Handling Growth With Auction Managers
Taking your eBay selling to the next level
Every eBay seller lists their first item on eBay using the basic eBay listing form on the eBay website. Over time, however, serious sellers tend to list more and more auctions and to close more and more sales. Turbo lister is simply not up to the job once a selling business grows to the point that multiple items are shipped every day from sales on multiple websites of which eBay just happens to be one.
If this sounds like you, it may be time to look into auction management systems. An auction management system is a service that helps you to manage and source your inventory, accept and record payments, make and monitor shipments, and list items for sale across multiple sales platforms (including eBay). They're not free, but for sellers moving enough product to need their services, they're relatively cheap.
The four biggest and best known auction managers are listed below, along with a brief description. Note that those listed here are exclusively hosted managers—that is to say they are web-based services provided by a company who specializes in auction management, as opposed to being applications that you install on your PC like Turbo Lister.
- Auctiva — Well suited to small businesses, Auctiva's focus is on helping sellers to list and manage sales on eBay, Yahoo!, and Amazon.
- ChannelAdvisor — One of the most popular managers for major sellers and heavy hitters, ChannelAdvisor provides an integrated system for managing virtually every aspect of an online sales business, including relationships between the seller and multiple sourcing, sales, and marketing avenues of which eBay is just one.
- Infopia Marketplace Manager — Providing an integrated set of solutions for growing sellers, Infopia helps you to manage your selling business as you grow beyond eBay to also sell on Overstock, Amazon, uBid, and others.
- Marketworks — Used by several high-profile sellers and corporations, Marketworks provides a platform by which to manage the sales process across eBay, Yahoo!, Amazon, and Overstock.
- Vendio — Also well-suited to small businesses, Vendio provides a great platform for launching your own web store and marketing your products on eBay, Google, and a number of other platforms.
- Zoovy — Providing an integrated, total-business-administration platform similar to the one offered by ChannelAdvisor, Zoovy can help heavy hitters to manage sales across eBay, Amazon, Yahoo!, and a number of other platforms.
Of course, eBay also offers its own set of auction management platforms, at least one of which, Blackthorne Pro, is a powerful system suitable for heavy hitters. All of eBay's own tools, however, suffer from an important limitation: they do not help you to grow outside the confines of eBay itself—that is to say that they do not integrate your selling across other websites and consumer product search sites. For growing sellers who are absolutely dedicated to eBay alone, however, eBay's own tools may be ideal.
Transitioning your selling business to a hosted sales management platform is a big step, but one that has paid large dividends for many of eBay's most prominent sellers. If your sales are growing to the point that you are suffering from overhead and time constraints, don't wait—invest in the future of your business now.