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

Last Day of the IMA Conference

Good morning from San Antonio. It is good to be home, but now I have to get to work putting all this new information to work in my business!

If you missed the last day of the conference, you missed out on some great information. Michael Levit from Vendio was the first presenter “Cross Channel Selling Costs and the Effects of eBay’s New Pricing.”

Vendio

Mike spoke about the importance of creating and running your own website store. Get your webstore established now, as internet retailing is only going to get more competitive in the future. He gave us valuable information on how to market a webstore through SEO, SEM and CSE’s (comparison shopping engines).

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Day 3 of the IMA Conference

Good morning again from Vegas. Day 3 of the conference was a whirlwind of new information and new people. Some of the presentations were very detailed, while others were more basic. I was happy to find out we had registered several new members of IMA as a result of our free seminars for ASD/AMD members on “Getting Started in E-Commerce”! Great job everyone!

The first presentation was on Market Intelligence, by Tim Williams from QL2. QL2 is a company that has helped many very large, well known retailers with market intelligence in order to increase their market share.

QL2

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Good Morning from Vegas!

Howdy everyone! Beautiful weather today in Vegas – the sky is blue and the mountains are gorgeous.

Yesterday consisted of walking the tradeshow and meeting up with other IMA members at the Hospitality Suite. I think just about everyone was there, or so it seemed from the roar! The Events Committee did an excellent job making sure there was plenty of food and drinks for everyone.

I met a gentleman from TalkMarket last night and discussed their marketing strategy. It sounds like they have a great concept with video listings being marketed to hotel guests. We will learn more today at their presentation.

Steve introduced me to Kimberly Maul, writer and editor of MerchandEYES Blog, the officisal ASD/AMD blog. We are discussing linking our two blogs in order to bring more information to readers of both blogs.

Today will be a busy day with more tradeshow walking in the morning and then seminars in the afternoon. I will post again tomorrow morning with information from the seminars.

Cyn

Looking at eBays DSR (Detailed Seller Rating), part 2

written by Steve Grossberg, IMA President

Back in September 2007 I posted to this blog, a piece titled “Looking at eBay’s DSR (Detailed Seller Ratings), Click Here to Read Part 1.

Yesterday I did a podcast interview with Ina Steiner from AuctionBytes, Click Here to Listen To Interview Some of the points and more I am going to be talking about below are covered in the interview. I encourage everyone to listen to the interview.

Okay for starters ebay says 15% of sellers currently qualify for the 4.8 DSR bonus. My question is what percent of the ebay listings or GMV does that represent. This has yet to be answered by my best guess is somewhere less then 2%. Of the top 100 seller date as referenced in post 1, there is only 1 of the top 100 USA based sellers according to the Nortica 500 that has a 4.8 DSR is shipping and handling. There was another 19 who had 4.6 or better. Ebay stated over and over how 66% of sellers have a 4.6 or better but again what percent of listings and GMV is this? Certainly it is not 66%, so always do you own due diligence. As the old saying goes trust but confirm.

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The eBay Flip Flop

Wasn’t it just 2 years ago that eBay wanted to bring back the “vibrancy” to core by encouraging 99 cent starting bids? In 2006 they decreased the listing fee for the 99 cent starting bid while increasing the costs for eBay store listings. eBay felt the need to go back to their roots – the auction format.

So it was with shock that I read the new fee structure. eBay’s 99 cent auction sellers are no longer the darlings of eBay. They have been hit the hardest by the new fee structure. Because the traditional 99 cent auction sellers generally have a very high sell through rate, they are being hit hardest by the large increase in Final Value Fees.  Although their insertion fee has decreased by 5 cents it’s nowhere large enough to make up for the 3.5% increase on the backend.

Yet Fixed Price sellers, who generally have a low sell through rate, have seen their insertion fees decrease greatly, especially the majority who use gallery.  They still pay the increased FVF, but the decreased insertion fees will more than make up for the increase in FVF’s for those seller with sell through rates below 50%.

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IMA Recognized as Reviewer in Internet Retailers Magazine

written by Lanae

Internet Retailers
Internet Retailer Magazine recognizes the Internet Merchants Association (IMA) to give reviews in their ‘9th Annual Recognition of Leading Retail Web Sites – Hot 100 Best Retail Web Sites.’

Alongside various retail and e-commerce consulting firms, IMA gave its reviews on a number of the Hot 100 websites. These ranged from technology to gift baskets, and hardware to housewares. Among the Hot 100 are Amazon and CafePress, both of which are quite familiar to many of our members.

Not only was it an honor for the IMA to contribute, but it can also be a learning tool for our members…each one of us could learn something from those that make up the Hot 100. As noted in the magazine it is about knowing your customers, utilizing new concepts, and creating great shopping experiences. Perhaps one day we will see some of our own members there.

The list can be found here… Internet Retailers

IMA Conference Registration Now Open!

IMA announces their second annual seller’s conference

The Internet Merchants Association (IMA) is hosting its second annual conference for internet merchants in Las Vegas March 2008. The conference begins March 03, 2008 and runs through March 05, 2008. This leading industry conference is presented in conjunction with the ASD/AMD Trade Shows.

Philip Justiss, ebayThe opening keynote speaker for this year’s IMA conference is Philipp Justus, Senior Vice President Auctions, eBay Inc.

This industry-leading event will include the who’s who in internet commerce! Google will be presenting effective Adwords campaigns. Ebay and Amazon representatives will be there. Scott Wingo, CEO of Channel Advisor will talk about making comparison shopping engines (CSE) work for you. IMA will have educational sessions on SEO, Branding, Keywords, Front End systems, Back End Systems, Proper Advertising, building customer loyalty and other ways to capture and help grow your internet business.

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