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Thu Oct 11 2012 12:44:56

Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?

By: Julia Wilkinson

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Bonanza is holding its fourth annual "Rennaissance Faire" (aka "RenFaire") promotion through Oct. 31, where over 200 sellers band together under a virtual medieval banner to offer discounts and promote sales, accessible from one forum community thread.

Most items in shops (sorry, I mean "Shoppes") participating in the sale offer coupon code discounts. The whole thing has a real community feeling that in my mind harkens back to more of what eBay must have felt like in its early days. The word "community" used to get bandied about more there, but it has less emphasis in recent years as the site has become a large corporate behemoth.

My question for you is, do theme promotions like this with a real "community" feel entice you to shop these smaller online selling sites? I think of it as an equivalent to my making an effort to shop some of the smaller bricks-and-mortar boutiques in the area where I live, in an kind of "encourage small business" gesture.

I do like the concept that most items in the Bonanza RenFaire have a discount code in the listing you can easily apply at checkout. I just bought a filigree cuff-style bracelet for a mere $4.00, 50% off its original already low price of $8.00 (with the coupon), from the "adorned with beauty" jewelry booth.

The "Shoppes" are organized by category in the official promo thread, so you can easily find the type of item you are looking for. For example, here are some of the participating jewelry shoppes as listed in the thread:

It's also fun to have all these sales fall under the banner of a theme. The addition of the Facebook page and now Pinterest to help promote the Faire items certainly helps. And certainly, I think there are few sellers on the "alternative" sites to eBay who think their stuff is going to move without active promotion on their part.

But what do you think? Do these special promotions entice you to shop on some of the alternative sites? Do you shop outside of the venues where you sell? What other things could alternative sites do to gain more shoppers? Post a comment here!




Comments (38) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?   Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?

by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
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Thu Oct 11 16:58:36 2012

It would be good if it reached the stage where buyers went to the alt sites to browse.
I don't have time to promote on their sites, as I have my own website as well.
Tweets never worked for me.
And I tend to think that they would annoy people.


Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?   Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?

This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Thu Oct 11 16:58:45 2012

I'd never spend my money at Bonanza regardless of discounts, silly gimmicks or promotions. Too bad the management at Bonanza publicly refuse to advertise and their traffic stats are declining after months of flatlining.

I'm also not interested in "community" when it comes to commerce or playing forum games in hopes of a sale.

It's sad, Bonanza had a chance but they blew it. Game over. Might as well shut the site down already.

Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?   Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?

by: Will This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 11 23:58:16 2012

I sold two items on Bonanza. Haven't listed anything there in over a year. Yes, it is sad and too bad for them, as they did have a chance.

Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?   Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?

by: Sherie This user has validated their user name.
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Fri Oct 12 00:52:33 2012

A big thank you to eCommerceBytes for posting about Bonanza's 4th Annual Renaissance Faire. I'm proud to say I am a part of the Faire.

I'd also like to personally say thank you to MomsPennies aka Marianna O'Connor for pouring her heart into setting up this event AND to everyone else involved. It has been a very nice experience.

And to the shoppers, all are welcome to attend. We look forward to seeing you and showing our Wares.

Sharon/Sherie aka TipTopMgr

Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?   Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?

by: lonestar This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 12 01:27:26 2012

I think it is terrific that the sellers are motivated to create a fun event to promote sales.  Regardless of what Bonanza management does, the sellers banding together to help each other is a breath of fresh air.  I wish them success and am on my way over to Bonanza to do some shopping.

Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?   Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?

by: DonC This user has validated their user name.
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Fri Oct 12 02:42:46 2012

To be honest with you this is the first I have heard of it.  Apparently Bonanza doesn't make much of an effort to promote their site and have more or less dropped off the radar.

Special promotions don't entice me if I am not aware of them.

Yes I shop outside of the venues where I sell.

Alternative sites need to advertize to gain more shoppers.

I spend my time and money promoting my Yahoo store. Not someone else's site.

Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?   Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?

by: lalin This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 12 03:47:49 2012

Nothing Bonanza does would entice me to go back there, to buy or to sell but I won't have to be concerned about either because Bonanza itself does nothing to entice anyone. All their promotion is for the sellers, who are each others' best customers. I tried selling there but all the game playing, auctions between sellers, and the absolute ''I know best'' attitudes of its owners, who may be great entrepreneurs but like so many, don't know when to turn the business over to those who know how to run and promote one, and finally, the backstabbing between sellers, enticed me to leave and never come back, either to buy or sell. Happy Mark and his cohort, whose name I've forgotten, refuse to advertise or promote the site and do nothing to help their sellers. But they don't hesitate to make ridiculous cosmetic and unnecessary programming changes. They do (or did?) have a newsletter but even it couldn't decide if it was aimed at sellers or buyers. I totally agree with whoever it was who said the game was up and Bonanza should close the barn doors! So, if I forgot to mention it, no, their little RenFaire does not entice me to shop there. Or even browse.  

Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?   Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?

by: Watching the Wheels This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 12 06:08:25 2012

I'm not exactly understanding why there are detractors who are showing "their" ill breeding by using this as THE opportunity to spew venom.

I'd also like to extend a thankyou to Ina and staff for writing about this.

I'm not involved with this promo, but it's NICE to see a helping hand extended to sellers.

Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?   Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?

by: Momspennies This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 12 06:40:09 2012

First, I would like to thank Julia and Ina for their feature on this event.

Renfaire is not a Bonanza sponsored event, but rather a coordinated effort by the sellers who are actively involved in the community. Similar to a block party, this event brings all of us together to do one huge sale, rather than individual sales that get very little notice. We feel this is unique and a great tactic that smaller sites can use to band together to bring traffic in.

I am always perplexed over those who have to down a particular site because it didn't work for them. When something doesn't work for you, try something else, and keep trying until you find something that DOES work for you.

I don't participate in any of the sites games, auctions or other things that do little to bring in real sales. In fact over 95% of my sales are from buyers that come to me from outside of Bonanza. And those who do purchase from me, who are other sellers, tend to be great friends, through a sense of trustability and whether to buy from someone you know, or go to a huge site where you are really taking your chances. Sometimes it's not all about the best price.

The community aspect is very unique to Bonanza, and what it's sellers do to participate in events like this is amazing as you watch all the parts of a whole come together. For this reason, Renfaire has been successful in years past for those sellers who are actively getting the word out. It is created in a way to show fairness to all participants and each has the same opportunity for sales if they are doing their part and have all the other factors that make a store enticing to shop in. If it were not successful, I wouldn't continue to devote hundreds of hours to organizing and putting it together From Sept through Oct 31st every year. And without the assistance of some really great people who are a part of this community, I couldn't do it. My right hand gal isn't even a seller anymore, but comes back year after year to offer her talents to get everyone dressed and ready and helps with promotions too. Many Thanks to FreebieFae and to all the other sellers who are working so hard to lend their talents and their time towards making this event a success!  

Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?   Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?

by: BeenThereDoneThat This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 12 08:07:16 2012

No, a themed sale such as this will not make me shop. Also has never gotten me sales others than some from the other participating sellers.

It is great that sellers get together to promote, but for me is not enough.

If it were a site sponsored event and widely promoted then I think it would do better. Few off site/no bonz sellers even know about it or ever find out. Yes, I know I will be blasted and hear how all the sellers tweet and FB, etc. However, I know how few off site sales are actually made with these events.

It's a shame cause the sellers really put a lot into these things for such little response. You new sellers will learn, and eventually some of the die hards will have to admit this also.

Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?   Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?

by: Momspennies This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 12 08:25:27 2012

Oops, I forgot to comment on Julia's questions:

''Do these special promotions entice you to shop on some of the alternative sites?'' Yes, they would if I knew about them. We have been getting the word out in the community since Labor Day and there are still sellers who weren't aware of it and waited until the last minute to sign up. As to other venues doing the same thing, I rarely see any promotion for their sales, except on Twitter. But then again, I am an active Tweeter and follow many who sell on other sites.

''Do you shop outside of the venues where you sell?'' Absolutely, though I always search Bonanza first. Then I search Google and prefer to shop on the alternative sites. If I can't find it there, I move on to Big Box stores or eBay...but that's rare.

''What other things could alternative sites do to gain more shoppers?'' Personally, I think the alternative sites should do more to feature events like this. Whether it be a banner, adwords or something that gets the event noticed, it can only benefit them to drive shoppers to their sites especially during special events. Granted, you don't really see Malls doing this because they typically count on the Anchor Stores to bring traffic in and gain sales from those that the anchor stores are advertising.

In all the years I worked for Nordstrom, we never saw any major advertising put out for their yearly events, other than newspaper ads. Customers just knew this event goes on every year, and customers with credit accounts also received advance notice of the sales with their monthly bill. We can only hope to be doing this 10 years from now and shoppers just ''knowing'' that we do it every year. Time will tell, but I think all the alternative sites can do something like this, if they don't already. It just requires some ingenuity, commitment, and sense of community to pull it off.

Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?   Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?

by: JohnGermaine This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 12 10:11:18 2012

Nope, don't have any money to spend.

Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?   Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?

by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 12 12:07:04 2012

bonan-who??

Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?   Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?

by: G-and-A This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 12 13:11:47 2012

It may not be super effective to have an event of this type, but it certainly can't hurt.  There are so many buying opportunities on the internet these days that it's hard to be noticed.  The Renaissance Faire is something ''out of the ordinary,'' and that fits in with Bonanza's return to its original ''out of the ordinary'' theme.

I have only been selling on Bonanza for one year.  It is hard for me to understand the attitudes of those sellers who have left Bonanza, but still feel compelled to leave bad comments here.  Maybe things were different when they were there, to have left such a bad taste in their mouths.  Bonanza is the only selling site I have found that is ideal for my selling situation.  There are no listing fees and unlimited number of listings and no time limit for the listings.

In other words, you have nothing to lose by listing your items on Bonanza.  I believe events like the RenFaire have a chance of attracting buyers in the over-crowded internet.

Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?   Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?

by: fern This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 12 13:38:24 2012

Yes, why wouldn't I look for a sale event.

As a seller with two booths in the Faire I've been having sales, none to fellow members. In fact my sales (antique & collectibles) have been steadily increasing on Bonanza. It's still the easiest & best place that I've tried after leaving E---, and the Faire is an example of the great community spirit there.

A group of sellers have also started a weekly open forum session, ''sellers helping sellers'', where everyone is invited to discuss topics and receive help.  

Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?   Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?

by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
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Fri Oct 12 14:07:18 2012

The alt sites obvoiusly can't afford to advertise. But they can do marketing at low or zero cost.
So community projects like Renfaire must be a good thing.
I do like the way Bonanza has gone back to its original rotating home page.
If sellers don't want to be continually screwed by ebay they need to support alt sites like Bonanza.

Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?   Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Oct 12 14:27:38 2012

I agree with Spartacus.  Bonanza thought that if they built it they would come.  They didn't.  Ask 10 people you know if they know Bonanza.  I'll be surprised if anyone states that they do.

As some of the others said, they blew their chance by not promoting the site by advertising.  I think that they thought it would instantly turn into another eBay.  It didn't.  The rare sales we had there were normally non-payers.

Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?   Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?

by: Momspennies This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 12 14:54:27 2012

I'm just wondering what the point of the negative comments towards Bonanza is? We are not debating whether Bonanza advertises or whether Bonanza intended to be another eBay. In fact, I'm pretty sure that wasn't their intent. And that's part of the problem, everyone who tries to evaluate the worth of this venue tries to size it up by comparing it to eBay. It's not eBay. And anyone who comes there to sell and expects the same level of sales would be very disappointed.

Renfaire is not a sponsored event. This is just something we come together to do. As a community. As much as everyone likes to think that sales are only made between sellers, they would be wrong.

But this is not about whether Bonanza should be rated for this event. Please go back and read the questions asked by the editor. Could this be done anywhere else? I can't answer that. Bonanza is the only place I hang my hat so I'm not familiar with the other alt. sites. It would depend on the structure of the community as well as the ability to support one another in an event like this.

One thing I can say for sure, I don't ever see anything like this happening on the big sites. This is more about the group of people who are a part of this event. Not about the venue.

Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?   Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?

by: jsgeare This user has validated their user name.
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Fri Oct 12 15:29:44 2012

Owing to my temperament, I'm not personally attracted to shop anywhere for anything at all because of a theme or style of the venue. However, the Renfaire initiative by Ms. O'connor anticipates what I believe may be the next ''big thing'' in ecommerce: ''clustered vending,'' a phrase I made up to refer to a more efficient and effective way of connecting buyers and sellers. Perhaps not by deliberate choice, the participants in Renfaire tend to heavily represent vendors of jewelry, fashion, glassware, pottery and unique handmade, etc; these are things which one might actually find at a renfair.

But what if this concept of similar sellers being grouped together under a single structure were deliberately deployed and enhanced? Now, many vendors of similar items would be conveniently located in one ''place.'' Yes, of course, a buyer can already search a site for an ''item,'' and see all matches conveniently in one place. Yet the sense is that one hops back and forth from this list to an item, over and over, until something satisfactory is located. My own focus is HO Scale Trains, which makes me part of the universe of train sellers or perhaps hobby sellers. If I and vendors of similar products were part of a place with a singe identity (maybe ''world's largest hobby shop'') then buyers would have a single destination, if the site were properly promoted. Indeed, the collective purchasing power of this group would enable advertising and promotion of a single entity which should be far more effective and economical then dozens of individual, disconnected efforts. The value proposition of the marketplace (sort of a landlord) would be providing a single source for placement of advertising, as well as checkout and infrastructure. I believe that Ms. O'connor has at least intuitively, or perhaps quite consciously, understood the ''power of the collective,'' and she has quite masterfully put together a prototype of the kind of group vending I envision, and at substantial scale, using only the basic functionality of Bonanza.

If Bonz ''gets it'' about what has happened, here, and understands the potential for development of a venue which currently has no predecessor, then they may truly revolutionize ecommerce. In its current iteration, Bonz is probably best of breed on quality tests; but alas, the breed itself is crowded with many competitors whose combined numbers suggest that none shall likely reach destination status; none, that is, until one finds the way to do something no one has done before.

The negative comments expressed here about Bonz are not borne out in my own experience, nor in the experience of successful vendors there. I encourage all who have never seen Bonz to evaluate it for themselves.

Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?   Does Bonanza's RenFaire Promotion Entice You to Shop?

by: heythere This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 12 16:17:55 2012

It's a great group effort! Sellers getting together to promote each other. I love Bonanza and have had lots of success selling there.  

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