|Thu Mar 31 2011 17:44:48|
How Committed Is eBay to ProStores?
By: Ina Steiner
Online sellers who use eBay ProStores are considering alternatives after eBay raised prices this week. Merchants with between 250 and 1,000 products will see a 33% increase in monthly subscription fees, and other merchants will see their fees will increase by 67%.
That's not all. eBay PowerSellers and eBay Store subscribers had been receiving a 30% discount on subscription fees, which ProStores is eliminating. That means many eBay sellers who use ProStores to power their own ecommerce websites are seeing fee increases of between 79% - 138%.
While ProStores is not as full-featured as some other shopping carts and ecommerce hosting solutions, and while it has frequently experienced technical issues, it was compelling for eBay sellers for a number of reasons. ProStores allowed users to sync their inventory with eBay, and it also allowed eBay sellers to use ProStores third-party checkout. That meant they could cross-sell and up-sell to eBay buyers, pitching them additional products to add to their order - at lower commission rates than on eBay itself.
With increased fees and the elimination of eBay third-party checkout, ProStores merchants say they are considering their options - and there are lots of alternatives (perhaps too many). One that has a similar model to ProStores is Yahoo Stores.
The Yahoo Stores Starter Plan is $39.95/month, with a 1.5% transaction fee (first three months cost $29.96/month). This plan lets you have 50,000 products and $18,000/month in sales, but you have to bump up to the next plan to get cross-sell and up-sell merchandising features ($129.95/month plus 1% transaction fee). Yahoo Stores has many of the features ProStores sellers have been requesting.
Another ecommerce solutions provider, Magento, recently launched a hosted ecommerce solution in addition to its open-source software and enterprise level solution. The Magento Go plans are similar to ProStores and Yahoo Stores, but without the commission fees. Pricing ranges from $15/month to $125/month, but the company is heavily discounting the plans during its introductory period (it's calling the discounts its "$1 Million Stimulus plan").
Magento is offering its $25/month plan for $10/month for the first year, which allows 500 products. The $65/month plan is $50/month for the first year and allows 1,000 SKUs. There are no transaction fees.
Interestingly, while all three plans - ProStores, Yahoo Stores, and Magento Go - accept PayPal, only the latter accepts Google Checkout payments.
There are many factors to consider in choosing an ecommerce solution. See this February article that includes a roundup of articles about shopping carts and ecommerce systems, including Yahoo Stores, Magento, Volusion, and others. We're also running a column in Sunday's AuctionBytes Update newsletter about factors in selecting an ecommerce solution.
The fact that eBay is eliminating ProStores discounts for eBay PowerSellers and Stores subscribers speaks volumes, and gives further ammunition to those who say eBay is pushing smaller sellers out the door in favor of large merchants.
Now that eBay owns 49% of Magento (and is also acquiring 100% of GSI Commerce for large retailers), it's reasonable to ask how much of its resources eBay will put into maintaining and developing its ProStores offering, about which it has always been ambivalent.
Are you planning to stick with ProStores, or are you evaluating other solutions? Let us know!