Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Fri Dec 25 2015 17:03:14

Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?

By: Ina Steiner

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Conferences are a great way for sellers to meet in person and share ideas - the networking and relationships may continue well after the event. But many small and micro online sellers don't get those real-life opportunities to be inspired by colleagues.

Etsy, Amazon, and Amazon have run recent profiles of small sellers on their platforms. If you're curious about how other sellers got their start and grew their business, here are some recent stories to peruse.

Etsy recently profiled four sellers in its Seller Handbook on how they achieved their goals in 2015, including these two sellers:

Marla MrowkaTucknote
Getting started: "She wasn't sure what to sell and worried her products wouldn't be high-quality enough to make her friends and family proud. Marla decided to face her fears after receiving this advice from a seasoned seller at a holiday craft fair: "How do you know it's scary if you've never tried it?""

Lauren FairweatherFairweather Friends
"Thinking a makeover was in line, Lauren set out to improve her plush dolls, and to revamp her branding, descriptions and product photography." The post shows before and after photos of her revamped plush toy and improved photo background.

Amazon profiled a number of sellers on its blog this month including this entrepreneur:

Wendell MorrisYoga Rat
"From his initial idea about yoga mats in 2007, Wendell explored manufacturing possibilities," and he launched YogaRat website in 2008. "He developed a small but effective distribution network that provided enough sales for him to expand into yoga towels, bags, blocks, straps, and other gear. "Starting out as an unknown brand, it was difficult to find retailers willing to stock our goods," Wendell says. "No such barriers existed at Amazon."

You may also draw inspiration from this seller profile eBay published on its blog last month:

What's the most fun part about selling on eBay? "The thrill of the hunt! Turning a quarter into $50, that's SUPER fun. Last week my husband found a shirt for $2.50 that I sold for $50. I found two mugs that I bought for $3 each that sold for $45. I mean, that kind of stuff, you can't invest in the stock market and have that kind of return!" And Amy incorporates charity into her business. "All of our items valued at $11 or more are listed with a 10% donation, usually to the Wounded Warrior Project."

While marketplaces publish such profiles to promote their own sites, the stories provide an interesting glimpse into how sellers have gotten their start and have grown. The profiles showcase how diverse online sellers are.

Etsy's post was particularly interesting as it focused on seller goals. As 2015 winds down, have you thought about what your selling goals are for the New Year?




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Perminate Link for Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?   Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Fri Dec 25 17:36:11 2015

My eBay goal for 2016 is 1500 sales and $125,000.

A modest goal for a semi retired husband and wife team that work out of a 2 car garage.

Perminate Link for Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?   Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Fri Dec 25 17:45:21 2015

"Looking for Inspiration for Your Small eCommerce Business?"
No. Looking for a selling venue that won't GOUGE me like Ebay would.
2.5% is plenty for their take rate.

Perminate Link for Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?   Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Sat Dec 26 00:14:34 2015

The goal in 2016 is to finally see a viable alternative to eBay, with the same traffic, less fees, and one which would let sellers (the customers who pay their bills) run their businesses without being micromanaged and scammed by buyers.

Is this finally the year we as long-suffering eBay sellers have been waiting for??

And, no, I am not talking about starting a website and having to build a customer base. Or sites that now exist with no traffic (basically any e-commerce company other than the River and the Bay).

Maybe our dreams will come true!!

Perminate Link for Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?   Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sat Dec 26 09:05:21 2015

To continue to build off of eBay. I think I'd be waiting until the cows come home for Wenig to "reconnect with small sellers". Case in point--open up eBay.com. Do you see an item from even one small seller?  I think they call that "curating" at eBay. Curating big enterprise and Chinese sellers that is. This is who Wenig "connects" with.

Perminate Link for Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?   Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Dec 27 08:56:23 2015

@The End

Well, feeBay is taking a LOT more than 2.5% ..their greedy rake-off is five times that after you add in the "PayPig" thievery and "Final Value Fee" on freakin' SHIPPING!

I'll gladly take 30% lower gross to sell on C/L without the hassles and risks.

Perminate Link for Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?   Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Dec 27 09:43:07 2015

If you are looking for inspiration for your Small Ecommerce Business ... you wont "really" find it on any of the major platforms.

The best chance you have is if you are a volume Amazon seller. The sheer amount of sales via FBA crushes the minuscule eBay efforts by a long shot.

If you are a tool and you think the answer is eBay, you have obviously had WAY TOO MUCH eggnog or a spiked fruity drink this holiday season.

Amazon has its issues, but at least it delivers sales. eBay has way more issues, and just delivers stupid and moronic ideas that some think are clever or funny. Personally I was embarrassed by eBays message to its sellers (as seen on Ina's front page story). Childish, amateurish, boorish and not one a multi-million dollar company should have made. How about a nice polite email, detailing concrete steps in 2016 that will help build the failing company instead of nonesence from the Griff?

The sad part is that both Amazon and eBay are needed to forge a path to any kind of success - and time is better spent finding products that you can make money on, then dealing with eBays lies and theft.

The things that happen on eBay dont seem to happen on Amazon, Jet, Rakuten, Walmart or Barnes & Nobles sites ..... funny huh?

Perminate Link for Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?   Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sun Dec 27 10:57:08 2015

@ pace306

"not one a multi-million dollar company"

x100

eBay is a multi-BILLION dollar company!

eBay has worked for me for over 15 years with very few problems. . .

Perminate Link for Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?   Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?

by: I Must be Crazy This user has validated their user name.

Sun Dec 27 20:42:23 2015

EBay is the venue I use and is the only viable option for selling used auto parts.

Despite working harder and smarter this year, gross sales are off 11.47%. This follows a steady decline beginning May 2014. I see little upside so it is going to be scaled down to part time for me. I make pretty good money 25 hours a week but it's not enough. Every hour beyond that is wasted time. Falling prices, rising costs, greater risk of loss, visibility problems, endless glitches, seller limits make this an unsustainable venture. It does what it does and nothing more. My projections for next year are set accordingly.

Perminate Link for Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?   Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sun Dec 27 21:03:17 2015

@Volvo351   What you said  :o)
Happy New Year !

Perminate Link for Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?   Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?

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

Mon Dec 28 12:30:38 2015

My son has begun selling my same sort of thing, so my goal is to outsell him at least numerically (he has access to lots more high value stock that I do). My goal for many years has been to average $2500 gross in sales per month but have only managed to do it a few times. My husband thought when my initial goal was to hit $1K/month that I was nuts. That is now my minimum goal as if I hit it (usually do) I know I can buy groceries that month! Between Amazon and eCRATER I am generally doing okay but am changing some things to make me more efficient and within a month or so my husband will be helping much more so things that have been stacking up will be getting taken care of which will also lead to more profits.

Perminate Link for Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?   Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 28 17:43:49 2015

Poor Tool ...

100 million, 1 billion or 20 billion.

Amazon does it with SALES, eBay does it with THEFT - big difference.

As well, Amazon mentioned in TWICE all the time, eBay ignored. Amazon mentioned in Dealerscope all the time, eBay ignored. Amazon has a booth and a suite at CES, eBay no where to be found.

Do you see the difference here or no?

Yes - we all understand that in your SPECIALTY category - where you have little to no competition - you do OK. BUT, for the rest of us .... ? eBay is a lying, cheating, conniving, theft centric platform. AND, what sellers experience being "partners" with eBay DOESNT happen any where else PERIOD.

Peronally, if you want to be their cheerleader - thats all fine and good - but you are the exception and NOT the rule on what happens at eBay. Thanx for playing.

Perminate Link for Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?   Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Dec 29 10:19:18 2015

@ pace306

I'm not the "exception" when it comes to industrial surplus.

10's of thousands of sellers are happy with eBay and have plenty of sales to prove it.

Clothes and collectibles aren't in demand like they once were. The market changes over time. . .

Perminate Link for Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?   Looking for Inspiration for Your Small Ecommerce Business?

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Mon Jan 4 16:14:27 2016

@pace
You tried but some are as thick as a brick



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