Saturday, March 22, 2008

In a Perfect World - eBay ProStores

I've looked at eBay ProStores over the years, all 9 versions of it and it just seems eBay doesn't get it. ProStores should be the natural migration path for eBay Sellers; in fact Pro Stores should replace the eBay Stores/Shops platform completely.

In a Perfect World:
  • eBay would integrate ProStores into the eBay.com platform by allowing ProStores owners to post on eBay.com from their ProStores. ProStores would be the central hub for the sellers inventory and they would post CORE items and SIF items from their ProStore.They are doing something similar to this right now, by allowing Store owners to convert SIF (Store Inventory Format) items to Core. I can't imagine it is that difficult to add this functionality to ProStores.
  • eBay would allow sellers to link back to their ProStores from their CORE listings and allow them to actually create and maximize a brand and grow repeat customers. I'm even okay with only allowing them to link to a ProStore and not to a competing website. (Baby steps, folks).
  • The eBay Store Search would present items found in all ProStores. SIF format would be renamed PIF (ProStore Inventory Format) and allow sellers if they chose, to pay the reduced insertion fee for less visibility on the .com platform.

    Right now, an eBay Store seller lists only the amount of inventory in their eBay store that they can afford and any return business that they get still costs them 12% on every sale.

    In a Perfect World ProStore owners would maintain 100% of their inventory in their ProStore and develop a listing strategy that would use CORE listings for high traffic, high conversion items; PIF listings for items that moved regularly but more slowly; "Long Tail" items would be available in the ProStore at the current minimal ProStore FVF.
  • eBay and Yahoo would work out a program for ProStore sellers to use CPC (Cost Per Click) ads on the many eBay properties, including the growing Classifieds network. eBay and Google would develop the same program for International ProStore sellers.
  • Right now ProStores automatically submits your product catalog to Google Product Search (free). They also provide tools to do this with three major comparison shopping engines (CSEs): Shopping.com®, Yahoo! Shopping®, and Shopzilla®.

eBay's new management team has already broken one "sacred wall" with the announcement of category based pricing in media and it is clear to me that they want to make eBay.com a shopping portal rather than strictly a shopping destination. So why not break another “sacred wall” and give sellers the ability to actually grow and build an online brand.

In my scenario, eBay would be able to maintain their fee structure in each of their advertising venues (e.g CORE, PIF, Shopping.com, Sponsored Ads, Classifieds, etc.) and they would give ProStore sellers the ability to maximize their advertising dollars by building a brand and developing long-term relationships with their customers.

Once the ProStore seller has done business with a customer, it is up to them to work diligently to get them to return to their ProStore, where there is a minimal FVF and a fixed hosting fee.

This gives ProStore sellers a huge advantage over any other webstore platforms (e.g Yahoo Stores, Amazon WebStore, eCrater, Volusion, etc.) and sellers can finally gain a little control over their marketing expenses and their business.

Most eBay sellers do not want to leave eBay, they just want to sell product and they are willing to pay eBay for the traffic, they just want to control their business.

eBay management has the ability to make this happen right now and keep competition at bay. Will they do it? Only time will tell if this management team has the guts to create a “Perfect World” for online sellers.

Just my 12%

6 comments:

permacrisis said...

"give sellers the ability to actually grow and build an online brand"

Ebay has made it perfectly clear that THEY are the only brand that matters (rather than a trading community), and that no other brand building at their expense will be permitted.

When bargainland set sail, that was the last of the mohicans. I believe ebay has said under their breath, "never again".

Just once, I would like to see a genuine dumpster-divng junk dealer rise to meteoric stardom! :)

Anonymous said...

Randy,

With this new version they are now moving toward that but it will be a long and tedious job. That is why I started at ProStore back when they did the full re-direct thing a year ago last fall and I have been seing how it is all starting to integrate slowly but surely. I do believe that is their plan but it will take a while to get it all working right. We shall see how this all works out.

Bill

Eric Shoup said...

Randy-

Thanks for the innovative thinking about ProStores and how it should work with eBay.com.

Just wanted to point out that ProStores already enables you to list inventory from ProStores into eBay. It sounded like in one of your points that ProStores did not enable this today. Your point may have simply been that it should be made easier-to-do -- which I agree with.

When you get a minute check out some of the new features in ProStores 9.0. Interested in your thoughts. In addition to synching your eBay inventory into your ProStore, we also added a logo generator, more templates and the ability to upsells in the cart. You can check out the full list here: http://www.prostores.com/newfeatures.html

Thanks again for your comments.

Eric Shoup
General Manager, eBay Stores & ProStores

Randy Smythe said...

Thanks for visiting the blog Eric! Could you do me a favor and email me, I would love to ask you some questions.

rksmythe at yahoo

Thanks
RKS

Mason said...

ProStores really doing fantastic job!!

chenlina said...

louboutin uk
louis vuitton
moncler
christian louboutin sale
air max sale
ugg boots uk
michael kors outlet
canada goose jackets
ralph lauren outlet
oakley sunglasses
chenlina20161228