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Ecommerce as we once knew it no longer exists. Gone are the days in which brands had the luxury of choosing which selling channel best fit their specific needs. While today you can still opt to focus more intently on a specific channel, for the most part, the most successfully scaling retailers are those which place products in front of customers, no matter where they are.
This often means that a brand must strategically utilize all channels –– or what many in the commerce industry call maintaining an “omnichannel presence” –– including hosting operations via a brick-and-mortar location, an ecommerce site, social commerce and marketplace participation with giants like Amazon, eBay, Rakuten and Jet.com.
[Tweet "The channels with the steepest learning curves are marketplaces –– specifically eBay and Amazon."]
In a nutshell, everything is commerce these days. And while that may mean your business has the unique opportunity to capitalize on actively shopping audiences, you first need to ensure that your time spent with each channel is worth the investment. In other words, you need to get each channel up and running efficiently before you can confidently push shoppers to those brand extensions.
For many mid-market brands, the channels with the steepest learning curves are marketplaces –– specifically eBay and Amazon. Luckily, there are software solutions out there which have been built entirely around these channels with one goal in mind: to ease the complexity.
Today, we’re highlighting one such company: inkFrog, an eBay channel manager and one of Bigcommerce’s most utilized applications within our marketplace. The app helps to:
- Sync inventory between your online store and eBay
- Manage your entire eBay business from one application
- List to eBay using a template and profile builder
- Manage multiple eBay IDs from one app
- List to any eBay channel including eBay.com, eBay.ca, eBay.uk, eBay.au, eBay.de, eBay.fr, eBay.it, eBay.in, opening your business up to international opportunities
- Manage auto relist and other post sale rules
- Send/receive eBay messages directly from inside the application
Below, we talk to three retailers about their inkFrog usage and how it has helped grow their business. Note: all of these stores sell both on Amazon and eBay. inkFrog is specifically for eBay listing management.
Could you describe your experience using inkFrog?
Richard Sault, Owner at Salt Dog Cycling: inkFrog is easy to use with the Bigcommerce and eBay integration, and the product page templates work well and are simple to set up. There are a few marketing tools which are also a bonus. Also, compared to some of the alternative applications, inkFrog is cheaper. It's recently gone to a paid version, but it is still affordable and brings in a lot more business than the price of the app.
Kathy Ruddell, Owner at The Next Best Thing: [The application is] extremely easy to use. You can get your listing to a sales channel within a minute once all your templates are set up. And, my inventory [management] has been spot on.
Joe Peyton, Director of Marketing at Creative Play, which manages the online site Folding Chairs and Tables: We’ve been selling our products on eBay for several years. Prior to inkFrog, we were having to process orders from multiple channels. This app allows us to process orders from one area through Bigcommerce. We’ve been using InkFrog since it was originally a free app. Although it’s growth in popularity has required them to charge for the service, it’s still a wonderful app for our eBay order fulfillment.
What are some of the main business benefits of using inkFrog?
Sault: I'm using inkFrog to sell on eBay and, at the same time, keep track of stock. I think it's definitely one of the best apps on Bigcommerce and, turnover wise, we now do about the same [amount of business] on eBay as we do on the website –– although the fees on eBay are a big pain. Certain products sell better on eBay than they do on the website.
Ruddell: The templates make the listing look more professional and it’s worth the small fee you pay to have your inventory in line.
Peyton: The templates we’ve created through inkFrog allow us to quickly add, edit and remove products from eBay without needing to navigate through eBay’s website. Also, printing packing slips from eBay doesn’t provide us the branding we would like. inkFrog allows us to print customized packing slips with our logo on them so our customers know the company they ordered from on eBay.
Do you have any advice to offer for those just getting started with the app or with the eBay marketplace in general?
Sault, whose company uses eBay to push traffic back to the ecommerce site: We integrate our eBay PayPal account with MailChimp to help collect customer email addresses so we can market the website. We've also added details like a phone number and website address in our eBay banner to try and get customers to buy from our website or a least take a look. It's a tricky area on eBay using website addresses and phone numbers, but this is how we do it.
Ruddell: Patience. It takes some time, but once you are a top rated seller, your products sell much faster.
Peyton: Test different products. Consider the fees included when listing through eBay when figuring pricing. Unless you have an eBay store account, don’t list one product with multiple quantities. You’re limited by how much you can list so start with smaller quantities until you start to see certain products sell. Also, make sure to keep track of products with color or size variations that have quantities set on them so they don’t sell out.
And finally, are there any other application and integrations you use for your Bigcommerce store?
Sault: The only other app I'm using on the website is Remarkety, which I think is good for keeping in touch with customers. It's still fairly early days for us using this, so I don't feel I can fully review it, but I think it's good and we are building a few re-marketing campaigns.
Ruddell: I haven’t really tried out very many, but I do use Sweet Tooth. I love the free plan.
- Yotpo for product reviews: We especially like how customers can post reviews straight from the email sent rather than clicking a link to another page to post a review.
- ShipperHQ: We ship a lot of freight, and we’ve used this app to integrate our carriers to display real time freight rates.
- JustUno: This has increased our newsletter subscribers 300% since signing up.
- Stamps.com: We ship several orders by USPS each day and this app allows us to batch and print multiple shipment labels at once and automatically upload tracking. Saves us time.
- Sift Science Fraud Prevention: This app is fairly new for us, but helps rate and catch fraudulent orders. It has saved us from two fraudulent orders totaling over $4,000.
Bigcommerce customers can download the inkFrog application here.
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