A Magento to eBay Extension

So, Magento to eBay extension. Now it’s a reality… I bet Magento users will be interested in this!

eBay has been a great platform for us, and so is Magento. Bringing them closer together is an interesting strategy, and for some of our websites, a Magento to eBay Extension would be great.

Being long time users of ChannelAdvisor software to manage our listings for mulitple accounts and countries, I think we have been able to make good use of our inventory and the few channels available to us in Australia.

Magento became our online store of choice about a year ago, and we have since become quite adept at Magento development.

And as times change, you naturally look at longer term solutions to problems, and we have started investigating a Magento to eBay connector that has recently been released. (more…)

Wow – what a year.

Well, 2008 has been a long year of hard work, meeting new people and enjoying my new baby daughter (who is now very nearly 1 year old!). It has been ages since I have written anything in my blog, thought I had better do a little catch up!

I hope you have had a prosperous new year, but from various discussions it sounds like online retail really hasn’t boomed at Christmas time (except for those gift sellers of course).

Our bricks and mortar retail store had a soft Christmas, with a late surge, hopefully the good sales of the past week and a half continue into January!

So what have I been up to?

Most of my time has been taken up with our retail business, opening a new online electronics store (which has quickly grown to be a good portion of our revenue), working a little on our shipping automation product (www.readytoship.com.au), and doing some consulting for a few other sellers.

Although I can’t commit a great amount of time to consulting but I have had a good number of clients this year which I have been able to mentor to and assist. It has really been great to have contributed, and it is something I really enjoy. I guess it comes from having two teachers for parents!

Our business has also spent a lot of time looking at some strategic technology to help us grow in the future, including some new ecommerce software (www.magentocommerce.com). Magento has really impressed us so far, especially in it’s technical/software design. With a growing community, it will really add a great option to those looking for a well engineered well featured open source ecommerce platform in the market.

Next year will be another busy one. The Australian online market space will gain a bit more competition as some of the bigger retailers start to make ground (see www.bigbrownbox.com.au), and smaller retailers will need to continue focusing on building and retaining a strong customer base and utilising as many sales channels as efficiently as they can to stay one step ahead of their competition. This is exactly what we will be doing I think!

Will you?

ChannelAdvisor Acquires Another $20million In VC Funding

ChannelAdvisor announced that they have acquired another $20 million of VC funding from New Enterprise Associates. Also, they announced some staff reductions.

Pushing towards an IPO, the lay offs are an effort to control expense and move toward profitability.

Apparently around 45 people will be/have been laid off from headquarters with some more staff cuts expected at other international offices too (totalling about 70 of the current 350 employees).

This news comes shortly after the announcement of the purchase of RichFX for $3mil, and release of the new Premium Store product which should provide a much better online store presence for CA customers than their old store technology.

A more detailed article can be found here.

With $25mil in rev last year, Scot is shooting for profitability next year.

ChannelAdvisor Users: Your store of choice?

I know I have a few ChannelAdvisor customers reading my blog. This post is for you!

We are developing some automation tools for ChannelAdvisor customers, and to assist with a development roadmap I would LOVE some feedback on whether or not you use the ChannelAdvisor Store or another store altogether…

I put together a quick poll in the ChannelAdvisor Support forums, here is the link :

http://ssc.channeladvisor.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1418

Thanks for your vote!

ChannelAdvisor Premium Stores – What will they be like?

We are currently part of a beta test group for ChannelAdvisor, testing their integration into a new ‘premium’ storefront.

I was pretty eager to put my hand up for this, as the old store has a lot of limitations and shortcomings. It certainly isn’t a best of breed product. Is the new premium store going to be worth the wait?

(more…)

eBay to Phase Out 3rd Party Checkout

eBay annouced that it is to phase out 3rd party checkout.

This is a move that will impact many thousands of (usually large) eBay sellers.

It will affect us, as we use ChannelAdvisor, as do many larger sellers. ChannelAdvisor’s main markets are US and UK, and they have some very big eBay sellers using their systems.

For us, ChannelAdvisor offers the ability to:

  • manage inventory and SKUS
  • manage listings/ads templates
  • automatically schedule and maintain ads in eBay (and soon, Trading Post)
  • capture customers
  • upsell on checkout
  • sell into other channels like Shopping.com, Getprice
  • have an online store

I was thinking about how the eBay decision to remove 3rd party checkout would affect us.

We don’t get too many upsells in checkout (where a customer can add another item to their sale on the way through payment) so there will be little impact there.

One thing it will stop is the ability to capture customers from eBay. We offer newsletter signup on the way through checkout (which can be incentivised if you like), and also promote the ability to visit our online store to buy from a wider range of items. eBay customers are not easy to convert. They tend to like shopping on eBay, and buying at auction.

Both of these things, although not contributing greatly immediately, offer some long term benefit as you grow a customer base. And you can pick up eBay customers in your mailing list and get them to buy direct. Many sellers do it, and if you aren’t you should be.

All this decision does is provide us even more incentive to grow our business outside of eBay, in more cost effective sales channels. We have received some sales from Tradingpost.com.au auctions already, and although the turnover is slow there at the moment the cost of sale is very appealing.

2008 – Year of the Australian Online Retail Summit?

Summits coming up that you might be interested in attending:

“The eBay Seller Summit, by eBay sellers for eBay sellers”, June 12th

I think that one could be related to eBay? The ESS08 summit is being held in Sydney on Thursday June 12th, 2008 at the Bankstown Sports Club in Bankstown, Sydney.

This event will give an opportunity for all sellers to learn more about how to successfully sell on this ever-growing and ever-changing online platform.

* Discuss the new changes on the eBay Australia website.
* Learn how to take advantage of all the opportunities available for online sellers
* Interact with representatives from companies that complement online sales
* Solutions to take your business to the next level

Its only a one day conference, but attendance seems to be good value at $30 (+$20 for the cocktail party), with sponsors including eBay, PayPal, Australia Post, AuctionBlox, the ATO and ChannelAdvisor.

The Retail World Management & Technology Summit, June 17th – 18th

Although based more around bricks and mortar retail there are a few speakers from online retailers attending and the list of keynotes is pretty impressive including executives from Wal-Mart, Tesco, Carrefour, Myer, Harvey Norman and more. I am sure online retailers can learn a lot about retail and branding from the big B&M guys…

Check out the schedule here.

Attendance is $1,395 + GST, but the schedule and speaker list make it look like it would be an interesting few days.

ChannelAdvisor Catalyst (Australia), July 2nd to 5th

ChannelAdvisor’s first ecommerce summit in Australia is being held on the Sunshine Coast this year. Hoping for a strong turnout of sellers, ChannelAdvisor has a list of well known players in the industry attending including Scot Wingo, CEO who has a fantastic blog on eBay and online strategy and news. Always insightful.

Yours truly might be presenting some stuff there too and I am really looking forward to getting into some sunshine away from Melbourne!

Registration for the 3 days is $249.

PeSA Australia will be looking to hold more events soon too. As soon as I get some more information I will post an update.

Release : ChannelAdvisor Catalyst Conference Coming Soon!

I got sent this press release information from ChannelAdvisor today regarding their upcoming conference at the Sunshine Coast in July. The early bird discount rate is nearly over, so if you are considering attending to learn more about online business, how to grow and improve it then you might like to consider attending.

Yours truly will be attending (I will be sitting on one of the panels), along with many sellers that I know. It should be a great conference with a lot of fun networking. It would be great to see some of you there!

Press release below:

ChannelAdvisor is about to hold our first Asia/pacific major conference aimed at the top online retailers in the Asia Pacific Region July 2-5. Around 400 of the top online retailers from over 10 countries will descend on Twin Waters for three days of intensive networking, top speakers and international strategy.

ChannelAdvisor (US) hosted their second annual Catalyst conference this past April. Previously, ChannelAdvisor hosted two annual conferences, ChannelAdvisor Marathon in the spring and ChannelAdvisor Summit in the fall. Catalyst is a combination of those two conferences, focusing on the needs of retailers of all sizes. After seeing the success that has come from the US Catalyst conference, ChannelAdvisor AU has decided to bring the Catalyst conference to our online retailers.

Catalyst is a fantastic opportunity for online retailers of all sizes who are looking for strategic and tactical information to grow and take their online businesses to the next level. Comparison shopping, search marketing, fraud management, alternative payment vendors, and multichannel management experts will be presenting real-time actionable information.

  • Registration is only $199 and includes:
  • All Conference sessions
  • Lunches, Dinners, Receptions, and Refreshments throughout the day
  • Golf tournament with Awards luncheon
  • Welcome gifts and sponsor gifts

Bring the family! Spouses and business partners are welcome to attend all conference sessions with paid registration. Childcare will be provided by Club Dolfi and paid for by ChannelAdvisor!

Representatives from ChannelAdvisor, Trading Post, eBay, PayPal, Shopping.com, and GetPrice will be in attendance and will be available for one-on-one discussions in addition to their keynote sessions.

The ability to network with other sellers, buyers and industry experts will prove invaluable to the success of your business.

Registration is $199 until May 15 and includes FREE golf with lunch at Pacific Harbour Golf and Country Club.

http://www.channeladvisor.com/catalyst/AU/

ChannelAdvisor Australia Holding Catalyst, for Multi-Channel eCommerce Strategies

For the first time, ChannelAdvisor is holding a Catalyst event in Australia, following the launch of their Australian office last year.

I haven’t been to a Catalyst before, but by all accounts they are well worth going if you want some good analysis of the online retail marketplace, and a chance to network with lots of other sellers looking to improve their online businesses.

Another bonus is it will be held at the Sunshine Coast, great place to visit if you haven’t been there before.

The Australian even page doesn’t have much detail on it yet, but from what I hear there will be a great selection of speakers and sessions getting announced soon.

if you are curious, take a look at the session, speaker and sponsor information for the next US event, it will give you a good idea about what will transpire. Likeminded sellers, I will see in at the Sunshine Coast in July!