what this blog is all about...

Do you sell stuff on-line? Interested in it? Well, this blog might be for you. Don't expect lots of news stories or other stuff you can easily get. I want to give you the ugly side...the practical, the-stuff-they-don't-warn-you-about side of on-line retailing for the small seller.

I've been selling on-line for about 9 years. And I'm happy to share some of my experience and knowledge with anyone who has the patience to trudge their way through my random ramblings!

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Danger of the "all your eggs in one basket" mentality

Many a seller had hitched their wagon to ebay, thinking that it would be the only venue they'd need to become big-time on-line sellers (or at least sell enough to help pay the bills).


When ebay decided to alienate the smaller sellers and focus on the big box stores and manufacturers to become a venue for overstock goods, many of those smaller sellers felt like they were being pushed out.

And they had no place else to go.

They had fallen prey one of the biggest pitfalls of the small seller: dedication to a single venue for your sales.

Whether you sell on Amazon, ebay, bonanzle, ebid, ecrater or even your own site, it's important to realize that any one of these could fail, stumble, or in some way seriously hurt your business on it. Even having your own site doesn't make you immune. There are others out there looking at your site thinking "Yeah, I can sell that, too" and POOF - there goes whatever exclusivity you may have.

Lesson 1: if you want to sell and even think of being able to make a living at it, you need to look at all venues out there. You may not need to necessarily sell on them, but at least be aware of them and perhaps have a presence there, just in case your current venue decides to "ebay" you!

Lesson 2: be sure to have a contingency plan. Do you sell your hand-made items on ebay? Excellent! Have you looked into bonanzle? Or etsy? No? Then why not? Etsy is a fantastic site for artisans and crafters to sell their wares. If ebay starts to fail you, where will you go? Or is the market already dried up for your handmade toaster covers made from recycled Bud Lite cans? Ok...so what you gonna sell now?

Now, you may ask, "What about you? Did you have other venues in line?" Well, I started to ween myself from ebay long before they started to become closeout city. When I saw the disaster eBay Express turned into, I knew they didn't have any idea how to re-invent themselves...at least without hurting its then-present seller base.

So, yeah, I had contingency plans. I went from selling antiques and collectible to selling new goods. It took me like 3 1/2 weeks to convert, including suppliers, venue, and profit required to make it at least match what I was doing on ebay.

I'm not bragging. That's just the benefit of planning.

And so far, the plan is working pretty nicely.

In other words, if you need to change venues, product lines, or any serious portion of your business plan, PLEASE have a folder in your desk (or in your head) labeled "what if's" to fall back on just in case that great venue is still a shooting star, but no longer wants your wagon hitched to it.

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