When will we be able to use our iPads to make listings on Auctiva? Will you be adding support for Android or other mobile platforms?
—Need to Know in New Haven
Urbanowicz: Our mobile team has just released version 2.0 of our iPhone lister app. Based on feedback from sellers, the team is focusing on the next suite of Auctiva mobile apps. While the team's current focus is on a more feature-rich app that will work great with an iPad, we are also evaluating Android, Windows 7 and the various tablets on the market. All of Auctiva's engineers—not just the mobile team—watch the mobile e-commerce space very closely.
What effect do you think tablet devices will have on online shopping?
—Tech Watcher in Tampa
Urbanowicz: Tablets will have a significant effect for both consumers and retailers. First, shopping on a tablet is revolutionizing the way we are buying online—both in the U.S. and internationally. Just as online retailers impacted brick-and-mortar stores, mobile tablet devices are impacting online retailers. The shopping experience can be more engaging, personal and portable than sitting at a typical workstation. As tablet devices become increasingly affordable and feature-rich, the number of shoppers will only increase.
Second, for many online retailers, mobile devices require more attention to technology. A typical online store will no longer be solely compelling, as it won't take advantage of tablet-oriented methods for acquiring and retaining customers. Retailers have a unique opportunity to leverage new mediums to present products and create great buyer experiences—during shopping, checkout and post-transaction.
It seems eBay is trying harder than ever to fill the site with large retailers, from its GSI acquisition to deals with top Chinese brands. Is there any room left for small sellers?
—Concerned in Cloverdale
For now, eBay is still the go-to location for buyers looking for one-of-a-kind or hard-to-find items
Urbanowicz: There was a day when eBay only seemed suited for small sellers. Though eBay's recent moves have expended its strategies to include larger retailers, an opportunity remains for sellers who operate with tight margins and lower volumes. eBay's shift could be perceived as a deliberate change in long-term direction. If so, course-correction will be required to avoid disenfranchising—by reality or by perception—those sellers who operate with tighter margins and lower volumes.
For now, eBay is still the go-to location for buyers looking for one-of-a-kind or hard-to-find items. Resourceful sellers can also capitalize on finding great deals on new products. For many small sellers, eBay remains a viable marketplace solution.
I am an eBay trader with a smallish store that is starting to grow fast, so I need to upgrade from TurboLister. I have been looking at Channel Advisor but like the look and feel of Auctiva. I want to know if the inventory screen can be used to upload to the Auctiva Commerce Store, or does the store simply scrape the listings from eBay? There are some items that I may like to have in my own storefront but not always on eBay. Also, are there plans to add other e-commerce sites that can be managed with one inventory?
—Growing in Galveston
Urbanowicz: To answer the first question: You can easily upload your eBay listings from Auctiva.com to your Auctiva Commerce Store. The store does not "screen-scrape" the listings from eBay, but is an integrated and robust database solution. Many sellers have found this upload process a very efficient way to start selling outside of eBay.
With a single button-click, you can jump-start your Auctiva Commerce store inventory with details like product description, photos, category and price. From there, you can manage your inventory completely independent of your eBay listings through Auctiva.com.
In regards to the second question: We may add additional e-commerce sites to our Auctiva listing tool. Our teams are regularly exploring options that help sellers grow their businesses.
I've been checking out the new Premier brands on AliExpress. I like the idea of sourcing from an established vendor. Are these products available at wholesale and negotiable in terms of quantity and price, like other AliExpress merchandise?
—Bargain Hunter in Baltimore
Urbanowicz: Yes, AliExpress Premier brands are available at wholesale prices. You still get the opportunity to get discounts on bulk purchasing, and can contact the supplier to negotiate quantity and price. Moreover, Premier brands ship within 24 hours of placing an order, offer terms for free return shipping and are guaranteed to be genuine brand names. While U.S. consumers may not yet be familiar with Kuada work boots, Betop game controllers and Aiken jeans, some AliExpress Premier products are well known and widely advertised overseas.
What products do you expect will be hot for Father's Day?
—Wondering in Walden
Urbanowicz: Funny you should ask. I've devised a scientific equation to answer this question. The variables used in the formula in determining the Father's Day "Hot" Factor are:
U — USB Coefficient (0=Does not require USB charging; 1=Requires USB charging)
P — Productivity Factor (1 through 10; 1=Useless for earning money; 10=Useful for earning money)
D — Distraction Factor (0 through 10; 0=No noise/lights whatsoever; 10=Exciting noises/lights)
Tw — Time Wasted (0 through 24; daily number of hours spent "wasted" in using the product)
Ts — Time Spent (0 through 24; daily number of hours spent using the product)
The formula is: (U × P) + D + (Tw ÷ Ts) = Father's Day "Hot" Factor
Here are some practical examples:
Business necktie (U=0, P=8, D=0, Tw=0, Ts=8). Father's Day "Hot" Factor = 0.
Micro R/C helicopters (U=1, P=1, D=10, Tw=3, Ts=3). Father's Day "Hot" Factor = 12.
This formula has yet to get much publicity in the scientific journals but, fellow dads, you know what I'm talking about here…
You can ask Auctiva management your own questions by e-mailing "AskAuctiva" at the Auctiva dot com domain. Not all questions will be answered, but those selected will be published with responses from Auctiva's top managers in future Ask Auctiva articles. Due to the volume of mail we receive, it will not be possible to reply to you personally.
Please do not submit inquiries requiring an immediate response. If you need a technical issue resolved right away, please use the online form to file a support request and your case will be addressed by our customer support team.