Auctiva has launched a beta version of an e-commerce platform that will allow merchants to develop full-featured, independent Web stores.
Auctiva Commerce is in limited release as a test environment, allowing users to set up stores and conduct mock transactions to try out the extensive array of featureswhich, according to Auctiva Chief Executive Jeff Schlicht, "blow away the features offered through other e-commerce platforms. It's like comparing a bicycle to a Ferrari."
Auctiva Commerce includes an online "wizard" tool that sellers can use to design their sites with features that include:
- a customizable merchant dashboard
- unlimited categories, subcategories, products, pages and links
- inventory controls
- daily and monthly sales reports
- a shopping cart
- a shipping calculator
- customizable tax codes
- e-mail marketing tools
- support for a wide variety of electronic and paper payment methods
Auctiva is inviting a select group of users to participate in the beta. These users are being contacted by e-mail.
The platform is expected to be widely available and able to conduct live transactions in January 2009.
"It's clear that sellers want to diversify online," says Spencer Smith, director of marketing at Auctiva. "Some sellers have begun building their own e-commerce Web sites. Many more would love to do so but find it too difficult or costly. Auctiva Commerce is going to be the easy, affordable solution for these people."
The development marks Auctiva's first enterprise outside the realm of the eBay marketplace. Having provided eBay listing management tools and related products for more than a decade, the company has amassed a following of more than a half-million eBay sellers, making it the auction site's largest certified third-party developer.
Just how many of those users will venture with Auctiva outside the eBay comfort zone remains to be seen. What is clear is that increasing numbers of eBay sellers are looking for more autonomy than the trading site affords.
The flexibility of features, fees and the ability to control your own destiny are a powerful combination
Various alternative auction sites have emerged in the last few years, but none has the buyer traffic, nor the third-party tool network that eBay has to help merchants be successful. And developing a stand-alone Web store is a proposition that's out of reach of the average eBay user, due to the technical complexity to build itnot to mention the cost and time commitment to grow it.
"Our customers have been begging us for the ability to sell on their own stores and other channels for several years now," Schlicht says. "I believe now is the perfect time for sellers to make the leap to opening their own storefront."
To bring buyers to sellers' Web sites, Auctiva will submit data feeds of listed items to Google, and provide industry-leading search engine optimization and other merchandising approaches.
Pricing has not been announced; however, it will likely include a monthly storefront fee. Auctiva may also collect a small sales fee for those transactions that were referred by Auctiva's marketing efforts.
"I'm very excited about our new product and the opportunities it's going to open up for our customers," Schlicht adds. "The flexibility of features, fees and the ability to control your own destiny are a powerful combination."
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.