October 08, 2014

September 2014 ChannelAdvisor Same Store Sales (SSS) for eBay, Amazon, Search, CSE and other e-commerce channels

We've moved our blog! EbayStrategies.blogs.com will eventually be shut down, however the posts will live on. To access this blog post at its new location, click here.

Note: This is a monthly feature published by ChannelAdvisor highlighting the Same Store Sales (SSS) across our wide range of thousands of retailers and billions in GMV.  Details on the SSS including background, methodology, disclaimers and the 2014 schedule can be found in this post.  

Today we are releasing September 2014 SSS data for eBay, Amazon,Google Search and Google Shopping/PLA.  ComScore recently reported that US Q3 e-commerce grew at 13% y/y for the desktop which translates to ~15% y/y with mobile included so that is the baseline for Q3 2014 growth.  

 Here are the y/y SSS results for September 2014, the last month of Q3 and the critical 'back to school' period, which propels us into Q4.  Note that there are 51 days until Thanksgiving from the time of this post (October 8, 2014).

September 2014 SSS Results 

  • Amazon - Amazon's September SSS came in at 37.9%, a decrease compared to August's 45.1% .  Even with a decrease from August to September, 37.9% is more than twice the growth rate of e-commerce.  We have Amazon details further in the report.
  • eBay -  eBay's September came in at 8.9% up from August's 5.9%, but below the e-commerce growth rate.  This is the first up-tick in eBay SSS since June and indicates that eBay is recovering from the breach and Google issues. Further in the report, we have details of the eBay internals.
  • Other 3PM -3PM continued strong growth in September coming in at 46.4%.  While this is an increase from the 24.2% recorded in August, these channels are a bit more volatile in m/m performance than larger more established channels.  @46.4%, they are growing 3X the pace of  e-commerce which is quite impressive.
  • CSE - Comparison Shopping Engines came in at 6.6% for September down from August’s 21.1%.  This was largely driven by weakness in the traditional CSE segment that over-shadowed strength in Google Shopping / PLA (details later).
  • Search - Search came in at 28.5% for September an increase from August’s 13.6% y/y growth.  Later in the report we have more search details.

 

 SSS Chart 

The following chart details the SSS data for September 2013 through September 2014: (click to enlarge)

  Sep_14_sss_main_chart


eBay Details

eBay's SSS for September was 8.9%.  To get a feel for what is driving the marketplace's performance, here are the interior data points for the month:

  • eBay auctions - Down 4.1% y/y. 
  • eBay fixed-price - Up 7.6% y/y - an increase from August’s 6.9%, which puts this key part of eBay growing about half the pace of e-commerce.
  • eBay Motors  (parts and accessories) - P+A  increased in September coming in at 14.7% compared to August’s 8.4%.  This brings P+A's growth rate in-line with e-commerce.

Looking at the data, we continued to see weakness in the golf category (details later) and also the electronics category.  Digging into this, what we are seeing is big y/y declines in those categories for sellers with used items.  As we've covered in detail on this blog, the new eBay Defect Rate (eDR) is now active.  It seems a consequence of this new system is that sellers of used/refurbished items are having to significantly reduce their inventory and it has created a headwind on SSS for August and September.  Note that our customer base most likely over-indexes for this category of sellers.

Interestingly, Amazon has added several features to embrace the used/refurb category and we are seeing a clear share move from eBay to Amazon in this category.

 Here are the TTM (trailing twelve month) trends on these eBay internals.  (click to enlarge)

Sep_14_sss_ebay_details




Amazon Details

In June 2014, we released two new data points around FBA:

  • Percent FBA - This measures the % of Amazon GMV through the ChannelAdvisor system that was fulfilled through FBA and tracks it on a y/y basis.  For September 2014, 35% of Amazon GMV was FBA.  That was up from September 2013 where 30.2% of the GMV was FBA.  That's a 15.7% increase y/y in FBA as a % of GMV.  
  • %FBA non Amazon - Here we look at the total bucket of FBA-driven GMV and look at the % that was not fulfilled for Amazon sales (website, other 3PMs, Search, CSE, etc.).  In September 2013, 1.4% was non-Amazon fulfilled.  Then in September 2014, we saw this grow 14.5% to 1.6%.

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Supplemental data for Search

Here are the September Search internals: (click to enlarge)


Sep_14_sss_search_details



Note: these are all y/y SSS comparisons (September 2014 vs. September 2013).

Search SSS increased 28.5% for September.  The search increase from August to September was driven by increases in clicks (up 8%), AOV (which was up to $156.14, a 15% y/y increase) and Conversion Rate (CR) improved 3% to 3.17%.   CPC was flat at $.44 due to the headwind of mobile traffic.  Total cost was up 9% because of the delta between CPC and CR.  The AOV move is a bit unusual and historically AOV has moved in concert with consumer spending.  Decreasing fuel costs, improved perception of the economy and lack of inflation are all factors.

Supplemental data for Google Shopping

In September 2012, we introduced a new set of data around Google Shopping.  Here is the September Google Shopping/Product Listing Ad supplemental data:

Sep_14_sss_google_shopping

Overall, Google Shopping came in at 45.2% y/y increase, a decrease from August's 54.3%.   The Conversion rate was up y/y 6.6% from 2.09% to 2.23%, and (as with search) AOV increased 33.9% from $93.50 to $125.17 .  This is likely due to the improved consumer outlook as well as Google tweaking the algorithm to continue to show higher priced goods.

 Golf update

In May we provided a look into the golf category that has been quite popular with our golf customers.  In September, we saw eBay decline to .8% y/y SSS compared to August's 5.8%.   Amazon also declined to 39% from August's 63.1%.  The used/refurb product is a 25-33% chunk of the golf category and the trends we mentioned in the eBay details section (eBay pushing away used/refurb, Amazon embracing) were reflected in the golf data as well.

 

The following table and chart illustrate the 2014 YTD trends for the golf category from a SSS perspective.

  Sep_14_sss_golf_table

Sep_14_sss_golf_chart

Conclusion 

September was a strong finish for the channels we track. Amazon, Google PLAs, 3PMs and Search grew materially faster than the 15% e-commerce baseline growth rate.  eBay and traditional CSEs were under pressure, with parts of eBay showing m/m SSS improvements.  

NRF's online division: Shop.org just released their holiday forecast calling for 8-11% y/y growth in online sales vs. 4% for all of retail.  Forrester is calling for 15.5% growth (US) and IMRG in the UK is calling for 17% growth this holiday.  After our October monthly report, we'll be going into heavy peak season mode, so stay tuned.

This blog post was written by Scot Wingo, CEO, ChannelAdvisor.

October 07, 2014

Cyber Five Frenzy: Mobile-Friendly & Quantity Management

Ah, the much-anticipated holiday season will soon be upon us. While years ago retailers didn’t need to prepare for the holidays until Q4, these days “Christmas Creep” has forced many retailers to kick it into high gear before the leaves start changing colors.

To help all retailers prepared for the holiday rush, we’ll be sharing several holiday preparation tips right here on our blog over the next two months. We want to make sure you’re covered from all angles, so two tips per post — one on digital marketing and one on marketplaces— and two blogs per week. We’ll begin with the tips that take the most time to implement and end with the less complex. Let the prepping commence!

Digital Marketing Tip #1: Make sure you’re mobile-friendly

A quick way to address this before the holidays is with responsive design. Also, you want to make sure that your site loads quickly. Think about how impatient holiday shoppers are in lines. How long will they really wait for your site to load.

What’s responsive design, you may ask? It’s simply a website code that ensures your site is optimized for viewers, no matter what device they’re using.

This reactive website design is beneficial in other ways, too. It improves search engine optimization (SEO) because Google prefers a responsive designed site. Responsive design also helps mitigate bounces resulting from a difficult-to-navigate mobile website. In fact, mobile websites that are frustrating to navigate have a 61% exit rate. Not sure how your site’s mobile speed stacks up? Check out your site’s mobile speed here.

Marketplaces Tip #1: Improve quantity management

Whether it’s a Tickle Me Elmo or the newest Xbox, when it comes to that hot holiday toy, it’s a numbers game. You don’t want to order too little and wind up out of stock, and you don’t want to order too many and have a surplus taking up valuable warehouse space. While we can’t predict the hottest items this holiday season, we can give you some strategies for managing your product quantities.

  • Optimize your quantity strategy by juggling the quantity across multiple marketplaces and your webstore. With ChannelAdvisor’s Inventory Juggler, when an item sells, the quantity is automatically updated across all channels to avoid risk of overselling. For those items that have a high sales velocity, you’ll want to set a buffer of safety stock so you don’t oversell.

  • Bundle items if you end up with excess inventory at the end of the season. For example, a laptop and a laptop case: Packaging complementary items as a single bundle can help retailers stand out from the crowd, get inventory (not to mention revenue) flowing and save on shipping costs.

  • Take advantage of daily deals. Nearly every marketplace has some form of a deal program (eBay’s Daily Deals, Amazon’s Lightning Deals, etc.). Many shoppers will receive gift cards for the holidays, so give them something to spend them on!     

To kick off the holiday season with flying colors, start executing on these tips sooner rather than later, as the tips mentioned above can be time-consuming. Also, be on the lookout this Thursday for the next blog post in our holiday series, which will discuss management of your online reputation and optimization for Google’s Shopping Campaigns!

 

Blog post by Jordan Nowlin, social media & blog manager, ChannelAdvisor


6a013485fcd498970c01b7c6ec88cb970b-200wiWant this holiday season to be the one you brag about when you finally get to relax in January? This free eBook contains a checklist of holiday tips and strategies.

 

October 06, 2014

EBay’s New Buyer Cancel Request Functionality

We've moved our blog! EbayStrategies.blogs.com will eventually be shut down, however the posts will live on. To access this blog post at its new location, click here.

With the fall seller release, eBay has announced a new feature allowing buyers to request cancellation of a purchase within an hour after purchasing on eBay. Buyers can make the request, but it will ultimately be up to the seller to determine whether to accept or reject the request.

What does this mean for sellers?

This change is designed to align eBay purchases with evolving buyer expectations due to interactions with other online marketplaces and retailers. Even without this option, many sellers receive requests for cancellations after purchase and have to determine if they can support the request on an individual basis. Buyers have grown accustomed to changing their mind quickly after purchase and being able to reverse the transaction before the package is delivered. As for sellers, the returns process for a buyer that changed their mind requires a lot of extra, unnecessary work: The seller has to package and send the item, process the request for the return, and then accept the returned item to be inspected and restocked. By avoiding this entire process, the seller can save money, avoid damage or loss in transit costs, and have the item available for sale again immediately.

How does it work?

With the new cancel request functionality, eBay sellers can now easily consolidate requests from buyers to cancel a purchase through their eBay seller account and ChannelAdvisor can identify those requests from buyers and respond automatically for you. By specifying the amount of time you would like to allow a buyer to request a cancellation of the purchase, ChannelAdvisor can detect that the order is still on hold for the cancel window and automatically approve the request, cancel the transaction and restock the quantity. You control the amount of time that cancel requests can be automatically approved in your Order Processing Settings, and new orders will be delayed for that amount of time to allow for buyer to submit cancel requests. These orders still appear in your account, but the payment details are delayed to prevent accidental advance fulfillment until the cancel window has elapsed. If a cancel request is submitted after the cancel window has expired and the order has been prepared for seller fulfillment, the cancel request will be rejected. As a seller, you can still honor that request if possible through all of your existing processes for buyer cancel requests.

What should you do?

You should configure your settings option in your account today. If you choose to not wait at all, just change the setting to zero minutes. As part of the introduction of this feature the default has been configured to a thirty minute delay, though you are welcome to change that today. The new cancel functionality will start automatically processing with the October updates, but you can already choose the value you would like to use with this new functionality. Make sure you check your settings and select a value most appropriate for your business, allowing you to save money and time accepting cancellation requests automatically while still fulfilling items in a timely manner. Take advantage of this new option this holiday season and streamline your post-sale operations!


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Ever find yourself in the casuality of an eBay error? Check out some readily available solutions in this free eBook.

 

October 03, 2014

Cyber Five Frenzy: Are You Ready for Holiday Shipping?

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59 days until Cyber Monday — are you prepared? Over the coming weeks leading up to the big day, we are sharing top tips on our blog that aim to get retailers prepared as they head into one of the busiest times of the year. Today, let’s talk shipping.

Before you go on autopilot and treat holiday shipping the same as you would during any other time of the year, check out our list of nine tips to get your holiday shipping department in shape.

TIP 1: Create a shipping plan for the holidays.

It’s a good idea to meet with your packing team before the holiday onslaught and get on the same page about procedures and processes. Create an open forum and hear from each of your packers, who probably know how to make things smoother and faster.

TIP 2: Prioritize orders by shipping speed. Prioritize everything else by date.

In other words, package and ship your urgent overnight or express orders before your standard delivery orders. Also, look for and ship your urgent orders more often than your standard orders. And last, prioritize your standard orders by “first in, first out.” We can count up a surprising number of sellers that didn’t have this process solidified because they either a) didn’t think about this point, or b) assumed that their packing team was following this process when they weren’t.

TIP 3: Reconsider packaging.

Are you using boxes when bags would do? I recently got an order of shoes (at a great price — from one of our top sellers), and they arrived on my doorstep in a bag. This is the first pair of shoes I’ve ordered online that was delivered in a bag, and to my surprise the shoebox within the outer packaging bag was in perfect condition. What a time and cost savings to the seller!

If you aren’t sure which packaging alternatives are out there, consider asking the company you buy your shipping supplies from to help. They’ll often make suggestions and even send you free samples as part of their service.

TIP 4: Look into shipping partnerships like UPS Mail Innovations and SmartPost.

When it comes to standard shipping, you can cut costs by using shipping services like UPS Mail Innovations and FedEx SmartPost. These hybrid services use the commercial carrier for the first leg of the shipping trip, then the package is dropped off at the customer’s local post office, which will deliver to the buyer’s address. Services like this don’t necessarily increase delivery speed, but they can shave costs and hopefully allow you to offer free standard shipping — which buyers love.

TIP 5: Ensure your quantity stays live when your FBA stock runs out.

Often, when sellers use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), they’ll also stock that same product in their own warehouse. Sometimes, though, the quantity in FBA will sell out and the seller’s listings on Amazon will show as out of stock, even though there’s quantity in their seller-fulfilled warehouse. Put a plan in place to make sure this doesn’t happen and cause you to miss out on sales (or slow your sales velocity). ChannelAdvisor customers can breathe a sigh of relief because we can automate this process for you — flipping between FBA and seller-fulfilled stock as quantity levels change.

TIP 6: Use eBay’s Global Shipping Program.

If you haven’t checked out eBay’s Global Shipping Program (GSP), you need to read up on it. This program allows sellers in the US (and now in the UK) to offer their products to as many as 60 international countries. However, sellers only have to send these packages to a domestic address, and eBay will export and forward the package to the end buyer. EBay will also quote international shipping and import charges for the buyer and collect that payment for these costs when the purchase is made.

Starting in late September, sellers not using GSP (or using it minimally) will have their products shown to buyers in 10 English-speaking countries. Sellers can still specify regional, buyer or country exclusions, if needed, and even opt in to full international promotion to the 60 countries currently supported.

TIP 7: Know (and communicate) “last delivery” date.

Calculate when the last day to order is for customers using standard, expedited and overnight delivery. Communicate these dates on your website and eBay listings. Also, make sure your shipping staff is prepared to put in long hours on these dates, in case you have an influx of orders.

TIP 8: Make returns easy.

Cut your losses on a return and don’t make the process more complicated than it needs to be. Consider including a return postage label and even offering free returns. Also, consider including a customer service phone number for requesting returns, and train your customer service staff to encourage exchanges or gift receipts. Buyers will take note when you process their return request promptly and go the extra mile to make them happy.

TIP 9: Audit your shipping department. (Stopwatch optional.)

Now is a good time to get a handle on what your team is doing and how it can be better. During the holidays, don’t assume that things are running smoothly. Head down to your shipping floor and see for yourself. Track a customer’s order from purchase to out your door. Consider offering incentives to your shipping team when they break records or meet accuracy thresholds. This is a stressful time of the year for these employees, and they’ll likely respond well to recognition and rewards.

BONUS TIP: Manage Multiple Distribution Centers with ease.

As online retailers grow, we’re seeing more and more add warehouses to gain space or simply be closer to their customers. Other retailers are using suppliers and dropshippers to expand their product catalogs and reduce their capital investments.

Managing multiple locations for inventory doesn’t have to be a pain — especially with ChannelAdvisor’s Multiple Distribution Centers. Track quantity across locations, prioritize warehouses differently for each of your marketplaces — and, for US sellers, even fulfill orders from the warehouse closest to the buyer’s address. Call to speak to one of our e-commerce experts about how Multiple Distribution Centers can help your business grow.

Take these tips back to your team and get prepared to have your most fulfilling holiday season to date. Be on the lookout for our next blog in our holiday series that will discuss managing your reputation and making sure you're optimized for Google's Shopping Campaigns!

 

Blog post by Rachel Miller, product marketing manager, ChannelAdvisor


EBook-holiday-checklist-pt1_LP
Want this holiday season to be the one you brag about when you finally get to relax in January? This free eBook contains a checklist of holiday tips and strategies.

 

October 01, 2014

Autumn Release 2014: E-Commerce. Empowered.

Twitter

Your inventory data can help set you apart from competitors. Why not use this information to your advantage? With the 2014 Autumn Release, you can.

Bundles

Packaging complementary items together as a single bundle offers lots of potential for busy retailers. Bundles can help you stand out from the crowd, get your inventory (not to mention your revenue) flowing and save on shipping costs. For example, if you’re a camera company, you can sell a bundle consisting of a camera, camera lens and camera bag. If someone is on the hunt for a new camera, they’ll most likely be in the market for associated accessories. 

BundlesChannelAdvisor now makes managing bundles easy. Our new ChannelAdvisor Bundles feature automatically calculates product quantities as the stock levels of bundle components change. Whether you’re selling SKUs individually or bundled, your quantity always stays in sync across your channels. Bundles also allow you to:

  • Increase the number of ways your SKUs can be advertised

  • Increase your average order value

  • Increase shoppers’ awareness of complementary and accessory products

  • Increase inventory turnover rates

  • Increase profits with consolidated shipping

  • Increase your visibility in a competitive marketplace

Report Center

Your business’s data is now only a few clicks away! The new Report Center is equipped with customizable reports, template-based reports and six new widgets to help you get the data you need to make informed decisions. You have more than 50 reporting templates offering various options as to how you want to display your data.

Customizable Reporting eliminates the need to paste together multiple reports to get the information you need. You’ll have an expansive list of data points to sort, filter and group, allowing you to see all transaction data you need for financial analysis and decision making.

Report Templates give you a whole suite of templates for most any type of data you’re interested in — listing activity, GMV, fulfillment, site performance, keyword conversion...the list goes on!

Multi-Account Widgets allow you to have visibility into the performance of all your accounts through a single dashboard. The widgets are also customizable, enabling you to compare performance of several accounts or dive deep into a specific account.

Whether you’re managing numerous accounts with international sales, or selling multiple brands domestically, these new multi-account tools make managing them a breeze.


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Want more info on what 2014's Autumn Release holds? Check out this overview on eBay's Click & Collect with Argos.

September 30, 2014

What the EBay and PayPal Breakup Means for E-Commerce

We've moved our blog! EbayStrategies.blogs.com will eventually be shut down, however the posts will live on. To access this blog post at its new location, click here.

Earlier today, eBay announced that they are splitting the company into two companies - PayPal and the eBay marketplace.  Since the announcement, we have had an influx of customers asking for our thoughts on this big change in the world of e-commerce. In this post we look at the 'why' and the possible implications for online retailers from this change.  We focus on the marketplace side of the split as that's the focus of this blog.  

The split

There are tons of details on the arrangement and the management team being generated by the business press, so we won't spend time on that.  The biggest points of interest are:

  • John Donahoe and Bob Swan - current CEO and CFO -will not run either business following the split in the back half of 2015, but will be board members.  We've enjoyed working with John and Bob and wish them the best in their next endeavors.

  • Devin Wenig, President of eBay global marketplace, will be CEO of the eBay marketplace company.  Devin has been a great leader for the eBay marketplace since he joined in 2011 and spoke at ChannelAdvisor's Catalyst event earlier this year.  We’ve been impressed and look forward to his leadership of eBay.

  • A new CEO, Dan Shulman, from American Express, joins the company to run the PayPal part of the business.

Also, we're getting questions around 'what goes where.’  Our understanding/guess is:

  • PayPal - PayPal payments, Braintree, Bill Me Now.

  • eBay - The eBay Marketplace, eBay Enterprise (GSI, Magento, etc), Mercado Libre, Shopping.com, StubHub, etc.

There will, of course, be some kind of arrangement between the two that enables eBay sellers to continue taking PayPal.

Why split, why now?

In the last 3 months the e-commerce world has been extremely disrupted by the entrance of new 'titans.’ Previously we had 3 titans in the world of e-commerce fighting for consumer's mindshare (and dollars): Amazon, eBay and Google.  In the last three months, Facebook, Apple, Twitter and Alibaba have all unveiled new efforts in e-commerce (Facebook marketplace, Apple Pay, Twitter marketplace) or dramatically revealed their scale and global ambitions). Now, we have 7 titans of e-commerce!

As these new titans have entered the space, we see they are not working with PayPal or the eBay marketplace.  Why?  Because they are married together.

If I'm Facebook/Twitter and building a marketplace, I don't want eBay to see/know everything I am doing by working with PayPal for payments.  So I build my own and/or work with Stripe.  The natural reaction is PayPal buys Stripe, but that doesn't solve the problem because Facebook/Twitter would turn their Stripe integrations off because they compete with the eBay marketplace.

Another example from the other side of the fence: If I'm running the eBay mobile app business, I want to be a launch partner with Apple Pay for my iPhone app.   I propose this, it works up the food chain and is quashed by the PayPal side of the business that doesn't want me working with a competing mobile technology.

Thus by being under one roof, each company is losing out on very big opportunities caused by these new entrants in both marketplaces and payments.  

Conclusion: This is the right time to split, the reason is the tectonic shifts in our industry from Mobile, Cloud, Global, CBT and the entrance of four big, new players.

What does this mean for eBay MP?

In the short term, I think there may naturally be a period of distraction.  eBay and PayPal share financial teams, hosting, customer service, IR/PR teams, etc.  The list is big and will take a lot of work to successfully 'cleave.’  

In the middle term (2015), once the eBay team is through the distraction, I think this will be a net positive for eBay:

  • The management team can focus on their key initiatives.  These have previously been Mobile, CBT, BRIC - with the overarching goal of growing faster than e-commerce.

  • By having a separate, focused company, they will be under a bright spotlight and have to execute on their plans without PayPal impacting or benefiting growth or margins.

  • The spotlight will mean  a tight focus on adapting eBay for the fast-changing e-commerce landscape and will mean things are likely to dramatically accelerate from here.

In the long-term, I think,  this will be good for the eBay MP.  With a laser-focused team and the assets it needs to be successful, I think we'll see some bold moves that try to re-establish eBay’s leadership position.  This is a >$60b in GMV business that, while is only growing ~10%, has a lot of assets to bring to bear with an impressive new leader, so don't count them out yet.

What does this mean for online sellers/retailers?

I think this is the first of many major moves we are going to be seeing from the new '7 titans of e-commerce' and it is fun to think through possible next steps:

  • What if eBay took AliPay as a payment option to appeal to Chinese consumers and partnered with Tmall?

  • What if Google introduces a marketplace to help with their mobile problem and takes PayPal?

  • Wall St. firms are speculating that Google/Facebook/Apple buys PayPal now and Alibaba buys eBay

  • Would Amazon take PayPal as a payment option now?

  • Will Apple allow PayPal as a 'source' in Apple Pay?

  • Should eBay buy Mercado Libre for access to Brazil/LATAM?

  • If PayPal acquires Stripe after the split, does that cause Facebook/Twitter concern?

  • What if Apple introduces a marketplace of products that are all Apple Pay enabled?

As you can see, the possibilities are virtually limitless and that's what makes this change plus the entrance of the new 4 titans into e-commerce a positive for sellers/retailers, not to mention consumers.  We now have many more companies and options available to us, which is a good thing.

What do you think?

It's like Game of Thrones in the real world - 7 kings fighting over a rapidly growing market.  What do you think the possible next mix-ups are? Sound off in comments.

 

This blog post was written by Scot Wingo, CEO, ChannelAdvisor

September 24, 2014

Autumn Release 2014: Social and Mobile Commerce. Enabled.

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Have a mini panic attack if you leave your cell phone at home? Check one of your social media accounts at least once per day? For many of us, the answer to both these questions is yes.

We’re living in an era where mobile devices and social media outlets are being used as primary interaction sources. These tools simplify our lives and lower communication barriers — streamlining our connection to the outside world.

In this way, consumers can bond with brands like never before. Mobile devices and social networks are great instruments for customer service, branding opportunities and, you guessed it, online shopping. This is where we come into play. ChannelAdvisor aims to stand beside retailers and guide you through this digital whirlwind. Our new support for mobile and social networks is detailed below.

Mobile Commerce

Yahoo Gemini, now supported by ChannelAdvisor, is the first and only unified marketplace for mobile search and native advertising. Yahoo recognized that consumer behavior is being affected by the surge of mobile traffic, and in turn, decided to build a better search engine. ChannelAdvisor Digital Marketing customers can now:

  • Create Yahoo Gemini search and native ads

  • More accurately target campaigns across channels and mobile devices

  • Access Yahoo Gemini keyword bid management and reporting tools

  • Sync with their Yahoo Ad Manager account

The ChannelAdvisor Mobile Bid Optimizer saves you loads of time when it comes to adjusting your mobile bids for Google Enhanced Campaigns. Save time and money on your Google text ads by letting the Mobile Bid Optimizer conduct your mobile campaign bidding automatically. It makes your mobile digital marketing strategies smarter and more cost effective with minimal effort by allowing your campaign-level bid adjustments based on your effective revenue share (ERS) goals.

Social Commerce

Social media sites such as Pinterest, Wanelo and Polyvore have become go-to spots for gathering ideas and sharing favorite or must-have products. As a retailer, how do you know which sites would work best for you? Once again, ChannelAdvisor to the rescue! Our Social Commerce suite allows you to test the waters by simply using a single feed that’s then transformed to meet the unique requirements and specifications of each social site.

Additionally, ChannelAdvisor’s Social Commerce allows you to:

  • Easily select the exact products to promote

  • Promote featured products, seasonal specials, sales, daily deals and new products to educate social followers and drive traffic back to your website

  • Build campaigns within the ChannelAdvisor platform to customize them with your brand’s colors and styles

  • Optimize social campaigns based on performance and conversation data at the product level 

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Want more info on our Social Commerce suite? Download this overview ChannelAdvisor Social Commerce: Discover. Share. Inspire.

September 23, 2014

EBay Simplifies Delivery for UK Customers

Imagine a world where you don’t have to wait around at home for Mr. Postman to deliver your package before you venture on your merry way. You have the luxury of choosing a shipping destination and being notified when your package is safely delivered and ready for pickup at your destination of choice. As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, eBay has solved this challenge for its UK shoppers. Its Click & Collect program allows buyers to select a location to send purchases to and then pick them up at their convenience.

In the UK, eBay partnered with popular retailer Argos (think UK version of Target) to add its widespread brick-and-mortar network of stores as delivery spots in the Click & Collect program. There are currently more than 650 Argos locations, each within 10 miles of most of the UK population — offering a convenient pickup destination for UK eBay-ers.

The offering proved to be so strong in beta tests last year that eBay estimates 65,000 people will enroll by the end of 2014 and 80,000 will enroll in 2015.

So when can we expect to see a similar offering in the US? EBay does offer Click & Collect in the US — known as In-Store Pickup — which ChannelAdvisor also supports. With In-Store Pickup, buyers make a purchase from a retailer and then pick up their item at the retailer’s own store. As a result, participating US retailers are required to have a wide brick-and-mortar presence to appeal to many buyers. For that reason, the program is currently invitation-only in the US.

When you compare the two programs, Argos Click & Collect offers clear value because retailers can leverage Argos’ high street presence without needing any brick-and-mortar stores of their own.

EBay is opening up a new world of e-commerce customer care. UK sellers can capitalize on this new feature, but will this be an industry-changing opportunity for online retail? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Blog post by Jordan Nowlin, social media & blog manager, ChannelAdvisor


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To find out more about how ChannelAdvisor works with Argos Click & Collect, download this overview.

September 17, 2014

Autumn Release 2014: More Options on Marketplaces

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The launch of Monday’s 2014 Autumn Release will help you be more efficient and more competitive in the dynamic e-commerce space. “Work smarter, not harder” is our goal for retailers. Over the next few weeks on our blog, we’ll dive into various segments of this product release. Our Product Marketing team is also offering a comprehensive Autumn Release tutorial in tomorrow’s webinar, which you won’t want to miss.

Today, let’s focus on marketplaces.

Empowering E-Commerce

EBay Management. Enhanced.

With the Autumn Release, we let you work in the way that’s best for you. In addition to other eBay features, this release introduces new eBay templates — eBay QuickStart and eBay Custom.

  • EBay QuickStart reduces the configuration you need to launch on eBay. Begin selling fixed-price listings in a streamlined process by using a single group of settings. This will also include a new eBay Categorizer feature. If you want to get your listings up in timely fashion, then the eBay QuickStart template is perfect for you.

  • EBay Categorizer is great for quickly listing products when you don’t know the eBay category number. This means that for products that are net new to eBay and don’t have a defined eBay category number, the eBay Categorizer will ask eBay to suggest a category value.
  • EBay Custom gives you the most freedom and flexibility over your eBay listings. Set up different listing strategies for different groups of items — like using multiple HTML ad templates or auction-format listings. With eBay Custom, sellers can vary their strategy by item or groups of items, with different listing settings (including auction format listings), different ad templates, different schedules and more. If you vary your  eBay selling strategy depending on the product, then eBay Custom will likely be your preferred method.

  • EBay’s Click & Collect with Argos is a program eBay rolled out in the UK. The marketplace partnered with popular UK retailer Argos to add its widespread brick-and-mortar network of stores as delivery spots in the Click & Collect program. (Be on the lookout for an in-depth blog about the program coming next week!).

  • EBay’s Global Shipping Program (GSP) makes it easy for retailers to sell to international buyers. If your product sells to a buyer in an eligible country, simply ship the item to a US shipping center, and international shipping experts will manage logistics from there. ChannelAdvisor now supports GSP's recent expansion to the UK.

Everywhere Your Customers Are

Global Capabilities. Expanded.

Germany is expected to generate $48.4 billion euros from e-commerce in 2014 — that’s a 25% increase from 2013! To help give retailers access to this active market, we’ve added support (in addition to our existing support of eBay and Amazon in Germany) for popular German marketplaces Rakuten.de, MeinPaket and Zalando.

Canadian sellers can now also tap into Newegg’s devoted follower base with Newegg Canada.

And what about business-to-business (B2B) consumers? We’ve got you covered there, too, with support for NeweggBusiness.

German Marketplaces

  • Rakuten.de has 7,200 retailers and more than 22 million products, making it a great option for retailers looking to expand into Germany. The Rakuten Group also has marketplaces in the US, UK, Japan and other regions, with a wide variety of products and a large consumer base. The German marketplace doesn’t sell directly to consumers, so it’s not competing with retailers. Plus, it doesn’t charge listing fees for products and instead charges only commissions based on actual sales.

  • Zalando is a multinational online marketplace specializing in trendy apparel for men, women and children. In Germany, it’s the largest purely online clothing and shoe retailer — accounting for a 10% share of the online fashion market in Germany. If you’re a fashion merchandiser, Zalando is where you need to be.

  • Meinpaket.de, launched in Germany in 2010, is the first online marketplace offered by global shipping provider DHL. Access to DHL’s expansive logistics network makes the shipping and payment processes convenient.

Newegg

  • Newegg Canada is similar to its US counterpart, featuring a variety of consumer electronics, as well as apparel, sporting goods, home decor, appliances,
    baby, jewelry and health and beauty. If your business is already set up in Canada, Newegg Canada is a great option for expansion.

  • NeweggBusiness is the B2B division of Newegg.com. It debuted in 2014 with more than 150,000 registered customers. Popular B2B payment methods, such as purchase orders and delayed billing, are available. A business-size buyer-protection policy is also guaranteed, giving buyers a reimbursement of up to $1,000 (per item) for any damaged or undelivered goods.


Webinar
Want an in-depth look into the 2014 Autumn Release? Join our Product Management team for a live webinar on tomorrow, September 18 at 11 a.m. EDT/8 a.m. PDT/4 p.m. BST, as they walk you through the updates.

 

September 15, 2014

2014 User Conference Follow-Up: Optimizing for EBay

This afternoon, at our 2014 User Conference East, senior product manager Jenny Hock and engineering manager Marshall Smith offered expert tips for optimizing your listings on eBay. See below for a recap!

Get Listed — Implement best practices for listing on eBay

  • Standard Schedule is a new type of schedule rolled out last month. It allows you to list as many items as you’d like without the split the schedule view. The 25K limit has been removed.

  • Auto Match takes a complicated set of posting templates and condenses them to a single posting template that you can use for all of your items. ChannelAdvisor’s system takes this information to fill in category-based item specifics for eBay, so that your items are be better found when buyers are searching.

  • EBay Business Policies take shipping, payment and returns information off the individual items as you send to eBay. For example, one class of your products has a 30 day return policy and another set has no return policy because item is sold as is. A different business policy can simply be applied to each product set.

Be Seen — Optimize for maximum exposure

It’s crucial that your listings are optimized for the mobile experience because 45% of eBay users connect with the marketplace via a mobile device. Hock recommends keeping mobile versions of your site simple — no distracting backgrounds or lengthy product descriptions.

  • Responsive Design Description Template includes code to detect the device screen size, which then adjusts for width in order to avoid horizontal scrolling.

  • Customized Specifics allow you to provide product definition and statistical information to help consumers make a satisfied buying decision. Additionally, this will minimize the actual product description.

  • Actionable Retail Insights enhance your listings based on recommendations from eBay. Pay attention to these insights as they represent opportunities for improvement. The order in which Hock recommends tackling your insights are:

  1. Item specifics

  2. eTRS Plus Badge

  3. Image recommendations

  4. Title recommendations

  5. Category recommendations

  6. UPC recommendations

  7. Global Shipping Program recommendations

  8. Price recommendations

Compete – Understand your competition and increase your conversions

Defect rates aren’t fun for anyone involved. Minimize your defect rate by evaluating your Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs) on a monthly basis, or more.

Remember, if a refund is issued for a returned item that didn’t go through the Hassle Free/Managed Returns, it results in a defect! Disputes are auto created for eBay refunds where:

  • Order has been marked as shipped

  • No pre-existing disputes

  • Refund amount is at least 100% of line item value

 

Additional questions or didn’t get a chance to talk with one of our experts today? Email info@channeladvisor.com. We hope everyone enjoyed today’s event! Be sure to tag your social posts and/or Instagram pics with our event hashtag #ECOMuser.


10-ebay-mistakes-LP
Looking for more actionable eBay tips? Check out out free eBook The 10 eBay Mistakes That Are Costing You Sales.