|Mon Dec 31 2012 12:17:21|
Best and Worst of Online Selling in 2012
By: Julia Wilkinson
2012: We laughed. We cried. We struggled to bring two cardboard flaps neatly together and secure them with packaging tape, over and over again. But besides all that, looking back at the year, what were some of the best and worst developments for people who sell online?
I modestly propose a list; these are just what jumped out at me. I'm not saying you're going to agree with my picks...and so I'd really like to hear yours. Post a comment here or on the ECB Forums.
- Amazon's growth, specifically its FBA program and opening new warehouses. According to Jeff Moore in May 2012, in a survey, 57% of sellers saw their sales increase 20%; and 91% said their sales increased in general since joining FBA.
- eBay making more of an effort to protect sellers, per this post by Ina. It may just be a start, but in acknowledging there has been buyer abuse of the feedback system, and eBay's Director of Seller Protections Rich Matsuura saying eBay is "moving to a world where we are going to require buyers to contact sellers prior to making a claim," you have to give them some credit. (Particularly egregious? "...reports from sellers that they're getting a brick in the box as a return.").
- Etsy's growth, and paying for product feeds in Google Shopping. "With the exception of December 2011 (a holiday bump), more sellers made a sale in July 2012 than any other month in Etsy’s history," said CEO Chad Dickerson in this Notes from Chad post from August. Etsy has become a viable selling platform for me; I think I just need to devote more time to making more items!
- eBay's faster checkout. Color me impatient, but I really like it. It ain't Amazon's 1-click checkout for the truly Short of Attention Span, but it's an improvement for buyers in this go-go-go age.
- Ruby Lane moving to #2 in EcommerceBytes' Sellers Choice Awards of 2012. (Speaking of which, vote for the 2013 Awards now!). Their home page has a fun new look with scrolling images (just about everything went to image-based interfaces in 2012, which brings me to...)
- Pinterest's rise. Everybody and their brother, including eBay, seemed to move to a Pinterest-like image-based feed, at least somewhere on their site if not the home page. And many sellers report making sales from the views they get on this visually-oirented site.
- eBay putting ads in sellers' paid listings.
- Google moving to a paid product feed model with Google Shopping. Google giveth, and Google taketh its pay.
- The looming threat of the Supreme Court's potential decision in reviewing the "First-Sale Doctrine," which permits buyers who purchase copyrighted works in a legitimate transaction to resell them without obtaining permission.
- eBay Monkeying with search results.
- Ecce Homo (speaking of monkeys): the botched restoration of the Ecce Homo fresco just has to be mentioned, because it is one of the most jarring alterations in the world of art and antiques this year. But in online commerce, it may actually qualify for the "best" list, as both the artist herself found a way to profit off it (selling another painting on eBay for $1400), and performance artist Amanda Palmer used the incident to sell t-shirts via Twitter's Chirpify service. Although, I'm not sure...what do you think?
Post your thoughts on the "Best and Worst of 2012" in the world of online selling as a comment here!