Marketplace Manager

We test a new online service that enables a merchant to list their product at more than 1200 URLs and reach more than 200 million unique prospects

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Test Number: #070501-ECO

Word Count: 3400+

Focus: 13 Questions

  1. How does the new online service Marketplace Manager work?
  2. On which sites does Marketplace Manager list your product?
  3. How effective is Marketplace Manager?
  4. Is Marketplace Manager a good choice for the average merchant?
  5. What is the financial cost for Marketplace Manager?
  6. What is the labor cost for Marketplace Manager?
  7. Can you integrate Marketplace Manager with an existing store?
  8. Can you automatically upload products from a Yahoo store into Marketplace Manager?
  9. Will Marketplace Manager work with your existing merchant Account?
  10. How can you use Marketplace Manager to attract free subscribers?
  11. How can you use Marketplace Manager to sell items that require long ad copy?
  12. How does the Marketplace Manager Artificial Intelligence Engine work to increase your sales?
  13. How can you achieve maximum results with Marketplace Manager?

060501-AWA – We study 600 awards sites to select and test the top performers.

Can you attract traffic by winning recognition? What does it take to win? How do you prepare your site? What is the easiest way to submit?

Test Summary

We analyzed 5 different product offerings that were placed on more than 300 sites using Marketplace Manager.

Test Product

We deliberately sampled a diversity of products.

MERCHANT A – Software
MERCHANT B – Home Appliances
MERCHANT C – Batteries
MERCHANT D – Computer Parts
MERCHANT E – eBooks & Subscriptions

Test Costs

A detailed chart is presented at the end of Section 1.

Consider the impact of 200,000,000 visitors to your web site – that is two hundred MILLION visitors in a single month, or more “warm clicks” than most any of our humble reader-marketers will capture in a full 12 months of aggressive net pedaling.

Is it possible for ordinary mortals, with extraordinarily limited budgets, to ever approach an audience of this size?

Dr. Edward DeBono pioneered a new concept in creativity called “Lateral Thinking”. Sometimes to move “forward” you have to think “sideways”.

Here is a “sideways” (if not inverted) thought…

Maybe we should think less about PROMOTION and more about LOCATION. Maybe it is easier to locate your offering in the midst of traffic, than it is to promote your offering in the hopes of drawing traffic.

Our MERCHANT B spent virtually no money on promotion, but in the past 5 months, still managed to sell more than $134,000 of product.

Here is a summary chart of their performance:

MERCHANT B

Item Amount
Sales 249
Products Listed 11
Visits to Listings 93,143
Visits To Website 2,284
Revenue $134,390

This notable feat was accomplished with the help of a new online service called Marketplace Manager.

How does Marketplace Manager work?

Marketplace Manager operates on a simple premise: You list your product, just once, with their interface; they simultaneously post your listing on hundreds of other sites.

Here is their explanation of the process:

__________________QUOTE

What you do…

1. Create an account. Choose ONE username, ONE password and a pricing plan that makes sense for you.

Related:  How to reduce friction and anxiety in a checkout process you don’t control

2. Add your company and product information. Tell us about your company and upload product information either one by one or with our bulk upload utility.

3. Maintain your account. When orders come in, you process them and file them. You can also review performance reports and, as necessary, make changes to pricing, look and feel or anything else.

What we do…

1. Create accounts for you. We will create and maintain seller accounts for you on every major online marketplace including auctions, comparison-shopping, classifieds and more.

2. Create and post professional listings and a virtual catalog. We will create product listings and a virtual catalog for you automatically using such information as your company logo, product images, pricing, shipping and return policies, contact information.

3. Gather and apply valuable performance data. Using Artificial Intelligence, we will systematically gather performance data on all your products and then make sure that you are spending your marketing dollars in the most efficient way possible.

4. Manage the selling and re-listing processes. Our system will manage all aspects of the selling process including automatic re listing, gathering feedback, secure order collection and more.

__________________END QUOTE

This young company has been offering its services for just five months, but in that short time, they have created over 2 million listings, and they have helped their merchants achieve more than $1 million in sales.

On which sites does Marketplace Manager list your products? (abbreviated list)

Here is a sampling:

PREMIUM
eBay
Yahoo! Auctions
Amazon.com
zShops

FAIR MARKET
MSN
NBCi
Lycos
Excite
CitySearch
NY Times

NEXTAG
NexTag.com
Guru.com
Smart Money
ShopComparison
AmericasBestMall

AUCTIONS
uBid
AuctionAddict
Edeal
Haggle
eOrbis
eBay Motors

CLASSIFIEDS
Excite
Earthlink
CNET
AT&T WorldNet
WebTV
Mindspring
WebCrawler
Autobytel
Hotmail
BabyCenter

In all, we have identified more than 1200 URLs that list products which were posted with Marketplace Manager.

How effective is Marketplace Manager?

Here is a comparison of 4 Marketplace Manager accounts:

> MERCHANT A – From 6/1/2001 To 6/30/2001

Software

Item Amount
Sales 72
Products Listed 11
Visits to Listings 1336
Visits To Website 63
Revenue $3015

> MERCHANT B – From 6/1/2001 To 6/30/2001

Home Appliances

Item Amount
Sales 59
Products Listed 12
Visits to Listings 17,631
Visits To Website 344
Revenue $48,893

> MERCHANT C – From 6/1/2001 To 6/30/2001

Batteries

Item Amount
Sales 200
Products Listed 57
Visits to Listings 9075
Visits To Website 89
Revenue $3664

> MERCHANT D – From 6/1/2001 To 6/30/2001

Computer Parts

Item Amount
Sales 62
Products Listed 40
Visits to Listings 10,976
Visits To Website 220
Revenue $5779

These merchants are generating a healthy sales volume, and with minimum promotion. But where are the customers coming from?

May we suggest that you study the following chart? It is rich with useful data.

Results Analysis For Target Networks

While it is apparent that the top 4 performers represent 82% of the revenue, it is easy to underestimate the value of the remaining networks.

The minor networks help Marketplace Manager determine the optimum listing criterion for a merchant’s products. MarketplaceManager then uses this data to optimize its listings for the premium (fee-based) markets.

Is Marketplace Manager a good choice for the average merchant?

How do you distill over 100 pages of raw data down to a 15 page report? That is the challenge we faced when preparing this issue.

Our objective at the Journal is simple: to help you find out what really works.

But “simple” is not the same as “easy”. And sometimes it is embarrassing to discover just how daunting it can be to accomplish our little eight-word objective.

But still we try…

Which leads us to the question at hand: is Marketplace Manager a good choice for the average merchant?

We believe that the underlying premise behind Marketplace Manager is sound. It just makes sense to list your product in multiple markets. The key decision seems to hinge upon two sub-questions:

  1. What is the financial cost?We found this new tool to be modestly priced:
    Maximum Number Of Products Monthy Price
    10 $29.95
    25 $49.95
    50 $79.95
    100 $149.95
    200 $249.95
    500 Call For Pricing

    Prices do not include the listing fees charged by the premium markets like eBay. These fees average 3%.

  2. What is the labor cost?> It is very easy to list your product in the Marketplace Manager interface, but to achieve satisfying results, you need to spend time studying your statistics and modifying your listing.We have invested approximately 3.5 hours in creating and testing a 3400 word listing, but we expect to invest even more time as we aggregate more data.

    > This is a new company; the software is still in its early stages of development. Sometimes the manager interface seems counter-intuitive.

    > The company’s server can sometimes “drag”. Here are some sample load times for a 56k modem:

    Report Time
    Previous Month Sales 24 seconds
    All Time Sales 62 seconds
    Edit Products 38 seconds

    > The User Guide does not have a great deal of documentation, but the company does maintain a toll free help line, and the site is constantly improving.

So what is the bottom line?

Notwithstanding the “negatives” just mentioned, Marketplace Manager has truly impressed our Team. It is producing solid results, and we are now using the service, ourselves, to: (*1)

  1. Sell digital products
  2. Attract traffic
  3. Win subscribers.

It would be a mistake to underestimate the potential of this new offering.

Section 2 (Continue…)

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