What Is Your Business Goal For 2008?

Like individuals who make New Year’s resolutions, most business owners take time to set new goals and/or revise old goals at the beginning of each year. As more and more consumers and sellers become comfortable with ecommerce, merchants are branching out and adopting a multichannel selling approach, whether branching out to sell on Amazon (or another site or sites) in addition to eBay or whether opening a brick and mortar or starting up their own website.

One of IMA’s most recent polls asked sellers what their business goals were for 2008. The poll choices were:

Expand into other online selling venues

Expand current product line/number of listings

Add new products to business

Open up or expand brick and mortar retail store

As we had expected, the majority of respondents said they planned to expand into other online selling venues. In fact, 67/112 (59.8%) said this was true. From an informal survey of the IMA and other message boards, it appears that Amazon is fast becoming the most popular online venue for sellers looking to branch out. It will be interesting to see how Amazon and sellers deal with the influx of sellers to Amazon. Will Amazon experience some of the growing pains eBay has? Will Amazon be able to continue and sustain its growth? Will sellers remain enchanted with Amazon or will they become disillusioned if Amazon decides to raise fees or implement new policies like eBay has?

The second most popular goal for 2008 (21/112 or 18.8%) according to our respondents was expand current product line/number of listings. It is not clear whether this means these respondents are expanding their current product line/number of listings on eBay or whether they are adopting a multichannel approach and branching out to Amazon and/or their own website. So many sellers focus on expanding their current product line/number of listings, but doing so often presents another set of business challenges such as how to keep growing your business yet maintaining and improving your profit margins, how to handle the increased listing/shipping volume, etc.

Adding new products to business (19/112 or 17%) was the third most popular business goal of our respondents. While adding new products may offer another potential income source, it may also mean having to find and deal with new suppliers, having to research and evaluate profit margins for the new products, possibly dealing with some new buyer challenges related to the products, etc. Again, in the haste to grow, sellers must find a balance between growth and keeping their business running efficiently.

Lastly, 4.5% (5/112) of respondents planned to open up or expand their brick and mortar retail store. Given the rumblings about the economy being in trouble and people and corporations tightening their finances, this is an interesting response. It would also help to know where these sellers live as often, the cost of acquiring and operating a brick and mortar retail store is significantly cheaper in some areas than it is in others.

What do these poll results mean in the grand scheme of things? As has been the trend for the past few years, it appears that sellers are constantly adapting to the world of ecommerce and rules of various selling venues and in order to expand their businesses and remain competitive, sellers are branching out and remaining nimble.

Jennifer

Day 2 of IMA Conference

Howdy. Day 2 was very fast paced – my head is still spinning from all the information that was presented by the speakers as well as conversation with other members.

Upon registration, some of us received canvas tote bags compliments of BuySafe with the IMA logo on one side and the BuySafe Logo on the other. In my bag was the book “eBay Power Seller Secrets- 2nd Edition” by Debra and Brad Schepp. This was exciting to me as I am quoted in this book! I will be available for signings later today :)

The first presentation was given by Matt Singer of TalkMarket – How to Create an Effective Video Presentation. We learned tips and tricks to create an effective video designed to keep the potential buyers attention and convert them to a sale. Video marketing is the new internet marketing vehicle. If you’re not doing it – it is something you need to seriously consider!

Talk Market

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Why Ebay Sellers Should Check Out Amazon’s Marketplace

I was not one of the top 200 Ebay sellers invited to the Ebay Ecommerce Summit last week where Ebay announced the changes to Fees, Search, and Feedback. I was one of the lower volume Ebay sellers on the sidelines at home waiting to hear the long awaited announcements about fee reductions. As we all know now, the fee changes will probably hurt more Ebay sellers than they help. The changes overall made me ask myself how the new CEO designate of Ebay, Mr. John Donahoe, can make changes to Ebay’s platform that blatantly copy the Amazon platform without feeling a bit unimaginative. Mr. Donahoe has been at Ebay since March 2005. If you would like to check out his salary on Forbes Mag. Is Ebay going to become Amazon Lite?

The new final value fees (FVFs) for Ebay stores are just slightly less than Amazon’s FVFs are now. Not allowing sellers to leave negative feedback for buyers is similar to the Amazon feedback system. The star rating system is similar to the Amazon seller rating system. Amazon already has a relevance based customer search that sounds like the “finding experience” Mr. Donahoe has been working on, and which is scheduled to be rolled out to Ebay this year. My guess is it is time for us all to examine the Amazon sellers marketplace because the new CEO-designate of Ebay seems to want the Ebay buyers experience to be just like the Amazon buyers experience, and will probably continue to imitate Amazon features.

Jennie

eBay Fee Changes… Look At Your Own Numbers!

written by Steve Grossberg

Anyone who lowers shipping in my own opinion, is foolish. Look at your own economics. Remember if you obtain the 4.8 Detailed Seller Rating on all 4 you get back 15% of your FVF. Look at me for example.

Items listed 40,000
Items Sold = 8,000
ASP = $14

So $14 x 1.23 FVF x 8000 items = $9800 FVF paid

$9800 FVF paid x 15% discount = $1470

$1470 savings divided by 8000 items = 19 cents per item

So in essence I have to say to myself will a 19 cent reduction in my shipping and handling move my DSR from 4.4 to 4.8? The answer is hell no it will not. Even if it did the ebay discount is not guaranteed as it is a 30 day rolling average and some months I may get it and some not.

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