Ina Steiner of EcommerceBytes recently posted their 2012 Sellers Choice Awards. This annual survey, now in its fourth year, has become an increasingly relied-upon tool to help sellers compare the strengths and weaknesses of the top online marketplaces. We would like to thank everyone at Bonanza who took part in the survey -- for the second year in a row, Bonanza was the third most widely used marketplace for the survey respondents -- Bonanza trailed only eBay and Craigslist. I think this speaks to the power of what our community has created by making newcomers feel welcome, while encouraging your friends to dip their toe in and become our next newcomers.
I've always liked this Auction...er...EcommerceBytes survey for a couple reasons. The top reason is that I am a self-avowed "data lover," and any time that someone can put hard numbers behind a squishy subject, my inner scientist does a series of triumphant fist pumps.
The second reason I appreciate the survey is that it gives new marketplaces a chance to get their due (usually for being more customer-centric), while more mature marketplaces can flex their strengths (more traffic, profitability, advertising). Sellers can then weigh the pros and cons relative to their preferences, and make a good decision on which marketplace(s) fit them best. Brand new marketplaces like Addoway and Yardsellr performed very well for their young age. Neither of those a surprise, given the hard work that both teams have poured into their product. eBay and Amazon performed far better than they had in years' past, with Amazon actually scoring an overall first place this year (quite deservedly, given their dominance in commodity categories). Bonanza? Well, that deserves a new paragraph.
The third reason that I appreciate this survey is that it gives us an invaluable yardstick to see what we're doing well and what we need to work on. You can see a full summary of the results by clicking on the link to read them. The key takeaways from our standpoint:
- Being voted the Most Usable marketplace tells me that we should continue to aggressively push the envelope in creating the most feature-rich, yet simple, tools possible. This is an opportunity for us to differentiate ourselves as a market leader, and we plan to continue working with our community to guide us toward building "their perfect marketplace." Thus far, we have only scratched the surface of what we could achieve in this vein. Today, we have perhaps more tools than any other marketplace, but the tools are somewhat fragmented, and some aren't well documented for new users. If we're going to expand our lead as the Most Usable, we need to continue to pay attention to the details.
- Being voted the Second Most Recommended marketplace, after Amazon, is an enormous compliment to our team, to our community, and to the positive conversation between our team and community. We know that Bonanza will never be perfect for everyone, but having you endorse Bonanza to your friends, your customers on other marketplaces, and to the media -- all of that is what will speed Bonanza toward being the most usable and the most profitable.
- Being mentioned alongside names like Craigslist and Etsy in terms of profitability is good, but we need to be great here. We have already seen some results from our first round of Adwords advertising over the holidays, and given the revenue our search ads continue to drive, we are eying many ideas for our subsequent rounds of advertising this year. We know that it is key to our sellers, and as a marketplace that is seeking to be a market leader, it's important to us too.
Of course, these were just three among many lessons for us (and others) to take from the survey. We really appreciate Ina's hard work to create and maintain this survey (no small task with 7000 respondents!), which seems to be growing exponentially in participation each year.
What we're up to
Much! Our next two "major" initiatives are both seller-centric improvements, one a tool to help maximize picture quality, the other a pass at improving the aforementioned fragmentation of our many seller features. We want to make it easier for sellers to discover the wealth of options available to them, in as simple/consistent a way as possible
We are definitely itching to get started on our mobile app, given the explosion in mobile use recently. With any luck we could be mobile by June, while still having time to act on our usual assortment of community requests.
That's the latest and greatest. Though you may not have rated us as the most communicative marketplace, we do hope that you know that you're our real Valentine, loyal reader.