Tag Archives: eCommerce

Ecommerce strategies, Marketplace Information and tips for ebay, Amazon, SEO, Express, Google Base, froogle.

eBay as part of an on-going e-commerce business strategy

Do businesses really appreciate how much an eBay presence is complementary to their e-commerce strategy?

The answer, until recently, has been no. But times are changing, corporates, SME and sole traders alike are embracing eBay, accessing not only the 14 or so million registered ebayers in the UK but also a massive international market.

The real problem up until now has been to do with skill sets, cost, and time – Has anyone really got resource to throw at setting up an entire business unit specifically for eBay? The answer generally is no, it is generally the case that most businesses will “dip their toes” first but rapidly it becomes clear to most that eBay represents a vast revenue stream. So where next? Well, to grow and scale really are the challenges that present most businesses with “blockers”, moments in time where it really would be easier to “put on hold until we are ready” – I have seen this many times – yet 6 months or a year on I have also seen businesses panic about being left behind and therefore scrambling and making mistakes.

My advice to any corporate, SME or sole trader would be this – Include eBay into your e-commerce planning now – this is essential as eBay represents the largest on-line marketplace in the world. Correct planning allows you to establish and scale out an eBay operation complementary to existing e-commerce routes to market, the next e-commerce planning session you organise should have this on the agenda!

Blogging for customers!

The buzz word of 2006 was web 2.0. ‘Oh its so Web 2.0’ you might hear at conferences and seminars. My take on web 2.0 is building a community for your buyers based on the product type on offer. Your customers are moving to on-line sales but they need your advice. Truthful, simple advice without the hard sell. First magazines, gossip columns and newspapers caught onto the blog wave, but now product sellers are paving the way to help the customer make the right purchase.

Adverts may be boring and invasive at times but Blogs are not, take ‘Innocent smoothies‘ they have a web log that provides an interesting insight to their origins, ethics and the people in the company. A blog like this takes of the lid off a large company letting the consumer take a look inside. This is what corporate blogging is all about.

For instance Bluefly.com a fashion designer and retailer launched their blog http://flypaper.bluefly.com to raise awareness and keep customer informed of new styles and movements in the fashion industry.

Top free blog providers out there include Blogger.com, Typepad and WordPress. WordPress is also one of the most popular open source blogging software, with a new release at the end of January and a unique ‘Multi-Blogger’ system dubbed ‘WordPress Mu’ so you can provide your employees with a blog of their own linked to your main domain.

As a new ‘blogger’ I would suggest a free hosted blog before you integrate a blog into your main domain. A ‘news’ blog needs to be updated with new content everyday, but a corporate blog only needs feeding 3-4 times a week. If you don’t update your blog your customers interest will wane and the point of the blog will eventually be lost.

We hope to see you in the blogging revolution!

Liz Kidson – Frooition Support

Selling Product – eBay Shop, Websites and Storefronts.

In this article I just fist want to mention what the differences between these three entities are. A lot of my clients get confused between these three formats, which causes misinterpretation of what functionality is available to them.

Firstly, an eBay shop:

This is part of the eBay marketplace where all of your listings on eBay can be collectively viewed. You can make this look very much like a website (like the guys from creativebay.co.uk) but it is definitely NOT a website. You have 2 ‘marketplaces’ under the eBay umbrella. Core Listings which get a larger proportion of traffic and seemingly cheaper ‘shop’ listings which do not form part of the eBay main search and depend very much on core listings to bring in traffic. Within an eBay store you have custom pages, categories and promotional boxes. With a shop on the eBay marketplace, search engine optimisation is done for you by eBay and your have instant traffic.

A Website:

A website can be custom built to any specification and purpose, as long as your budget allows. Websites need optimisation and maintenance usually by your design company to insure the security and smooth running of the site. As long as you are willing to pay for it (Some full e-commerce websites have been fabled to cost around £7000) a website can be built to perform any task and tick any box. Currently toast making websites are not available; you will always have to do that yourself. Get a toaster.

A Storefront;

Storefronts are commonly part of a bigger picture, but have certain limitations with functionality with regards to a custom built website which is built solely for your purpose. Two ‘storefronts’ that spring to mind belong as extra functionality to a complete e-commerce solution. Channeladvisor and Marketworks are both auction and shopping feed inventory based order management systems which have the added benefit of a storefront to showcase your product.

Functionality will always differ greatly. For example, Channeladvisor provides a matrix inventory (product with dropdowns) whereas a Marketworks storefront does not. A storefront is part of a complete solution that you can market and treat as a website, but you will need to check with your provider if the particular storefront will give you the functionality you need.

Examples,

A Marketworks Storefront http://www.findingking.com

A Channeladvisor Storefront http://www.bling-bling-online.co.uk

These guys also have matching eBay dealings:

Marketworks: http://stores.ebay.com/FindingKing

Channeladvisor: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Bling-Bling-Online

Whatever you choose to sell your product please check testimonials of the stability of the sites and services and make sure you can attract a suitable amount of traffic. If you pay £7000 for a kick ass fully functional website but you have no buyer traffic…..well don’t make the mistake many have already!

Will Google Take Over the World?

Recently Google has made a number of acquisitions that have made headline news. The most obvious recent purchase was the high profile takeover of YouTube for $1.65 Billion in stock. However this merger is just one in a long line of Google purchases.

Google’s latest procurement includes the purchase of the WIKI based site JotSpot. JotSpot was founded by the co founders of the former search engine site Excite; one of the first search engine home pages to feature customizable home pages which Google users have come to know and love.

The current trend to move towards new web 2.0 technology (such as WIKI technology AJAX and my space type sites) is being vastly adopted by many big players in the web technology world. Big players using web 2.0 and JotSpot include: eBay, Google, Intel and Symantec (Owners of Norton Anti-Virus).

Some of Google’s previous acquisitions have enabled the implementation of some of their well known services. Below shows some of those services and the acquisitions that made the technology possible:

Google has also purchased a large number of other software companies; some of the most exciting technologies include biometric identification systems, You Tube video on demand, and other BLOGGGER/WIKI technologies. Combine this with Google’s future plan to move over to selling lo-cost Linux based hardware for a fraction of the typical personal computer costs; it is not that difficult to imagine a world where all your computing needs are served online without the need to purchase software.

For a glimpse into the future head on over to Google Docs and check out their on demand office solution. It doesn’t quite knock Microsoft Office out of the water just yet but watch this space!!

Please feel free to add any comments to this post. Please check back regularly to see reviews and descriptions of new Google technologies and tips/tricks for getting the best out of Google.

Written by Andrew Pinner

eBay and Myspace.com

The massive optimisation of myspace of late means that in around 2 days, your myspace account is optimised within google and showing up within search listings! Just search for frooition in google and two myspace accounts will appear where two employees have marked frooition as where they work. That happened in 2 days! What else gets into googles search index in a mere two days? Many sellers are now promoting their auctions through myspace and adding ‘freinds’ from relevent groups of people. The primary age for myspace is between 16 and 34. So if your product hits that age range then a bit of free myspace advertising can’t go a miss can it?

Whaaaaat? I hear you say? Well companies such as Red Bull are using myspace to attract new customers to their product. Want a bigger example? Adidas are also giving myspace a whirl!

Since the auctionbytes article ebayers have been taking advantage of this new channel to gain brand control ( you would not want anyone else to use your brand!)

Myspace has a networking feature also which will help you market too and reach new customers.

With myspace attracting 200,000 new registrants a day who can afford to miss out on this marketing and SEO oppotunity.

Join the race, get on myspace! ( I really could be a 70’s children’s TV presenter sometimes)

eBay Express WE NEED BUYERS!

eBay express is everywhere, on myspace.com, pretty email and literature to exsiting eBayers…..eBay express in the UK is attracting the cream of the sellers. Only one problem is the lack of buyers. The states suffered the same downfall. One seller quoted only 3 sales in about 300 were from the eBay express marketplace.
I personally fail to see why. Ebay express is a potentially great marketplace for buyers! Why?

-All items must have a returns policy
-Sellers must have a 98% or more feedback on eBay
-Be genuine business sellers bound by distance selling regulations ( no fakes as well guys!)
-Items must be shipped within 3 days (no pre-ordering here)
-Payment by credit/debit card is taken by eBays Express Checkout
-Buy from multiple sellers and have a shopping cart like expereince!

eBay express is going to be the biggest e-commerce deptartment store of all time! But we need buyers! The sellers are up for it.

As said in a previous post eBay is running a TV ad for its main marketplace but not its new eBay express, and so far not attracting the new buyers it needs.

I am a new convert to the ways of eBay express and wish it the best. When your looking to buy on eBay remember to check eBay express. Its a better customer experience!

E-commerce is the cheapest way to trade!

E-Commerce is one of the most important aspects of the Internet. Under this umbrella we have websites with shopping cart functions, marketplaces and shopping comparison sites.

Ecommerce allows people to carry out business without the restraint of time or location. A traditional website can serve anywhere in the world that can log on! The cost per sale is reduced when you’re talking about e-commerce. No human interaction is needed, and errors are reduced as the customer provides all the information.

Customers can search for niche products in an instant, and if you are a seller of niche product, reaching out to the world can increase your sales volumes thus decreasing the cost of the item for you, the business.

The customers experience can be streamlined, they will spend less time over order discrepancies and there is an increased chance of cross selling as the products are just another click away.

So when as a business would you choose a marketplace such as eBay?

Marketplaces are great for customer acquisition; a marketplace such as eBay will spread your branding across the web quicker than any pay per click scheme. Marketplaces have high velocities, great for brand new stock and finishing lines. Marketplaces can also be places to test ideas or new products, you will soon know on whether a product is not going to do well or fly off the shelves.

Protecting your bricks and mortar:

Many traditional companies are afraid of marketplaces and the fierce price wars between competitors. They are afraid of a detrimental effect to the brand, their brick and mortar shops not being able to match the prices and keeping up with the demand of a high volume marketplace. Fear is a great controller, and you must know your enemy. Many high street businesses trade under a pseudonym, access to the product, but it causes no cross over in their high street stores.

As for prices, well the competition for the product types are already there. Many will browse shops muttering that they can get it cheaper on eBay. I know I do. You have to join the race, not shy away from it to stop your competitors getting ahead. Brands are more dilute when it comes to e-commerce; smaller brands come into their own. This trend could start creeping into the high street as broadband gets faster and cheaper and the payment gateways more secure.

Protecting your brand!

As with any new route to channel, you have charlatans to go with it! Is someone trading as you? Using your brand awareness to gain sales? Even if you are not e-commerce active you need to make sure you regularly check your brand on the internet. Reputation is everything to a business and with the anonymity of the internet is easy to impersonate a leading brand.

Advertising on the Internet

Back in the days of the dot com boom all you needed was a website and the traffic was yours. But the giants like Google and Yahoo forced us to search their ay and the fight for natural search was on! To fund their world domination these two titans have their own search marketing schemes or pay-per-click advertising to drive traffic using keywords. Large advertisers can spend thousands on pay per click advertising (probably wasting a lot of it due to bad management) Marketplaces are an active way to do this. For instance on eBay you are advertising as well as physically selling an item. The marketplace has done the hard work for you!

Elizabeth Kidson – Frooition Support