EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 375 - February 08, 2015 - ISSN 1528-6703     5 of 14

Sellers Choice 2015 Marketplace Ratings: Bonanza

By Ina & David Steiner

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In January 2015, EcommerceBytes surveyed over 12,000 online sellers and asked them to rate the marketplaces on which they had experience selling. An introduction to the Sellers Choice survey along with a summary of the overall ratings can be found here, along with links to results for each of the 12 online marketplaces included in the survey.


Profitability:

Customer Service:

Communication:

Ease of Use:

Would you recommend:

Bonanza
Year Established: 2008
Description: Fixed price listings, general merchandise, fashion, collectibles
More Info

Summary:
Bonanza came in third place in the 2015 Sellers Choice Awards for Online Marketplaces. Last year it came in first place, and has placed among the top-four positions since 2010. It earned the highest score of any marketplace for Communication.

Bonanza continues to have a fan base of enthusiastic sellers, but many respondents say there isn't enough traffic to their listings - some respondents said they wish the site would advertise more. (Bonanza reported spending $1 million on advertising in 2014 through channels such as Google Shopping.) And Bonanza does allow sellers to choose to pay a higher commission fee for exposure on Google Shopping or eBay in an unusual model for a marketplace.

There were lots of positive comments about Bonanza's customer service, though some said customer service was not as good as it had been. The ability to import listings from eBay was seen as a big advantage.

Numerous respondents reported having to pay fees to print shipping labels through Bonanza.

A few respondents expressed disappointment that Bonanza had eliminated its discussion forums, which they had found useful. "Unfortunately when they got rid of all the community discussion boards they lost one of the things that used to make it so unique," wrote one respondent. "For a while there it reminded of the old eBay. You could go to the boards and find all SORTS of positive advice on how to improve sales. They don't allow those discussions anymore."

There were several items on sellers' wish lists - "When updating booth (adding or deleting items) you can't search by item number," a seller wrote. "That would be a nice feature."

"Not enough settings to easily control inventory and shipping," wrote another.

One respondent said sellers shouldn't have to request a fee credit after canceling a transaction, and another wished for mobile apps for buyers and sellers.

Bonanza received a 5.78 in Profitability; a 6.2 in Customer Service; a 6.5 in Communication; and a 6.8 in Ease of Use. It received a 6.7 from sellers when asked, "How likely are you to recommend Bonanza as a selling venue to a friend or colleague?"

Reader Comments:The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Bonanza only charging the seller for what they actually sold is very novel and exciting. This makes my online experience more profitable.

Been selling for over 3 years and have always had great customer service. Very easy to post sales and pictures. Great advertising provided by Bonanza. Never had a problem with sales or shipping.

I love the venue but I do not like the fact that I cannot contact a live person by phone.

Bonanza is on the side of the sellers. There is enough room there for small guys, without being sucked dry. If I had to choose only one venue, I would choose Bonanza without regret.

I enjoy selling on Bonanza however I am not satisfied with the amount of traffic.

Probably the best venue, just not enough sales to make it my primary one.

Bonanza is a seller friendly marketplace with excellent customer service and low commission.

Very pleased with Bonanza, I wish the site had more traffic, but the overall selling experience has been a good one.

I love the options Bonanza gives sellers so we may choose how much exposure we get through google and I love how Bonz support responds with answers that actually indicate they've understood our concerns and answered the questions we ask.

I love Bonanza. I have a basic account so I only pay a 3.5% final value fee when I sell an item and no upfront costs. Sales have really picked up for me and my items show well in Google. Anytime I have had a question I was able to get help in the community or promptly from their customer service department (real people answering). Their communication has improved 100%. Bonanza is very easy to use and I recommend it whenever I can.

Bonanza has proven year after year to be concerned with making real improvements in the site's functionality and visibility, and giving sellers the tools they want/need to better service their customers and reach their sales potential. They have also proven themselves to be open and honest in communications; when there is a problem, whether a technical "snafu" with the site or a "bad idea" that needs to get walked back, they take responsibility and spend their energy trying to fix it and keep sellers "in the loop" during the process... no excuses, deflection or spin.

It is difficult sometimes when a problem arises, as you can only reach them through email and it takes a day or so to get a response. Otherwise I have been happy

Very easy to use. HELP is just that - very helpful and quick. The best, most understanding customers seem to be drawn to this site.

Have had some trouble with vintage items showing up on Google shopping, otherwise awesome.

Several times we needed help from the Bonanza Team. They are fast and extremely helpful no matter how many times you ask the same "Dumb Questions". Thanks. Some of us are "Slow" when it comes to Computer Tech. One thing seems to be a little difficult, getting the products to go into the categories that we created in the booth category. This is not an easy task when you have 100,000 products to upload, which is stopping our firm from loading another 60,000 product listings. Without them being in the proper categories, the Buyers can not locate the items. We are still working on a solution. The Team try to help us with this issue, but there is something that we are still not getting right.

Bonanza's fees are very reasonable. Adding items is simple. Everything is very user friendly

I left eBay for Bonanza years ago and am still here. It's the best site to sell anything - great price and great customer service. I wish I had more time to do it full-time.

Bonanza is a much more seller friendly site than any other marketplace we have used. Support is good for the small amount we have used it so far. Just wish there was a little more traffic through the site. We offer all of our entire eBay and Amazon inventory on Bonanza (about 6000 listings) and sell maybe an item a day through them. I hope they grow their buyer network soon! We love the larger profitability on products instead of 15% and up that other marketplaces charge.

I enjoy selling on their site, and traffic is pretty decent. The customer service was very good. The fees can be a bit steep, depending on what kind of advertising you want. But overall, I would recommend selling on Bonanza.

Bonanza is very supportive, provide timely advise and advert is good through Google Shopping, Nextag, etc.

It seems most of my sales on Bonanza only occur around the November/December holiday season (for whatever reason this is beats me). It seems the staff at Bonanza are really interested in their clients and want to work with them, please them, make life easier and not hassle them unlike eBay. eBay has too many unnecessary rules that don't benefit the buyer or seller and hinder honest commerce. What I don't like about Bonanza is the higher rates of postage to print labels. I go to eBay for better prices on printable postage when making a sale on Bonanza.

The only bad thing about Bonanza is that it doesn't get enough traffic. Buyers don't know about it, or because it's not in the news or social media much, like eBay, Amazon, or Etsy

Always excellent support service, just wish there was more visibility.

Bonanza does an excellent job of offering an alternative selling venue. If they had more traffic and name recognition it would help.

Like that I can have eBay listings pulled over.

Bonanza has been probably the most pleasant surprise I have found in terms of finding an alternative to eBay to offer our product line. If traffic can increase and they work out a few back office kinks, I'd consider these guys to be a major player.

The great thing about Bonanza is their customer service. Very friendly and professional staff that always seems to be understanding. Unfortunately, the sales are very low despite my merchandise being in demand with the best prices in the market. I'm being advertised on google too. I've paid more on store fees on some months than I actually profited. I still use it though and experiment with it. I just wish it was at least 25% of the sales of ebay and Amazon.

I've over 300 various items listed on this site consistently for almost 2 years, I'm lucky if I sell 1 item every 60 days. They need to do some serious marketing and more exposure to the public, no one knows about Bonanza when I ask them if they visit or post to the site. Everyone knows eBay but no one knows Bonanza they think it's the TV show.

Rather clumsy for referencing previously listed items to use in listing new items. In the single disputed transaction we have had there was zero communication from Bonanza until the email informing us that the consideration period had ended.

Their shipping fees are exaggerated. They charge a minimum fee for selling. They want to charge for advertising at a % rate higher then eBay but they want sellers from eBay to price their items lower then my eBay price. There is very little traffic compared to eBay, whom seems to be a role model Bonanza is trying to be like. I have not sold much at all in Bonanza - maybe 5 sales since I opened my account - because I refuse to pay a higher % to them. I pay 9% to eBay with a 20% discount off my invoice for being a Top Rated Seller. I wanted Bonanza to be a success but it has not been.

The cart system is buggy. I have lost several sales to the system asking me to confirm a sale, even though I have not checked the box. Every year, a few buyers think that the sale has already occurred and never pay or cancel the order.

At this point Bonanza is more like a hobby. Once in a while we get a sale, but you have to keep your day job. I will stick with them because we are going together. I really like them and the buyers are better than eBay's. Two years and no SNADs! Yeah!

I have been selling on Bonanza for quite some time and feel that this is a great site to sell on. The customer service is excellent and the people are nice to deal with.

It's very hard to search your own listings when things need to be removed because it sold on another site. You have to go page by page to find them. Things don't sell well for me on Bonanza. I probably average 1 sale or less per month.

Easy to use in terms of setting up products for sale. You cannot discuss a problem with a real person: questions get lost in translation often. More time spent on encouraging the seller to upgrade to a higher level. Then, once you upgrade, you get bombarded with more emails and notes to upgrade further. When I upgraded I did not receive the increased sales or visibility promised - instead more suggestions to upgrade further. I think they can do better - sticking around to see if they do.

I love that I can easily import my items from eBay, but otherwise, the inventory control and updating on Bonanza is frustrating.

I like that Bonanza is so affordable on fees, but the tradeoff is less so in customer service. There is no phone number to call, or a chat function that I am aware of. It would make my selling experience easier if there was seller support services more readily available.

I don't get much exposure or sales from Bonanza but I do love that it syncs with eBay. That is a wonderful feature. Without it, I probably wouldn't sell much on there. Too hard to sell on multiple site and keep inventory straight, and Bonanza doesn't generate enough sales for me to keep it vs. eBay or Amazon. But since it syncs inventory I really don't have to do much to sell there so I keep it.

Unable to make listing easily as compared to eBay. Auction mode of selling not available. Customer support not very fair. My listings were removed for racy pictures and Bonanza did not have any clear policy if a picture is racy or not.

As a seller of custom-crafted items that take 2-4 weeks for production, it's frustrating to get multiple emails requesting shipping information.

Not many sales from outside buyers, most of my sales come from other sellers there through games I participate in.

This site offers simple to read terms, fees, and process. High seller feels on other platforms add up in the long term, here it is relatively lower in every category.

I really like selling on Bonanza as the site is really easy to use and when I make sales I'm very profitable but the traffic I receive and sales frequency is low so I don't use this as my main source of income.

I don't get very many sales on here. I even tried membership and didn't see where it helped. I also dislike that there isn't a mobile app for buyers or sellers.

I find some of the features difficult to use, such as when listing an item, and when going into it to update a description I find that it did not apply fonts or colors I had applied. So part of the description might be in a small font and in black and the rest might be in the font and color I chose.

I have been a seller on Bonanza for almost four years. I enjoy preparing my items for my booth. I appreciate the selling tools Bonanza offers. My buyers seem pleased as well.

Great reduction in fees. Time consuming to list each item and many times I find my items are missing and have to relist again. Threats to cancel account for accepting returns. My returns are based on customer assistance and pleasing the customer

I really like Bonanza as a selling venue...I just wish they got more traffic. My one frustration with Bonanza is I get a fair percentage of people that commit to a sale and then don't pay; while I realize there's not much that can be done about it, I do wish they had some repercussions in place for non-paying bidders. Overall though, I import my eBay items and have no initial listing fees on Bonanza, so any Bonanza sales I get are a bonus, and I appreciate them very much.

The site is easy to use even when transferring goods from other sites. There are just a couple places that I find challenging to learn to think the way Bonanza site builders think. I have trouble finding what my current bill is. Once I get past that irritation I find Bonanza delightful to work on especially with the snappy way they say things.

Traffic-wise, it isn't eBay or Amazon, but their customer service is A1 top-notch; they DO listen to sellers; they are always progressive with their site and the seller's use of it. If you didn't get your questions answered on Bonanza, it's probably because you never asked; they ALWAYS return an answer!

Bonanza has great communication for its sellers and cares to address issues. Unfortunately the traffic is not great and therefore profitability is low. Member since 2009 because I enjoy the entire experience on Bonanza even if it is not that profitable.

While the site has made some improvements, allowing sellers to sync their listings to other venues, there are still unresolved issues regarding inventory updating correctly when an item sells. The billing is hard to maneuver and months cannot be combined to pay for several months at one time. Slow sales at this site make it the least profitable of the venues I currently use.

Difficult to figure things out, Bonanza charges a fee to print labels (No other site does this, making most shipping more expensive than buying it direct from USPS! What's the point of that option??) Fees are taken out at the end of the month, kept a secret, only told that fees are due in email, doesn't tell me how much they are, there is no way to see how much the fees are. No easy way to search inventory, process to get things added, very time consuming to edit listings

I was disappointed with their lack of traffic and felt their fees were way too high for results received. I also had purchased a package for a year but became discouraged with lack of results but went back later to finish out my remaining year but they would not let me finish it. I was supposed to pay more money so quit them altogether. Not impressed.

Bonanzas Profitability I would rate as a 0 if you gave that choice, but you don't? Customer Service? What customer service? Bonanza doesn't have this service, It's all done thru email. All communications are also done thru email, so I don't think highly of this type of communication, it's not a very profitable way to run a business? As of ease of use? It grows on you, like any system or new company you have to learn their way. Our recommendation is pretty low as of now for Bonanza as we have not seen any type of profitability since start-up almost (2) years ago. We have thought of going in another direction, but hope that Bonanza pulls thru as a profitable source.

My main concern as a (new) seller to Bonanza is that it is not as user friendly (for example to find sales/data reports, to add/remove items/to add size variations to listings, etc). I often have to contact support to find what I need. Customer support, however, is great! quick and friendly.

I think Bonanza has a lot of potential but I don't understand some of the thing they do. No listing fees are great and not charging a fee for shipping is nice. But then they want to charge an even higher fee to ship though them and keep pushing you to open a store. Seems like they're not sure how they want to position themselves.

Why should sellers market their Bonanza sites if visitors they might bring to their shop are likely to get out of their shop if they use the Search bar (which would be likely for them to do). The Search bar is dominantly featured on the page. Visitors will look for products since the category buttons are way down the page. The shop themes seemed a good way out, but for some reason, they really important "real estate" on the home page is to be covered by some nonsense image. In eBay, for example, we have featured products in that area. We don't want to put up a "pretty photo" that takes up most of the home page. Still, I am hoping that Bonanza will eventually offer shop themes that make more sense.

The only problem we have with Bonanza is their total lack of phone customer service and the difficulty getting answers to questions from them. It's all ticket-based, and it takes several days to resolve problems.

We send delivery confirmation through PayPal, but Bonanza wants us to send an ADDITIONAL e-mail through their site. Double the work... That is a drag.

Very hard to navigate the site as a buyer. Not as bad as a seller but listing is cumbersome and there are few features that are helpful to me. Lack of traffic has always been a problem. How fees are determined is hard to understand. I find the entire site strange and so I don't spend as much time as a seller there as I probably should. If I don't like how it works, I don't see how customers would like it. And I am a customer too and just can't find what I need on the site each time I try. Searches give too many results that are totally unrelated to my specific searches. Overall just hard to buy and sell on the site, at least in my own experience. Others seem to do okay on Bonanza as far as selling and I don't understand how!

As a 1st time seller, Bonanza's store set up was extremely easy and non-threatening. If I had problems I was able to contact the staff and they were very helpful and friendly. Being able to print a USPS mailing label right from the site was a huge plus. The background burner really cleaned up my photos. And I've sold things!

Growth seems to have created some issues for them. Customer service taking much longer to respond to issues and questions. Also change in advertising program fees have impacted profitability. Changes were not discussed before changing from what they were at sign-up vs last 3 months. Still would not stop me from using this venue - just hope they respond to the growth issues quickly and let sellers know of changes ahead of time instead of after the fact.

Bonanza has a different feel when compared to other online selling channels. Not that what they do is bad, but it is a bit more difficult to search product as a buyer, and as a seller it can be difficult to keep track of sales data due to no report generation.

Been using Bonanza for about 8 months I have had 5 sales in the 8 months. I am even paying 17%. This is sad and I wish I could go somewhere where there is a better profit for things you are selling. You pay 17% for the advertising, then you should get good traffic but no you don't get any traffic. Not sure if I will stay into the 2015 year!

Not much promotion of my items. Very few sales with usually over 1,000 items.

Fair fees. Got good customer service, good email communication. Why sub categories are not free? Why store front is not customized? Why block so much safe CSS code to make page look clean pretty and appealing? The green Bonanza Header is too visible and drives away potential buyers, better stick with simple logo on white border. I am selling 500-600 item per month on eBay and would love to drive the traffic to Bonanza, every eBay invoice refer customers to my Bonanza store but no sales - make it easy for us.

Antiques & Vintage are loaded with new merchandise, usually called vintage "style". Much of architectural hardware is brand new. Very tough to compete with real vintage, when brand new merchandise is filling up a category. One more site that needs to put new merchandise in "Home & Garden" and keep it there. Too many links taking buyers away. Too confusing where you are on the site. Too many competitors on your screen. "Search Amazon" Link in the item description. Item description hidden behind a tiny link. Navigation sucks, list of shop categories disappear when clicking on any particular category.

Bonanza offers great tools and features, nice sales booths, ease of use and quick response to help for users. But I am not making near the sales I had hoped to in spite of promoting on many major venues. I also think the membership fees are too high and do not care for the automatic auto pay set up for memberships.

I do not like the 95-cent fee every time I ship something using Bonanza. It comes off my profit. I have to raise my prices because I didn't know that me offering free shipping would be so expensive. Then I have to keep a $30 shipping fund if I want to save 55 cents each time I print a label. Small hidden fees really add up.

Bonanza is in their infancy and have a long way to go but I think it is a good place to be as a seller. Their shipping platform is a joke at this point. I lose money on every package because they fail to collect the correct shipping amount even though the correct weight and dimensions are provided.

The seller friendly pages to list items is not so friendly and can be very confusing at times. I have had problems with items synchronized between eBay and Bonanza that have been deleted from eBay still remain on Bonanza which resulted in me telling buyer the item is out of stock and affecting my seller rating. If the item is ended on eBay it does not end on Bonanza and sellers don't have time to go through every posting to delete it. Bonanza also keeps several of the same item up with different prices. I am not happy with the amount of sales either.

Bonanza is first class when it comes to customer service. They are also first class in their pricing and innovation. They solicit feedback from both buyers and sellers on how to improve their website. I can't say enough good things about Bonanza. My best experience so far is selling on Bonanza.

I have been with Bonanza from the beginning. I like that I can list without upfront fees. Being able to upload listings from eBay makes selling there very easy. Sales seem to be picking up this year, though self-promotion is still essential to making sales.

I think Bonanza has a long way to go in regard to communication. It would be nice if there was live communication like the other marketplaces. I needed to know something about an item I sold and I get a canned response sent back to me not even near what I asked. I also have a Bonanza store which has absolutely no traffic. I would like a better way of communicating with my customers like eBay does. I will continue trying to sell on Bonanza as I do enjoy the marketplace.

I've been on Bonanza for over three years. Like many sellers on various venues, sales for 2014 were "in the toilet." Despite paying a small amount for advertising, I feel Bonanza could be doing more to advertise their site on the web and TV to help their sellers. Their Customer Service, formerly one of their strengths, has taken a massive down turn during the last quarter. They used to respond to a seller's inquiry within 24 (and at most 48) hours. Now, it seems like it's taking them four days or more to answer a seller's questions/concerns. While Bonanza still remains easy to use, I would have to lower my overall rating because of the decline in Customer Service and little, if any, promotion. If I recommended this site to others, I would caution them to not rely on it as their sole listing venue.

Bonanza has some technical issues with their site. When I've requested a refund of fees due to a return, I've had to provide so much information. When a buyer has purchased something, but their payment is being reviewed by PayPal, it shows that the item is still for sale.

Adding items to your booth via Inventory Files has become a nightmare due to preloaded choices for many Trait Values eliminating your item traits from being included in the item description.

Shipping rates for International buyers have to be specified in the item description - there is no automatic calculation. This is time consuming and the info has to be updated as the rates change. Automatic calculation is a plus for U.S. shipping, however, and the buyer gets to see how much it will cost depending on their zip code, instead of having to pay one price regardless of where they live.

Bonanza has the potential to be a great venue but its programming/tech dept needs work. Importing from eBay is a major pain, requiring tweaks on every single listing post-import. The Item Specifics are very glitchy and need to be made consistent from one category to the next. Often the site randomly assigns "Multiple Colors" or "Multiple Sizes" to a listing and it's impossible to change.

Sellers Choice Awards:
We thank all readers who took the time to rate the marketplaces. If you have comments about the survey results or the survey itself, please feel free to post them in the EcommerceBytes Blog.


About the author:

Ina and David Steiner are publishers of EcommerceBytes.com and have been writing about ecommerce since 1999.


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