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Thu July 7 2011 00:09:02

Marketplaces Need to Focus on Getting More Buyers

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

Dear Ina,
I read your blurb about Bonanza starting to experiment in site personalization. This is a short email.

Bonanza and the rest - ecrater, ebid, webstore, atomic mall - should concentrate on ONE thing, and ONE thing only. GETTING MORE BUYERS.

There are hundreds if not thousands of sellers out there who are waiting, seemingly in vain, for one of these contenders to pop through and become a viable site. Yes there are sellers who do well on each site, but you usually read of sellers dropping out or having sold one or two items each month, or fewer than that.

The sites are great, particularly Bonanza, but we need more emphasis on getting new buyers in and not just coffee klatching with other sellers and tinkering with best match. Don't put the cart before the horse.

The time is now, before we get into the holiday season. Build those buyers and make it happen.

Thanks for listening, Ina.
JG



Comments (30) | Permalink

Readers Comments

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by: collector

Thu Jul 7 03:43:50 2011

Former ebay user/buyer/seller and collector of widgets here.
I've lost faith that any of the alt sites will ever amount to anything. I search occasionally but still they do not have things I collect.

The other sites' owners aren't clever enough to ride the wave of ebay unrest and unpopularity. Maybe they should fail? What are they waiting for? An invitation on a silver platter?

Meanwhile, I've been seeing TV commercials for some penny auction/reverse auction scammy sites.

I'm just as happy with the List, local thrift shops and so on anyway. Saves on shipping. :)

Lots of bad word-of-mouth out there about ebay BTW.

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by: anyone out there yet

Thu Jul 7 05:34:59 2011

Wishful hoping. Money is the reason any of these sites are in business including Fleecebay.

The more money they can put in their pockets the more they want. Advertising their sites cost money that they are not going to take out of their pockets.

The only thing I look for before Christmas is for all of these sites to raise fees, thus putting more money in their pockets.

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by: martin

Thu Jul 7 07:12:39 2011

Sorry but I think you are talking rubbish, the buyers will come when the product is in place and if all these sellers you are talking about are stupid enough to think it will work the other way then they are living in cloud cookoo land.

What is the point of the alternatives advertising for buyers when they do not have the stock to keep them coming back. Those sellers you are talking about need to get off their behinds and start listing their product on the alternatives of their choice, instead of waiting for others to do it for them. But then again they did the same with ebay all those years ago, when the unique goods sellers built up a site with product of all description that brought in buyers, then those same sellers that are waiting now were probably waiting for that to happen back then.

The alternatives are doing the right thing if you ask me by building up the product that they need to attract buyers and to do that they need to attract the sellers, even those dumb ones that are waiting for the buyers to just turn up on the empty field to see if something may happen.

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by: MikeMike

Thu Jul 7 10:09:04 2011

I agree 100%.
You didnt mention ETSY, ETSY shows promise for Vintage / Collectibles, and Handcrafted. ..........
Also sites like eBid have got to drop the stale "Run until sold" listings that are many months old...... I bid on a couple of these and items were long "out of stock" meaning that the ebid listing was probably sellers "Plan B"

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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 7 12:33:07 2011

OP is absolutely right.  I can sell on Ebay but I can't sell on Bonanza, eCrater and such.  Lack of traffic is the reason...plain and simple.  I don't see any of these sites putting forth any effort at all to advertise themselves or otherwise attract traffic.  I'd rather pay a higher FVF and get the item SOLD!

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by: buck efay

Thu Jul 7 13:06:14 2011

Social media is not the be all & end all of advertising. these sites seem to feel we must create a buzz for them. Well guess what? I focus on building MY site now, ever since we talked up Ebay to get kicked to the curb. Have no desire to help another monster grow & then kill us off. Spend some money in the real world. Send us advertising cards to put in packages or leave around town, I will do that, but I cannot spend my day posting how great your site is.

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by: OP

Thu Jul 7 15:55:43 2011

I didn't mention etsy for a reason -- they are out ahead of the others and I HAVE seen magazine advertising for them.

Ebid has almost 4.5 million listings. How many listings did eBay have during its heyday before they added stores at all.

In 2003 and 2004, listings ranged from 8 million to 17 million -- not much more than 2 of the current alts combined.

eBay had word of mouth back then and it was also a fad that swept the country. That's not going to happen again.

The answer is, of course, money. Charge some fees or sell advertising on the site. Sellers WANT to leave eBay but many sellers need to
earn a sustainable living wage.

Get serious.

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by: Quicksilver Messenger This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Jul 7 22:33:35 2011

I can't sell anything on Bonanza to save my soul. I do however sell on eCrater with good results and have a few sales on Atomic Mall on occasion. I do much better on my own websites. Others mileage may vary.

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by: Digby

Thu Jul 7 22:48:33 2011

Yes, the top alts are growing, but very slowly.
Etsy is doing very well sales wise, look at the Chart in Ina's articles.
As mentioned above the alts  need more sellers to list their good stuff on them.
There is no point in advertising till the products are there.
Ebid.net and ecrater seem to be in a race at the moment.

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by: Harriet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 7 23:24:00 2011

I've been selling on eCrater for a couple of years now, and I am very happy. The site is basically a means for setting up your own store in a structured setting. It is totally free for sellers. You develop your own clientele and market your own store. eCrater does not work like eBay at all. You are your own boss on eCrater.com within normal parameters of basic good business. It has a good relationship with Google.

The management is really wonderful. They are responsive, helpful and nice. I feel it is a straight arrow company and I urge everyone to give it a try. It is growing every single day.

I sell contemporary, vintage and antique collectibles and I am happy with the results.

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by: Moonwishes
Web Site

Fri Jul 8 00:12:26 2011

I'm a seller that does great on ecrater. Why! because I took a flying leap away from ebay and stocked my ecrater store with LOTS of good product (almost 8000 listings at this point), give great customer service, list like crazy, and promote like crazy. Ecrater isn't in the business of providing buyers for us though, and has no plans to. So if you come to ecrater, be prepared to work and follow their simple rules and you will reap the benefits.

I've seen over the years way too many people who are living in a dream world where they think if they stock a store with 15-20 pieces of yard sale cast offs and then sit back, that buyers will flock to their store. I'm amazed when sellers open a store with 4 items and three days later wonder where the buyers are. Get real! An on line store is what you make of it and the work you put into it. Don't expect others or the site to do the work for you. Find a site that you can feel comfortable with and go for it, put the work and time into it and see what happens.

Buyers are out there and they are willing to spend money. If they aren't buying at your store, perhaps you aren't selling what anyone wants or at the right price, etc. Maybe it is time to read a few books or articles on line about selling on line and how to do it. And yes, I know that many of you have been selling for years and think you know everything about selling, but when I see listings of 'long time' sellers, I'm amazed at many of their listings with no information about the product. Those kinds of listings need help and it isn't the site's fault that buyers don't stick around. Things change on the internet and how people find your things for sell changes. What worked 10 years ago isn't going to necessarily work now. Study to learn to be a  better seller. Even one gold nugget of information can change your outlook and store's prosperity.

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by: Auctioneer

Fri Jul 8 02:35:04 2011

@moonwishes
Sorry, i'm sure I'm not alone when I say the reason I don't go to ebid, bonanza or any of the other online shopping malls is the same reason I don't buy from ebay.  There are virtually no good deals to be had on any of them that can't be had in one of a dozen other places.

The only reason I even bother to visit any of those sites is if there is a potential of a good deal, and that possibility is almost 100% restricted to the auction format.

I dont' know what your 8000 listings are comprised of, but I'd lay good odds that I could find any one of your items elsewhere, and at a place I trust more or have more experience with. (no offense intended).

Why in the world would buyers "flock" to an online venue just to see the same old stuff they can get elsewhere and without having to sort through hundreds of different vendors whom they've never heard of?

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by: Good Grief

Fri Jul 8 08:35:53 2011

I think Auctioneer said it best. I've gone to bonanza and I have to say that searching for Anything is completely messed up (More than ebay is). I hate the way the site is set up, don't care to know who was here last or who has this or that badge or what a fantastic seller the seller is (especially when they have 1 or 2 feedbacks from Bonanza in 2009 not imported from ebay).
I do like etsy but search is messed up there also, sellers add tags that have absolutely nothing to do with what I'm searching for so I end up with pages of widgets I don't want to look at, just like ebay/china search.
I'm glad I did not jump the gun and go to bonanza. I want to sell/buy not waist time chit chatting with other sellers that have nothing else to do.

I've never had any other site come up in searches except Amazon and maybe Ruby Lane once in awhile.

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by: snickers

Fri Jul 8 08:49:46 2011

People need to be able to BROWSE to find Antiques and collectibles, that is why the auction ending soonest format on ebay worked so well.  Well ebay doesn't want that anymore and no other alt site has taken it on.
Etsy promotes the handmade, if customers happen upon a vintage item you may have a sale. I've sent so may people to that site and they find it so confusing to figure out how to find anything.
Searching for a specific antique or collectible can work if you want something specific but items in these categories are so wide ranging you don't know what you want until you see it.   There needs to be a way to browse just vintage and antique.  A auction format with time ending soonest how about it... someone, anyone? .  

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by: gonefromebay

Fri Jul 8 11:13:12 2011

I agree with OP.

My sales on Bonanza have been good, and I've looked at selling on other sites too.  All have pluses and minuses, and all have good sellers and products.  The problem is the vast majority of buyers are totally unaware of these sites.

Seems to me the missing piece is that no site sees itself as a 'destination.'  That's what ebay is, a destination.  The sites need to be proactive at bringing in buyers and not dependent on the sellers doing it themselves.  Ain't ever going to happen that way.  

And, yes, why doesn't someone offer a decent auction format?  I'd buy and sell on that site in a flash.

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by: MR ME

Fri Jul 8 20:29:24 2011

I COMPLETELY AGREE ! If a site wishes to be successful, they need to let people know that they exist. Google search placement is extremely important, Whenever I search for ANYTHING (not shopping, just looking for info), I get inundated with ebay listings, Im not sure what eBay has done (paid) to make this happen. It is annoying, but does make a point.... eBay aggressively promotes itself, and any competitor needs to do so too, and appear in Google shopping.

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by: Digby

Sat Jul 9 21:51:47 2011

@Gonefromebay
and
@Snickers

If you are looking for a site that does auctions with ending soonest, then have you tried ebid.ney ?

They do have an antiques category.

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by: Sayonara eBay

Sun Jul 10 00:24:07 2011

Does anyone have any idea how much a small ad on Google Cost?

I'm not remembering which alt sites are fee or no fee. But couldn't the ones who collect some fees collect an extra 5-10 cents for each listing or FVF and devote that solely to advertising. And have the site accountable for that.

I'd be totally willing to do that particularly now right before the holiday sales.

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by: Vee

Sun Jul 10 00:47:09 2011

Right On & Absolutely True.....
Online Selling sites such as Bonanza, Etsy, etc. are Not household names, not recognized as quite valid by people who don't know the 'who what and why'' of Is the site credible, ethical, nonpredatory, well regulated, respectful of maintaining buyer and seller data privacy, etc.

You'll notice that in the About US info on many selling sites, its history written is rather sketchy, not often attached to a real street address, and --- some don't have customer service phone numbers. (i.e. Bonanza does not list either a phone number or street address).. Just what does the ommission of important info mean to a potential buyer or seller?

Do any of the sites state that the personal data collected from a Seller or Buyer will be considered confidential within the company?

I'd like to see eCommerceBytes stand up to this issue of half-ass information given by Selling sites.. and eCommerce Bytes could take a methodical and serious analytical 'checkmark' look at ranking the information that ''IS'' and ''IS NOT'' contained in a selling site's ABOUT US info because...that info is important to Sellers and potential Buyers. Truly...most of those places appear as shell games..It's like the Wizard of Oz, who is actually behind the curtain anyway? Laughing all the way to the bank, collecting private data, linking to other sites (such as Bonanza links to Amazon).....

You know...it's not a coincidence that people buy from ebay because...they know it is in the USA, in California, that it has a public presence on TV news shows, in politics, etc. Yet...if you look at the Better Business Bureau for the area of California in which ebay is located, it is might odd that the BBizBureau doesn't show any 'complaints' filed with it, against ebay. Ever. Hmmm.. How odd.

Many of the more 'known' selling popular sites, ebay included, have consistently written poorly written text copy...poorly written Info Favorite Questions...poorly thought out 'how to' information......etc. -- I've now decided...they sound rather stupid on purpose. (Bonanza is the best written text; and even its text defies rules of common sense sometimes.)

Well, that's enough for now.

Remember: people won't buy from a site if the About Us info is creepy, vacant, badly written, absent of important information. ... no links to news articles...no magazine articles...etc.


It's true that Etsy and Bonanza and Atomic Mall and Webstore are not advertising.
Can't help but wonder why these 'startups' aren't even advertising themselves on CraigsList.
Yet, all are ever so willing to collect listing and selling fees and continue to raise the fees or have chronic software issues (hmmm..wonder who that is)....and receive money monthly from too many sellers who are paying tons of money to sell almost nothing!!

Here is an idea:
At least we can each be responsible to help 'drive traffic' to selling sites....for free...by using our own email accounts. Under the signature on my email, I've added several sentences that go out to every email (unless I erase it intentionally.)
At the end of your personal email accounts, in the email Setting Section, go in and add the names and links to selling sites that relate to you...i.e. Wirte a note such as
Hey...Visit bonanza at www.bonanza.com
You could put your own booth if you wanted, but, some people who receive your emails are nosey...Or --- you could just put the generic Main web site address.
You can bet that some of the people who receive your emails, wherever they're located, will send themselves to that 'new and exciting site.'
And...you could write a note...Read eCommerceBytes online newsletter...it's fabulous and smart.
OH...by the way...selling sites such as ebay, Bonanza, Etsy do not promise any seller that items WILL SELL...those companies are saying ''if you pay us a fee, we will list your items'' (who knows if anything will sell; ever).

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by: Auctioneer

Sun Jul 10 03:10:25 2011

@vee
Ebay has few, if any, complaints on the BBB.  I'm Shocked!!  

The BBB is as big a fraud as has ever been perpetrated on consumers.

You want to display the BBB seal with a virtual guarantee you'll get a good BBB rating? Simple.  Just buy their most expensive membership.

The BBB is a franchise operation.  Every BBB franchise is independently owned and, like most franchises, they're interest lies in making a profit.  They will not besmirch and alienate their real customers (the member businesses) for the sake of some number of nobody, complaining, pipsqueak consumers who don't pay a dime to the BBB or it's franchisee.

There are a number of exposes online about how the BBB is the biggest fraud since Amway.  As a consumer, DO NOT take seriously a BBB badge on a retailer's window or website, or the so-called "rating" of a BBB store.  By the time the BBB downgrades a member, the chances are that law enforcement has already gotten involved.

You'd be much better served to check a site like the ripoff report than to waste your time with the BBB.

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