In your mind, what eBay action during 2010 will have the most lasting impact on the marketplace, for better or worse?
—Pondering in Ponderosa
Urbanowicz: Depending on perspective, this is a tough one, as there were many actions in 2010. To name just a few: changes to stores and fixed-price listings, requirements surrounding the eBay catalog and changes to seller performance standards.
However, the most significant change to the eBay ecosystem is the Duplicate Listing Policy. Buyers have a weeded product selection. Enforcement requires additional resources from eBay. Sellers are challenged to re-think inventory management, and third parties are compelled to support them. This change also poises eBay for further strategic changes in 2011.
How has being acquired by Alibaba.com changed Auctiva?
—Wondering in Wisconsin Rapids
Urbanowicz: On the one hand, not much has changed for Auctiva. While some folks are now focused specifically on product-source initiatives with AliExpress, many day-to-day operations and strategies have remained the same.
On the other hand, as part of the larger family of Alibaba and our sister company Vendio, we've partnered with a new group of innovative, energetic and committed professionals. Our knowledge of product sourcing has grown, we've expanded our understanding of international trade and many of us have learned a few Mandarin phrases along the way.
Do you think mobile commerce is really the game changer it's hyped up to be?
—Skeptical in Sacramento
Economic, social and technology indicators all conclude mobile commerce will continue to increase exponentially
Urbanowicz: Absolutely. Economic, social and technology indicators all conclude mobile commerce will continue to increase exponentially. On the international horizon, the climate is even more primed and responsive to rapid expansion. Companies are developing new payment and logistics options; retailers are testing the waters on innovative marketing campaigns; smart phones are becoming commonplace; technology infrastructures are improving. With so much collective effort from so many sectors, one can only imagine what a holiday-shopping experience will be like in five years.
It's been almost 18 months since Auctiva started charging users for its listing service. At the time, some people predicted Auctiva's demise within a year. To what do you attribute the company's staying power? Any regrets?
—Intrigued in Indianapolis
Urbanowicz: Through the challenging times, four key traits helped Auctiva grow. Agility: Our organization and development methodology allows for rapid, high-quality productivity. Creativity: Innovating solutions for buyers and sellers is encouraged and rewarded. Artistry: Team members use their tools skillfully and hone their craft. Humility: When we don't meet objectives, we recognize our shortcomings, make corrections and move forward. Yet… a great company "recipe" is useless without loyal customers to use our services. Thank you!
What are you looking forward to in 2011? What new developments can we expect to see from Auctiva?
—Eager in Emeryville
Urbanowicz: Our strategic roadmaps going into the new year are looking exciting. We've added resources to enhance our already successful buyer-side services like BuyShield.com and KickItBack.com. The Auctiva.com team has new features planned, while staying current with eBay changes and bringing great product sourcing opportunities from AliExpress. Additional store features are being developed by the Auctiva Commerce team. And that's just what we have planned! We're also on the lookout for new opportunities to deliver great products and services.
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.
Other Entries by this Author
Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.