind of ploy.  Artfire isn't big enough to stay afloat if the economy worsen.  It'll be a rough ride when the holidays are over and sales stop dead in the water.

Just wait and see.

Survey Results Are In: Bigger Is Better for 2012 Holiday Sales   Survey Results Are In: Bigger Is Better for 2012 Holiday Sales

by: pete

Wed Nov 9 23:47:25 2011

I predict a massive exodus of small sellers from all on-line venues after Dec, profit margins are just getting squeezed from everything and stress is really a massive side effect of on-line sales that many sellers are realizing is killing them.

@forpetessake  your comment makes no sense , if you are in fact having wonderful sales on eBay it is pretty obvious you would want more items in stock not less???? Makes no sense what-so-ever

Survey Results Are In: Bigger Is Better for 2012 Holiday Sales   Survey Results Are In: Bigger Is Better for 2012 Holiday Sales

by: craftstation This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 10 07:22:43 2011

Well put Et Tu.  ArtFire's numbers have always been suspicious and behind the Pro switch is an ego problem that led, in large part, to 1K's demise and plays a big role in several bad decisions at that co.  
8 years on after Etsy made its debut, the sad truth is that no site has figured out how to harness the power of small sellers by providing the support services that are particular to this group.  Platforms for small sellers are always taking the easy way out (like pushing trends, heavy editorializing, no ads & no mktg)and forgot the small sellers' unique needs.  
Not only will sellers make their exit en masse in 2012, most sites listed in this survey will go out of biz with their very own ''sellers'' who aren't selling because the site forgot about them along the way.

Survey Results Are In: Bigger Is Better for 2012 Holiday Sales   Survey Results Are In: Bigger Is Better for 2012 Holiday Sales

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 10 12:45:33 2011

I'm a very small seller and I have only a few items up - October was totally dismal, Halloween is usually a good time for me but not this year.... and November seems worse!  I see no pick up of holiday shoppers.  No traffic for me....don't know about others but without traffic I can't sell.  This is pushing me to stock up other venues even more.

Survey Results Are In: Bigger Is Better for 2012 Holiday Sales   Survey Results Are In: Bigger Is Better for 2012 Holiday Sales

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 10 12:50:05 2011

Mentioning Etsy - the trouble there and with most of the newer venues is bad search.  They seem to have you list then depend on you to bring in the traffic....and even if you do that its almost impossible for customers to find you.  I have found that true of Etsy especially since I directed plenty of my Ebay customers to them only for them to come back and say they couldn't find me!  Bonanza does not advertising that I can see and your store can simply stagnate there if you don't spend countless hours socializing with the other sellers.  Small sellers need a place that is proactive in helping them to be seen and helping them to make sales.  Instead, most venues seem to stagnate and then come out with a cock and bull story about how they're going to charge because traffic and sales are up.  Hogwash!

Survey Results Are In: Bigger Is Better for 2012 Holiday Sales   Survey Results Are In: Bigger Is Better for 2012 Holiday Sales

by: Digmen1
Web Site

Fri Nov 11 22:31:07 2011

Perhaps the alt sites that don't really help their small sellers with advertising and good terms etc are realising that small sellers result in small profits for them.
So if they cant make money they can't provide good service and advertising.
And many small sellers are not good sellers which only compounds the problem.

Survey Results Are In: Bigger Is Better for 2012 Holiday Sales   Survey Results Are In: Bigger Is Better for 2012 Holiday Sales

by: Kevin
Web Site

Mon Nov 14 08:59:45 2011

My sales are way way down on ebay because I chose to list little if anything on there anymore.I sell quality tools and having to compete with the junk flooding in from the far east is bad enough without having to pay ebays high fees and put up with the dead loss search system as well.
sales are very quiet on ebid unless you are selling cheap tat but spreading your products about amongst all thedifferent sites and starting a web site of your own still remains the best option for the smaller seller.



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