I signed up for Auctiva's $9.95 plan because it offers unlimited listings with no transaction fees, so why is eBay still charging me for these things?
—Confused in Concord
Urbanowicz: Fees for Auctiva's services are independent of eBay's fees, which you pay for the privilege of selling within eBay's marketplace. With Auctiva's $9.95 plan, you pay no transaction fees to place as many listings as you wish on eBay. Your monthly Auctiva fees go toward providing the many services Auctiva offers—including 1,700 listing templates, eBay image hosting, scheduled relisting and more.
eBay changed its policy on charging buyers for shipping insurance. Does this mean I can no longer buy insurance through Auctiva?
—Insecure in Independence
Urbanowicz: You will still be able to purchase Auctiva Shipping Insurance, which we offer at discounted rates. eBay's policy surrounding shipping insurance will become effective in mid-September. To help users transition, Auctiva will introduce functionality in early September that will allow you to continue purchasing and including shipping insurance in your listings—according to eBay's policies. Moreover, this new feature will allow you to customize which listings should include shipping insurance. This enhancement should make including shipping insurance in your listings even easier.
I'm seeing my competition as sponsored links on my eBay auctions or store items that are now closed. I have many repeat customers who'll pull me up via old listings of items they purchased from me. Then they see my competition listed there on top and I lose the customer? Yikes! Do you have any advice?
—Piqued in Plymouth
Urbanowicz: You can address this situation in a number of ways. Here are a few suggestions: First, ensure you include the Auctiva Scrolling Gallery in all your listings. You can customize the scrolling gallery to your preferences and it integrates seamlessly with all of Auctiva's eBay templates. Best of all, the scrolling gallery only cross-promotes your active listings. Second, continue to provide your buyers with accurately described products and outstanding customer service. If you've got a customer returning, as you've described, you've already developed some measure of interest and loyalty. Check out our Auctiva Education pages for more ideas.
You can expect spell-check functionality to be available again later this year
Whatever happened to the spell-check feature in the Auctiva lister? Please consider bringing it back. We really need it!
—Meticulous in Melville
Urbanowicz: You can expect that functionality to be available again later this year. We've received many requests for the spell-check feature to return, and development is underway. Until that time, if you use the widely popular Firefox as your browser, spell-check is built into the browser itself. As you type into text fields, Firefox automatically checks your spelling.
When Auctiva Commerce first launched, there was some talk of Auctiva advertising on behalf of store owners for an additional fee. When will this start?
—Waiting in Walsall
Urbanowicz: No firm start date has been defined. For the present, we've been focusing on other effective and free methods of driving traffic for store owners. Some of these have included Google feeds, promoting stores through natural searches in our other products and improving the Shop tab on AuctivaCommerce.com.
I don't know what to think about eBay's new product catalog using sellers' listing images. I'm not sure I want my competitors to be able to use my photos, but there's nothing preventing them from stealing them anyway. Do you recommend that I opt out?
—Tentative in Tachia
Urbanowicz: Opting out is not necessarily the best course of action. If eBay does select one of your photos to include in its catalog, it means a few things: First, the quality of your photo is of a high-enough caliber that eBay chooses to use it, congratulations! Second, while that photo can be used in the eBay catalog for all products, it cannot be used within a competitor's listing. Third, the catalog photo will have a caption that includes a link to your user profile; this will give you increased visibility in search results.
If you're still uncertain, you may opt out of the program until just before midnight on Aug. 31. But if you miss the deadline, you may still remove your photos from consideration by placing a watermark on all of your images. Auctiva Image Hosting provides this capability for free.
By using a service like Sellathon, you can see who's looking at your listings, where they're coming from around the world and how they got to your listing
What type of products move well in tough economic times?
—Enterprising in El Monte
Urbanowicz: Perhaps surprisingly, lots of products sell well. In reviewing some statistical data from our Sellathon product, it's clear that "tough economic times" is relative to some buyers. For example, some shoppers are foregoing the mall and are instead finding bargains in large lots of clothing on eBay. Others have greater discretionary income and are browsing for the best deals on hot, new consumer electronics. So, while there is a widespread economic downturn, there is also amazing prosperity and affluence for others.
By using a service like Sellathon, you can see who's looking at your listings, where they're coming from around the world and how they got to your listing. From that information, you can improve your inventory and messaging. One of the advantages of Auctiva and Auctiva Commerce is that you can reach an extremely diverse marketplace during all economic seasons and make adjustments to keep inventory moving.
Has any consideration been given to a mobile version of Auctiva?
—On the Move in Modi'in
Urbanowicz: Yes, ever since applications on mobile devices have been a consideration, we have evaluated a mobile version to support Auctiva's features. However, because of the complexity and screen "real estate" that's required to support some of the complex features like the one-page lister, a mobile version provides some significant challenges. Additionally, while many users would agree that a mobile version could be handy, it hasn't been on the top of the wish list. That being said, if there's an opportunity for a mobile solution that's a win for users, we'll definitely pursue it.
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.
For additional insight from Auctiva, visit the Auctiva Blog and follow Auctiva on Twitter.