Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sat Feb 7 2015 20:51:25

Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic

By: Ina Steiner

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It seems incredible that we're in our 6th year of publishing the Sellers Choice Awards for Online Marketplaces. Thanks to everyone for participating in the nomination and ratings process.

One thing you can be sure of - the marketplaces take a close look at these results, and thanks to the time you take to share your feedback, we hope it will effect some positive change on the venues on which you sell. For David and me, it's always fascinating to read the rewards and challenges of selling on each marketplace, and how some things change and other things remain the same.

Here is a nice snapshot of the top 5 marketplaces for the past six years.



It was presumed to be bad news for online sellers and marketplaces when Google Shopping killed its free model and went to a pay-to-play model in 2012. It seems those who believed smaller marketplaces would find a replacement to lost traffic or would be able to afford to pay Google Shopping rates were somewhat optimistic.

Sellers taking the Sellers Choice survey bemoan the lack of traffic and sales at smaller venues. In 2011, some small niche sites emerged as winners, but since 2012, the same five marketplaces take the top-five spots: eBay, Amazon, Etsy, Bonanza and Ruby Lane.

And while sellers use sites like Pinterest and Facebook to try and drive traffic to their listings, it seems nothing is replacing the loss of traffic from Google.

But it's also heartening to see how sellers support smaller venues and vice versa. For instance, one seller wrote, "I think eCrater is a terrific site to sell on with easy listing, a great owner and team (no canned responses to questions), no fees, etc. However, due to Google's shenanigans, sales have tumbled on eCrater, and the goal is to see what we can do to increase sales to the level they once were."

This is the first Sellers Choice since eBay implemented its Seller Defect policy - its impact began being felt in August 2014. Unfortunately it's difficult to measure the impact of the new system given the broader problems eBay experienced last year, notably the security breach and Google penalty. Hopefully the powers that be at eBay are looking at whether its defect system may be harming its best sellers through unintended consequences. But with the company in the midst of laying off 7% of its workforce and splitting with PayPal, it's hard to know who's minding the shop.

Clearly 2015 is shaping up to be an "interesting" year. In the meantime, we'd love to hear your thoughts on this year's Sellers Choice Awards - fire away!




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Perminate Link for Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic   Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Sun Feb 8 01:02:32 2015

I haven't read through all the comments yet for the sites I sell on, but seeing how ebay is ranked makes me wonder if many of the ebay sellers that frequent this board are just whiners since ebay landed in 5th place which is pretty good for a site that is going down the toilet fast according to published reports.

As I read the comments about Amazon, for many of them I wondered if they sold on the same Amazon that I did. Am I the only Amazon seller that sends my money to my bank account whenever I want to? I kept seeing comments that apparently Amazon isn't letting other sellers do that, but perhaps that is because they aren't pro sellers or some other rule I don't know about? I don't know. I also don't believe that you have to price your goods to be in the fight to the bottom on Amazon. Just a day or two ago I sold an item for double what everyone else had it listed for. Perhaps I had the Buy Box or it could be because I had specific comments about the product which might have reassured the buyer that I actually had the product. I send in changes to fix catalog pages frequently since it is in my best interest to make sure that they are correct and as complete as possible. In general I'm sending in changes for photos that aren't correct or even rotated correctly which is against Amazon rules, and incorrect info. Whoever had made up the catalog page in the first place was simply being lazy and not understanding the product that they are selling and so their info is incorrect and incomplete. I don't use FBA and don't intend to in the future as I can't even imagine how much it would cost me to let Amazon sit on all my inventory. I enjoy selling on Amazon and have little in the way of complaints with them.

Now off to see what other delightful things that I can read about my other venue.  

Perminate Link for Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic   Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic

by: E-pins This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 8 01:48:15 2015

Best

Moonwishes "seeing how ebay is ranked makes me wonder if many of the ebay sellers that frequent this board are just whiners"

Spin

Moonwishes "ebay landed in 5th place"

Ever!

What does fifth place get you at the Olympics?
What does fifth place get you in business? Less than 1st through 4th and a shot at 6th place.

eBay sank from 3rd place in 2014 to 5th place in 2015.

Perminate Link for Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic   Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Sun Feb 8 01:48:41 2015

I found it interesting to see that Pinterest which is NOT a selling venue came in ahead of eCRATER. Not sure how you can judge profitability, etc. when nothing is directly sold on it. However on eCRATER, we can see when a sale was made by way of a Pinterest link and I have had quite a few of those. I just love Pinterest for promoting my goods and things eCRATER sells, but also seeing and being inspired by many fantastic ideas that are there.

I feel bad that eCRATER ranked so low. I have been there for years and love selling in it's stress free atmosphere. Customer service is easy to deal with and always you get a personal response from a team member. There is a link to them right on the front page of the eCRATER website. Someone mentioned not enough pictures. 10 free photos isn't enough? I've rarely run into a listing that even used that many. From the beginning when I came to eCRATER I understood that for best results I would have to self promote my store in return for no fees (that at the time I left ebay were running near $800/month). For $800 I was willing to do a lot of promoting and marketing. Currently when an item sells on eCRATER you will see one of ten possibilities of where the sale originated from, whether from bing, Google, yahoo, Facebook, Pinterest, direct links, etc. That way you can see how your marketing efforts are working. I've had over 4300 sales since 2008, which shows that it is possible to have sales on eCRATER. With uncalled for feedback, if you can prove your case to the eCRATER team they will generally delete it. I have found that the matrix has been the easiest shipping program I have ever had to use when selling as it works for me really well. But if you don't like or understand the matrix, there are other options for shipping fees. It seems that the most disgruntled of sellers come to eCRATER expecting all the bells and whistles of eBAY but without the fees. Well folks, you can't have it both ways. None of the venues, including Etsy, is the perfect venues for all items. Can you sell a car on Etsy? No but you can on eCRATER and eBay. So if you have inventory that can't fit into eCRATER there are other options. But for those of you that want a place where the owner is open to suggestions, doesn't induce ulcers or rounds of new rules every 6 months, no 'defects' either. You might want to look us over. We know that currently sales are down and much of that can be laid at Google's feet but we sellers are starting our own campaign to get the word out about eCRATER as a place to come and buy with all sorts of products, great friendly sellers, a forum that does try to help out newbies as much as possible. You will be welcome here.

Perminate Link for Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic   Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic

by: Robin This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 8 08:28:42 2015

The takeaway: Despite its faults, Etsy is still the best site for handmade & vintage. It's where we can make a living.

And trying wannabes like Zibbet and Artfire was a total waste of time and money.  

Perminate Link for Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic   Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic

by: WhatsUp2656 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 8 08:59:58 2015

The results surprise me that eBay didn't come in last for everything.  As a top rated seller and the couple of very serious run ins I had with eBay, prompted me to seek out what I may not know. The findings were earth shattering and still very hard to comprehend how we can live in America and this company is allowed to stay open. I did some research to see what I may be missing. In one case it is my understanding a  man is in prison for helping eBay by driving more links to their site. When he got caught, eBay denied knowing anything about it and they didn't do it, but yet they had been paying him. In hundreds of cases I reviewed I realized how dishonest, convoluted and spiteful this company really is. (e.g. how many members they have and what they don't tell investors is if you try to close your account, you must contact them and they tell you if you do you can never buy from them again). Even though my stock rose by 100% my sales were down 75%.  While investigating the issues it came to my attention that my items were not visible even though I was charged a fee to list them. Even worse is embezzling money from me. Since they were not visible I would have to keep re-listing them creating even more charges. Keep in mind I had rave reviews and 100% rating. Attempts by sellers and buyers most likely are going to have an unpleasant experience. They do not take responsibility for any glitches or other issues affecting sellers and it is at the sellers' expense, as well as any other issues that is their fault. The DSR system is my next point. When a buyer calls to say they made a mistake in the feedback they are told it can't be changed. I could fill hundreds of pages with my experiences with them and all the horror stories I have investigated. The only way I could get buyers is having a hot item and if you search by ''title'' then they could find me, but otherwise there was no hope. In my case I was selling my items at a fair price and upset other sellers because of my fair pricing.  In fact they made it clear not to list them again. On a better note, I was of the impression that Amazon was way too pricey.  I've been with them several months now and I actually have a profit and the fees are far better than with eBay. They don't have you set your items at 30 days and then pay them again to have them re-listed. I have also experienced having to call them for help. They are pleasant, respectful and assist me with a special thank you at the end. As for moonwisher's comments: It is astounding how many warm bodies eBay has employed just to defend their wrongdoing to ''try'' to protect their reputation. Anyone investing in this company needs to take a real hard look at the facts. They have driven a few that I know of to suicide.  

Perminate Link for Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic   Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic

by: 1beck3 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 8 10:54:21 2015

I see Bonanza in the top 3 again, is it becoming worth the time to list there?  When I researched in years past, always seemed the prevalent theme was lack of or no traffic.  And, are they owned by or affiliated with ebay?  Some of the listing format at the top of the page looks identical to ebay.

Perminate Link for Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic   Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic

by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 8 12:02:48 2015

The big five etsy, amazon, bonanza, ruby lane and ebay.
Ebay finishes last of those five, ebay with a huge presence, huge assets and one the largest user base, has been unable to capitalize on that because too many honest and unique sellers have left because of the poor treatment.
Etsy is doing great and so is Amazon. I do not see bonanza as a force, 11main is useless and waiting to merge with ebay when ebay IS SOLD TO THEM

Perminate Link for Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic   Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic

This user has validated their user name. by: permacrisis
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Sun Feb 8 12:11:39 2015

While I wait for the ebay clone shown above to take hold, meanwhile I depend on Craigslist for sellthru, because sellthru is the one and only measure.

Geek developers preoccupied with feature rollout miss the point that stable, solid and usable are all we need.

If Craigslist had nationwide exposure and a shipping matrix these other venues wouldnt stand a Chinamans chance.

And each time someone develops a "CL-with-shipping" type venue, within a year or two they crap it up with visions of grandeur.  

Perminate Link for Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic   Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic

by: DingDong This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 8 13:33:20 2015

I like to see eCrater up there. Ebay hung themselves. Bonanza is not worth it. They still have glitches and such. (PS any article on this site has no link so that we can make comments without going over to Bonanza). There has been some forum notifications of problems and poof, Bonanza zaps them. Searches are so bad that the links take you to Amazon. Bonanza is making great money by selling advertising and stores. Stay away. If you can afford it, do your own website.

Perminate Link for Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic   Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Sun Feb 8 14:03:54 2015

''seeing how ebay is ranked makes me wonder if many of the ebay sellers that frequent this board are just whiners''

In all seriousness, eBay's high rank is more a reflection of how below par many of the other sites are than how good eBay is.

For example, when you sell a $20 item on Amazon, they take about 25% commission.  That makes the ridiculous 15% taken by eBay/PP seem ''better.''  Or when eBay's visibility policy keeps you at 6 sales per month.  That beats the 1 sale per year you get from Bonanza.  They're both awful but eBay looks ''better.''  And so on and so on.

Every time I try to step outside of eBay, I get smacked in the face with just how useless most of the their ''competition'' is.  Most, if not all, of them lack features as basic as calculated shipping.  God only knows why as the USPS has a _free_ API for it.  And when it comes to payment, surprise, a ''wide variety of options'' usually means Paypal.  StorEnvy doesn't even have a working style editor (it breaks when you try to change the _font_ for crying out loud).  That's before you get to the bozos that want hundreds for setup and subscription fee for watching the tumbleweed roll down main street.

That leaves ye olde ''get your own website'' suggestion.  If I could generate the traffic necessary to make a website worthwhile, do you think I'd be part of any 3rd party marketplace, putting up with their stupid rules and paying their stupid fees?

Perminate Link for Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic   Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sun Feb 8 14:41:05 2015

Each one of us needs to decide for themselves based on our product lines individual site profitability which venues are best for us.

I wish I could fully trust these results, but I think there's always some venue employee ballot box stuffing on -- e.g., last year when Bonanza finished in first place.

As for "whiners," are victims of theft, fraud, and embezzlement called whiners?

Ebafia is no different. They have and continue to commit hundrds of thousands of prosecutable CRIMES against sellers.

Perminate Link for Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic   Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic

by: Robin This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 8 15:40:05 2015

Ming, not employees, but a handful of sellers at Zibbet got it this far.  They spend hours and hours and hours every day tweeting and pinning each other's things hoping to make back their investment.  :(  

Perminate Link for Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic   Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Sun Feb 8 18:16:42 2015

RKToys spelled out the sad reality for small sellers. Wish the future looked brighter and maybe it does if you sell in the right category.  

Perminate Link for Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic   Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic

This user has validated their user name. by: laurengrace

Sun Feb 8 22:47:23 2015

I am also mystified as to how ebay even got on this list at all. The worst communist venue of all time. You could probably sell on the streets of Russia with less restrictions. Throttling of sales is an unaccepted practice when you are paying for a service, as is hiding listings.When i run an ad anywhere else, my ad is shown to the consumer as i paid for that ad. The powers that be think they are above the law and can do whatever they want because they are eBAY which was once a thriving marketplace. They are still pulling the wool over the eyes of some who don't know any better, but it cannot last forever. Can't wait to see some of these jokers spending time in jail for their crimes.

Perminate Link for Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic   Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 8 23:07:19 2015

Gee, the sinking "platform" run by JD & His Forty Thieves is at Rock Bottom this year, and 2012 and '13, too, but it somehow made it to the middle of the pack LAST year?  

Perminate Link for Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic   Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 8 23:35:43 2015

Every selling platform has its ups and downs.

eBays being 5th is a "shock" since it SHOULD BE #1 or #2 yet it never is.

eBay is the company that misses every single opportunity - and that is what we "whiners" complain about. That and of course the BLATANT theft and abuse of a platform that SWORE IN COURT that they were "only a venue".

In Amazons case for example - the sheer power of the buy box can bring you untold sales and riches. The company my brother works for (as an example) does car stereo and does 50+ million a year - via Amazon FBA.

"I dont care who you are" but that volume isnt possible on eBay - even if you are Mrs JD's brother.

The flip side is that Amazon is MUCH harder on sellers then eBay - even with its BS returns policy.

Amazon forced returns are 45 days, you can get almost anything back in those returns via FBA, and Delivery Confirmation means NOTHING in item not recieved cases.

Its up to "you" to decide if the sales are worth the "abuse" aka floowing Amazons very strict CS rules.

With eBay the idea was that sellers could have abit more freedom. You could make your own rules (assuming they werent insane or outlandish) and that you would be judged by how you ran your "company".

eBay went and upended that all - by going WAY off the deep end with new rules, new defects and abusive policies.

eBay under JD continued down that abusive road during 2013 & 2014. eBay became SO arrogant that when there was a data breach or an outtage - they didnt even feel they had to respond. And if they did - only minimally and under duress.

What exactly was the point of spamming Google? Is that what a "professional" company does in 2014? eBay knew better but laughed it off.

We arent whiners - we just dont like paying for abuse.

eBay is #2 in volume for most people - so basically you have no choice in the matter.

Sears, Rakuten, Walmart, Barnes & noble, 11main, Bonanza are all ALSO RANS. You upload a spread sheet and what ever sells, sells (at least for me).

11main btw - doesnt even have a seller protection policy for sellers on chargebacks. Get one and you loose the item and the money ... some ecommerce site.

For traffic - amazon is #1, eBay is #2 based on industry wide magazines ... "your mileage may vary".

Perminate Link for Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic   Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
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Mon Feb 9 00:03:07 2015

"What exactly was the point of [eBay] spamming Google? Is that what a "professional" company does in 2014? eBay knew better but laughed it off."

But, isn’t that the whole point? eBay is NOT “a professional” company; they are a bunch of apparently “untouchable”—demonstrably—calculated, equal opportunity fraudsters—willing to defraud both buyers and sellers alike at every opportunity ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

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

Mon Feb 9 01:39:31 2015

ETSY has FOOD !
Naan Bread is Great !
I do all of my "Fancy Food" shopping on ETSY.
Check it out  :o)

Perminate Link for Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic   Sellers Choice Awards Highlight the Importance of Traffic

by: snickers223 This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Feb 9 01:55:57 2015

i see Etsy at #1 but not sure how it got there or how it can be compared to other sites as It is VERY limited to sell on Etsy due to it being hand made items and crafts only,,, many many of us sellers do not even fit into that category to sell there....I do not feel it is a fair example of market places for Sellers Choice

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by: pfft!! This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 9 03:27:14 2015

Etsy is no longer ONLY handmade items.  

They're open to "vintage" items as well.  And they're pretty laid back about what can be defined as "vintage".

I"m not surprised at all with their great showing.  We just started selling there about a year and a half ago and sales there are pretty darned good.  They almost matched my ebay sales $$ last year.  Which was pretty impressive for ME  considering I only list about 120 items over there while I regularly list around 450 on ebay.

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