Ask the CEO: Will Auctiva Commerce Offer an eBay-Like Marketplace?

Jeff Schlicht answers this and other questions from Auctiva users.

by staff writer
- Nov 28, 2008

Thank you for giving us sellers a way to create our own off-eBay stores. Do you intend to connect the Auctiva Commerce stores through a supersite, similar to Amazon or eBay? It would be great if there was a central place for people to go to search for items or comparison shop.

—Thankful in Three Rivers

Schlicht: Yes—although I haven't decided on a name for the site yet. I was thinking of running a contest to let users suggest and pick the name, with the winner getting $2,500, or something like that.

I'm intrigued by your new e-commerce platform, but I'd like to know more about the features you plan to offer. For one thing, will there be a way to upload my inventory data from a spreadsheet directly to my store, or does it have to be entered into Auctiva first? Also, will I be able to use images I've already uploaded to my Auctiva account?

—Tentative in Taunton

Schlicht: You'll definitely be able to use images you've already uploaded. We're also sprucing up our import abilities. I'm not sure we'll have the capability to import data from a spreadsheet right off the bat, but we will be able to import any saved listings you have in Auctiva or listings on eBay.

Is it possible to grab photos from sites like Photobucket to use in my Auctiva Commerce store?

—Online in Ontario

Schlicht: You'll be able to import photos from your Auctiva or eBay listings, including those you have stored on Photobucket—however, the latter capability won't be in the initial release. In general, images need to be used in a listing for us to find them. We'll be working on our import abilities over the next few weeks before the platform goes live.

I sell a customized product on eBay where my buyers have to provide specific details such as color, size, etc. for each item they purchase. Will the new e-commerce Web site you're launching allow me to create a site where my customers can select their customization from drop down boxes and enter information into a comment box? I have issues with this with my current host, and will gladly switch over to Auctiva if you offer this.

—Flexible in Framingham

Schlicht: Yes, we already have that feature in the beta. It's very flexible. You should be able to enter all the variants yourself, and the customer shouldn't have to type anything into a box.

Is there a way to alphabetize my image folders and listing folders so that I can find them more quickly?

—Meticulous in Madison

Schlicht: Yes, click on the column header "Folder" and it will sort by folder.

I just heard about your new BuyShield warranty service. Can you tell me what it will cost? And will it be available outside the U.S.?

—Curious in Cambridge

Schlicht: BuyShield warranties will cost, on average, 30 percent less than what you'd pay for a product warranty in a retail store. It's only available in the U.S. though. There's more information about the service on the BuyShield site and on our Education tab.

It's not cost effective for us to support sites where sellers don't make any sales

When will Auctiva end its addiction to eBay and start to work with other auction sites, or even Amazon or Craigslist?

—Hampered in Hanover

Schlicht: I've written about this in the forum. The short answer is this: It's not cost-effective for us to add sites where sellers don't make any sales and we therefore have zero possibility of making any money. If a site with enough traffic and sales were to come along, we'd support it.

Would it be possible to write your software so that I can delete multiple images in one go? It's gonna take forever to do the housekeeping. If I feel too lazy, no doubt others do too and your server will be cluttered with obsolete images.

—Stalling in Stoughton

Schlicht: In general, I agree with you that it's a little too much work to delete obsolete images and a lot of people don't do it—which in turn costs us money, which lowers our profit and raises the chances that we'd have to charge a fee for our service. So if you can, please do delete the images you no longer need.

Here are a couple of ways to do it quickly: You can put images into folders by the week or months you list them. Then it would be easy for you to later do a "select all" checkbox for that folder and delete them all. Or you can change the "Items per page" box to 100. Then right below the edit button on the Manage Images page is a checkbox. If you check that box, you'll notice it checks all 100 images for you automatically. Doing it that way, you can delete 100 at a time with just a few clicks.

I'm a seasonal seller. Right now, I'm trying to copy my listings from last winter, but eBay only keeps them for 60 days. If I create a new listing in eBay, it will be lost again in 60 days. If I create my new listing in Auctiva, how long will the system "remember" it? I hope your answer will be "indefinitely."

—Seasonal in Seabrook

Help your listings rank highly in search engines by using the blog feature on Auctiva

Schlicht: We haven't deleted a listing yet in the 3.5 years we've had this free Auctiva site. Again, though, saving all these listings takes database space, hard drives and money. Databases are our most expensive servers. Storing more listings costs more and also slows the database down as it reaches capacity. What we ask is that you simply delete listings you'll never use again.

Is there a way Auctiva can create a shipping method chart, so all we need to do is plug in the weight of the item and it will automatically put into the listing our predetermined price for shipping? This is a merchant feature on PayPal, so could it be integrated into Auctiva's software?

—Helpful in Hackensack

Schlicht: Interesting suggestion. We have a Suggestions forum at and also within Auctiva. When you're signed in, there's a place to enter suggestions and other users can comment and vote on that feature.

Could you offer a search engine optimization service to get more exposure for our eBay Store?

—Adrift in Altoona

Schlicht: We've already done that. We can't have much impact on eBay's stores but we've done a great job of SEO for the new Auctiva Commerce storefronts. There is a beta thread in the forums.

In regard to SEO for your eBay listings, one thing that will help you rank highly in search engines is if you use the blog feature on Auctiva. Every night, Auctiva submits new blog entries to Google Directory to help drive natural traffic to your items. On our Education tab, you'll find an article with some good tips on how to use your Auctiva blog effectively. You can read the article here.

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.

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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