Recent events continue to underscore the need for a solid eCommerce business Model.I think that we all know the eBay model:
You pay eBay for the use of their platform to sell your items. They charge you a percentage of what you sell and have some very rigid controls over items sold, how, etc.
If the customer wants a refund, if the customer is not pleased, who does eBay side with? The customer, always the customer.
While it sometimes makes for a rather contentious relationship, the reality is that we all went in knowing the basis and rules in place, and we understood.
The success of eBay, has given birth to a long list of admirers who want to profit off of a proven business model, or maybe they just think that they can do it better, but is it better? Simply embedding an online sales platform in your software isn’t necessarily the right answer for the broker, only your Vendor.
It seems like the lines between your relationship with YOUR vendor and YOUR customer start to become blurry. When is it OK for YOUR vendor to side with someone else over you? The real problem starts to get much broader here. Some “embedded” programs post a “map” view of locations, so, your customer can now see all of your competitors in your area. You spend years attracting and servicing YOUR customers, only to have your own vendor send them to someone else?
There are some eCommerce platforms that are embedded in the software -- does everything that forfeits get pushed online? Do you get to choose? What about overall postings on the site? Is it a real number? A realistic count of what is really for sale? What about photos? Are they of the actual item? Or a stock photo?
I ask these questions because they ALL affect your eCommerce success. Too many choices (with the ones that shouldn’t be there in the first place) affect your sales, but what then? When the customer complains and wants a refund, who do they go to? Who represents YOU in this scenario? The short answer? No ONE. If the item is refunded and returned, are your fees refunded as well? You can argue the point, but there are two real scenarios here.
You agree to a refund with the customer, and then the fees become a cost of doing business. The other scenario? You are no choice in the decision, the money for the refund is just deducted from your account, the customer Returns (or doesn’t return) the item (s), and then what? You need to call YOUR vendor who is now in the position of serving 2 customers who have differing opinions of how it should be resolved.
We could go on, but I think you get the point.
I worked for a company once that always had other opportunities to earn revenues in other ways, and the answer was always the same. “What is OUR Business? We need to be the BEST at what we do! When we accomplish that, the need for a different income stream won’t be needed”
At Data Age/PawnMaster, our approach has always been the same, our intention is not to be a vendor in your hallway, but a partner in your boardroom. We develop solutions to help brokers, that allow our customers to continue to use their own account to manage their own sales, AND we don’t profit off of their success. You choose what goes on the platform to sell, YOU choose how it sells, and YOU make the decisions for your products. In the end, our customer is YOU!