Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Guest Blogger: The BrewsNews! Cyber Monday
I am very pleased that Brews allowed me to repost this wonderful blogpost from earlier today. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Make sure to checkout TheBrewsNews everyday for insight into the world of ecommerce.
Cyber Monday On A Micro Scale - One Multichannel Seller’s Experience
Of course I read all the stats about Black Friday and Cyber Monday so I can keep informed about how the economy is doing, according to the experts. But, most important to me, is how my business is doing.
Cyber Monday, December 1st 2008, started out for me well. I had a huge cup of coffee first thing and then I heard the Christmas music being cranked up in the packing department as they were getting into the spirit of things.
Looking through the stack of orders I knew there was no way possible to get all the orders out that had already come in, much less any new orders coming in throughout the day. So, I gave instructions that our website orders and Amazon orders were to take precedence and eBay orders for single items should be put ahead of larger eBay orders that take more time. The flow of orders was to be monitored all day so that any new expedited orders would be prioritized as well.
Just as we were all hustling and bustling along, the phones were also ringing (a good sound this time of year). Checking the messages of missed calls, we learn that eBay Seller Strategies team called Cyber Monday morning to chat with us. We missed their call. Darn it! We were so looking forward to speaking with them today, of all days. When they didn’t reach us, they sent us an email:
I wanted to quickly follow up on my call about eBay’s Seller Strategies Team. Our team’s goal is to hlelp businesses like yours succeed on eBay.
Currently our goal is to help sellers increase conversion rate and optimize their listings for search. We also want to make sure you are taking advantage of all the opportunities you have to increase traffice to your listings this holiday season.
I look forwad to calling you and discussing your goals on eBay. I am confident you will find the information I have to share with you extremely helpful.
eBay Seller Strategies
Shortly after the eBay email, we checked our inbox and we had an email from Amazon:
Dear merchant,We regularly review the products our customers look for on our website. During the past month, there has been interest in the product(s) listed below, but there was no available inventory from any sellers as of [Today's Date].
As you have listed these products for sale on our website in the past, we wanted to let you know about this buyer interest, in case you want to offer them again on Amazon.com.
You can update your inventory quantities either one at a time or through a feed. To edit products one at a time, go to the Seller Central Inventory tab and click “Manage Inventory”. Find the product you want to update and click “Edit”. After updating the Inventory (Quantity), click “Save changes”.
For information on updating inventory quantities via feeds, view our Help pages in Seller Central:
Seller Central Help > Manage Inventory > Frequently Asked Questions > Managing Products and Inventory
Thank you for selling with Amazon.com.
Before I continue, let me stop here for a minute to give you a little info about us, in case you don’t know. We have sold on eBay for 10+ years and shortly after we began selling on eBay, we developed our own websites as well. This is the first year we are selling on Amazon. We sell a variety of different products and we sell under 3 different eBay IDs. When eBay made their announcements at the beginning of 2008, we knew we it was time to get on board with Amazon. We had been intending on opening up an Amazon account for years but just never found the time to do it until eBay gave us the nudge we needed this year.
In selling on Amazon, we decided to try only one of our lines of product as a test. We wanted to learn the Amazon system slowly and carefully. We chose a line to list on Amazon that has a good margin, that was not saturated on Amazon but was declining on eBay, and that we have been selling for years so we are experts on the product.
For just this ONE line of product we carry, we filled Amazon orders in excess of $2,000 on Cyber Monday and we had $1,600 worth of unfilled Amazon orders that we are working on filling today. As a comparison, this one line of product has resulted in sales of $2,200 for the entire month on eBay. Yes, that is right - one day’s worth of sales on Amazon far exceeded our month’s worth of sales on eBay for this one product line. You can bet that by next holiday season, we will have all of our product lines, not just one, listed on Amazon.
From our perspective as a multi-channel seller we can make observations that clearly show us why our niche-item sales have declined tremendously on eBay while soaring greatly on Amazon. And it isn’t that the sales of these niche-items have simply been transferred to low-cost sellers on eBay as eBay’s charts and graphs show is happening for lots of items on eBay. The sales of my niche-items are not being transferred among eBay sellers; the sales are disappearing on eBay altogether. The buyers are leaving eBay in favor of alternate venues. I see it very clearly from my vantage point as a multichannel seller. I watch my competitors on eBay and I see that the vast majority of them have nothing listed on eBay. Several are NARU as well. And I am sure I am not alone. I am certain that other niche-sellers are seeing the same thing happening in their categories as well.
For me, I don’t care whether the item I sell is blue versus red just as I don’t care whether my profits are made on Amazon versus eBay. I don’t “feel” any particular way about any venue. Selling on a platform is not emotional for me. The fact that eBay is declining at a rapid pace while Amazon is on the rise doesn’t make me happy or sad. It just is what it is. And I have to be aware of the trends so that I can take advantage of the opportunities. I am not responsible for eBay or Amazon’s revenue but I am responsible for my business so I have to choose my business partners (ie eBay versus Amazon) wisely.
In the aggregate, my sales this holiday season are on the rise and I am running out of product daily. I place orders once, sometimes twice, a day because of the amazing Amazon sales that I had not been expecting. And as I sell out of any particular product on Amazon, I am quick to remove the same item that I have listed on eBay so that I can put it back in stock on Amazon. And so the cycle continues - my variety on Amazon is greater than on eBay because my sales are greater on Amazon. And because my variety on eBay is less than before, my sales on eBay are less. Sellers such as myself will continue to seek out those venues where our sales are the best. And because we are bringing our great variety of niche-items with us to the platform, the new venues will benefit because of us and the variety will disappear on the old venue.
Cyber Monday was great for me and I am looking forward to the next few weeks as I know it only gets better from here. I have more product arriving daily and I have a great crew of folks to help get the product out the door as fast as it comes in. And, just as importantly, I have renewed energy and a deeper faith that the future is going to bring more prosperity for our company. I am sure that 2009 will bring its own unique challenges and running your own business is always hard work… but I am up for the challenge.
But, for today, I need to go grab another cup of coffee and get busy filling the orders that are already piling up. It is Cyber Monday + 1 and there are only 22 more days to get items to their intended destinations. The future, and all the great plans I have for 2009, will be here soon enough but for now it will have to wait just a few more weeks.
Just my 15%