Increase your eBay prices by 500% ??

Anthill magazine posted a link to a great video by some of the  guys the other day. I just got around to watching it (I kinda store ‘Favourites’ from twitter posts during the week, and check them out later).

I have blogged before about various strategies and methods to boost the prices you get on eBay, and one of the most important is an engaging ad for your product. This could be brighter pics, funny description, personal description, wierd title, or all of the above. It’s all about your market and customer.

And I think this little video is a great example of the result you can get by applying a bit of creativity!

Check it out :

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…)

Online Retailer 2009 in Sydney – the State of Online Retail in Australia

I just got back from Online Retailer in Sydney. It was the first event of it’s type in Australia, attracting over 2500 attendees and a good number of exhibitors.

I had opportunity to talk to many of the attendees, catch up with many other online retailers and also interviewed people like Armand , VP of Global Sales at Verisign and Jeff and Bobby Beaver, founders of www.zazzle.com.

What I really wanted to find out was the level of interest in online retailer from some of the bigger bricks and mortar retailers (did they attend?), and the opinions form exhibitors as to the mix of attendees there.

What I discovered was interesting,  and exciting for the industry.

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Want to grow your eBay business?

Want to grow your eBay business?

Then consider attending this years PeSA event in Sydney, called ‘Survive & Thrive’.

PeSA is the Professional eBay Sellers Alliance and the Australian arm is holding this year’s seller event in Sydney. Last years was a great success with hundreds otf attendees, and I think this years will be even bigger.

Tickets are $199 for attendance, and includes access to exhibitors to help you improve your business, and also speakers, workshops and more.

Last year I ran some one on one sessions with sellers (and I think we might do it this year too). It was great to meet smaller sellers looking to grow!

From the www.pesa-events.com.au site :

The agenda is taking shape and bookings are now open for the 2009 PeSA Summit.

Register to attend today and take advantage of our earlybird price of only $199 for the FULL two day Summit.

Check last year’s feedback if you want to know if this will be worthwhile to your business. And see what exhibitors you’ll be able to vist.

Ill be up there, exhibiting our ReadytoShip shipping automation product, so if you go to the event, be sure to say hello!

eBay 2.0. Or is it all too late?

It has been a little while since I read Scot Wingo’s blog, and he had a great post recently that I took the time to read and digest.

It was his own roadmap on how he thinks eBay should change in order to survive.

For those who don’t know, Scot is founder of ChannelAdvisor (software that we use in our ecommerce business). He has some great industry experience, knowledge and insight.

For eBay sellers and those interested in eBay, Amazon and the online retail space you might be interested in his ideas :

“Episode IV – A New Hope (for eBay) -or- How to Fix eBay? -or- Introducing eBay 2.0”

Shipping Automation and our solution – ReadytoShip

ReadytoShip Shipping AutomationEarly on, ‘back in the old days’, our staff manually copied and pasted addresses for customer orders into shipping software packages or (*gasp*) hand wrote labels.

This was all fine and dandy until we started selling more than about 5 – 10 items per day.

Firstly, shipping started to take too much time in our day and secondly, staff were complaining about the boring job of writing out shipping labels!

So we decided to automate and we developed some software that would automatically correct all of our Australian addresses and import all of our orders into eParcel for shipping. This saved us a lot of time every day and a lot of errors. Not to mention the reduced amount of time spent resending items that were returned because of incorrect address (you could be amazed at how many customers type in their address incorrectly).

We assumed that lots of other sellers had made some sort of effort to develop similar software as it worked well for us and enabled us to process 100 or more orders per day with only a few staff. We could prepare and print 200 address labels in minutes.

But not many sellers do this, so ReadytoShip was born.

What does it do, and how does it help online sellers?

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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?

PeSA Australia Summit Wrap-up

Back on deck at work this morning, following up a few people that I met at the Pesa Summit over the last few days.

It was great to meet some readers of my blog, and talk to a lot of sellers. After my panel session on Business Automation my 15 min one on one blocks with sellers were booked out very quickly. I had lots of sellers ask advice on their websites, listings and business and it was great to see so much enthusiasm.

As Jonathon Garriss pointed out during one of the sessions, he doesnt know it all and neither do I. But it is great to chare experience and we always learn.

Every time I catch up with some of my peer sellers we always learn things too. You will never hear of Paul from DealsDirect.com.au visiting a conference like this and walking away saying he didn’t learn something to go back to his business and implement, for example. I learnt a lot too.

Day two of the summit had some great material. I was particularly fascinated by Tom O’Toole (of Beechworth Bakery fame). He is a very energetic and passionate speaker!

Other sessions included copywriting and headline skills which was very interesting. Direct marketing has a lot of common ground with eBay listings and advertisements. A lot to learn.

I also had a lot of people ask about our new product ReadytoShip which was great, and also got some great feedback on some other areas that sellers find frustrating and time consuming that we are working on fixing. But I will post more about that shortly!

PeSA Australia Summit Day 1

I just got home from the PeSA Australia summit, Navigating Success for Change.

A good turnout with close to 300 signups,s to the Flemington staff were kept busy with coffee and snacks during breaks.

Keynote this morning was from Jonathan Garriss (of Gotham City Online) who has flown in from the US and talked about current opportunity in eCommerce. He had some interesting facts to get everyone motivated and keep things in perspective. eCommerce is growing at 15% pa, traditional commerce is +/-3% pa.

There is a massive and more importantly growing marketplace to find opportunity in.

The ‘Navigating Change for Success’ tagline for the event was followed up with some discussion on change and opportunity. Jonathon is always a good speaker, with some great sites, technology and processes in his business that give him some good credibility.

Some of us more experienced eBay sellers also got the chance to spend some one on one time with sellers and talk about their ebay listings, stores and strategies which was interesting. I had quite a range of sellers talk to me today, from very small turnover sellers to quite large ones.

The attitude today was very positive. Simon Smith did ask that no one yell at him, and it sounds like he got his wish.

The 2 panels today were Business Automation (with Your truly, John from JJ entertainment, and Anthony of AuctionBlox), and the Top Seller panel (with Shaun from Selby Acoustics, Shayne from i-soldit.com.au and Jonathon of Dinosaur Deals).

I love the chance to talk to sellers about their business. It seems that there are som many sellers out there wanting to grow that perhaps don’t even know what parts of their businesses can be improved with better tools and processes.

I think the panels were the highlight from today, based on feedback that I got. It is a great opportunity for sellers to ask questions to people who have travelled the road before them. Jonathon, Shayne and Shaun did a great job talking about some of their own businesses, challenges and strategies and answering questions.

Some brief highlights of the day

  • Simon Smith did state that they had a ‘deep regret’ about how the Paypal changes were implemented.
  • Effectively a promise that eBay Australia management would be far more active in discussing potential upcoming changes in Australia (with sellersand buyers) that are already occurring in eBay US
  • One on one sessions. Great chance to talk to sellers looking for some advice. Jonathon Garriss had quite a crowd (but he loves it:) !
  • Simon announces today that the interstitial prior to leaving a neg (advising buyers that sellers can’t leave retaliatory feedback) was being removed today.
  • Great networking opportunities with lots of other likeminded sellers.

A big day. Definitely time for some sleep.

One of the biggest eBay sellers in Oz gone bust?

Some news this morning that eBay seller ebusiness supplies (eBay account, website) is now NARU on eBay, not answering customer emails and seems to have stopped trading.

This article from The Age sheds a little more light on the situation.

These guys have been in business for many years now and moved a lot of stock. Like a few of the big sellers (perhaps many) they based their business model on preselling stock arriving from suppliers. When doing this you obviously run the risk of inability to supply if there is a supplier issue, incorrect goods arriving etc etc.

It probably also meant that their cashflow was operating the business, as if they had plenty of capital they may not need to run their business using the ‘pre sale’ method. I never saw them advertise the fact they were pre selling items, maybe they should have been more upfront if there were.

And, according to some discussion around the place, it seems that e-business supplies might have been pre selling items that hadn’t even left China.

In any case, it’s not a pleasant thing to happen to buyers who may be left out of pocket. The better news is that PayPal have come to the rescue and will apaprently reimburse customers who paid using PayPal. Not bad!