Ask the CEO: Are More Free Templates in the Works?

Jeff Schlicht answers this and other questions from Auctiva users.

by staff writer
- Mar 19, 2009

I so appreciate Auctiva's service and especially your free eBay templates. I used to look forward to using the new ones that would come out. But it seems like there haven't been any new templates in quite a while and, frankly, I'm starting to get bored. Don't you know us eBay sellers need to stay stimulated? LOL! I'm sure you folks have been busy getting the e-commerce stores up and running, but are there any plans to introduce new templates for eBay listings?

—Inspire Me in Indianapolis

Schlicht: Auctiva's template designers are focused on creating new templates for our storefronts, as well as design changes to the Auctiva site. We'll introduce some new eBay templates in another month or two. If there are specific template designs you'd like to see, submit your ideas in our suggestion box.

Hey Jeff, what was your take on eBay's report to Wall Street last week?

—Wondering in Wanneroo

Schlicht: I don't think anyone was surprised by eBay's report. I certainly wasn't. eBay has been struggling for a while now with its public and private policy changes, the economy and slowing sales. I've seen firsthand the impact eBay's struggles have had on sellers, as well as on third parties like Auctiva.

For example, Auctiva's eBay revenue has shrunk considerably over the past year. And with so much internal change going on, eBay has been reluctant to help ensure third parties remain viable. So it's up to us to find ways we can help Auctiva and our sellers weather this storm. To this end, we launched our and sites, but these businesses take time to mature. So, in the meantime, we continue to look for solutions.

I would like to take advantage of eBay's Best Offer option, but I can't seem to find it on your listing page. Is this a feature you don't support, or am I in the wrong setting?

—Lost in Los Baños

Schlicht: You're getting it wrong. File a support case and someone can help you find that feature.

Just wondering how the new eBay page layout is going to work with Auctiva's lister. Only half of my pictures show up, and my description isn't centered. What's going on?

—Off Kilter in Offenburg

Schlicht: I'm not sure; we have more than 2,000 templates and a couple dozen different layout combinations in each of those.

I use Auctiva on Mac Safari for most of my eBay listings and, though I've read it may not be compatible with the Auctiva site, I have encountered no significant problems. But what if I open an Auctiva Commerce store?

—Exploring in Exeter

Auctiva Commerce is for those sellers who are willing to do a little of the work of building their own repeat customer base in exchange for decidedly lower fees

Schlicht: Use it until you find something that doesn't work and then you can use Firefox on the Mac for that. Then switch back to using Safari. I'm not sure how much testing we've done for Safari for Auctiva Commerce.

Do Auctiva Commerce merchants get an e-mail account with the store? It's clearly important for customers to be able to contact the seller through the domain name. I haven't seen anything about this on the forum or in the help menu.

—Provincial in Provo

Schlicht: Yes, you can use e-mails with your domain name. They forward to an e-mail address you provide.

Why should I open an Auctiva Commerce store for $9.95 a month? I love using Auctiva, but I'm trying to figure out what the benefit would be for me. I can't justify a monthly fee and no sales. The time is ripe to expand beyond just selling on eBay, but why should I include Auctiva in my diversity strategy?

—Skeptical in Saskatoon

Schlicht: Well if you don't plan on making any sales then by all means, don't use us. If you mean you won't make any sales unless we bring you all the buyers, then we're also not for you. We're not eBay. If we were, we'd bring you lots of buyers in exchange for your fees. That's what eBay is good at.

Auctiva Commerce is for those sellers who are looking to diversify their online sales, mostly to reduce their risk and dependency on eBay. It's for those sellers who are willing to do a little of the work of building their own repeat customer base in exchange for decidedly lower fees.

Of course if you do a small amount of sales, then $9.95 becomes quite a hefty fee. Our goal is to charge a fee that aligns our interests with yours. Our fees get smaller as your sales go up, but are still enough that we can provide some of the basic help you'll need to be successful running your own store—including customer support, SEO, a small amount of buyer traffic that we hope to grow over time, marketing, education and many other things you wouldn't find through other solutions.

Is there a way to add audio to a listing?

—Audiophile in Auckland

Schlicht: Yes. I did a Google search for "How to add audio to an eBay listing," and got quite a few results, any of which will probably be of some help to you.

The key is you need to have a host server for your audio file (just like for your images). Any number of free hosting sites can be found on the Web. Auctiva currently does not offer audio hosting.

However, you can still use Auctiva's software to create the listing. Be sure to select HTML mode in the description editor and enter the appropriate code.

Auctiva Commerce has no affiliation with eBay, so eBay won't take any fees from your sales

I have photos in two Auctiva accounts. Is there a way to transfer my photos from one account to a new listing in the other account without signing in and out from one account to the other?

—Double Dipping in Daytona

Schlicht: Not that I know of. You could copy and paste the URL for the image, I suppose. That would work, but it seems like a lot of effort.

I understand that if I set up a store with Auctiva, I will pay a monthly fee plus 5 percent on sales. Will I have to pay eBay charges on my sales, in addition to what I pay Auctiva?

—Duly Diligent in Davenport

Schlicht: No, Auctiva Commerce has no affiliation with eBay, so eBay won't take any fees from your sales. The Auctiva Commerce store fees are $9.95 a month, with no sales fees on up to $200 in sales. For sales from $200 to $500, the sales fee is 5 percent, and it gets lower from there. You can read more about it here.

Do you plan on including an option for the seller to elect to not supersize an image? I don't always want my images supersized, but I have no choice when using Auctiva.

—Regular Joe in Renton

Schlicht: You can do that now. You just need to create your own template. Start by modifying one of ours: Remove the image tags that allow for supersizing and replace them with tags that do not. We have a forum dedicated to templates and custom templates where you can seek help on how to do that.

You can ask Jeff your own questions by e-mailing him at "AsktheCEO" at the domain. Not all questions will be answered, but those selected will be published with Jeff's responses in future Ask the CEO articles. Due to the volume of mail we receive, Jeff will not be able 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.

To get more insights from Jeff about Auctiva, eBay and the business of selling online, follow him on Twitter.

About the 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.

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