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Survey Says: Amazon is Eating eBay’s Lunch

If you are an eBay seller with or without a home dropshipping business, you might be interested in a recent report concerning eBay and Amazon that basically says what a lot of us knew anyway: Amazon is eating eBay’s lunch.

According to a report released by Citi Investment Research and Analysis, Amazon shows significantly more traffic and growth than eBay and will continue to do so unless and until eBay manages to veer off its present course of apparent self destruction.

eBay’s traffic lagged far behind Amazon’s. In fact, eBay traffic will soon be second to CraigsList.

comscore ebay amazon craigslist traffic 06 10 resized 600

comscore azon ebay craigslist resized 600

This report predicts that eBay will continue its decline in traffic due in part to several key factors, including “transition/execution issues in the U.S. with the new pricing policies and search algorithms.”

The report goes on to mention some of the most recent changes in eBay policies, notably the so-called reduction in fees for sellers and the dumping of thousands upon thousands of eBay store items into core search.

Here is what the Citi report has to say about these particular changes:

“Our checks with key eBay seller sources like ChannelAdvisor, which we detailed in a May 6th note, indicate uncertainly over the impact of these changes, with specific concerns over both whether the net fee impact to Sellers could actually be an increase given a rise in some Final Value Fees and whether the new Search results could actually create a less relevant/more cluttered Buyer experience on eBay.”

It goes on:

“We believe that Buyers will continue to migrate away from eBay—taking Sellers along with them—until the overall convenience and trust and safety of the eBay marketplace has materially improved.”

YES!

Is this not exactly what eBay sellers have been trying to convey to management for the past few years—since the current CEO started his disastrous “disruptive innovation” strategy?

If research firms such as Citi can see it, eBay sellers can see it, and others outside the upper echelons of eBay can see it; including buyers who land on the dysfunctional mishmash of eBay’s Search results pages and are voting with their feet as they leave in droves…..why, oh why, can’t the eBay Board of Directors see it?

What are they waiting on?

John Donahoe has had several years now to improve eBay and the result is what you see in the graphs above.

His ill conceived and poorly executed plan for Disruptive Innovation is a resounding failure in anybody’s books. It has accomplished nothing except the steady decline of what was once a thriving marketplace.

At this point, since the Board of Directors seems satisfied to allow this systematic ruin of eBay to continue unchecked, maybe the best solution would be to chuck them all out, the CEO included, and install some people in their places who are able to read the 10 foot tall handwriting on the crumbling wall of eBay before it is completely lifeless and damaged beyond repair.

If what has happened to eBay was a movie, this would be the point when the villagers arm themselves with torches and storm the castle to get rid of the Frankenstein monster before he can wreak any more havoc and mayhem.

Instead, this film seems more like a “Nightmare on eBay Street” with an unlimited number of sequels as one ruinous change follows another.

A lot of buyers and sellers have decided NOT to stay tuned for any upcoming new releases!

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7 Simple E-Commerce Tips for Beginners

If you are just starting an ecommerce business, you might find a few tips to help you get off the ground helpful.

Starting an ecommerce business is much easier, faster and less costly than launching a traditional brick and mortar business. In many ways, the principles of sales and business are the same, and in many other ways, an ecommerce business is vastly different than a traditional business.

Here are 7 basic tips to help you with your ecommerce start-up:

1. Your domain name is one of the most important things about your ecommerce business! Choose a name that describes what you sell, incorporates some of your best keywords, and is short and very simple to brand.

2. Keyword research is essential! Take the time to research and find the very best keywords for your products and niche. Remember that with an online business, being found by the search engines is crucial to your success.

3. Use best SEO practices when building your website! This means using your main keywords in page headers, page files, content, within text links, anchor text, alt tags, image titles, and more.

4. Use good website design principles. This means using harmonious colors with text that is easy on the eyes. Research has shown that dark text on a light background is best for the human eye. Avoid flash and a jangling clash of colors, fonts and content that is too long or crowded onto the web page.

5. When using social media marketing and display ads on websites, target your consumer audience for best results. For example, Friendster and Bebo are predominantly younger people. So, if you are selling products mainly in use by senior citizens, you need to go somewhere else for marketing.

6. Make your checkout process as quick and easy as possible. If it is too involved with too many detailed steps, you will lose a lot of sales! Only get the information that you need to make the sale, anything else like an opt-in for your email marketing subscription list can come after the purchase has been made.

7. Display trust and safety symbols prominently! One of the biggest factors in making or losing an online sale is trust. You must let customers know that your website is safe and secure.

There are plenty of other things you will need to do, but just observing these simple rules will help you get your home dropshipping business or other ecommerce enterprise off to a flying start!

If you liked this article, you may also like this one:

history of ecommerce

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Online Sales Sluggish? Offer Promotions and Coupons!

If things seem to be a bit sluggish for you lately in your online dropship store or other ecommerce business, maybe you should consider having some good promotions and offering discount coupons to beef up your sales.

While many ecommerce entrepreneurs go heavy on promotions, discounts and coupons during the holidays, some tend to get a little slack about these things during the rest of the year.

The “Dog Days” of summer are notoriously slow for many merchants both online and in brick and mortar stores, so using promotions to stir up some shopping interest is just good business sense!

First of all, if you sell anything that can be used or worn by kids going back to school, this is a great time!

In many parts of the US, school will start back next month, and many parents as well as students will begin shopping for school supplies and clothing early.

To get the word out about your promotions, send out a newsletter specifically geared toward whatever discounts or coupons you are offering.
Make sure to put the details and the best and most appealing points above the fold, or on the top half of the page.

Besides sending out a newsletter, make sure your website is up to date with the details of the promotion and/or coupons.

One of the best things you can do when running a promotion is to make it time sensitive!

Make sure people understand that your promotion, discount or coupons are only going to be good for a limited amount of time.

It helps to have a calendar with the dates circled on your web page.

If you run display ads about your promotion, be sure to have appropriate landing pages so that visitors who click on one of your ads goes to a page with details about the promotion you are offering.

Promotions, discounts and coupons are fantastic ways to beat the summer doldrums and boost your profits!

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E-Commerce: How User Reviews Can Increase Your Sales

If you have an online dropshipping business or other ecommerce enterprise, you might be surprised to know that User Reviews on your website can be quite effective in boosting your sales.

Many ecommerce entrepreneurs are afraid to allow User Reviews for fear that the less than glowing comments will have a negative impact on sales.

If this sums up your feelings about having User Reviews on your website, take a peek at these tidbits from various internet research analysts about how these reviews can actually help you instead of hurting you with consumers:

  • 71% of online shoppers read reviews, which makes them the most widely read of all consumer generated content.  (Source: Forrester)
  • 77% of all online shoppers use reviews and ratings when making a purchasing decision.                                       (Source: Jupiter Research, 2006)
  • Reviews create purchase satisfaction with consumers that is 21% higher, and produce 18% higher brand loyalty.        (Source: Foresee Results Study, 2007)
  • A study of 2,000 shoppers revealed that 92% considered customer reviews as extremely helpful or very helpful. (Source: eTailing Group)
  • 63% of consumers say that they are more likely to purchase from a website if it shows product ratings and reviews from customers.                                                              (Source: CompUSA & iPerceptions study)
  • 42% of first-time buyers on review-equipped sites said that the reviews were the primary factor in making the decision to purchase.                                                                  (Source: Foresee Results Study, 2006)
  • In a marketing survey, 86.9% of respondents indicated that they would trust a friend’s recommendation over a review by a critic, while 83.8% said they would trust user reviews over a critic.                                                                      (Source: MarketingSherpa)
  • Ratings and Reviews is the 2nd most important site feature, just behind Search. The online buyers who indicate that ratings and reviews are the most useful site feature more than doubled from 2005 to 2006.                                    (Source: Jupiter)
  • According to a survey, 92.5% of adults indicated that they regularly or at least occasionally research products online, which includes reading User Reviews, before buying them in a store.                                                                   (Source: BIGresearch)

As you can see, User Reviews can be enormously effective in helping your bottom line, and are a feature that consumers would like seeing on your ecommerce website!

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5 Reasons Why Your Social Media Marketing Isn’t Working

If you are an ecommerce entrepreneur with an online dropshipping business or other internet enterprise, you may have invested time in social media marketing but failed to get the results you hoped for, and consequently are ready to throw in the towel and forget social media as a way to build your business.

Don’t be too hasty!

There are reasons why your social media strategy might not have been successful so far, and fixes for these failures/

Here are 5 reasons why some marketers are not successful with social media marketing:

1. Targeting the wrong demographic: This is a fairly common mistake made by a lot of entrepreneurs. There are quite a few popular social sites, but they are not all created equal in terms of having members who represent your ideal target market. For example, Bebo is comprised mainly of young people. If you are selling a product geared for a more mature consumer, investing time in social marketing here is a bad move.

2. Failure to use good SEO: Search Engine Optimization is crucial, and this rule applies to social media marketing as well as your ecommerce website. You should make sure to use best SEO practices on your Twitter profile, your Facebook page, LinkedIn or any other social site you are using for marketing.

3. Your content and contributions were substandard: To be successful with social media marketing, you must engage with your audience. And this requires you to be engaging with fresh, interesting content. You can’t just login and blab out any old thing just for the sake of putting in an appearance on the social site and expect to get good results. Create rich, compelling content and it will pay off for you!

4. You came across as shady and untrustworthy: If you plaster your website with ads and shady looking links, most people will hit the back button. In order to optimize your social media marketing efforts, your website should be professional looking and display trust and security symbols prominently.

5. You spread yourself too thin: This is another fairly common area of failure for social media marketers. Trying to cover too many bases and engage in marketing campaigns at too many sites is never a good idea. Basically, unless you are willing to work 20 hours a day at it, you are setting yourself up to fail. It’s better to choose one or two social sites and focus on them than to skip and hop around from one to another, not doing a good job on any of them.

If your social networking hasn’t been up to your expectations, you might be able to recognize what you’re doing wrong and fix it!

social media marketing

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eBay Fall Seller Updates: Stop the Insanity!

As most eBay sellers know by now, more changes are coming down the pike and scheduled to go into effect this coming September.

There is a new twist to the latest and possibly one of the worst, most truly mind-boggling changes made since CEO Donahoe’s reign of terror—this one is retroactive.

Yes! Believe it or not, eBay is actually going back a year for smaller sellers and their stats during the past year will count against them, for a period of time before they even knew about the change. It would be funny if it wasn’t so awful.

The newest change: Starting in September, sellers will have yet another flaming hoop to jump through. The new policy says that a smallish seller cannot have more than .05% of “open cases” filed against them in a twelve month period.

Remember that number. One-half of one percent.

That equates to approximately two opened disputes for Item Not Received or Item Significantly Not as Described in a years time. Anything over that and a seller will lose their Top Rated Seller Status, be demoted in Search, and according to some of the eBay “Pinks” or employees who fielded a few questions on an eBay discussion forum this week—these horrible sellers who exceed two opened cases in a year might have to receive “coaching” to help them shape up.

One must wonder how on earth eBay, who seems completely unable to provide even the bare bones of a Customer Service department, is going to come up with someone bright enough to coach sellers.

Be that as it may, the totally ridiculous part of the new policy is that it makes no difference how a case was resolved, the seller—even if clearly shown to be innocent of any wrongdoing—is still considered guilty by eBay by virtue of having a case opened at all.

Here is a quote from an eBay employee on the above mentioned discussion forum:

“We count opened cases, because it is an indication of how well a seller is both setting and meeting buyer expectations.”

Huh?

Incredible, isn’t it?

So, if a buyer gets a seller mixed up with another seller and files an Item Not Received in error, and the accused seller furnishes a Delivery Confirmation number that proves the item was, in fact, received; it is still a strike against the seller!

One of the goofiest things about this new policy is that during an eBay webinar back in April when this upcoming policy was discussed, one of eBay’s own employees said that “only about 1% of buyers are problems.”

So, eBay acknowledges that 1% of buyers are problems, and yet sellers are only allowed HALF that percentage before they’re sanctioned?

What is wrong with this picture? Does nobody at eBay see how ludicrous this is?

Let’s apply the warped reasoning behind the new change to an automobile driver we’ll call John Q. Seller:

Mr. Seller has been driving for years and has never had an accident or gotten a ticket for anything. He observes all of the safety rules of the road and does his best to be a defensive driver.

However, one day Mr. Seller is stopped at a red light when a vehicle driven by an escaped lunatic—drunk and on drugs—and who also has never driven an automobile before in his life; rear ends Mr. Seller’s car.

11 months later, Mr. Seller is proceeding in a safe and orderly fashion down the street when suddenly, a car driven by a fleeing felon who has just robbed a bank careens out of a side street and T-Bones Mr. Seller’s vehicle.

Now, if the Department of Motor Vehicles, insurance companies and law enforcement followed eBay’s convoluted logic, John Q. Seller….even though totally innocent and obviously the victim in both of these mishaps….would have his drivers license revoked, his auto insurance canceled and be thrown in the slammer for 30 days to boot.

Why? Because—based on eBay’s reasoning—for John Q. Seller to be involved in two incidents within a year, it is a clear indication that he must be doing something wrong.

There doesn’t seem to be any difference between this scenario and eBay’s latest policy change!

And the hits just keep on coming……

If you are a dropship seller, or any kind of eBay seller, good luck on making the newest and most unrealistic cut!

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E-Commerce: Social Media Marketing with Facebook

Facebook has over 500 million users and is still growing at an extremely fast rate as people all over the world become members of this popular social site, and is an excellent platform for your social media marketing efforts!

There are several great ways to leverage the power of Facebook to build your brand and promote your home dropshipping business.

Here are some suggestions as to how you can use Facebook effectively to grow your online business:

Have a Facebook Fan Page: This is one of the easiest and most effective means of using Facebook for social media marketing! You can get really creative with your Fan page, and be sure to use good SEO because this will help your Fan page get picked up by the search engines.

Use Payvment to sell your products on Facebook: Payvment is a fantastic FREE way to increase your online sales! It couldn’t be any easier to set up and run, and with 500 million potential customers, the traffic is certainly there for you.

Be sure to include links: Take advantage of your Facebook presence to link to your website and blog, and vice versa. This will help tremendously in creating a flow of fresh traffic for you.

Have a contest or promotion: This is a great way to put your Facebook Fan Page to good use! There are very few people who don’t like a freebie or contest, and you can generate a lot of good PR plus boost traffic to your online store.

According to a recent study by ComScore, Facebook accounts for more than 40% of the total social media traffic.

Wow!

Pie Facebook resized 600

Source: ComScore

Bear in mind that many social media analysts predict this percentage to increase, and you can easily see why your business needs to be there.

Facebook is focusing more and more on ecommerce, and the integration of ecommerce and social media is basically a done deal that will continue to grow as time goes on.

If you aren’t already using Facebook as part of your social media marketing tools, don’t waste any more time!

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Dropshipping: A Profitable Home Business With Quick Start-Up

If you are looking for a home business with a fast start-up, and that will begin earning you a profitable income in a hurry—dropshipping is for you!

Dropshipping is undoubtedly one of the fastest, easiest home business to get off the ground, and better yet…..it is amazingly low cost to start up!

There are so many venues available for you to sell your dropship products. Here is just a sample of the many platforms on the internet where you can begin selling right away:

eBay

Amazon

Boocoo Auctions

Bonanzle

eCrater

Overstock

Etsy

CraigsList

iOffer

And many more

Alternatively, you may opt to set up your own website. There are turnkey solutions available at nominal fees that will enable you to customize the design and layout of your online web store.

These come complete with shopping cart software and payment gateways. All you have to do is add your products and start selling!

One such service is 3D Cart. 3D Cart is a partner of Drop Ship Access, one of the most trusted names in the dropship product sourcing industry.

Drop Ship Access has over 1 million high quality, name brand products to help you get your home dropshipping business off to a flying start! 3D Cart makes the entire process that much easier if you decide to opt for your own website.

3dCart Shopping Cart Software solutions offer category, product, and customer management tools you won’t find in many similar products. Plus there is a FREE 30 day trial!

Between Drop Ship Access and 3D Cart, you can select which products you want to sell, set up your online dropshipping store and be in business almost instantly!

Tired of that same old grind working for somebody else? Get out of that rut today and find out how much better life can be when you are your own boss, working for yourself and making money for YOU instead of somebody else!

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E-Commerce: Taking Stock of Your Social Media Marketing Efforts

If you are an ecommerce entrepreneur, you are hopefully using social media marketing, and it might be quite beneficial to you to stop, step back, and evaluate your efforts and strategies to see how well things are working for you.

Anyone who still doesn’t believe that social media is the wave of the future needs to join the rest of us in the 21st century!

Social media is not a flash in the pan or a passing fad. It’s big, it’s powerful, and it isn’t going away anytime soon.

If you are already leveraging the awesome power of social media, here are some tips to help you evaluate how well your efforts are paying off:

  • Are you furnishing information and messages that your target market is interested in? Each niche has its own demographics, at least to some extent. In order to optimize the effectiveness of your social media presence, you should be gearing your efforts toward your own particular niche. Otherwise, it would be akin to setting up a Hawaiian Ice stand at the North Pole. No matter how tasty and delicious your slushies might be, it is doubtful you would get many customers up there.
  • Are you on the right social sites? Again, the social communities you should be frequenting for your marketing efforts should reflect your niche market audience. For example, if your online dropship sales website sells Depends and other like products usually best suited for a more mature audience, you would probably be wasting your time on Bebo, where the demographics are mostly teens and young adults.
  • Are you paying attention to what others are saying to you? Social media can be immensely helpful in allowing you to keep your finger on the pulse of your potential or existing customers who interact with you IF you listen when they speak! Some of these folks might have a valid complaint about your product or website—or a suggestion for improvement—that it would behoove you to listen and act on.

Social media marketing is a wonderful, free way to build your brand and promote your online business!

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Email Marketing for your Home Business: What NOT to Do

If you have a home dropshipping business or other ecommerce website, you have probably at least considered doing some email marketing, and while it’s important to know what to do in order to for your email marketing to be effective, it’s equally important that you know what not to do!

Here are some essential no-nos for email marketing:

  • A long, wordy subject line that is cut off in mid stream by the recipient’s email provider. This is a very bad idea! You want a subject line that is short and snappy, to the point and brief enough that it all fits in the subject line space of the email! Anything more than that will have a bad effect on your open rate.
  • A complicated, exceedingly long email with tons of distractions such as flash graphics and an inharmonious clash of colors and content. If you compose this type of email and send it out to those on your opt-in subscription list, you can count on having a lot of them opt-out of any future mailings. Everyone is in a hurry. Respect your email recipients’ time and get straight to the point!
  • A pointless email that offers nothing of value to the reader. Who needs this? While it may be tremendously exciting to you that you have added a new employee or upgraded your office space, little tidbits of news like this will be nothing but bo-ring to the majority of your readers. Don’t send out emails to your subscribers unless and until you have something of value to offer them!
  • A mishmash mess of misspelled words, bad grammar and confusing sentence structure. This is something that should never, ever happen! Besides being unprofessional in the extreme, it also makes you come across as a first class dummy. Would you want to do business with someone like that? Probably not. Neither will your readers. If you are unable to proofread and edit your emails yourself, hire it done for a nominal fee or recruit a friend or relative to do it for you. But regardless of how the proofreading and editing gets done—do it!

Avoid these few taboos and your email marketing efforts will meet with a lot more success!

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