Kyozou is - in theory - an excellent platform. In practice, it is like buying a very old top of the range car - lots of gizmos and goodies but there always seems to be something wrong with it. Basic processes like email notifications, checkout and reports often don`t work .. worse still, they don`t work intermittently . To stick with the analogy, your old car misfires but when you get it to the garage it is fine and working so you feel a bit stupid. A week later it misfires again. For example, every so often the Kyozou system will not allow buyers to checkout for a shop item...as your Paypal account is directly linked to Kyozou, issuing a seperate Paypal invoice won`t work. Buyers get severely miffed and you lose sales. The auto listers also occasionally fail, sods` law means they start working again at 4.30 in the morning giving you a batch of auctions ending at 4.30 in the morning. The websites Kyozou creates are very basic, not user friendly and again put buyers off. It is made a more frustrating experience because the potential of the software is very good indeed and the interface is very easy to use, but ultimately be prepared to spend extra time pacifying buyers unable to pay, replying to emails because notifications weren`t sent out, and generally intervening when processes don`t work.
Wow...finally someone who knows what's up. sellthemoon is awesome. I agree with all his statements regarding Kyozou.
Kyozou is a very easy and appealing program to use. It is simple and has a great interface. My customer service department loved using it and picked up on it right away. Not only is it easy to navigate but it's actually very pleasant to work on...well on the surface.
But, past just the look of the program, I found very severe problems with using this. Sellthemoon named most of them. Your friend may do pretty well on eBay and loves the program, but I doubt he or she is using advanced features and taking advantage of features that you should be. I also doubt that you friend is tracking his auctions with efficiency. Most importantly, the problem with kyozou is the fact that the feature which automates sending your inventory to auction, on a repeated basis, to which they call "auto-lister profiles" does not work. It constantly fails, which means unless you track to insure your auctions go up every single hour, you're going to have auctions that don't go up. Imagine what happens to be shocked when 18 hours of auctions don't go up. Goodbye 1/30th of your profits for the month. Now, with those types of bugs, imagine what other problems happen. Do you want to spend time fixing problems or making money?
Note: Other auction programs do have the same issues. But, it is way less frequent than kyozou and it's easier to track the auctions. I would check into eseller pro, and Marketworks.
by the way....why is your current website stopping you from going where you want to? Websites should enable you to take customers off eBay and point them to where you make better margins. eBay is a whole world in itself and while it is the best place for ecommerce, in my opinion, if you can look into finding more ways to market, promote, and drive sales to your website, I think you'll find that it's a better place than eBay.
Our current website was developed approx 3 years ago. It is completely custom. At the time it had everything that we wanted however overtime we realize that we are missing many things such as:
1) The ability to have a customer database. We would like to be able to ask our customers certain questions prior to checkout.
2) Forums - We would like to put together a chat forum on our site.
3) Photo gallery - Everytime a customer sends us a new picture we have to literally redo the photogallery.
4) Better integration with our shipping companies (rate calculator, etc...
5) According to some companies, they can structure the websites so that they are more attractive to the crawlers.
We initially started thinking about hiring a PHP designer to add some of these changes however with the costs involved for all the things we started thinking that it may be a better idea to go with some sort of e merchant solution. Chances are they have already thought about things that we probably will only figure out down the road. That is their specialty.
PS We do use eBay however our main sales come directly from the website.
Both myself and Auctioning4u use the system, its very robust, constant updates and community driven in development and support.
In order, here are the modules/resources Joomla can provide you:
1) Joomla, written in PHP, is also SQL driven, allowing access to read and write records into the Database and is pretty easy to customize. Additionally, Virtuemart, a component for Joomla that handles the OSCommerce section provides a sleek interface and functionality that allows to track, modify and record customer activity. Since all transactions would pass through Virtuemart, all records of the customer would be available for you to conact them.
2) Joomla has a series of Forums that can be integrated into it, and would highly recommend Invision that integrates well with Joomla and helps with SE ranking
3) Another plugin for Joomla is Zoom Media Gallery is a great solution as well as Gallery2. Both easy to install and navigate through.
Sounds like you guys have the start, but I bet I can suggest things to you that would bring you two levels beyond just the surface of what you want. What if I told you that I know a way you can collect marketing information about your customers, without having them answer annoying questions?
Photos can be hosted by third party servers and software.
Chat and forums would be great, but I think you have to really control this and work it to your ability. I don't think most of the time that customers are going to go onto the forum to talk about the great things your product has done for them. But, that idea of a commuinity, like a Myspace, is going to grow into the internet world. In fact, it already has. But, ecommerce has yet to create what those companies like Myspace are doing. eBay is somewhat there, but in general, they are missing the boat.