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Sat May 21 2011 22:58:09

Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?

By: Ina Steiner

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos spoke at the ShopSmart Summit in New York earlier this month. During the Q&A part of his presentation, I asked him how important third-party sellers were to its long-term strategy and how they could compete with manufacturers getting onto the platform to sell directly.

I also spoke to him after the session, and asked him if he saw Amazon as a destination for antiques lovers and collectors.

You can find out what he said in my write-up of the event in Sunday's AuctionBytes Update newsletter, but I'd like to know what readers think?

Have you sold antiques or collectibles on Amazon.com directly or through its FBA program? Do you think Amazon will ever make sense as a site for collectors? What do you think of Amazon as a third-party merchant platform?




Comments (19) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?   Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?

by: Sayonara eBay

Sun May 22 00:10:04 2011

I have tried over the past 3 years to sell vintage china (dinnerware) on Amazon and have never sold one piece.  

I don't believe Amazon will be good for collectibles in the format that listings are now in.

I don't think collectibles should be listed in catalog form.  Each listing has to have its own complete description and a unique photo or photos.

Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?   Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?

by: Joe Average

Sun May 22 01:46:11 2011

Amazon should set up a separate section for selling non-typical items.

eBay should be doing the same thing in order to draw a distinction between the Walmart & Chinese items and the unique stuff.

Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?   Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?

This user has validated their user name. by: permacrisis

Sun May 22 08:24:27 2011

@ Joe Average

Absolutely. Split the site. Different searches for each.

When you think about it, the big ecommerce sites have spent more money stubbornly REFUSING to do this, and doing everything else instead, than it would have cost to just bite the bullet and do it.

In ebays case, by shifting their strategy away from ebay and toward PayPal, in a way you could say that ebay, is trying to Get Off Ebay.

What puzzles me, when you read this mornings' Fuji Atrs articles, is that this is good money that is being walked away from. Why Amazon (or Overstock or Google for that matter) HASN'T come into this space is way beyond me. The money's there.

Are you telling me it cost less to develop the Kindle than to build a person-to-person trading site?

And even if it did- we would be providing that all-important content, and content is the name of the game.

Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?   Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?

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

Sun May 22 09:36:45 2011

Amazon has a category for Collectible Books, but you have to apply to sell them.  If you are approved as a Collectible Book seller, you are allowed more description space, and your uploaded images are specified to that particular listing only and not part of the general catalog images.

Azon might be able to adapt [the above] to other collectible items.  But I don't know that I'd go to Azon to shop for vintage dinnerware unless I was looking to replace something.  Amazon > Replacements for collectible or  hard-to-find items might be an interesting category.

Great article Ina, I would be interested in hearing more of Bezos' business strategy.  Fave line in the article was the quote from bad-apple-seller (eyeglass guy) "Oh no, those guys are Boy Scouts. They kick you off right away."

Good article Ina.  

Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?   Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?

by: John

Sun May 22 11:10:15 2011

If anyone can, Bezos could fix the eBay conundrum.

Maybe Bezos is working to become the CEO of both companies.

He'd have a good shot at it if he could make the auction platform work on Amazon.

Taking the matrix and turning eBay into Amazon # 2 after he is voted in.

Imagine how much money he would make.

JD would be offered the pot washing job in the kitchen cafeteria of Amazon  

Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?   Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Sun May 22 16:02:20 2011

i list some books in the collectible category and i think amazon's biggest problem is that book collectors just don't shop there.

Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?   Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?

by: Fruity This user has validated their user name.

Sun May 22 16:46:58 2011

Ina I'll talk with Bezos!

I think Amazon should apply stringent vetting of sellers of collectibles and make sure to shake the ebay mentality out of people. I'm on both ebay and Amz and I can tell you, when ebay kicks their sellers around, you can feel it on Amz. Sellers show up and shove their ebay listings there in acts of starvation. One of the biggest problems is that collectibles get mixed with household junk and that is something Amazon cannot have dirtying up their site. What amazon could do is buy a startup site for auctions and introduce visual product ads and go after what is ebays listing fees.

alot have this belief that sales have to transact on a venue vs. to be seen.

Unfortunately, sellers of collectibles have been smeared for years because of scum sellers and ebays need to portray them as complainers. That's incorrect. They are entrepreneurs that found their way into the hands of a company that has abused and conditioned them. They need an environment that fosters uniqueness. In product and personality.

Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?   Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?

by: J.B. Malik
Web Site

Sun May 22 21:34:59 2011

The challenge with using Amazon to sel collectibles is that, without the seller's photos, buyers who are interested in any intricacies/potential defects won't be able to see them. That said, if Amazon would make it possible for sellers to post photos of their item, that should remedy the challenge.

-J.B. Malik
http://www.HonestOnlineSelling.com

Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?   Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?

by: buck efay

Mon May 23 11:10:48 2011

The biggest problem for collectibles sellers is Amazon's unfair shipping payout. It is impossible to reset the shipping to reflect the actual weight & increase the shipping, and you will be eating the fees everytime. I have thousands of items that I will not list on my Amazon account & sell elsewhere because of this. Only their platinum sellers can charge any shipping they want. For the amount in fees I pay them, I'd really like to at least get some fairness on the shipping.

Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?   Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?

by: Mr Me

Mon May 23 12:24:44 2011

Bad idea ... just like eBay trying to become amazon or walmart, amazon "branching out" to collectibles wont work...... collectibles sales are a one-on-one affair, each item being unique , amazon's "catalog" approach just wont work, etsy or Bonanza are much better. I do sell on Amazon and like it, it is the wrong venue for collectibles though!

Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?   Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?

by: Rich

Tue May 24 01:20:13 2011

If Amazon set up a separate site for used/collectible items; Ebay would be sunk.  Ebay sellers are so sick of Ebay's crap policies. Amazon is better now for books, cd's, dvd's, toys, electronics and most anything that both Amazon and Ebay have; so I'm sure they'd also be better for used/collectibles.  It's just a matter if Amazon would want to make the investment

Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?   Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?

by: Phil DeBasquet

Tue May 24 01:23:37 2011

I sell collectibles. Amazon has way too many rules. They want to tell me when to breathe.
I can't imagine them settingb up a collectibles market I could stomach. they insist on shipping times that mean you have no other life. Packaging and labeling that is none of their business.
neither Amazon or google is the answer to ebay Hell.

Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?   Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?

by: V Dude

Tue May 24 09:59:42 2011

What needs to happen is that another sight beside Amazon and Ebay needs to take off and leave both of those site in the dust.  The powers that be have deemed the two giants as worthy of having the lions share and I just don't know how that changes.  When the internet bubble burst there were alot of interesting companies that just needed a year or two but too many people were making too much money for the powers that be.  

Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?   Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 24 17:02:09 2011

"That said, if Amazon would make it possible for sellers to post photos of their item, that should remedy the challenge."

you can in books collectibles, however it has to be done one item at a time.

"The biggest problem for collectibles sellers is Amazon's unfair shipping payout. "

speaking only about the books category, i'm getting tired of having to eat usps increases.  and selling internationally on amazon isn't even close to being possible when they only give me half of what my out of pocket for shipping would be.

Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?   Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?

by: Erik

Wed May 25 02:03:39 2011

I've sold a fair number of collectibles on Amazon, but they've all been things which have some context on Amazon.  First edition books, signed books, packaged vintage toys, limited edition figurines, etc.

I think the basic problem with selling collectibles is that their search engine is absolutely horrible.  Try finding a back issue magazine from the 1940's or 1950's and it's total hit or miss.  You should be able to enter "Life Magazine 1946" and have a chronological list of all 52 issues with thumbnails of the covers and links to the product listings.  You shouldn't have to hunt and peck your way through missing listings, duplicate listings, erroneous listings, etc.

You should be able to enter an author's name like "Ernest Hemingway" and get a complete list of every book the author ever published, which could then be filtered by first editions, signed editions, etc.

If you have a classic book like Moby Dick, you shouldn't have to scan through 2,000 different product listing pages to find every single printing from every single publisher.  You should be able to scan all of the listings for the title on one page and pick out the cheapest reading copy.

There should be a version of The Internet Movie Data Base for things that aren't movies and TV shows.  There should be an Internet Comic Book Data Base, run by Amazon, and each listing should link to the product page of that comic book on Amazon.  Collectors should be able to make want lists, checklists and other lists, and sort them by price, title, artist, writer, character, publisher, year of publication, etc.

There's no reason collectibles couldn't sell like crazy on Amazon, if Amazon were to give collectors the tools they need to work on their collections.

Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?   Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?

by: JJANN

Wed May 25 13:40:13 2011

The biggest problem with high end antiques is payment.

On eBay  you're supposed to take PayPal or a credit card which makes it a conditional sale. Cannot ask for cash or check.

Buyer can bid up an antique bedroom set to $2500.00 Spends $800 on getting it shipped. Then he gets it and doesn't like it? Now what do you do? Because it is PP, he can just keep the item and get all of his money back + shipping. You say it has to be not as described? Not so, he can just say there was a scratch and (all antiques have scratches) it and it is not as described.

They need to go back to the old fashion way: cash on local pickup, check or money order.

Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?   Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?

by: Al Gates
Web Site

Fri May 27 13:28:28 2011

Lots of ideas here.
eBay & Amazon can work together, which is unlikely, or Amazon can change the way they currently do business and reinvent themselves into something that works like eBay. They surely have the creativity to do this. Or someone needs to challenge both eBay and Amazon. Perhaps Google? Facebook? They both have the expertise and money to really develop a WOW site, and it would require out of the box thinking.

Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?   Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?

by: buck efay

Fri May 27 13:53:42 2011

Why in heaven's name would Amazon work with the failure called Ebay? They can surely add their own auction component if they choose. It's not like ebay has the market cornered anymore.

Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?   Can Amazon Become a Platform for Collectibles?

by: Peggy
Web Site

Mon Jun 6 16:32:52 2011

It seems  very strange to me that Mr. Bezos is claiming the social aspects of Amazon.com are a strength and a priority.  I received this email from customer service because the friends and communities site features are not working.

Message:

I'm sorry for any inconvenience the deprecation of a Community feature may have caused.

The message your friend received is correct, we recently made some changes to features available through Profile pages. Recent Activity, Interesting People and Friends and Profile Search features have been discontinued. We understand that some customers may be disappointed at this decision and I appreciate your feedback. I will pass your message on to the team responsible for development of the Community features.

If you want to locate another customer’s profile, you can still do so using Wish List search:

www.amazon.com/wishlist/

Enter the person's name or e-mail address in the Find a Wish List box. If they've created a Wish List and made it public, we will display it for you. From the customer’s Wish List you can then click through to his/her profile.

We understand that this may be inconvenient and we appreciate that you took the time to contact us with your feedback. We are continually working to fine tune our website and offer useful features for our customers.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us.



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