Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Story - My favorite eBay alternative - My Bonanzle

This may sound like cheer-leading and it probably is. Well it's my Blog and I'll cheer if I want to, Cheer if I want to... Cheer if I want to...You would too... if you only knew... Bill... Bill he's the king of the hill... and he's the Baby Daddy...

Gentle Reader: What the heck is it already??

Since you asked, I'd like to mention the best alternative to eBay to sell and buy stuff. It's called Bonanzle - it came out of beta in September of 2008 with approximately 10,000 listings and less than one thousand members of which I was one. After being named the best eBay alternative in July of 2008 by Ecommerce Guide, Bonanzle was again named the best eBay alternative in January, this time by SmallBusinessComputing. Just two days ago Bonanzle celebrated its first birthday within 4,000 members of reaching the milestone mark of 100,000 and all in just one short year... Gosh it seems like just yesterday that we got the Birth Announcement… it can't possibly have been a year already--Can it? .. .an infant can be exhausting, but there’s so much to look forward to I for one have enjoyed the ups and downs --The Milestones have come so fast! What fun having the chance to help build and watch the baby grow beyond anyone’s wildest predictions.

I need to digress here to give you a bit of background on how I became an online seller. My hubby, Scott introduced me to the world of auctions while we were dating. He likes to say he created a monster; I have always loved a bargain and old things so it’s easy to see why it was a match made in heaven. The downside is we ended up with tons of neat stuff and nowhere for it. After we were married we became vendors at a medium sized local flea market. Scott bought and sold on eBay before I met him and he was pretty darned good at it, once word got out folks constantly asked us to list this or that for them. We finally got smart and decided to offer it as a service.

We became eBay trading assistants and he taught me the ins and outs of eBay. We developed a healthy clientele of older folks who were retiring and needed to downsize their collections. You know the collections of "stuffage" you hang onto throughout the years to pass along to the Kids only to learn they want nothing to do with your eclectible collage of family heirlooms. Before long we became power sellers. Things were great until...

You knew the other shoe would drop didn't you? Basically, it boils down to much the same story as lots of the small mom and pop's of eBay's original seller base. Once everything became geared towards the new and shiny, most of our customer's items just didn’t fit with today's eBay. Exhausted by all the changes at eBay, I began to search for another venue. I tried so many different venues and just wasn't having much luck on any of them. Our consignment service was closed down in December of 2007, unsold items were returned to their owners and promises made to keep in touch. Hubby continued to sell his new hand-made Masonic penny jewelry, auto-emblems, and decals to the Masonic members of eBay. In the meantime, I helped whenever I could, and continued seeking a venue where our stuffage would be welcome and sell. The long list of venues I haunted during my search would be a familiar one, none worked well for me.

One day in early August 2008, after finishing a mess of listing edits I decided to take a break, spend some time in Auctiva’s forums reading other sellers views and solutions to the latest change implemented at eBay. I found this post made by some humorous guy that made me giggle and in turn click the link he posted to this new fangled website called of all things Bonanzle. I went, I loved it, but I didn't jump right in, first I read, read and read some more. What I found seemed like paradise! Honest. The funny guy turned out to be Bill Harding, creator and owner of a marketplace that had of all things a real time chat box in your storefront, which by the way they called “booths”. This chat box was set-up so a buyer with a question can chat or haggle with the booth owner right then, just as if you were at a craft fair or yard sale. There were no fees to list an item unless it sold, no expiring listings, once you list it, it stays till you remove it or sell it. Final value fees so freakin low I didn’t believe my eyes. I could go on forever. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t find a deal breaker anywhere. I showed Hubby next. He looked over everything, agreeing it seemed very cool. So he signed up and we went to work getting a booth set up for his Masonic Treasures 4u line. They even provided an importer to bring over all of his active eBay listings! With the batch editor it took lots less time getting his booth up than anticipated. So quick in fact, I decided to set up shop myself in a separate booth. Finally, a home where I fit, and so did my "eclectible odds n ends"

I know it sounds corny but, I’ll tell you the truth, that day in August totally changed my life. I found myself hopping out of bed just to get to the computer and log onto Bonanzle… I’m serious. It was so much more than just a place to list our things and wait for them to sell. I’ve learned much in just a year, I’ve grown, I’ve stretched, I’ve made lifelong friends, I’ve found home and best of all I’ve made sales.