This blog is entitled eBay Video Game Selling Tips so why is it that I would be telling people about alternatives to selling one eBay? The truth is that while eBay is still one of the top ecommerce sites on the web that many people may do better with a different strategy. It could also be that some have gotten tired of some the things that are inherent to eBay like taking endless pictures and uploading them, listing and relisting the same items and paying fees of up 20% percent on some items. Another problem with eBay is that since it is the biggest online market you are also in direct competition with every other seller out there. If you rely on BIN prices the auction sellers will generally get more attention because most buyers are looking for bargains. Even if those things aren't affecting you it may still be a good idea to know of alternatives in case a change in fee structures (as has been happening lately on eBay) hurts your business. Also it is a good idea to have more than one venue to sell on. More eyeballs equals more purchases. With that clearly in mind you also don't want to waste your time on sites that produce no results at all. So here are some alternatives to eBay:
One of the major complaints about eBay is that they charge listing fees. That is even when an item is put up for bid and no one bids the seller must still pay just to list the item. Doesn't seem quite fair to me personally. This punishes items that may not sell on the first or second auction. Items that are rare but in low demand may take months to actually sell. Ebay is in fact punishing those types of items (and the sellers who sell them). It makes more sense that the auction company should profit when the seller does, that is after a succesful auction. Ebid is an online auction house similar to eBay in many ways however, they never charge a listing fee to any sellers. Some of the benefits include:
- Free to list as many items as you'd like.
- Only a 3% Final Value Fee on items that sell.
- PayPal, Google Checkout Integrated (Seller+)
- For $49.99 you can get a lifetime Seller+ membership upgrade.
- Weekly, Monthly and Yearly Seller+ subscriptions also available.
- Seller+ subscription eliminates the 3% Final Value Fee.
- You get a free Store Front (5 for Seller+ accounts)
So as shown above their are two basic seller accounts on eBid: Seller and Seller+. Your basic seller account still allows for free listings but not some of the perks that go with Seller+. The biggest being that even the final value fees are dropped so you are essentially selling without any fees! Now there are some drawbacks here:
- Not as many buyers as eBay.
- No dispute resolution process.
- Old feedback system where buyers and sellers leave feedback.
- No refund guarantee for buyers.
There are two main faults with eBid the first is that there seems to be more sellers than buyers. Because of this a lot of auctions have reserve prices. This could discourage some buyers looking for a true auction experience. The second problem they have is that unlike eBay they have no system for resolving disputes among buyers and sellers. As a seller this may not bother you much but it probably will keep many prospective buyers from joining up. All in all though it looks like a promising site that while not replacing eBay could get some extra sales going and that's always good
It's no wonder amazon is one of the biggest companies on the web. They offer a huge selection of items integrating third party items with new merchandise. Amazon is not an auction site (they tried it for a while but it didn't last) but they are a great alternative to eBay. Some of the things they offer:
- Amazon has a huge and loyal user base insuring high sales.
- Amazon uses a catalog based approach making listing much less time consuming than on eBay.
- No need to take pictures of every item, simply write a brief description.
- Upload large amounts of inventory with spreadsheets or CSV files.
- Once an item is listed it never has to be re-listed.
However, Amazon.com has it's fair share of complaints as well most are similar to those aimed at eBay.
- Amazon fees are very high and include a $1 fee on each item sold which can be eliminated by upgrading to a premium account for $40 a month. This is on top of a FVF that can be as high as %15
- It is very easy to get banned as an amazon.com as a seller. Try as you might you will not get reinstated.
- You don't get paid for your orders until you enter the Delivery Confirmation number.
- The feedback and refund system greatly favors the buyer.
When I was first researching this site I came across some forums claiming that the site was a scam. The truth is the site is not a scam but many of the sellers there are in fact scam artist. The site is just that a site it doesn't guarantee any transaction or do mediation in the way that eBay does between buyer and seller. Because of this many many have used the site to scam others listing big ticket items and never delivering the goods. Beyond that though iOffer has some interesting features not found on eBay:
- Item listings are free with photos and even video.
- You can use a wide range of payments including AlertPay, PayPal, Google Checkout & Amazon Payments
- You get a customizable store with categories that you can promote.
- They show you how to get listed on Google Products.
- You can transfer items directly from eBay along with your feedback rating.
- Allows you to negotiate a price with buyers or mark items "Make An Offer".
- Not as many buyers as eBay.
- Search function doesn't work well because of the use of tags.
- Fees are charged when the buyer marks the item paid leaving the seller filing many NPB claims.
- You have to pay $20 up front to open your account which is then used to pay fees.
For twenty dollars more a month than the regular amazon.com subscription amazon.com will help you set up a customizable Webstore that is not in direct competition with other third party sellers.
- You can use their extensive catalog of items to quickly list items.
- You can list unlimited items without any extra fees you pay only 7% when an item sells.
- You can accept Amazon Payments which will make it familiar to buyers who have used amazon.
- Also, when you don't have an item a buyer wants you can refer them to amazon.com and get an associates commission.
One drawback is that you have to have your own hosted domain and likely you'll want to know a little HTML to really make your site unique. Also you may have problems listing items that are not in amazon's catalog. A good way to promote a webstore by Amazon is to advertise your items on Amazon by using Product Ads By Amazon. A PPC advertising program that allows you to advertise directly on Amazon. This gives your products and store instant credibility. Plus, people who click the ads are more likely to be ready to buy since they have already visited Amazon. This option is probably good alternative for big sellers on eBay who already have built a brand for themselves and would like to save on fees.
Google Checkout Store
The Google Checkout Store is a new web tool from google that allows you to place a store inside any blog or web page. The store inventory is managed using integration with Google Docs Spreadsheets. It is simple enough to set up and perfect for bloggers who want to sell niche products. The store is embeded in the page through simple html code which is easily copied and pasted. Let's take a look at some of the major benefits:
- 2.9% + $0.30 Maximum transaction fee is comparable to PayPal.
- Google Docs spreadsheets automatically updates inventory.
- Google Checkout cart allows for multiple purchases in one transaction.
- You can specify calculated shipping by region automatically.
- You must rely on your own web traffic and promotions.
- Google charges you a $10 fee for each credit card charge back.
- No categories or sorting of items yet (search is available)
BigCommerce is not really a venue or marketplace like most of the other sites we have talked about today. Instead they are a hosted eCommerce provider. They handle all of the web hosting and shopping cart integration for your very own store. Let's look at some of the features:
- A large selection of 96 drag and drop templates to customize your store.
- You can export items from your store to eBay.
- They help guide you through registering a domain name.
- Lots of promotional tools including a Facebook Fan Page Store, Email Marketing, and Coupon Codes.
- Inventory is automatically updated and even returns are processed easily.
- Buyers can shop from their Mobile Phone.
- Unlimited photos for items.
- You need to be somewhat computer skilled to get your store customized.
- You pay a monthly fee for the store and the merchant account.
- You will probably need to pay to promote the store through various Ad Networks and Paid Search.