Opportunities for Sellers in 2012
A panel of experts were asked by eCommerceBytes regarding online selling trends. Today’s installment gives us the challenges that sellers could encounter when it comes to possible opportunities. Selected participants were chosen for this activity on the basis of these people being in the frontlines and for the experience that they have working hand in hand with small online retailers.
Jamie Hill, CEO, adMarketplace (Pay-Per-Click)
Bill Harding, Founder, Bonanza (Online Marketplace)
Ben Milne, Founder, Dwolla (Online Payment Service)
Danielle Savin, Vice President, FitforCommerce (Retail Consultant)
Rob Caskey, Vice President of Marketing, Liquidation.com (Online Marketplace)
Brian J. Lawe, Founder, MyStoreCredit (Marketing Service)
Steven Aldrich, CEO, Outright (Bookkeeping service for online sellers and entrepreneurs)
Chris Taylor, Founder, PageMage (eBay Marketing Service)
Palmer J. Pekarek, Director of Communications and New Business Development, RubyLane (Online Marketplace specializing in antiques and collectibles)
What Are the Biggest Opportunities Ahead?
Jamie Hill, CEO, adMarketplace
According to Jamie Hill, to avail of the biggest opportunities ahead, you need to scale your business and widen your marketshare. Your hardwork will show positive results if you have added your efficiency during the time when there was a recession.
Bill Harding, Founder, Bonanza
Bill responded by informing us that the usual answers to the question on big opportunities lies in “mobile” and “local”. On the other hand, he thinks that it could be more of a means to an end and this will be very meaningful to sellers that could even change their lives. The biggest opportunity in 2012 for Bill goes to a lot of better choices on where sellers could market their products. Online stores are definitely growing such as eBay, Amazon, Bonanza and Etsy. It is easier now to pick a marketplace than it has before.
Ben Milne, Founder, Dwolla
Ben mentions that the best merchants are run or managed by extremely good people. These have the greatest ideas in terms of serving the customers the best possible way they can. The shoppers of today are more vocal, connected to the world and people and are well informed. Consumers are more human than they have been several years ago. Ben further tells us that Sally, Jane and Jim Bob are purchasing Lethal Weapon 4, a pallet of cardboard, as well as the new Hannah Montana album. These people expect to be treated like this and not through customers 23963, 89764 and 15674. They also expect that their orders will be treated with the item identified and not as 3453H, 3782NJ and 5621PL. When you develop an online storefront, you have a big opportunity in making this big.
Danielle Savin, Vice President, FitforCommerce
Danielle mentions that multichannel retailers are thrown into big opportunities by being able to know how and when customers would like to shop and having the ability to use their marketing group to spend on programs in order to come up with better segmentation. A very big opportunity comes in the form of integrated marketing. Mobile and social are in the mix for a central repository with bigger segmentation in relation to demographics, purchase behavior and psychographics.
Brian J. Lawe, Founder, MyStoreCredit
According to Brian J. Lawe, marketing whether online or offline will continuously have changes. Using newspapers, radio, direct mail, yellow page advertising have long been dead. SEO and SEM meanwhile are becoming complicated and expensive and this brings the reseller back and out. New as well as existing customers go for new and more innovative models in relation to marketing. If someone is creative enough to make new approaches, he or she will survive in this world. Those that are considered cutting edge have Twitter, Facebook, daily deals and email marketing. The creativity usually comes out when sellers start using these tools to their advantage.
Steven Aldrich, CEO, Outright
Steven used JFK’s statement, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Online shopping has never been better, according to Mr. Aldrich because of the numerous possibilities when you make your purchase online. He further quips that ecommerce will be in the top 5% when it comes to retail sales for this year, 2012. The 5% increase is translated as an increase of up to $20 billion as against in 2011. It was also last year wherein total retail sales increased only of up to 7%. This opportunity should be taken seriously and you should be visible on mobile searches so people could easily look for you. Your products should be highly visible by making sure that these are in marketplaces. Don’t forget to track customers that bought your products and by thanking them at the same time. It is also important that you have your own website so if the time comes they will make purchases directly, then they can just buy directly from you.
Chris Taylor, Founder, PageMage
According to Chris, he had a workshop wherein the eBay seller group met with him in the SF Bay Area. Chris and his group met and saw the following possible opportunities: Creating social presence such as Facebook, Twitter and Blog. Widening of the marketplaces and product areas. Another opportunity goes to making sure that the marketing efforts are changed for the better. The opportunity should include branding and awareness as well.
Palmer J. Pekarek, Director of Communications and New Business Development, Ruby Lane
Palmer says that there are a lot of venues wherein you can do your selling. A third party win-win relationship will assist sellers in placing whatever merchandise they may have with new markets that are right in front of them.
Mobile app development is another item that people are anticipating more and more. This will simply help them buy and shop anywhere they want. The use of tablets have been a phenomenon to a lot of people because buyers are able to do this even if they are far from the establishment.