Sunday, October 17, 2010

Another Marketplace Option for Small Online Sellers

After reading that title, who would have guessed that option would be Buy.com? Well, today I am happy to announce that Buy.com has opened its marketplace to online sellers large and small.

We've relaxed the requirements for registration to allow online business sellers who have a retail website and/or other marketplace sales history from eBay, Amazon, Bonanza, Etsy and others to begin selling in the Buy.com Marketplace.

We've also launched a new category called Everything Else where sellers can sell their automotive parts and accessories, art, collectibles, antiques, business and industrial, hand-made items, stamps, memorabilia, vintage, arts and crafts, food and gourmet and a whole lot more, in fact we now have more selling categories than any other marketplace.

We are off to a great start, signing up 100s of new sellers before the paint was even dry on the new categories. We now have over 140,000 listings in our Everything Else store and 15 million listings in our marketplace.

While we require UPC codes in most of our categories, we understand that many items in these new Everything Else categories just won't have a UPC, so we've removed that requirement. You can add your items to the Marketplace through a simple template and begin selling right away.

You only pay a commission when you sell an item and there are no listing fees or monthly subscriptions. We submit your items to our marketing partners, so you get additional exposure and we handle fraud review, 1st tier customer service and payment transactions; no need to sign-up for yet another payment.

If you are looking for incremental sales for your online business, make sure to sign-up and begin selling on Buy.com

Just my 15%

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Strange New Marketplace World

This has been an interesting year in the online marketplace space. We've had a flurry of acquisitions, increased investment, global expansion and even eBay seems to have settled into some form of stability.

All of this activity is good for online sellers and should give you all some hope that better things are ahead -- more viable places to sell means more opportunity to make a buck or two.

At Buy.com, we've had a very interesting year so far:
  • Our marketplace continues to be a huge growth story. We are having a phenomenal years by all measurements.
  • In June, we were acquired by Rakuten.com, the third largest ecommerce company in the world, and together with our sister companies Priceminister.com and LinkShare.com we plan to be a dominant force in global ecommerce.
  • We are expanding our marketplace to include sellers of all sizes. We still want to make sure you are a business, but we will open our doors to online sellers of all shapes and sizes before Q4. - This is a HUGE change for us. Now both large and small sellers will have access to Buy.com's 5 million unique monthly visitors and unique customer demographic of wealthy, highly educated but value conscience consumers.
  • We will "empower sellers"! - Check out the header on this blog; "empower sellers and get out of the way" is my mantra and I am finally going to be a part of a company where that is the goal.
This blog is all about my 15% (perspective) on ecommerce and I'm proud to work for a company that is making waves on the Internet and has global ambitions.

In the September issue of Internet Retailer Magazine you can get the inside scoop on our plans with the cover story called "Making their move". The man to the left, on the cover of the magazine, is our fearless CEO Neel Grover and together with Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani they are "Making their move"


There is a new model at Buy.com - courtesy of Internet Retailer Magazine

"At Buy.com, the new mantra since the acquisition by Rakuten has become: We help our marketplace merchants. Buy.com is modeling itself after Rakuten Ichiba, a massive Japanese marketplace operated by Rakuten that recorded $1.92 billion in revenue in the first half of 2010. Rakuten Ichiba gives retailers the freedom to design their web stores and not just pick from design templates, to offer rewards points on Rakuten purchases, and to use the customer's e-mail addresses for follow-up marketing, which is not the case on Amazon.

"On Amazon or eBay you feel like you're just listing your products on their marketplace," says Hiroshi Mikitani, Rakuten's founder, chairman and CEO. "We share the customer with our merchants."

While Rakuten does not have the scale of a Wal-Mart or Amazon, it's a growing international force in online marketplaces. Mikitani followed up his purchase of Buy.com by acquiring France's largest online marketplace, PriceMinister, and has closed deals to extend Rakuten's reach in China, Thailand and Taiwan. One indication of its global ambitions: All internal Rakuten meetings are conducted in English.

As its U.S. outpost, Buy.com will follow the Rakuten philosophy of promoting marketplace merchants. "We'll give sellers more flexibility on the site," says Neel Grover, CEO and president of Buy.com. "You'll see more of the merchant's brand on the site. Sellers will have more brand recognition throughout the site." (bold is mine)
The Buy.com Marketplace is a game changer and as Neel says in the quote above, "we will give sellers more flexibility on the site" We will make these moves in stages, starting with opening up our marketplace to more product categories and a great range of sellers from sole proprietors to IR 500 merchants.

Opening up the marketplace

"In another change, Buy.com, which has featured items from mostly larger merchants in the past, will open up its marketplace to more small and midsized merchants later this year, following the Rakuten Ichiba model.

"Rakuten is all about empowering merchants—regardless of their size," says Grover. "In Japan Rakuten's marketplace has large sellers like Wal-Mart and small sellers who sell products like quail eggs. They empower everyone, and that makes a great ecosystem. Since May, we've examined the way their business works and it has led us to reevaluate our current model of focusing on large sellers."
Another game changing move is distributing the Buy.com marketplace to other online retailers through a white-label program.

"Buy.com also recently announced another strategic shift: The retailer plans to white label its marketplace, enabling other web retailers to sell all or some of Buy.com marketplace's more than 7.5 million SKUs on their own sites late this year or early next year.

Two large bricks-and-mortar retailers plan to add the Buy.com marketplace offering to their sites, says Grover. Retailers tapping into the selection on Buy.com's marketplace will be able to control the look and feel of the marketplace, all the way to checkout, which will occur on the retailer's site, not at Buy.com. Buy.com and the retailer hosting the marketplace will both receive an undisclosed commission from each purchase from the marketplace retailer actually selling the merchandise.

"For a retailer with a lot of traffic that wants to sell things other than its current offerings, this can empower the retailers to offer consumers the full marketplace experience without having to do the five years of tech work that we've already put in," says Grover.

In strengthening its marketplace offering, Grover says he hopes to entice more sellers and buyers to look to Buy.com. "The marketplace is a really important part of our business and it has been an important part for the past five years," says Grover. "Going forward it will be a bigger and bigger part of our business."
Granted, I work at the place so I'm going to be a little more excited about all of the changes coming down the pike and my title is "Merchant Evangelist" so I'm prone to blowing things out of proportion, but can't you see the opportunity here? As I said earlier, we aren't going to roll out all of these changes at once and it may take some time to make the change-over complete but with Rakuten behind us and "empowering sellers" part of our mission, the future looks bright.

More to come as we roll out announcements ...

Just my 15%

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Note to the Unemployed - Get Off Your Ass and Do Something!

Now, before you crucify me for being insensitive, would you do me the favor of reading the entire blog post? After that, you can use the comments section to "rip me a new one".

I've been watching the unemployment numbers for the past couple of years and have come to a sad conclusion -- 9.5% national unemployment is going to be the new norm because the Obama administration, Congress, State Governments and Big Business won't do the right thing to solve the problem and no, Meg Whitman won't be able to do anything in California either.

Ideally, if government and big business would pull their collective heads out of their asses we could solve the problem this year. Unfortunately we live in the real world where their heads stay firmly planted "where the sun don't shine".

Much like the music, newspaper, TV News and advertising businesses have felt the impact of the Internet/Information Revolution; so has the employment sector. During the recent "Great Recession" many businesses downsized to stay alive, but after downsizing realized that they didn't need all of those employees anyway, instead they just decided to make their current employees work harder for the same pay. Today many large companies are showing record profits; mainly because they are doing the same business with fewer employees. There is little incentive to increase hiring because technology has made fewer employees more efficient; after all there is a bottom line to protect.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau; in 2004 there were 23.3 million businesses in the United States with 9 or fewer employees; 19.5 million sole proprietors among them. Many of those 23.3 million businesses would love to hire, but they do not have the resources nor access to capital to do that. Had the government spent even 50% of that $700 billion in stimulus money on helping these small businesses, our unemployment rate would have dropped dramatically ... and seeing as employed people spend more than unemployed people the economy would start to grow again.

So, since Big Business isn't hiring and small business can't hire ... unless you want to work for Obama, Inc. the job of creating your next job, falls to you.

I was unemployed for three years after I shut down Glacier Bay. I sent out over 300 resumes and had a total of 4 interviews, heck I couldn't even get an interview with the local CVS pharmacy that was opening up in my home town. I had to reinvent myself because I needed an income. I became a blogger and consultant, one of those 19 million sole proprietors; I cut my expenses; I leaned on the support of my loving family; I bought back DVDs and CDs from consumers and sold them on Amazon; I made money online with Google Adsense and as an Amazon affiliate; I wrote and posted content on Associatedcontent.com and Squidoo.com. I wasn't getting rich but I was paying the bills.

During that first year and a half I sent out the 300 resumes; eventually I stopped doing that and just decided my destiny was in my own hands. If I was going to make a living, I had to rely on my own efforts. I was perfectly content to continue this approach because each year I made more money than the previous year. Who needs a job, I would just work for myself ... then a strange thing happened. Because of my blog and my consulting, I met Neel Grover, the CEO of Buy.com and over the next 6 months we would occasionally converse about the state of online commerce. I remember during Christmas in 2008 telling my dad that I should ask Neel about coming on board at Buy.com to help them grow their marketplace business. My dad said; "what do you have to lose"... well, the rest as they say is history :).

In January of 2009 I started consulting full-time for Buy.com and was offered a full-time position in May of the same year. The job is a dream job for me and would not have happened had I not been active re-inventing myself for the 3 years leading up to it.

The moral of this story: If you are currently unemployed "get off your ass and do something" do not wait for the Government or Big Business to come to your rescue. Your future is in your hands and you need to re-invent yourself. Keep sending out those resumes but get active creating something for yourself while you do that. Who knows maybe that activity will open the door for your "dream job" like it did for me.

Just my 15%

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The Future of eBay

I just thought I would post this because it was interesting. Not much new but still interesting.














Just my 15%

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I Have a Little Hop in My Step!

Suddenly I feel invigorated; which is hard to do for a guy who is 50. The Rakuten acquisition of Buy.com has me practically giddy.

Many of you know that I have been working for Buy.com since January of 2009 and after joining the company, my blogging efforts nearly ceased. I became focused on my new job; growing the Buy.com marketplace and to be completely honest... I have enjoyed every single minute it. Buy.com was the absolutely perfect place for me (thanks Neel) but I was so focused on the new job I had lost any desire to write about it. Now, with this new chapter unfolding in my life, I am so excited I want to write about it too.

Buy.com is a great company and we have a great team here with lots of innovative ideas but ... isn't there always a but? We have limited resources. I've often dreamed of a day when Buy.com with our near 6% conversion rate (that's huge for a website) would have the traffic of an eBay or an Amazon... we would literally take the world by storm.

In 45 days (when the deal closes) we will have access to the resources that I've dreamed of. Forget your old concept of Buy.com as a male dominated, tech geeky, deals site. We are still going to be about deals but we will become so much more. When a marriage like this starts; the possibilities are endless.

Sure, many of you may say I'm putting the cart before the horse but think about this for a second:
  • Rakuten is the largest online retailer in Japan (Yes, larger than Amazon Japan). Japan is the second largest economy in the world behind the United States; unless you lump together every nation that is part of the European Union then they would be number 3.
  • Rakuten has recently expanded into other Asian markets. Buy.com and our merchants now get access to these markets; not only access, but we will be the leader. The Asian markets are the toughest markets to crack for US companies.
  • eBay has tried for years to penetrate Japan and in one fell swoop, we are now the leader there ... well we are owned by the leader :)
  • Buy.com is the 3rd largest general merchandise 3P marketplace in the US behind Amazon and eBay; a distant 3rd. Plenty of room for growth there.
  • The Buy.com name will live on after this deal finalizes and more than just live on, it will grow to become a leader.
  • Our new owner says things like this: "We believe that we have a very different business model from Amazon and eBay. We empower the merchants" Check out my tagline at the top of the page. I should fit in very well here.
  • As Scot Wingo said in his post regarding the deal. "Speculation aside, what is clear is that a new $9.5b player is in town from Asia, they are willing to spend $250+$450m = $700m to get the pieces they need, and they clearly have their sights set on a US Ichiba-like marketplace as an alternative to eBay and Amazon."

    I get to be part of this new adventure with the great team we already have in place here at Buy.com so I'm pumped.

Just my 15%

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rakuten Acquires Buy.com - Great Things to Come

Full Disclosure: I am an employee of Buy.com and this post is strictly my opinion and not an official statement from the company. You can get the official story here.

Wow! I woke up this morning to the news that Buy.com had been acquired by Japanese ecommerce company Rakuten. I had heard the name Rakuten before, but knew very little about the company. I quickly did some research and found out they run Japan's largest ecommerce site,own LinkShare.com here in the US and they also own a Japanese Pacific League Baseball team called the Rakuten Eagles. (I am a huge baseball fan, so this was exciting). You can imagine I was anxious to get into the office.

Once at the office there was lots of discussion about what this deal meant to us as employees and the company as a whole. I spent a good part of the morning scouring the Internet for information and returning congratulatory emails.... there were already a number of blog posts and articles about the deal and Scot Wingo posted his take on the deal. Apparently I was so busy working that my blogger radar must have been jammed ... I didn't pick up any signals that something like this was in the works.

Later in the day, we were able to meet our new owner Hiroshi Mikitani and hear his plans for Buy.com. His goal is to be the #1 Internet services company in the world and Buy.com will be a major contributor to that goal.

So, after less than a day to absorb the news, here is my 15% on the deal:
  • This is a great opportunity for Buy.com employees as we become part of a much larger company. With 6,000 employees worldwide and several business units, there will be numerous opportunities for promotion within the larger company.
  • Increased Resources - With the financial resources of a much larger company, Buy.com can grow at a faster pace then we have to this point. That is a very good thing.
  • Marketplace Sellers - This is fantastic news for our current and future sellers. Buy.com will continue to grow and that will bring added opportunities for them to grow their sales.
  • The Ecommerce Industry - I am hoping to hear the names Amazon, eBay and Buy.com in every discussion of online commerce for years to come. I'm very much looking forward to being a part of that.
  • Innovation - Buy.com has been able to grow a retail business, a marketplace and International expansion with 135 employees. Our employees can roll out innovative new applications at a furious pace... imagine what we can do with some resources.
  • Change in Culture - I think this has many Buy.com employees the most anxious. Mostly because it is unknown what to expect. I'm not too worried about the culture. We will remain headquartered in Southern California and our current management team will remain in place.
  • I'm excited to be working for Hiroshi Mikitani because he is an entrepreneur that has succeeded by taking risks and he wants to win.
After reading this post, would you be surprised to hear that my title at Buy.com is Merchant Evangelist? I have to tell you I am very positive about this deal and the growth that is coming and excited to be part of something even bigger than before I awoke this morning.

Update: Day 2

No, I'm not going to give you a daily update, but I thought I would update you on how the employees were reacting. Today was very much business as usual and there was a feeling among the employees that this deal was going to be a good thing for all of us. It is reassuring to know that we will remain in beautiful Southern California and that we can count on Rakuten to keep our executive team and give us the support to grow Buy.com as big as we can dream it.


Just my 15%

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Alibris Acquires Monsoon - Is M&A Heating Up?

Big M&A (Mergers and Acquisition) news came out yesterday with the announcement that Alibris Holdings, the parent company of Alibris.com, was acquiring Monsoon a marketplace integrator with a substantial media business.

"Alibris Holdings, Inc, owner of Alibris, Inc., the premier online marketplace for sellers of new and used books, music, and movies, announced today that it is acquiring Monsoon, Inc., an Oregon-based marketplace selling solutions company, for a combination of cash and stock in Alibris Holdings. Oak Hill Capital, a private equity firm that acquired Alibris Holdings in 2006, provided funding for the transaction along with additional bank financing from Square 1 Bank. After the merger closes, which is expected by early March, Alibris and Monsoon will continue to operate as separate businesses under their existing names."



Seattle's TechFlash blog had a fairly complete post on the acquisition and the possible increase in M&A deals in the space and Scot Wingo wondered aloud on his Amazon Strategies blog what this meant for the Monsoon/Amazon relationship since Alibris is a competitor to Amazon.


I spoke with Monsoon's CEO Kanth Gopalpur about their relationship with Amazon and he said "Monsoon has a long standing relationship with Amazon and looks forward to continuing to build on that partnership, both in media and consumer goods categories. In addition, Alibris is both a marketplace and a third-party seller on Amazon and this new combination with Monsoon will strengthen their integration efforts with many marketplaces.


I would say this opens the doors to similar deals in the space as companies try to find growth. After some tough years, many integrators are seeing some signs of life in their business while others continue to struggle. This deal looks like a combination of two strong players and we are likely to see more in 2010 and 2011.


With other retailers launching marketplaces the need for some kind of multi-channel integration becomes paramount to managing the growth. This looks like a great marriage to me.


Full disclosure: Both Monsoon and Alibris are integration partners with Buy.com and will continue operating separately.


Just my 15%

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Great Post for Online Sellers

Everyday I take time in the morning to survey the ecommerce landscape. I have a multitude of sources for news and tips and occasionally I find something that interests me and I blog about it. Yesterday, I read a blog post over at TheBrewsNews that I thought I would share with you.

Many of my readers also read TheBrewsNews so you may have already read this, but I thought the post was worth highlighting.

Here is an excerpt:
"If I were to write a book and I could write about anything I wanted (not worrying about who would buy it and read it), what would I want to write about? I think I would want to write about my mistakes as an entrepreneur… my errors in judgement… the poor choices I made which seemed to me to be so right at the time. It amazes me how most people are reluctant to talk about their business mistakes. While I am far from being proud of my past mistakes, I know that my “good decisions” today come as a result of making the wrong decisions in the past and learning hard lessons."
Read the rest of the post here:

Just my 15%

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Marketplace Options for 2010

While I do work for one of the fastest growing marketplaces on the web, I figured I would do a post on the current landscape for all online marketplaces. Some of these sites may be options for your business in 2010.

One thing to take notice of when assessing each marketplace, is to consider their demographics. Each of these sites has a specific customer base that in many ways is unique to them. The only way to get access to those customers is by selling on their marketplace. One very good tool for determining each marketplace demographic is www.quantcast.com. SO check it out when you are considering a new marketplace channel for your business.

The 800 lb Gorillas:
  1. Amazon.com - Not much needs to be said about this marketplace, except they seem to be firing on all cylinders. If you are not selling on Amazon.com currently you should consider it. Not ideal for vintage or collectible product and some categories are closed or invitation only (Jewelry, Apparel, Cell Phones)

  2. eBay.com - eBay used to be the only marketplace in town and has gone through a number of changes since 2006, but they still get a ton of traffic and are the best place to sell collectibles and vintage product. Sellers of New In-Season and Secondary market product may see them as an incremental sales channel. eBay is still a "high maintenance" marketplace so go in with your eyes wide open.

    Note: Buy.com sells on Amazon as well as eBay because we get access to a customer that doesn't generally shop on Buy.com and they are great incremental sales channels.
Up and Comers and Niche Sites:

  1. Etsy.com is a great site for Handmade, Vintage and Crafting Supplies but they are not open to any other categories, so if you sell vintage items or product you make by hand make sure to check out Etsy.com

  2. Buy.com - (Full Disclosure, I work for Buy.com) The Buy.com marketplace had a tremendous year in 2009 with 150% year over year growth and we are looking to keep the momentum going. We are expanding categories in 2010 to add Pet Supplies, Musical Instruments and Personal Care. We do have several gated categories (Jewelry, Sports, Cell Phones) and we require a verifiable online sales history. We hope to add more categories as the year progresses.

  3. Overstock.com While I don't consider Overstock a marketplace, it is a sales option for 3P merchants. Merchants actually serve as drop shippers and are not the merchant of record on Overstock so there isn't an opportunity to display your brand like at eBay, Amazon, Buy.coma and Etsy.

  4. Alibris.com is a great marketplace for online media sellers and they get expanded reach for your product by selling on eBay, Amazon, Half.com and now Buy.com among other sites.

  5. Half.com - the "red-haired step child" of the eBay corporation for sellers of Books, Textbooks, CDs, DVD and Video Games.

  6. StubHub.com is another eBay marketplace specifically for Ticket sales. If you have tickets to sell, StubHub is the online leader.

  7. WalMart.com launched a new marketplace in 2010 and wants to be one of those 800 lb. gorillas in the first section. In its current form I don't consider it a marketplace because they are not bringing on competing offerings, but it would not be wise to under-estimate the online arm of the #1 retailer in the world.

  8. Sears.com - another new addition to the marketplace field. The Sears.com marketplace is still in it's infancy, so time will tell how viable it is as a marketplace.

  9. NewEggMall.com the marketplace of Newegg.com
The Small Guys (but growing in viability):
  1. Bonanzle.com - They are positioning themselves as a marketplace for "find everything buy the ordinary" So if that is the type of product you sell, you should consider Bonanzle.com. Don't wait for eBay to spin-off the old eBay as eBay Classic. Bonanzle.com hopes to fill that void.

  2. eCrater.com is really what eBay stores should have been (sorry for all the eBay references). If you are looking for your own online presence without creating a website on your own then eCrater.com should be considered.

Auction Options:

eBay isn't the only auction site on the web, though they are still the leader. Here are two options to consider.
  1. eBid.net is the #2 auction site in the UK and has a US auction website as well.

  2. Bidtopia.com is a new auction site developed by a former eBay seller and may be an option for your business.

There are sure to be more additions to this list as the year progresses, and having so many viable options is a good thing for online sellers.

Just my 15%

Friday, January 01, 2010

eCommerce Resolutions for the New Year!

I love when the calendar changes to a new year, because it once again gives me hope that this new year will be so much better than the last. Moving into 2010 from the recession plagued 2009, gives me added hope; it couldn't get worse could it?

As you are looking to 2010 for improvements in your online business? Consider one or more of my top 10 resolutions/suggestions for 2010. Hopefully they will help you with your business in the new year. Theses are not ranked in order of importance just by when they came into my head :) First, the best way to plan for the future is to assess the past, so here are a few suggestions.
  1. Take these first few days of the new year to reflect on what you want out of your online business. There are many reasons for starting an online business; is the reason you started still a reality? Did you just want extra cash? Did you get laid-off and need the additional income? Did you want to expand your Brick and Mortar business? Did you want to grow your business into a huge online operation? Look at what motivated you to start and see how well you did so far. Take stock of where you are currently and be honest about it.

  2. Take these first few days of 2010 to assess your business and the ecommerce climate. If you are a marketplace seller, take stock of what worked and what didn't for each marketplace. Stop looking at each sales channel from the same perspective. If you only sell on your website, then consider growing incremental sales on one or more of the viable marketplaces on the web.

  3. If you are a small seller, part-time seller, lifestyle seller, hobbiest, eBay seller (eBay is your sole marketing vehicle) please understand that ecommerce today is nothing like when you started. There are many more marketing options available now, your competition has increased and the online consumer is much more demanding. The idealism that carried you through the early days of your business needs to be replaced by the cold, hard reality of doing business on the web today. Take this time to assess, how you can achieve your goals in light of the current environment.

  4. If you are a large seller looking to grow your business even more in 2010, take stock of all of the marketing channels available and start using the ones that make the most sense. I would recommend a site called Quantcast.com to give you a feel for what the demographic is for each marketplace. What sells well at eBay may not at Amazon or Buy.com.

  5. Do not "live" on any one marketplace. This applies mostly to small sellers who don't have the resources, nor desire to sell on multiple channels. Take it from me, I lived solely on eBay and waited too long to launch my website, when my business model on eBay no longer worked, I didn't have enough website business to keep me afloat. At the very least launch a website and grow it while selling on a marketplace. If you decide to "live" on a marketplace, please make sure your livelihood doesn't depend on it.

  6. Many online sellers are fantastic at sourcing product, but not so good at the other aspects of the business (customer service, shipment, etc.) If you plan on selling on a marketplace, remember that each channel will become more restrictive, rather than less. Performance will be key to your success on each sales channel.

    Ship your orders sooner rather than later. At Buy.com we require that sellers ship their items within 2 business days. We have some exceptions depending on category. Amazon is heading that direction. They currently do not require it but my guess is they will soon. WalMart does require that sellers ship with 2 business days.

    In a recent Business Week article "eBay's Last-minute Delivery Push" "Vice-President for Buyer & Seller Experience Dinesh Lathi says its sellers take an average of four days to ship items, and 85% of orders ship within three days. That's an improvement over a year ago, though Lathi won't say by how much. "We are working with sellers to make sure they are better-positioned to meet buyers' expectations," Lathi says."

    In the good old days, that kind of performance worked on eBay, because eBay was the only place to get the product, but there are way too many viable options to eBay these days, so shipping in 4-days does not measure-up. If you want to be successful on other marketplaces you will need to improve your performance.

  7. Stop looking at Marketplaces as customer acquisition tools, even eBay: First each marketplace will have rules that restrict you from marketing to their customers and you may put your selling account in jeopardy and secondly because it really doesn't work.

    Consumers shop on these sites for a reason, because they like the broad selection, the way the site works and they know the site will stand behind the purchase. Buy.com customers regularly turn in sellers who market directly to them. Even eBay shoppers are extremely difficult to acquire. I had 400,000 customers at Glacier Bay and only 40,000 of them were regular customers. I could only get maybe 10% of those regular customers to shop from my website.

    Customer acquisition should come through comparison shopping, paid search, SEO and other marketing efforts. Marketplaces should be considered incremental sales channels based on revenue sharing. If the share of revenue that a marketplace gets works within your financial model, then make that marketplace part of your business.

  8. Understand what your business model is: If you are a high value, low volume seller than the marketplace may not be for you. Marketplaces are competitive and usually the lowest price gets the sale. Marketplace managers are looking for sellers with great selection, low prices and great performance, so before you sign-up take this into consideration.

    Many successful online businesses thrive with the high value, low volume approach onCheck Spelling their websites and use marketplaces for liquidation and cost recovery. Find the model that works for your business.

  9. Are you enjoying your business, or is it sucking the life out of you? Take these first weeks to assess what you are doing and either re-commit yourself to your business plan, revamp your business plan or find an exit.

  10. This is specifically directed at eBay sellers. The eBay of today will never again be like it was and you need to finally come to grips with that. Either make eBay work for you or find another option.
Happy New Year to all of you and I would love to hear your comments or additional suggestions.

Just my 15%