Donna Bobeck runs The Closet and Curio Shop Collection selling vintage linens, costume jewelry and ladies vanity items. She began selling antiques and collectibles in 2004, and branched out to sell on eBay, Etsy, Bonanza and on her own website.
Donna is currently in the process of revamping her website to drive traffic to her eBay store, and she explains why she made that decision and shares information about running a small, multi-channel ecommerce business.
What is your first and last name? Donna Bobeck
What is the name of your business? The Closet and Curio Shop Collection
When did you begin selling on-line and why? I started selling on-line in 2004 in order to downsize my massive lifetime collection of antiques and collectibles.
What was your background? We come from a family of artists and collectors. We owned a retail family business and I have coordinated fashion, craft & jewelry shows. We have hosted estate sales and I have been a social and political fundraiser.
What do you primarily sell and why? I sell lovely vintage linens, costume jewelry and ladies vanity items. I sell them because I have a passion for the fabulous laces created by needle artists from a long ago era. I admire the fashion and style of women especially those who lived through the Great Depression and World War ll. I have been inspired by the strength and courage of those women and want to share some of their hand made treasure with others.
What are the unique challenges you face with the types of items you sell? The major challenge is finding, preserving, laundering and caring for beautiful vintage items. All of our vintage linens, jewelry, handkerchiefs and vanity items we try to sell in excellent unused condition.
On which marketplaces and venues do you sell? eBay.com, Etsy.com, Bonanzle.com and The Closet and Curio Shop Collection.
What are the pros and cons of each market place and venue? eBay still has the largest market but the competition and changes are always a problem. Etsy is an simple and affordable place to sell lovely vintage items and Bonanzle (Bonanza) is just very difficult and time consuming to promote yourself. All of the venues are time-consuming because they all require different requirements for photos, and they all need to be exactly right, because clear on-line pics will make the sale.
When considering all the places you sell, which channels are most profitable? eBay
How does your revenue break out by channel (what percentage of sales come from each channel)? Over the years eBay 60% My own website: 10% Etsy 20% Bonanzle 10%
Which payment methods do you accept? Paypal, Money Order, Google Checkout, Bank Checks.
What are the pros and cons of each payment method? PayPal and Google Checkout are simple and quick with built-in protections. Money orders and bank checks can take a while to arrive, so they slow down the sale and throw the shipping schedule off.
What was the impetus for starting your own website? Originally in 2008 to sell on-line but to move away from the eBay fees.
If you hired any companies to set up your website and/or design your logo/branding, how did you find them? Online
What software/service powers your website, and would you recommend it to others? Why or why not? Pappashop. No – I am in the process of revamping the website with a local person.
Does it have a checkout system, is so, what do you use, and what do you like/dislike about it? Yes, it is difficult to set up on your own and there is no customer service.
If you use an ecommerce service or shopping cart, how would you go about the evaluation process if you had to buy one today? I would have to have a computer person do it for me.
What did you pay to set it up, and what are the monthly costs of running it? It was reasonable at about $135 annually.
How difficult was it to set up? I did not like the process at all and it was just easier to offer free shipping than to work with the shipping features.
Does it have analytics, reporting? I have site meter now!
What are the challenges you faced in starting your own website? Using a graphic artist that was in Texas and not local.
What would you do differently if you were setting up a website today? Use a local company.
How do you control inventory as a multi-channel seller? In other words, if you have the same item listed on multiple channels, and it sells, how do you make sure you take it down from the other channels? I do not sell the same items. All of the items I sell are specific to the channel I am selling on.
How did you create the logo/branding for your business/site? Grahic artist.
How do you differentiate yourself from others selling similar products? I sell only clean quality products.
How do you drive traffic to your listings, and which channel do you primarily drive traffic to? eBay
Can you speak about some of the SEO techniques you employ to drive traffic to your site(s)? I am in the process of revamping my website to drive traffic to my eBay store only!
Can you elaborate on why you decided to drive traffic to your eBay Store? I have found that eBay is the only place where I do the majority of my business sales. The website when I was selling from it did well only the first year. Etsy.com is hit and miss for me and Bonanza is a bust. I upgraded to a premier membership there and it was like throwing money in the street. I have made two sales on Bonanza ever! I am truly at a loss as to how to promote my business other than on eBay.
Do you participate in social networking sites? If so, which ones? Facebook and Twitter.
Which ones work for you? Which don’t? None they are all time consuming and do not work for me.
Do you have any advice for other sellers about how to utilize social networking? No. My advice is to just spend time listing your inventory on the venues you are using and to just announce special sales or events on the social networks.
Visit Donna’s listing on EveryPlaceISell.com for the links to all of her storefronts and websites. If you are a multi-channel merchant with your own website, you can learn more about being featured in AuctionBytes on this page.
source : www.auctionbytes.com
Submited at Sunday, February 20th, 2011 at 4:00 pm on Uncategorized by Gillan
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