Alex Knight walks us through the best FREE apps for eBay market research, listing new and used items, and analyzing your sales.
Last year we welcomed a miniature dachshund to the family. Unfortunately, she immediately started terrorizing the family’s garden gnome collection and they were forced to seek refuge in the shed.
When tidying the shed this spring, I rediscovered our collection of twenty gnomes (what can I say, we like gnomes!) We can no longer have them on display in the garden, so I have decided to sell them on eBay.
I would ideally like to use some eBay software to help me with the process. I think the gnomes would fetch a better price if I do my market research up front, and build attractive listings for all the other gnome-lovers out there. However I don’t intend to build a real business selling on eBay just yet, so I’m looking for free software that can optimize my selling.
Marketplaces are hyper-competitive and ultra-demanding. Is it time to protect your business by building your own independent brand?
There’s no question that marketplaces like Amazon and eBay are powerful sales machines. Offer the right products at the right price, while keeping your service levels high, and the orders will roll in.
But competition is always fierce. Buyers don’t know who you are, so they will trust the marketplace to guide them to the best seller each time they make a purchase. That usually means whoever happens to be the cheapest. The marketplaces don’t play favorites.
Nor do they look after you. If you falter and stumble, they don’t pick you up and dust you down – they kick you out. It doesn’t take many complaints from their customers – the buyers – for you to become persona non grata.
What’s an online seller to do? How can you rise above the endless mass of competing sellers, all fighting to reach the top? The only way is to strike out on your own. Build a real, recognizable brand. Sell through your own online store. Build your own social media following. Unlike your marketplace selling accounts, those things really belong to you. They can’t be taken away easily, and they are a powerful asset to build your business on.
In this post I’ll walk you through the Online Stores & Social Media category of the Web Retailer directory. It covers store platforms, tools for creating Facebook stores, tools for feeding existing listings through to social networks, and connector apps between marketplaces and store platforms.
Matthew Ferguson takes on his hardest question yet: how to choose a multichannel management tool – the octopus of your ecommerce zoo!
Have a question for us? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Readers’ Questions are in partnership with Emanaged and Online Seller Consulting.
We sell a number of goods from several different suppliers, and we can’t keep it all organized with spreadsheets anymore. We sell on Amazon and eBay, and want to sell on Walmart and others. We were looking at systems out there and there’s so many. Inventory managers, listings tools, etc. I have no idea where to start. They all seem to do different things. Help?
— Chris from L.A.
Software and services for Amazon/eBay market research, importing, private labeling, arbitrage, wholesale, liquidation and dropshipping
Good sources of inventory aren’t just lying out in the open for everyone to see, you have to go looking for them. But the quest to find profitable products is not easy – it’s almost like searching for buried treasure.
First, you’ll need some sort of map to guide you, rather than just wandering around at random. But don’t expect to have an X marking the perfect spot.
You’ll also need “pieces of eight” to invest. The more gold doubloons you have at your disposal, the more options and leverage you will have with suppliers.
Then you’ll need the right tools for the job. A compass and telescope won’t get you far, but there are software and services available that can help a great deal.
In this post I’ll walk you through the Product Sourcing category of the Web Retailer directory. It covers market research, product evaluation, importing and private label, online arbitrage, wholesale, liquidation and dropshipping.
When marketplace sellers get together, the conversation often turns to multichannel management software. Many sellers will talk knowledgeably about different vendors, but others will look on blankly.
After a while, when there is a break in the conversation, one of the sellers “in the know” will notice the vacant stares. How can they explain what they’re talking about? Maybe by saying how this kind of software synchronizes stock levels across marketplaces, creates listings and manages orders? Well they could, but normally they don’t. They just say, “Oh you know, like ChannelAdvisor!” And the blank looks fade instantly.
ChannelAdvisor is pretty much synonymous with “marketplace management software”. They’ve been in this business since 2001, longer than almost anyone else. They have over 2,800 customers globally, and in 2015 managed $6.8 billion in GMV (gross merchandise volume – total sales). ChannelAdvisor supports over sixty sales channels around the world, and the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2013. There’s no-one else like them among the many multichannel software vendors.
I caught up recently with Mike Shapaker, ChannelAdvisor’s Managing Director for the EMEA region (covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa). We talked about how this industry giant came to exist, the features they have been working on recently, and the company’s plans for the future.