Web-based Sales Platforms

This week I will continue with the general topic of Internet-based marketing opportunities for small businesses. Specifically, I will discuss web-based sales platforms as a low-cost marketing tool. I begin that discussion today with a short post about eBay.

There is nothing new or cutting edge about suggesting eBay as a sales platform. The world’s most popular online auction website has been around since late 1995 when founder Pierre Omidyar sold a broken laser pointer for $14.83. In all fairness, he later sold a Gulfstream jet for $4.9 million. According to eBay’s website, gross merchandise volume for 2009 approached $60 billion thanks to 90 million users and numerous specialty websites. Retailers can use individual listings or eBay stores. They can offer products using traditional auctions, fixed prices or fixed prices with best-offer options.

To be sure, eBay has its detractors. However, depending on the nature of your products and operations, there may be a place for eBay in your marketing strategy.

  • Analyze and define your eBay marketing strategy through a little homework and some low-cost experimentation. Why not list a few items and see what happens?
  • If eBay becomes a significant part of your marketing efforts, consider the impact of your Internet pricing strategy on existing “brick and mortar” sales. You will have to balance the added cost of shipping against the marketing risk of under-pricing online products relative to what customers are charged in your physical location.

On Wednesday, I will discuss a growing phenomenon known as Groupon, including several potential pitfalls associated with it.

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  1. Nice site, nice and easy on the eyes and great content too.

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