|Listing over multiple marketplaces|
Over the last couple of months we have been painstakingly listing our products for sale on Amazon and eBay with the intention of adding another sales channel other than our UK based website (which currently takes the majority of our orders).
While we could take a direct feed from our existing pricelist our pricing structure is different for the marketplaces and we have different deals (buy 12 widgets, get 5 free etc) so this isn't really possible.
We have just decided to also start listing on PlayTrade as well but it strikes me that this kind of process really should be automatable. I've just phoned eSellerPro and Channeladvisor but in addition to wanting a high monthly fee they want a percentage of our profits – It would probably be cheaper to employ someone full time just to list products.
My question was whether anybody had any dealings with a site or had used a piece of software which simply allowed us to add all our products to it and this data could then be used to populate multiple marketplaces. We don’t need any bells and whistles such as order management, courier integration etc., I’d like to be simply able to put 1000 or so products in to a system which then duplicated the information over multiple marketplaces.
Thanks for any advice you can offer.
We do the same thing here in the states. Launching a new marketplace - adding our inventory - was a manual or semi manual (spreadsheet upload) process. No way around that. The hard part, as you surmised, is keeping the inventory up to date across marketplaces.
We tried Zoovy first, they cannot pull it off well. We did Channel Advisor for a year and felt our sales suffer as well as paying them significant money. Percentage of sales is stupid - they do not add that much value. We looked at some others but all had either severe pricing or technical short comings.
We ended up writing our own system using a combination of in-house talent and freelancers. It is not yet perfected, or fully automated, but it is working pretty well and our total outlay was less than $3,000 USD. It is integrated in to eBay, Amazon and New Egg. I We also sell on Sears and Buy.com but the volume on those sites is pretty low so we handle it manually by uploading updates a couple of times a week.
You may want to look for a custom job.
Many thanks; you're right, they don't add anywhere near the value they were asking for. Channel Advisor wanted 1.9% which is more than we usually make on some products - If we source, store, process, ship and then support the order and make less than 1.9% then they're certainly not making it just for sending the list over to eBay!
It's a shame to hear there's no such solution off the shelf but perhaps making our own version would be an idea.
Thanks for your help.
The big question is how many SKUs do you have?
If you have 1000+, then you will probably have to explore some form of software. Anything under this and it's very manageable manually, especially Amazon which does not require the same amount of attention as eBay. Some of eBay's tools like Blackthorne and Seller Manager Pro (which are practically free) can accomplish a lot.
I looked into Channel Advisor quite seriously and was not impressed. I was given the impression they spend a lot more time and money on their aggressive sales staff than developing their software. But that's just me.
We currently have around 500 but I could easily multiply this ten fold by creating different pack combinations of product (multiple colours, multiple quantities etc). As such, it would be nice to have some easier way to manage them all simultaneously.
You are correct that Amazon is a piece of cake to manage; you simply add and then forget about the listing. eBay is a touch more difficult.
I think my main objective was to remove the need to physically sit down for a couple of weeks copying and pasting every product from Amazon to PlayTrade if there was something that could do it automatically for me.
Am currently investigating Seller Express and will report back. It doesn't support eBay yet but they assure me it will.
I think one of the perfect solutions is an automated one that interfaces with your current website and E-Bay and Amazon. If all you want to do is keep inventory levels accurate in all 3 places, and maybe re-list items, this could all be done with a little programming to interface with E-Bay & Amazon's API's. Then you have a program scheduled to run from your webhost that will look up your inventory and update it automatically on the marketplaces. Either running the script daily or hourly or whatever frequency you need.
Amazon also has CSV feeds that are fairly user friendly with a little bit of reading and experimenting. E-Bay on the other hand is a nightmare in it's poorly documented equivalent. Nothing works properly or easily over there as I'm sure most people will agree with me on. You can also use their free Turbolister or Blackthorne (not free) to list and update.
But if you have a programmer that is savvy enough, they could automate the who process for you.
You're not alone. I think a lot of people struggle with the same situation. E-Bay in particular has made listing a nightmare. Especially if you inadvertently carry over some prohibited verbiage from your existing website that they don't permit (links, phone numbers, certain words, etc.). You can find yourself in violation with zero recourse.