Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Whats in a name? Bonanza - Bonanzle - Bon-whatever



This a big day in Bonanza history.  Bonanza?  Don’t you mean Bonanzle?  Actually, no.  Today we changed our name!   Check out the new URL at www.bonanza.com and keep an eye out tomorrow morning for the press release on the newly designed site!
That is what I awoke to this morning and at 4am, no it was not a welcome sight. 

What does this mean for the average Joe? Not much, Little Joe might be able to remember the name better, but Bonanza -  Bonanzle - Bonanza  ... really folks, is it that much easier? But that is the logic behind this change:
Most of all I want to provide more sales for our fantastic selling community.  And a name that customers can remember and spell will help.
Not to meantion it makes it easier on the Sites owners family to remember it. :
 I want Bonanzle (wait, Bonanza – this is going to take a while) to be a household name.  Two years in and my grandparents still get the name of the company wrong

Now Bill does admit there are sites and products that fared well with strange names:
......sure other companies have done pretty well with less than everyday names (Google anyone?).  However, I believe that in a fragmented world, having a real word that is evocative of our brand is a big step toward our company becoming a household name.

But somehow still feels this is good.  Actually it seems like an easy way out of working a brand.  Even with a 'strange name' of Bonanzle, the site soared past others that started about the same time or have been around longer.  And some of them had more 'common' names - Atomic Mall , eCrater , Blujay, iOffer  just to name a few.  And it is the 'odd' named sites of www.Addoway.com  and www.BooCoo.com  that seem to be nipping at Bonanzle - Bonanza's heels.

Now, what does it mean for the Sellers?  A whole lot.  Changing names on cards, window decals, door magnets, etc.  Going to and trying to remember every place the Bonanzle url to their booth is posted and changeing it.  Sound simple, and yes it is a seemingly minor detail, but it can not only cost alot of time, but in many cases money as well.
Yes the old url of www.bonanzle.com will be redirected for some time to allow the full change.  But dont do a knee jerk at what page opens, for the look of the site is changing as well.  I must say the header is bland with little style, the flashing pictures take a long time to load on my poor dialup, and if I didnt sell on the site, I would look elsewhere for and item when shopping, not having 10 minutes to waste waiting for the front page to load. (one of the draw backs to Addoway and Atomic Mall too)  And yes, many are on dialup, so to ignore them is to ignore a good slice of the market.  Even eBay realized that and lightened their load.

Then there is the final announcement - which is really the one that will affect the small sellers the most, and the one they are most vague on:
Lastly, we have one more announcement.  We recently acquired 1000 Markets and are happy to welcome their merchants into the Bonanza family.  Many of you are likely familiar with their site already and may have items listed there.  They share a number of our values and know first-hand how hard it is to start a marketplace.  Please join me in welcoming them to the fold.  1000 Markets items will soon be listed on the site and their URL will redirect to our own. 

I am still looking into that one.  If they have 1000 new markets where some of us already have listings, will this case us to have items double, triple, etc listed on Bonanzle  - Bonanza - Now?  Who are these 'markets'?  Many sellers list on more than one marketplace, just so they can quickly move off a site in the event the changes of a site , traffic flow, sales, etc dont work for them.

Seems like that option is gone for some.

Welcome to the ranch ....

PS as I commented below:
Oh - I am sorry - I failed to post a link to the announcement ... it is :
www.bonanzle.com/blog/main/A_source_of_great_wealth__a_spectacular_windfall

Instead of sending out notices to THEIR customers - ie - SELLERS - they blog it and are planning a press release today ....

Renagade

EDIT:
another great source for information on this is : AuctionBytes News   Ida clarifies the 1000 markets ... seems its a Artisian site simular to www.esty.com and www.artfire.com

Monday, September 20, 2010

Christopher Thomas adds rhythm to Bonanzle.com

Bonanzle's Band of Techies now has a drummer. Christopher Thomas, full time techie part time drummer joins the band as the official User Experience Designer.


He takes on the daunting task of making sure everyone, both buyer and sellers, experience is smooth as the swish of brushes on cymbals yet exciting as the drum solo in In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.

Joining the Bonanzle Band was a big move for Christopher, a move that took him and his wife from eastern Pennsylvania to Seattle.

Of course we all welcome Christopher to the wild world of Bonanzle, and in his spare time I think he will find taking in the Seattle music scene to be a great way to recharge his tech side.
 
Find out more about Chris on the official Blog of Bonanzle

Sunday, September 19, 2010

PR - is it up to the marketplace or the seller?

AuctionBytes the powerhouse of news for online marketplaces and eCommerce sellers, recently posted Open Message to Alternative Marketplaces: Are You There?   addressing the importance of PR.  David Steiner, author, starts off by saying :
One of the most common emails and comments on our blogs that we receive is "Why don't you focus less on eBay and write more about alternative marketplaces?"
and, like, David's response the answer is simple:
EBay gets more ink on this site because they understand the power of public relations. aka PR .
What really gets me more that the fact that small marketplaces are failing in this department, is the fact of how many in eCommerce rely on the PR of the site on which they sell to drive customers to them.
IT IS TIME TO WAKE UP PEOPLE

Like I pointed out in How to drive traffic to your store , the days of list it and forget it are over, and it is up to you, not the marketplace, to drive your business.
Are some marketplaces falling down on the job of PR? Yes.  But, the question is why are you depending on their work to drive customers to you?

I did comment on AuctionBytes article:
Great article for sure and it can be applied to so many people and situations.

PR is the responsability of the individual, not the media.
It is up the the individual - in this case owners of marketplaces - to work their PR, to get the word to the media, and press releases is the easiest way to do that. There are a multitude of other ways owners can ramp up the volume around their marketplace using a good PR Campaign .
BUT - I MUST STRESS - NO ONE should rely on ANY marketplace's popularity to sell their products for them. The days of list it and forget it are gone. YOU must work your own PR to drive traffic and sales to YOU.
This is a business folks, and you have a shop on a virtual online mall. the last time I checked, the store in the brick and mortar mall here did their own PR and don't recall seeing the mall doing it for them.

Think about it.  If you list on a smaller venue, is it Bonanzle, eCraterAddoway etc responsiblilty to build your business or is it yours?

Renagade
renagade offer PR primarily for musicians, but does offer the same high quality PR campaign for eCommerce sellers as well.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bonanzle Welcomes newest team member - Ryan Hicks




Welcome to the newest member of the Bonanzle team, Ryan Hicks. Ryan has been tapped as a user end experience tech to help improve Bonanzle by assuring everyone who visits find the site fun and easy to use. With the addition of a few face book bells and whistles , Ryan has already kicked the user experience up to the next level.

Ryan comes on board with years of experience in web technology with Wetpaint, Skytap and Blue Nile. A close associate of Bonanzle’s new product techie, Alex Berg, Ryan and Alex have worked together for over 10 years and to have this duo together on Bonanzle is exciting.

Stop by and welcome Ryan . And the next time one of your facebook friends shows you the item you have been searching for and its on Bonanzle, you know who the wizard is that made it possible.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How To Drive Traffic to your store

In today’s world of eCommerce, it is tougher than ever to sell online. Many have the idea that it is easy : take picture, write description, post it somewhere and BAM! You are done. WRONG. Sorry folks, your work has just begun.


Gone are the early days of online selling of set it and forget it. Back in the early eBay days that was the case, for eBay was one of the only places you could go to. But today you have new marketplaces popping up it seems like daily. You have Addoway, eCrater, Bonanzle for general merchandise and a host of specialty spots like Esty, Ruby Lane, and Gemms just to scratch the surface. So just how do you drive traffic to your items?

There are countless ways to do that, but fair warning, this does take time, and work. Countless books, DVDs, pod casts, webinars and seminars are available and some are really good sources of information. There is also a gazillion places on the web to find some information as well. But before you run yourself ragged looking for this, let cover some of the basics here.
Make Google Work For You

1.) Be sure your title is keyword rich - Don’t go crazy here, but a simple Title that accurately describes your item. Back away from words like Beautiful, Stunning, Chic, Old, etc. Why? Well when was the last time you typed into Google search ‘Beautiful teacup’ for example, when searching for a replacement cup for your set of Lennox China?

2.) Is the price right? - Don’t expect to sell that used CD of Lady Gaga for $20 when others are selling for $4. Research your prices.

3.) Feed The Beast - The items found onGoogle are not always found BY Google. They are fed to Google via Google Product Search. Luckily many, many marketplaces such as Bonanzle  and eCrater do this for you, that is why they are a get place to set up shop.
Help yourself

1.) Be Social - Social Media is a goldmine of opportunities to promote your  products. You have Face Book, Twitter, My Space, and a ton of Ning Sites, all offering you a way to let a huge audience know about what you sell and where they can find it. CAUTION The KEY word is SOCIAL - BE social. Chat with the people, show genuine interest in what THEY say, and they will return the favor. Above all have fun.

2.) Join In - There are countless site to brainstorm with fellow sellers. Every marketplace has their on Forum, and there are groups on Face Book, My Space, as well as other places such as Multiply , and a wide array of Ning sites. Remember - not only is it good way to find out information, but sellers buy too!

3.) Blog it - A blog is and excellent way to promote without actually doing so. Simply by writing about what you like, or offering up information, poems or recipes, people get to know you a little better, and often will look at the ’Ad’ you have on the side.

4.) Add your two cents worth - You are NOT a Blogger? Then try just leaving comments on ones you read. Agree, Disagree, give Kudos, add your two cents! When you add a comment you can also add a url. Why not use your url to where you sell!
Be your biggest fan

1.)Become a Walking Billboard - Have a T- Shirt made with your Logo. Or a tote bag, bumper sticker, window decal, you name it.

2.) Address the issue - Make some address labels that not only have your Name and Address BUT your URL on it! I use them on everything, even my bills I pay.

3.) The 3 foot rule - Use the 3 foot rule. Simply put, anyone that comes within 3 feet of you will know you sell online. Find a way when ever possible to talk about your items. And if you follow this up with a business card, you just may get a sale out of the deal.

These are some of the basic steps you can take to try to drive more people to your site, and hence, make more sales. Be creative, be social, and become your biggest fan. Above have fun. It is not rocket science it is common sense. Remember common sense equals dollars and cents.

Feel free to ad your two cents…. What works for you?

Renagade
 
This was originally a guest blog post by Renagade at http://shakeandbaketrading.blogspot.com/  Great Blog - go check it out!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

ajc.com - Educating online shoppers or aiding eBay scammers?

Get savvy about the cyber market ajc.com

I have seen articles like this before, and for the most part the tell you things that are common sense, - buyers -always pay with Credit Card, sellers - do not accept checks, etc, so when I saw the headline I thought 'yeah, yeah, OK ...need to just take a peek' , then I noted it was in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. That when I got really curious as to how much detail will this one provide, since I have seen article like this in major papers before and they sometimes have been so generic, you swear they just copied and pasted them.
I must say, this one was good. Although geared towards the buyer of online goods, they did provide insight for the sellers. One thing that really caught my attention was :

Research.
Check the seller’s feedback and ratings from multiple sources.

OK. Now yes, it is important to know who you are dealing with, and yes their are scammers out there. I also encourage you to check the feedback, and not just the numbers, actually READ a few. On eBay I have found countless sellers with high numbers only to discover after reading, the buyer really wasnt thrilled.
On the flip side, I have seen sellers with only a few sales under their belt, but with glowing reviews. Remember folks, everyone has to start somewhere and often the new seller tries harder.

Then the next line is what really got my attention:
With eBay, place a low bid on an item and then get contact information at bit.ly/ahbU7M. Call the phone number to verify and check the address through an online directory such as free411.com

Say what? This in my opinion is a scammers feeding ground. Place a bid on something you dont really want, get the info, and then disappear.
Where is eBay's mind? Did they auction it off? I fully agree with buyer protection, but until the item is won, what business is it of the buyer what my phone number is? And if it is that safe for eBay to give out your personal information, why can't the seller have access to the bidders info? Why must they wait till item is purchased and only go through eBay for contacting them?

Good article and Kudos to Lucy Soto. But bad eBay for abetting scammers with this computerized information feeding bowl, and Ms Soto, I understand your intentions was to educate the consumer, but this practice by eBay was not well known , It caught me by surprise, and I wonder how many con-artists went "yummy!" when they read it.

One thing for sure, it is causing me to rethink just how 'secure' eBay is.

Previous post on this subject:  eBay Gives Out Personal Information

Monday, July 19, 2010

Children's Market Consigment Sale of Northeast Alabama Set for Sept 15 - 18

Every once in a while something goes on in the "real world" that deserves attention. The Children's Market Consignment sale is definately one of those things.  My Daughter will be taking part of this for her 4th year, both selling and, knowing her, buying.  She knows a good thing when she sees one.

If you are from the Northeast Alabama area, you might want to take a trip to this sale.  Great bargains and for a worth while cause!


from their Facebook page:
Children's Market Consignment Sale


Children's Market is a semi-annual children's, teen, and maternity consignment event featuring gently used and new items.

We serve northeast Alabama, including Calhoun, Etowah, Cleburne, Ranburne, and Cherokee Counties. Our next sale is Sept. 15 - 18, 2010, with preview sales on Sept. 14 for volunteers, consignors, teachers & new parents/grandparents. Proceeds from the sale benefit the Children's Ministry of Jacksonville First Methodist Church and other area ministries.

We're the first sale in the area to use a barcode inventory system. Our consignors have the benefit of entering their inventory and tracking their sales online through our partnership with My Sale Manager. Shoppers enjoy finding quality items for their families and a quick and smooth checkout when they're ready to head home with a trunk full of goodies.

How much can you make? Consignors earn 75% of everything they sell. Volunteers can earn up to 85% by helping during the sale.

Make plans now to shop with us in September. In addition to great clothing and other items for kids, we'll have bows & headbands from our bow ladies, plus accessories for Mom and custom outfits and monogramming from Mommy's Castle. We're your one-stop clothing shop for the best deals on quality clothes and other items for your kids.
Please visit us online at www.jaxfumckids.org for more information or to join our mailing list.
 
Fan them on Facebook

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blake Lucchesi - Bonanzle.com's rockin new Front End Developer

Bonanzle.com's newest team member Blake Lucchesi is a cool dude. He brings to Bonanzle his skills of web design to the position of Front End Developer. Blake has worked in the past developing websites for Artists on Warner Bros Records and Sony BMG labels. With a rockin job like that, Bonanzle users can expect some really cool additions to the site.


To find out more about Blake, visit the Bonanzle blog.... and while you're there, check out the site as well. The sellers are running some radical sales with their Christmas In July 2010 Sale-a-thon all month.
 
Welcome Blake, we are ready to rock with you!
 
Later......
Renagade
Renagade has been a dealer of music on Bonanzle since Bonanzle's Beta days

Friday, July 2, 2010

Bonanzle kicks it up with Christmas In July Sale


Bonanzle.com has always been a great place to shop, but July is going to be THE month for you to visit. Over 250 booths are joining forces with a huge Sale-a-bration - Christmas In July.


During the entire month you will find great sale and bargains on everything from Christmas d├ęcor and gifts to vintage and unique items. Many are running coupons for even bigger discounts.

Since its beginnings, Bonanzle has been more than a marketplace. It is a community of sellers from across the globe whom I have found to be some of the most friendly, helpful, professional people within the crazy world of eCommerce. They work hard to deliver the best service and are dedicated to helping Bonanzle grow.

Now shopping on Bonanzle is better than ever. You can purchase without joining, but if you would like to, you can quickly join and sign in using your Facebook or Google Account. The option of setting up a separate Bonanzle account is still available too.

For the Christmas In July event, you will find the Booths have Christmas-y Banners and the sellers pictures are wearing Santa hats or have become reindeers, elves or snowmen. Coupon codes are available with a click of the mouse in the listings. Some booths aready have their items discounted for you or the discount is automatic at checkout   Look at their ‘Chatbox” at the top of the booth pages to see what they are offering, for some will ‘hide’ special deals there. You may even find a live auction or two.

Since the list of Booths and Promotions is so long, I have posted it on a separate page here in the blog.  Please go view the Christmas in July page via the tab at the top and start shopping!

Would love to hear from all who shop Bonanzle this July! Tell us what goodies you found, and let us know how good (or bad) your experience was.

See you on Bonanzle!
Renagade
Renagade is a dealer of records, CDs, patches, and other collectibles on Bonanzle and other venues.
Renagade has been a member of the Bonanzle Community since 2008

UPDATE!!!
As I mentioned, Bonanzle is more than a marketplace, it is a community of sellers. Many, Many of them have blogged, put together handpicked lists, made banners and avatars, and even put together videos promoting not only the Christmas in July sale, but the site as a whole.  Many of these sellers have jumped in and helped each other out in areas they know one of their fellow Bonanzlers might need alittle help.
I want to say thank you to "Pace" at www.bonanzle.com/paceset9999  , "Critter" at www.bonanzle.com/CritterCreekRanch   as well as the many more whom have used my items in Hand picked lists, mentioned the Renagade in blogs, or have snuck in and tweeted my items.  It is apreciated more than you know.
Special Thank you goes out Starshinin at www.bonanzle.com/starshinin .  Star took the time to crawl around my booth, knowing my dial up internet could not do one, and put together this cool video showcasing some of my items. THANKS!



There are pages and pages of cool videos on youtube by and about Bonanzle  Please go check them out:

Christmas themed Videos
Bonanzle Videos


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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bonanzle WOWs Sellers with sleek new "My Bonanzle" page


Bonanzle tech team are sneaky devils, and love to WOW the sellers with goodies overnight. Well, they did it again with the “My Bonanzle” page . And yes, it is a big big WOW!

They completely revamped this valuable piece of website real estate to make it faster loading, earlier for the seller to find all the information they need to quickly check what’s happening with their items and their booth. Also a nice section highlighting your favorite sellers and what is new at their booths as well.

Today, my first peek at this chic new page, told me that John at Shake and Bake Trading added a neat Christmas candle snuffer NIB and kbarrd added a beautiful  Ruby Glass Ship's Wheel Ashtray Coaster Set . I also discovered that my friend coolshirts2cheap added me to her favorites and BaysideBetty tweeted about my items ( thanks people!) I Also found out that yellowsand1964's booth offering 30% off June 19 at 6pm. Yes, some of this information was available before, but rarely caught my eye on the old format of the page.

Also quickly available is how many views I had in the last week, which used to take some digging to get to.

Personally, I feel this is an awesome move forward, as simple as it may seem. And the over all feedback so far has been the same.

WOW! Boyz! You did it again! Thanks!

Official word from Bill:


Later! ...Renagade
Renagade has been dealing on Bonanzle since the 'Beta Days" and has watched this site grow.

NEW View:



Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Bonanzle welcomes former Expedia Exec, Alex Berg

Bonanzle has set the web afire yet again. One month after the online marketplace landed $1 million in financing.and winning Seattle's Best Bootstrapped Startup Award,  Bonanzle has hired former Blue Nile, Expedia and Wetpaint executive Alex Berg. Berg, the former creative director at Expedia, will lead product design, strategy and usability as their “Chief Product Officer”.

Bill Harding, Bonanzle’s founder stated on his blog:
Alex caught my attention with his focus on making customers happy. This is how Bonanzle has grown to its current size, and I believe it is how we will continue our rapid pace of growth.

In addition to this talented addition to the Bonanzle Family, Bonanzle also rolled out to exciting improvements to the platform.
First is the eBay Importer feature upgrade that improves the importing of those listings with templates, drastically cutting back on any after import editing, and making what editing needed go smoother for the seller.
Second is the beta launch of the Bonanzle Protection Pledge.
The Buyer Protection Pledge will function as an extension of the already-existing Order Resolution Center, which helps buyer and seller ensure that items get delivered and in the condition they were described. The only difference with the BPP is that we will now officially stand behind our sellers where the BPP logo is shown, giving buyers an additional reason to trust this Bonanzle marketplace that they may have never previously heard of, if they're arriving from Google.

As they roll this pledge badge out, it will slowly be added to more and more items. But even without the badge, I can assure you Bonanzle’s Resolution team is the best on the web, having something other buyer support teams don’t have - the respect of the sellers.

So Thank You Bill, for the great new tweaks to the ‘Ranch’ and Welcome Alex, to the Bonanzle Family. We look forward to seeing what you have in your goodie bag of ideas.

Later...... .Renagade
Renagade a dealer of vinyl records and other collectables on  Bonanzle and has been since Bonanzle was in Beta. 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bonanzle Raises $1M from Angel Investors - Watch out eCom world !








The latest news on Bonanzle is causing quite a stir across the web.
From Gergory Huang of  Xconomy Seattle:

"The motto of Bonanzle is “everything but the ordinary.” That about sums up the latest news from this Seattle-area startup, which has built a fast-growing online marketplace for niche items and collectibles. I learned through the grapevine that Bonanzle founder Bill Harding has closed a $1 million funding round led by angel investor and venture capitalist Geoff Entress, with participation from a long list of well-known angels around town—plus three prominent venture firms.


It’s a small deal, a classic angel investment, but it’s particularly interesting for this reason: Seattle-area venture firms Voyager Capital (led by Entress) and Ignition Partners (Michelle Goldberg), plus Bay Area firm Matrix Partners (Josh Hannah), have all invested in the deal. All together, the venture firms put in less than half of the total funding amount—but presumably they will be watching to see if this is something they want to put more money behind."
READ MORE AT:
Bonanzle Raises $1M from Angel Investors, Plus Three VC Firms, to Expand Its Online Marketplace
 
Is this good news? bad news?  Honestly it could be either or both.  But after being on Bonanzle since its Beta days, I trust Bill and his judgement.  Yes, there have been times I questioned his ideas ( anyone remember 'Bizzy' ??) , but all in all I know Bill has a vision for Bonanzle and his passion for this will keep him on the right path.
I am strapping in, holding on and getting ready for the ride.  How about you?  What do you think about the extra fuel this little train has recieved?
 
Renagade.
My comments posted on article:
Thank you Mr. Huang for an excellent article on this new and exciting development for Bonanzle.

With the growth of Bonanzle, it is not surprizing that it attracted the investors, they know Bonanzle is a solid investment.
Bill Harding and his small team have build something unique and fresh. And with the growth of Bonanzle it is not surprizing that Harding would seek out investors to help him continue along the path he set his dream on.

Bonanzle is unique. This is what makes it such an attractive place for many in the eCommerce world and what has fueled its growth
One can only hope these investors completely grasp this and think out of the box when developing ideas to further Bonanzle’s footing in the world of online sales.
Or better yet, I recommend they follow Bills lead and throw that box of ideas out.

(Link to article Posted using ShareThis )

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tornado 2010 proves online friendships are real







People who are not in the world of eCommerce or active online just don't understand the friendship and the bonds made with people we may never even have a phone call with much less meet. But don't ever think the friendship is not the real deal.


On April 25, 2010 we got hit with a tornado. Luckily the damage was mostly to the vehicles and little to the house, but the big beautiful old trees around the house where all uprooted or snapped off.

We were very lucky, It was an EF4 with 170mph winds. It had to be off the ground otherwise house would have been gone. Still the feeling of having your property damaged in such a way and the helplessness and despair is no less.

Well since the last message I left on Twitter was Tornado watch .. bad weather . got to go, the day before, Once we got the phone temporarily hooked up and called in some of the best 'real world' friends for help (and coffee) I called Kat, (Gypsytrading on twitter, gypsygirl on Bonanzle) whom I have to say is one of my dearest friends.


All I wanted to do was to let her know what had happened and so she could let people know I was OK, just was going to be off line for a while due to power, phone lines down and major cleanup.




Well she did. And my circle of friends online that I hold dear let go with an outpouring of love and prayers that .... well... words could never describe.

And the daily phone calls from Kat " Gypsy" and John "Shake and Bake Trading" were a great comfort as well.

The handful of 'real world' people whom came and helped, or came by to check on us we deeply appreciate and love them, they are our 'family', and although I have always felt close to my 'cyberworld' 'family',  my hubby, Steve, never fully understood it until now.

We are both so grateful to each and everyone of you. Steve said, " You do have some wonderful friends, good friends online. They ARE like 'family'"

Yep, now he understands.

Yep, you all truly are.

Thank you all ....
 
Renagade
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Property before the storm
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Property now

                      













Visit my Facebook page www.facebook.com/renagades  I will have more photos posted there.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Shake and Bake Trading Co: It's not easy, but it sure ain't rocket science

I recently had the unique opportunity to guest blog of a dear friend and associate seller's blog.

I hope you all will not only take the time to visit and read this post, but to follow Johns Blog as well.
John is an accomplished writer, and ofeten intertwines wry humor within his posts, making them a fun and informative read.

Stop by and tell him The Renagade sent you!

Shake and Bake Trading Co: It's not easy, but it sure ain't rocket science

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Selling online? K.I.S.S. it for better sales

One of the burning debates that often arises is what to put in a listing. Do you add policies? Should you use templates? What about bullet lists? My advice is K.I.S.S. it. Keep It Simple Stupid.

  • Just the facts, Madam
First thing all sellers must remember is Google’s happy spiders feast on the first 250 words of a listing. There you need to be keyword rich. One rule of thumb is to think like a buyer. How would YOU search for this item? Would you type in  ‘Al Hirt Honey In The Horn’ or ‘cool jazz LP by Al Hirt’ ? Yes, Honey In The Horn IS a cool Jazz LP by Al Hirt, but you would not search for it as cool jazz, so skip the ‘nice’, ‘cool’, ‘beautiful’, etc. Exceptions here would be terms like, ‘new’, ‘used’, ‘vintage’, ‘antique’, ‘collectable’, etc. Be sure to stick to the facts Jack, and you will give the spiders a feast they cannot resit.
Templates can dress up your listings, and make it easier to list. BUT you must make sure the coding does not interfere with the spiders. They get confused and will not crawl your items or only feed on the coding.

Templates can also ‘overwhelm’ the buyer. They are there to see what you are selling, not to admire your window dressing, so the basic ones are best.
  • Bullet Lists - are they needed? When are they needed?
This is a hot issue. Bullet Lists can lure in the spiders, but mainly it is to pull the buyers eyes to the important facts about your item. When used effectively, it can speed up a sale by convincing the buyer this is what they where looking for. But do NOT over do it.

Example:
DAMIEN CRIPPS BAND

TIL NOW
Indie CD-2009

TRACKS:
  • Lemon Tree 03:12 
  •  Celebrity Slide 02:06 
  •  Pictures 03:28 
  •  Universe 04:05 
  •  Juke box Hit 03:09
  • Sophie 02:52
  • World is Shakin 03:22 
  •  Take Me 03:16
This is a VERY Limited Edition CD. Damien has Hand numbered and Signed only 50 CDs for this special release.
Comes with BONUS Code for free MP3 downloads of all tracks!

Compared to:

DAMIEN CRIPPS BAND

TIL NOW
Indie CD-2009
  • VERY Limited Edition CD. 
  •  Hand numbered
  • Signed
  • BONUS!
  • Code for free MP3
  • downloads of all tracks
  • Indie
  • Australia
  • Pictures
  • Sophie
  • Universe
  • Take Me
  • Imported
  • New
  • Special Release
See the difference? Adding too many bullets and /or 'Odd'  bullets can take away from a listing.
  • Policies, IN or out of the listing?
Another touchy subject for sure. Again look at it from the view of the spiders, do NOT have it in the first 250 words. Having policies where Google spiders can find it is like spraying Raid … They are gone.

But from a buyers viewpoint, they are good to have in the listing. Buyers now a days are busy, they want to know about the item, how they can pay for it, and when to expect to receive it. So including the basics of your policies is good, but again, do not over do it.

Do:
  • Tell them how payment can be made.
  • When you ship and what service ie - USPS Priority? UPS Ground?
  • Do you accept returns? Or is sale final?
Do NOT:
  • Demand payment (Or ANYTHING)
  • Go into details of what MUST be done before you accept a return
  • That you will NOT ship to etc, etc
Again … K.I.S.S. this. Don’t ramble, just the facts, and to include a way for the buyer to contact you or a place to view further details of policies is …well… good policy!

Listing items for sale is not rocket science people, it is really common sense. Keeping it simple, direct, and informative without informational or visual overload is the best way to ensure not only to please the customers, but you will make Google very happy as well.

Later! .......Renagade
Renagade is an online dealer of vinyl records and other items on several sites including Bonanzle and Amazon
Comments are encouraged and welcomed

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Expanding support? Should it be from within?

Bonanzle is growing! And like many sites that grow, they found the need to expand their support team. To do so, they always look to their family of sellers and see if any are up to the task. Many marketplaces do this, but is that always the best move? Simple answer is no.


Yes, any company usually promotes from within first, that way insuring the person is knowledge about the company and fostering company loyalty. But when you are dealing with marketplaces, especially those with forums etc, this practice is not always the best move. Why? Human nature.

Sellers form friendships and bonds with other sellers. And you also have those whom don’t get along. And when you pull one, no matter how respected they are, and give them a role that involves possible censorship of other sellers on the site, this is a formula for trouble.

Don’t get me wrong …. There are many good people whom can take their personal feelings and check them at the door, per se, and are able to do their job, but that is not always the case. And even those who can do their job professionally, will the others that they have to correct see this?

Human nature is to trust those you know. When a friend comes to you and says, this is bad, this one is causing trouble, that’s a fake, human nature causes your opinion to already to be ever so slightly tainted by this. Just the same way when someone you really don’t like comes along and says the same thing, your opinion is tainted somewhat the other way. It is human nature.

I have in the past years seen sites just simply take major nosedives due to sellers given power. Some have handled it just fine, but others have let their friendships get in the way, not meaning to, but it happens. And it can be something as simple as a friend saying something like this thread is toxic, that seller is scamming, or that item is a fake and needs to be removed. Trusting their friends judgment, they can make the wrong decision.

Again, I am not saying this is the case on Bonanzle. But a move of giving a seller a promotion, whether it is to support, or a moderator, or anything involving the workings of a marketplace is a risky move. Just one look at eBay pinkslips, Blujay’s forum and PSU will attest to that.

Just my opinion … what say you?



Later………Renagade
Renagade is an online dealer of Vinyl records, indie CDs and other items at several sites, including Bonanzle and eBay As well as at www.renagadesrelics.com

Monday, February 22, 2010

Pet Peeves of online shopping - Sellers beware!

When shopping online the size of the marketplace DOES matter when it comes to what the buyer expects from the site, just how far they will venture into the site., and what can turn them away from a marketplace.
EBay, Amazon, they are given more ‘free passes’ for the things that if found on the smaller venues, would cause a buyer to leave in a hurry.

On eBay and Amazon, you can find poor listings and or lack of description, seller policies that scream at you, pictures that, for the lack of a better word, simply suck, forum communities that are vile and toxic in spots, but yet the sales keep happening. Why? Their SIZE. They are big, and for some reason, buyers simply trust that if it is on eBay or Amazon it has to be a good product and the seller know what they are doing.

Now, when those same buyers come into eCrater, Esty, Bonanzle, or scores of the other smaller venues, the glasses that they use to look at the big boys come off, and the super magnifying pair go on. And the examine every little detail. Why? The site is smaller, and since smaller the trust factor is lower. A simple thing of the same in-you-face I will- You wont - policy from the same seller, that they have no problems with on eBay, can send them packing on Bonanzle.

Yes on the smaller site you have more freedom as well, to ‘dress up your place’ to fit your taste. Have fun playing buying selling games, and gab in the forums. Do you even realize that these things many be costing you, and the site as a whole sales?

I have had several people come to me, both  publicly and privately, to convey what turns them off as a buyer. The list is a good one, and I hope , an eye opener for Sellers and Site owners alike.

Just what are some of the Pet Peeves of online shoppers?
Shipping is a BIG factor:
  • When I put several items in my cart and shipping comes to 50 dollars. In turn I ask for combined shipping and they say I cant do that.. Well you lost a sale.
  • Sellers who seem to think that the only way to ship is with flat rate USPS priority mail boxes. Several times I have had to point out to a seller that they could ship their item for much less using a regular priority mail box, or a plain cardboard box with a priority mail sticker. Flat rate priority mail boxes can save money, but usually only for heavy items shipped longer distances, like all the way across the US.
  • Even if they offer free shipping, I would like to know HOW it is being shipped.
Listing/Shop/Site appearance:
  • Listings that are carry overs from other sites. Makes it confusing and crappy looking. If they can’t clean up a listing I hazard to guess how reliable they are.
  • When a place looks like a walking billboard, one half of the entire first page is nothing but advertisements and nonsense.
  • As a buyer I will leave a booth/shop immediately if I start clicking on the categories and nothing is there.
  • Listings with poor titles. I look for Wisconsin bottles, and some sellers don’t even put it in the description. It makes it VERY difficult to find things to buy.
  • Poor Photos - I can remember dozens of times (at eBay) having to squint at photos, or having to email the seller as to what the embossing/lettering is on a bottle.
  • When first thing they are smacked in the face with are ad banners and listing after listing for freebie promotions and information that has nothing to do with a venue that exists for sellers to sell their wares.
  • I have never seen so much junk for sale in my life. The real treasures are lost because no one can see them for all the stupid games people are playing.
  • What’s with all the bullet lists??? I don’t need every word bulleted for me to read.
  • Titles that do not say what the item is, they give the brand, and size but don’t tell what the item is.
  • Listings where the description is half a page
  • Listing where size , color , etc… have not been stated
  • Huge pictures in the description, overly long descriptions, blurry pictures, any mention of auction or eBay on sites other than eBay
  • Way too much flash and stuff for me. Took to long to load the page. If I have to wait, I am out of there.
  • Terms I don’t understand in listings. I am looking to buy a item. I don’t understand nor want to play the games you sellers enjoy. So why are the games titles and rules in the listing description?
  • Where are the sellers policies? How are they shipping, when will they ship? Do they accept returns? I don’t like digging for this information.
  • Terms of Service that are harsh, unfriendly and with lots of demands. Out of there quicker than flynn.
  • Having to ask if they ship to Canada and how much. Puleaase… either say you do or say you don’t – so that I’m not wasting my time.
  • Venturing into the forums and seeing them complain about a buyer in public. THAT Makes me think twice about shopping there.
  • The promotions forum  full of sellers offering the most desperate looking and ridiculous markdowns
  • Sellers with 100s of feedbacks for nothing but low cost junket $1 items.
  • Inflated postage. Item - $1 - shipping $20 .
And AFTER the sale:

  • I like when a seller keeps in touch such as notification of receipt of payment and notification of item sent. Communication is great customer service.
  • No communication from the seller. It takes maybe 30 seconds to send a message that says thanks for the order, I’ll be shipping tomorrow (or whenever). Isn’t my business worth that 30 seconds?
  • Shoddy packing…I have received on a few occasions items just thrown in the package. No tissue, no nothing; not even a business card or receipt. That just speaks volumes to me that they don’t care and just want it ‘out’.
  • When you pay $6.00 Priority shipping and when you receive your package, you notice that the seller sent it First Class for $1.48. They will never see me again.
  • I have received items that smell like perfume. I cannot stand any perfume, never did as a kid, and still don’t like it. I have tossed items as well so I don’t have to smell the stuff.
  • As a buyer, the biggest turn off for me is an item that I buy that smells like smoke. I have literally thrown the item out.
  • Sellers who describe an item as being mint, but it has this big crack in the back. If it’s damaged it isn’t mint.
  • when dryers sheets are packed in or a bottle of febreeze is used to attempt to mask an odor.
  • Freebies - I like getting freebies
  • What is up with them packing extra junk in? I bought a piece of vintage glass, and got a McDonalds Beanie Baby thrown in as a gift? Please, keep it unless it goes with the kind of item I just bought.
This is just SOME of the responses I have gotten and have heard, and I know everyone got their own pet peeves when buying from online sellers.

What are some of yours? Where do you find the best service from? The big boy places of eBay and Amazon? Or the smaller venues of Bonanzle, eCrater etc? Your input can help a seller give you a better experience the next time you shop.

Renagade

Renagade is a dealer of music and other collectable items on eBay, Amazon, Bonanzle as well as http://www.renagadesrelics.com/

Thanks go out to fellow sellers on Bonanzle and to non eCommerce friends whom made this blog post possible. I myself have learned a lot!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Self proclaimed 'experts' and the need to research

There are many courses and classes, webinars and seminars and self proclaimed 'experts' in the eCommerce world today. Many are good, with great information and tips on just how to maneuver the highway of online selling. These people do research and work the platform they are teaching about. But far too many others do not.

I ran across a blog post today on Social Media and the effects on marketing A Little Class on the Internet: Leverage Matters: Social Media . Interesting title, and good point on how social media does have an important role in marketing, but the author made a crucial mistake. He failed to research and give all the facts.
He took the social media statistics of three online marketplaces. Etsy , Bonanza, and Zazzle as examples, but overlooked, or failed to fully research, all the places Bonanza and Zazzle have, clearly slanting the post to favor Etsy.

The tagline, or description of this blog is

“A blog for students of Professor Kagan's internet course to comment and highlight class topics. From the various channels for marketing on the internet, to multimedia and e-commerce business models, anything related to the class is fair game.”

I rarely call out someone like this, but I attempted to post a comment on the blog to let he or she know that Bonanza for one does have more going for them in social media than what the author stated , but found the blog was locked to only comments for the ‘students’.

So, Mbaker, I am offering my comment here:

Interesting comparisons of the sites. And yes, I feel that social media does play a very important role in success of online marketplaces.
I must point out, however, Bonanzle does have more along the lines of Social media than you reported.


Their blog, maintained by the owner himself: http://www.bonanzle.com/blogs/


They have had three different podcasts with the focus of Bonanzle, the latest being the Bonanzle Boardroom: http://www.bonanzleboardroom.com  .


They have also been the subject of many You Tube videos and blogs.
Bonanzle does have a buzz around them, and considering its youth, the buzz is a good one.
Again, good points on the importance of social media in eCommerce!

I May I add here, people, before you jump into any webinar, seminar , or take the advice of any ‘expert’, research! Just because they say something does not make it ‘Gospel’. They are, after all human too.

Ones I found do know what they are talking about:
http://www.bonanzleboardroom.com   
http://3rdpoblogs.com/colderice/  
http://basicstobusiness.com/  
http://the-savvy-seller.com/

But don’t take my word for it…..RESEARCH for yourself…. I am not an ‘Expert’….
I am just the Renagade....

Renagade is a dealer of music on vinyl and CD, PR Consultant for Indie musicians, and blogger.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Blog Basics for Basic Blogs






Blogging. Seems like everyone is doing it. You can find blogs on every subject matter, from kids to pets, from diseases to treatments, from cooking to cleaning and more. But the question is, what makes a good blog? That is kind of like art. The beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But I have found there are simple rules that seem to work to make a blog worth reading.


The basics of blogs are simple.

DO
  1. PICK A TOPIC- stick to something you are passionate about and the words shall come to you.
  2. CHOOSE A SITE - There are several sites to post a blog, the two most popular are Wordpress and Blogger. Blogger is the easier of the two.
  3. SELECT AN APPROPERATE LAYOUT - Let the layout be a reflection of you and more importantly, the overall subject of the blog. Don’t use a background for kids if you are writing about business.
  4. K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Stupid - Try not to ramble. Get to the point.
  5. WRITE ONLY WHEN YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY- Many people think you need to write Daily. If your are using your blog as a daily journal - yes. But if not, don’t feel like you HAVE to post everyday.
  6. READ IT - Yes people, read and re-read you post. Is it good? Did you cover the topic well? Did you spell everything correctly? Would YOU read it if it wasn't yours?
  7. JUST DO IT - Just Do It! ( What part of THAT don’t you understand?)
DON’T
  1. ADVERTISE- Many brag about the items they sold or post a grocery list of items they just have listed. Sorry folks, but unless you are a dealer of collectables, art, antiques, etc and are giving some solid information about the item, this to me is pointless. Really, does anyone care if you just listed 100 sets of Fruit of the Loom Spiderman boxers? There are places and widgets to use to promote your items, use them effectively.
  2. SLAM - Sure everyone ‘rants’ from time to time….I have done so here. But do NOT personally “Call out” someone.
  3. FORGET TO GIVE CREDIT - Give credit when credit is due. Linking to others works wonders.
Personally, either amuse me or inform me or I am out of there. For examples of some of the blogs I find to be worthwhile, Look at my Blog Log on the sidebar here. They are some of the best out there.

What do you look for in a blog? What turns you off from one?

Later..........Renagade

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Are those britches getting tight?

Last year I had the wonderful opportunity to attend my first ECMTA seminar in Atlanta. Among many things I took away from this was self confidence and belief in my ability and pride in what I do. I have gone from someone who sells used records online, to a dealer in vinyl. From a blogger to a reviewer of music. And my site, Renagade's Relics evolved from a site with links to where I sell, to a site showcasing some of the best Indies musicians around.

One thing that I would like to think hasn't changed is me.

Everyone strives to move up and forward. Ambition is good, for to want to better oneself is what keeps us alive. But the question is, as you move forward are you careful not to step on others along the way? Do you find yourself forming new friendships based on who they are on the inside, or because of who they are in the world? When you converse with others, are you talking with them, at them, or down to them? Basically, as my Daddy would say, are you getting too big for those britches?

Yes, it is good to present yourself with an air of professionalism. It is when the air gets oversaturated with professionalism that it becomes stale and hard to breathe in. When your desire to succeed overruns your ability to talk with people and share your wisdom as opposed to talking at people boasting your knowledge, it may be time to take a long hard look in the mirror. And make sure its a rearview mirror. Only when you remember your past is the future sweet.

Later........Renagade

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sellers speak out , site owners are you listening?

Auctionbytes ran an online poll among sellers, asking them to rate 15 popular eCommerce marketplaces,( Amazon.com, AtomicMall.com , Blujay.com Bonanzle.com CQout.com , Craigslist.com , eBay.com, www.ebid.net , eCrater.com , Esty.com , GoAnitques.com , iOffer.com , Onlineauction.com, www.Rubylane.com , www.TIAS.com  ), on five important issues to any seller, ( Profitability, Customer Service, Communication, Ease Of Use, and Recommendation as a selling venue.) Well the results are in and they may surprise you.

I will not reveal who came in number one, nor who is at the bottom, you will have to go to auctionbytes.com to see that, but I will tell you that for general merchandise marketplaces, Bonanzle came out the winner. For specialized antiques marketplaces, RubyLane is the cream of the crop.
Esty deserves a special round of applause here, for being a niche site of artisan, handcrafted items, they came in .... spoiler alert.... an overall fifth place as a selling venue.
Auctionbytes also has posted the results of each site individually with some of the comments, both positive and negative.
Please go and check out their results, especially if you are looking for a new place to sell on.

And if you are a site owner, you really need to see this....for YOUR customers have spoken.

Full Article on Auctionbytes : http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abu/y210/m01/abu0255/s02

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Are You Talkin' to me? You Talkin' to ME?





The war of  words, fussin', feuding, B##$hing, moaning, grumbling, complaining, slamming, dogging, .......need I go on?

It is not the way to win friends, influence people, or make sales. 

I know, some of you say oh yes it is! My list of fans, followers go up.  I finally get the person to listen to what I have to say. etc.  Really? 
First of all yes, your friends list may go up with the drama lovers that have nothing else better to do than grab a bowl of popcorn  and watch the soap opera unfold.  But the ones that carry value you will lose.
Second, ARE the people you screaming at REALLY listening? Or are they just responding to your rant?

I have seen forum rants, arguements on facebook, and Twitter Wars. I have seen Sellers slamming a site because they don't like a change or the support team can't fix a glitch in 5.2 seconds.  I have seen Musicians and Celebrities scream and cuss out others.  I have witnessed customers slam sellers for not IMMEDIATELY responding to an email.  It ALL amounts to bad business, no matter what business you are in.
If you have a problem with someone, contact them directly,  if you have an issue with a site, contact support. And be a little patient in waiting for a response or a fix of an glitch. 
Remember, once your words are 'out there' for the world to see, they Can grow legs and run.....

MORE at : Are your words running around the internet?? ...And what ARE they telling people about you?

NOTE:  IF a large company like ATT, Verison, etc fail in the real world customer support - sometimes a little twitter rant helps :) - but please - stick the the facts and dont @#$@@!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Are your words running across the internet?

Well it is 2010 and I am hoping everyone is off to a running start this year.  2009 was a tough one, but an exciting one, with many new paths for the Renagade.

My website, Renagades Music took on a life of it's own, moving from just a page to find out where I am at, to a site that is devoted to helping Independent Musicians get heard.  Starting with two great artists, Monk and Damien Cripps, Renagade's Music now has around 12 great musicians and bands from all over the world.

This all came about through these wonderful people trusting in me and my reputation.  Which brings me to my first rant of the year.

HOW IS YOUR REPUTATION?
What kind of image and brand are you building for yourself?  And HOW are you building it?
I follow several key words in Google Alerts, everything from the sites I sell on to the artists I support on Renagade's Music.  This can keep me on top of who is saying what about what and whom online.  This does give you the good, the bad and sometimes the down right ugly.
One thing way too many people forget is other people DO see and read what you post on the web.  And people will judge you by your words.  Far too often, people think if they post a blog, leave a comment, send a tweet, that only their buddies are going to see it. And they think that that is where the words will stay....right where they put them.  WRONG!
For example:
1.XXXX  SUCKS!! Here's a copy & paste of what a XXXX  user thinks.
Posted by XXXX, Location omitted by Renagade. 1,754 total posts
Posted about 3 hours ago
I came down here so I can SCREAM!!!!!!!!!!. I try to be careful what I post in a public forum but I’m really losing patience with this site issue. I don’t care what the stats say, i.e., less than 1% having problems. No one knows that!! We don’t have a clue how many buyers and sellers are being affected. Some don’t bother to report, others are giving up, and many don’t know yet because this is a holiday weekend. (XXX Added by Renagade) - (Via Yahoo answers )

2. Note to sellers: If you want me to even look at what you're selling, do NOT put "as seen on Oprah" anywhere in the description. (via @Brenner57 - twitter)

3. If you check the bonanzle education series category in my booth, you will find some recordings and such, Also check www.bonanlzeboardroom.com for how to videos etc. Phaedra (via attheboutique - Bonanzle Forums)

4.  Still here? There are important people out there posting important stuff. Instead of being here, you could be educating yourself on the hot topics of the day: How well endowed is Tiger? Will Octomom have more kids? What did Jon and Kate have for breakfast? And the most burning question of all: Will Woofer get his own reality show? (Via 2woofers- Words of Wit and Wisdom )

5. A stunning vintage Pell signed Amber rhinestone Broach. 2" diameter (via Gypsy Byways - description of item)

6. I have a bunch of items I deleted a while ago at XXX and still showing in Google Products under XXX and I moved them elsewhere. Long story short am double listed and am annoyed since XXX owners won't disable my feeds or delete my storefront after numerous attempts to contact them. ( via www.powersellersunite.com  forum - XXX added and posters name removed by me)

This is just what I could do quickly and on the fly. What does that tell you not only about how easily and quickly the words can be redone, but also about the people who posted them?  And about the subject they are posting about?  Now remember - I have XXX out some names and omited some, but fill those blanks in with YOURS and the site you sell on.  Is this what you want your image to be tied to?  Is this what you are building your reputation on?  And do you SEE how easy it is to spread it all over the web even if you personally are not spreading it?

Some people feel that even bad publicity is good publicity.  I disagree. Sure, it may bring you more traffic for a while, but repeated negative posts can and will take its toll, no matter HOW good you are or a site is.
Now the question is....How are YOU building your reputation? How is YOUR Brand?  What kind of crumbs are YOU leaving?  I hope they don't leave a bad tatse in anyones mouth.

Later..........Renagade

PS MY personal 'take' on the above posts:
1.  This poster had no clue that the words would 'travel' off the site.  And the post leaves me wondering....why are they selling on a site they are obviously frustrated with?
2. Brenner is not an Oprah fan and does not like the marketing techniques of some.
3. Phaedra is someone who knows so much about Bonanzle, she has developed educational tools for Bonanzle users.
4. Woofers has a good sense of humor and a unique ability to even poke fun at himself.
5. Gypsy Byways has at least one Vintage jewelry item, possibly more.  She know enough about vintage to look for marks and where to find them ( and she needs to fix the word broach to brooch )
6.  This poster moved off a site that they were not happy with.  And are still not happy with.  Site seems to be lacking support for sellers.

PS - Bonanzle is now know as Bonanza  - www.bonanza.com