Can't find the 'right' program...

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United States United States
unusualgoods
Kudos: 45
Joined: Nov 6, 2006
Can't find the 'right' program...
6 Nov 2006
Hey

For the longest time I've been wanting a program to handle my ebay business. I've been using a spreadsheet since 1997. I don't fully grasp Access so I cannot build a database to do what I need it to do. I've tried. A lot.

Besides the miscellaneous individual items, I sell beads. I buy in large quantities. I sell on ebay, off of ebay, and at shows.

Ultimately, I want to be able to track many different things, and do it simply: how many of any item is unsold, and which buyers bought what beads (most of our customers buy multiple types of beads per order). When Mary buys from us, I should easily be able to tell the program that she bought three blue beads and four red beads, and have the bead counts automatically adjust themselves.

I also want to know the average price for each type of item (we sold sixteen groups of red beads at various prices but the average price is $xx.xx).

Then I want to be able to look at history, whether it's to see what a buyer bought, how many of an item was sold, or where I bought all the different red beads from.

I do not need:
invoice or html generation
the software to log into ebay to learn what was sold
the software to be able to relist items

I've found, on ebay, a number of people selling software for sellers and every one of them does not handle multiple inventory of the same items. If I have 85 red beads up in the ebay store, that's one auction number. If I sell them in an auction, there's another number. If I second chance offer two people, if I sell them via email, if I sell them in person, and so on. Each is a different auction number but it's still the same item and every sale needs to decrease the total existing quantity.

Might anyone know what software to use?

Thanks for the advice!

Paul

[Last edited: 6 Nov 2006]
Supplier
United States United States
bhogue
Kudos: 220
Joined: Sep 27, 2006
Re: Can't find the 'right' program...
6 Nov 2006
Hey, I think AuctionSound may be the best solution for you. There is no average sold price calculator but it provides you with the inventory management features you are looking for. Call or email to get a demo, then you can see if it's a good fit for you.
United States United States
unusualgoods
Kudos: 45
Joined: Nov 6, 2006
Re: Can't find the 'right' program...
6 Nov 2006
There's a number of reasons why AuctionSound is not what I'm looking for.

It was designed for eBay Trading Assistants, which I'm not.

I want a program on my pc, AuctionSound is a web based system.

AuctionSound is also $150 per month. That's almost $2000 a year for a program that does what I already do, just a *little* bit better.
Supplier
United States United States
bhogue
Kudos: 220
Joined: Sep 27, 2006
Re: Can't find the 'right' program...
6 Nov 2006
oh, I assumed you were a trading assistant. Check out eSellerPro or ChannelAdvisor merchant.
United States United States
Seller1
Kudos: 385
Joined: Jun 2, 2006
Re: Can't find the 'right' program...
7 Nov 2006
There are a few tricks that you should definitely learn. You brought up a few topics and I'll honestly say that it's difficult to recommend a program that does all of these things well. How many items are you selling? How many auctions are up?
United States United States
unusualgoods
Kudos: 45
Joined: Nov 6, 2006
Re: Can't find the 'right' program...
7 Nov 2006

Seller1 wrote:

There are a few tricks that you should definitely learn. You brought up a few topics and I'll honestly say that it's difficult to recommend a program that does all of these things well. How many items are you selling? How many auctions are up?
Currently we have about one hundred auctions in the store, which represent about 1400 individual items. Honestly, if we could get a software package that does all we need it to do, then we'd very quickly double our inventory, and double the amount of stuff we sell on ebay.
Supplier
Hoboken, NJ United States
redstage networks
Kudos: 255
Joined: Sep 21, 2006
Re: Can't find the 'right' program...
8 Nov 2006
Hi unusual goods,

Our software meets all of your requirements, but it also does quite a bit more that you are probably not looking for.

It might be worth a look anyway. One of our agents can give you a free 15-20 minute demo where you can ask as many questions as you would like. It can't hurt.

Here's the link: Laris Software

[Last edited: 9 Nov 2006]
Redstage Internet Marketing Solutions
Internet Marketing Strategies | SEO | PPC | Social Media
www.redstagesolutions.com
United States United States
Seller1
Kudos: 385
Joined: Jun 2, 2006
Re: Can't find the 'right' program...
9 Nov 2006
I am not completely following what your needs are. But, here is some quick input that you got me thinking about.

There are many different ways to sell on eBay, but I like to put most of the sellers into two categories.

1. Sellers who make good margins on minimal items. There is an eBay seller who sells diamonds for example. He maybe sells one a day, yet he makes a huge margin that amounts to more than most what most powersellers make in a week.

Programs like Channel Advisor in my opinion are more geared to this system.

2. Sellers who sell high volumes and have the "Wal Mart" approach. Most likely the margins are low. The average is usually around 33% profit. The programs that specialize in this are Marketworks, Kyozou, Channel Pro, etc.

These sellers can still make a ton of money, but have to deal with a lot of numbers.

The first thing you need to ask yourself, is which type of seller are you and which program will ultimately accomplish this. Then, I would look at what programs have the top sellers on eBay. Keep in mind that I'm assuming you want to make a ton of money, like the rest of the world does.

Before you move any further with one of these systems I would make sure you know what you're looking for and what you need this system to accomplish. Just by reading my posts, the feedback from other people, and other postings I'm sure you can figure out that many sellers are not happy. And I think that the ones that don't post or think that they are happy, are missing out.

Remember that all of them will tell you they can handle the job and that every system is good...it just depends on how you run your business. This is partly true. But, I don't see how some companies can function with a system that doesn't have certain features that they SHOULD have. I've seen programs out there that people rave about, yet it doesn't have the ability to have second chance offers! How can you possibly be running a system without that important detail. It could mean almost 35% of your sales!

These systems do not have organized systems that allow you to export into accounting, nor are they always dependable. Is that important to you? Or do you have a good way of tracking this? Do you sell ones and twos or do you have items going consistently. Are your items going up daily? Monthly?

While investigating other sellers, I would also check out their feedback and when they started as a seller. Feedback will never be 100% perfect with sellers like us, but use it as a tool to show you how productive the company is at getting repeat customers. Just because a company has 100,000 + feedback does not mean that they are productive enough to get shoppers back. Are they still growing at a good pace?

Another thing to think about is what channels you want to sell on. So many of us have found out that it's important to sell on Amazon, eBay, and the web. Do you want a system that can handle all of this? E Seller Pro has a great approach to this and I would definitely say you should check them out to see if they meet your needs.

I guess I'm getting a little ahead of myself and probably filling the room up with too many things at once. But, I hope it gets you thinking about what you need so you can ask the right questions. Only you truly know what needs you have. Then, once you commit to a system, I would hire someone outside of the company to show you the tricks. It will not only save you money and time, but it will show you years of experience.
United States United States
unusualgoods
Kudos: 45
Joined: Nov 6, 2006
Re: Can't find the 'right' program...
9 Nov 2006

Seller1 wrote:

I am not completely following what your needs are.
FWIW, you're not the only one who's having an issue understanding this.

Let me try a more detailed, but simplified, scenario.

I buy five types of beads: red, blue, green, black, and white. There are 100 quantity of each bead. In my eyes, I want to come home from shopping and tell the program that I bought the five types, 100 of each, and that each one was $55. The program should automatically calculate the price per item ($0.55).

Then I put up 80 of each color in my ebay store, and I list each color in an ebay auction. Now each color has two ebay id's.

I sell 15 red beads from the store and I tell the program this, where is automatically adjusts the quantity-on-hand. I also sell one red bead from the auction. Here's the first issue: the same inventory item has two ebay id's. When I tell the program that I sold the single red bead, it needs to know to reduce that this is the same beads as the 15 that were sold.

Further, I send out some second chance offers, and I sell some at a local craft show. Each customer buys the same bead, but in each sale the red beads have a different ebay id, or none at all.

I do not need a program to connect to ebay. I have NO problems entering all that data myself. I have been doing that into a spreadsheet since early 1997. Granted, if it does do that, I might use that feature. I write my own html auctions, I manually send out all my own invoices. I manually email all my buyers saying their package was mailed. I manually enter my own feedback. Again, I've been doing this for ten years and I'm ok with continuing to do so.

While I want this program to help track inventory, there's other thing as well. It should help me track where in the process the sale process it is (won, invoices, paid, shipped, received).

I should be able to look at a customers history and see what they've bought, and I should be able to look at an item and see who's bought it.

When I sell out of the red beads, I need to be able to add more red beads, which probably will cost a different amount, and be able to have distinguished it from the first red beads.

When I sell something, I only want to enter it into the program once. If the status of the sold item changes, I only want to change the status once. For instance, right now in the spreadsheet I have a tab with active items. When one sells, I copy it into another tab marked "sold". When it's paid for, I move the line from "sold" to "done". When the item is shipped, the line is moved to another section in "done". Keeping track of quantity sold is something I don't even want to explain, unless I really have to. It's truly atrocious...

Hopefully this will explain more,

Paul
Supplier
Hoboken, NJ United States
redstage networks
Kudos: 255
Joined: Sep 21, 2006
Re: Can't find the 'right' program...
9 Nov 2006
I'm trying to get a grasp on what your volume is on a monthly basis.

Laris can do all of what you mentioned with ease, but I think Laris, Channel Advisor Merchant, Marketworks, etc may be more than you're looking to spend.

Seller1, we export in Quickbooks format. Anything that can read quickbooks format can integrate with us for Accounting.
Redstage Internet Marketing Solutions
Internet Marketing Strategies | SEO | PPC | Social Media
www.redstagesolutions.com
United States United States
unusualgoods
Kudos: 45
Joined: Nov 6, 2006
Re: Can't find the 'right' program...
9 Nov 2006
By no means am I prolific seller.

We can go a month with no sales at all, but in other months we have have sixty buyers, which represents hundreds of individual items.
United States United States
Seller1
Kudos: 385
Joined: Jun 2, 2006
Re: Can't find the 'right' program...
9 Nov 2006
I'm familiar with Laris. Unfortunately, you guys do not connect to Quickbooks. I've used every system's reporting export feature. I don't think that it's enough. Those reports do not work with Quickbooks efficiently. Zoovy and E Seller Pro have good ways of importing and linking up. You should check those out.

Unusual, I think that you're probably best off with the system you run now. Those other programs would probably cost too much for where you're at.

Any of the programs here can probably keep track of your inventory for how you are describing. As far as customer management, all programs can pretty much do that as well. But, I would recommend you checkout some other database programs. Repeat customers are important. If you are selling all on channels then you should use a program that syncs up with your center accounting software. You might try using Quickbooks or Peachtree as your center hub. It might replace all these eBay auction management software programs.
Supplier
United States United States
bhogue
Kudos: 220
Joined: Sep 27, 2006
Re: Can't find the 'right' program...
9 Nov 2006
unusualgoods,

I talk to a lot of eBayers who have a similar mentality to yours when it comes to selling. They have all been selling for a while and are set in their ways. They want a program that already fits or will conform to the system they have been using since before third party software was around. The problem is that will never happen unless you hire a developer to build a program specifically for what you need. We know that is cost prohibitive for you. You have two choices: the first is to reevaluate your inventory management style and conform IT to a particular software, not the other way around. Your second choice is to realize that there is no program that will address all of your needs the exact way you want; so you might as well stick with your current method. Whichever software program you might choose, you will be unhappy with and end up frustrated. Stick with what you've got, or change the way you do business. Sorry if this post is a little on the negative side, but those are your best options.
United States United States
unusualgoods
Kudos: 45
Joined: Nov 6, 2006
Re: Can't find the 'right' program...
10 Nov 2006
No, it's not negative at all.

The problem, though, is that I *am* set in my ways. For me to evaluate a program, I'd have to spend hours learning it and entering in some data to try the program out.

I'd then need to do this multiple times for multiple packages. I've started to learn how to build a database in Access, but that's very difficult to do and without proper teaching I may never be able to build the database to what I want it to be.

Honestly, I have no issue changing the way I inventory, and the way I ebay, but I really want to be sure that when I change it's for the right program.
United States United States
Lalla
Kudos: 55
Joined: Jun 14, 2005
Re: Can't find the 'right' program...
27 Dec 2006
Have you tried Selling Manager Pro? its a eBay service. I only hit and missed some of the posts, so sorry if this was mentioned or not along the lines of what you're asking about....but I have 2 eBay account, each with their own store. I use the SMPro with one account and the only thing that really bothers me is that I can't schedule a auction to list in advance, so I have to be home every Sunday nite at 6-7pm PST. If you have any questions about it, I'd be happy to try and help.
You can email me direct or ask here.

the_lilleypad@msn.com

2nd Office
ChannelAdvisor
XSellco
Volo