Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bonanzle Update #10

My current thinking is that if I continue to make the kind of sales that I am now making on Bonanzle, I will not go back to eBay except to sell large lots of books that are in rough shape. I sold my Beverly Gray at the World's Fair for $295.00, and then the next day, a buyer purchased approximately $730.00 worth of books from me. The large purchase is not that many books; the buyer bought several expensive books that had been in my booth since January. Those books are ones that I tried to sell on eBay last year with no success, and I decided to park them indefinitely since I was not going to give them away.

I have also made some small sales since the two big sales. This has all happened since Sunday. I know that I will probably have a week or so pass before I make another sale, but I've already sold enough for the month as far as I'm concerned. Anything more is just a bonus.

I read a message thread on eBay in which people were talking about Bonanzle (under the cover of the name "The Ranch"), and several people stated that they do not believe that people are telling the truth about their sales. They think that because they do not see conclusive proof of sales that everyone is lying in order to make people think Bonanzle is better than it is. This is precisely why I am sharing my sales information here and providing some screen caps. Here is another screen cap of my traffic sources that led to my sales from just the last week:

You can see that I have sold sixteen items in the last week, and these items are from seven different transactions.

Many people do not realize that it is possible to see sold items on Bonanzle and that from the sold item pages that they can follow a link to see the buyer's ID and other items bought at the same time. If you would like to see a sample of the sold items on Bonanzle, follow this link to see the search results for sold Nancy Drew books. All of the books displayed on that page are books that have actually sold. On the left under "other filters," you can see where "sold in last year" can be selected for any search term.

Around a month ago, I recorded these traffic stats for my booth:

1. Google – 44.8%
2. Direct – 22.4%
3. This blog – 10.6%
4. – 3.0%
5. All other sources – 19.2%

These are my stats from the last month:

1. Google – 44.6%
2. Direct – 30.2%
3. This blog – 11.7%
4. – 3.0%
5. All other sources – 10.5%

What is most striking is that direct traffic is increasing. Direct traffic is traffic from people who are already on Bonanzle and enter my booth through a page on Bonanzle. The increase in direct traffic is good; it shows that more people are visiting Bonanzle.


Bonanzle just got some good publicity.

Randy Smythe podcast interview

Ina Steiner interviewed Randy Smythe for AuctionBytes. Randy Smythe is a former eBay PowerSeller who left eBay to sell on and also works for Steiner asked Smythe whether any of the secondary marketplaces stand out in comparison to the rest. Here is most of Smythe's response:

"I'm seeing some traction from Bonanzle....they were able to get a lot of product and a lot of selection that was before they had a lot of traffic and a lot of this particular case, they've continued to grow their product and they've continued to grow their sellers, and they're incrementally growing their looks like a little eBay from the beginning."

Steiner asked Smythe what makes Bonanzle different from the other similar marketplaces that have been around. Smythe stated that "the founders understand that they are under the microscope and they interact with the community....they are constantly making changes and explaining why they are making changes....some of the same changes that eBay has made and had all kinds of grief for....Bonanzle has made several changes....adding item specifics....that got a lot of people upset at eBay, and Bonanzle, if you read the comments on the blog, they are like 'Yay! That's so fantastic! Thank you!' " Steiner shrewdly observed that timing might have something to do with that, and both of them laughed. It is definitely the perfect time for eBay to get some competition.


Paula said...

I set up a Bonanzle booth too and added 2 items for sale (not books). It was easy! The only problem I see is that with postage getting so expensive for items other than media mail, and with the complicated USPS zone system, Bonanzle's calculated postage system is lacking. The estimated shipping is either too low, and the seller is taking a hit, or it is too high and will drive buyers away.

Since we are entering the weight already, I think a good solution would be for them to allow us to choose the specific class of USPS service, i.e., priority, 1st class, parcel post, media, etc. That way Bonanzle could provide an accurate shipping cost, which makes seller and buyer happy, and if the buyer wants something different, they could negotiate with the seller. Most sellers know what class of service their customers typically want, so choosing the class of service would be an easy solution and still fall within Bonanzle's KTSS rules, I think.

I don't think you have these problems with Media Mail - it's the same anywhere in the US isn't it? Since Parcel Post and Priority service varies so much it really is hard to set a fixed shipping price if you are not a high volume seller, or if your inventory is very varied.

Anyway, after hearing so much here about Bonanzle, I had to try it. I have bought some things also - as you know :D I might make this suggestion over at Bonanzle now that I've thought about it. Thanks for your always informative comments!

callmemadam said...

Just to let you know that I've mentioned your interesting blog on my Live Journal at
You may get a few more hits!

Jennifer said...

Bonanzle's calculated postage system is lacking

It is definitely lacking. People have mentioned calculated shipping as one of the areas in which Bonanzle needs improving. I'm not sure whether it is on their "to do" list yet, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to submit it as a requested improvement.

I have only put media mail as a selection for all of my books since the price varies for priority mail. It would be nice to offer priority mail as well, but it would require me to significantly overcharge for some priority packages in order to break even on the rest. I hate doing that.

In Bill's most recent blog (a link to the blog is at the bottom of every Bonanzle page), he said that he is going to work on the buyer experience in the short term and worry about building traffic later. He called his philosophy "smart growth" rather than "fast growth."

I have been reading about eBay's new dispute process on the message boards in the last day or so, and I am disgusted. My thoughts may eventually become a post. I have no desire to sell on eBay. They ruined a perfectly good site.

Just to let you know that I've mentioned your interesting blog on my Live Journal