Is Shoply a solution for smaller eBay sellers?

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I’ve spoken to a few people recently who’ve had something like this to say: “I’m a tiny eBay merchant. I can’t keep up with the requirements of TRS and Best Match, never mind meet the criteria I need to win on eBay these days. It’s no fun anymore. But I like running my little online shop. I’m not big enough to justify a great big website (I only sell a couple of things a week). What can I do?” One new possibility is Shoply.

Shoply is designed to offer small merchants the chance to have an online presence with absolutely no technical expertise required. You can have an online store open in literally less than a minute. A basic shop, allowing you to list up to ten items, is free; paid-for versions with higher stock levels are “coming soon”. There’s integration with Twitter and Facebook allowing you to promote what you’re selling to your networks, and more basic bookmarking integration with a whole host of other social media sites. You can create custom pages within your shop for T&Cs and other extra content. PayPal payments are integrated.

It’s neat, it’s quick, it’s very, very easy. But I’m not convinced it’s a solution. Shoply is incredibly expensive. The shop may be free to open, but it takes a 6% cut of your sale price – and while that’s still cheaper than eBay, add on a £1.29 “basket fee” for every transaction, and the cheaper end of the market suddenly looks like a better deal back on the ‘Bay. Though an upgraded price plan (100 listings: £12.99 per month + 69p basket fee + 3% FVFs) might be a better option for those who are serious about their hobby-selling, compared with say Ebid’s “lifetime fee” of £49.49 and nothing else to pay, it’s still expensive.

It’s early days for Shoply though: lots of their features – e.g. traffic stats – are “coming soon”, so they may well offer something new and exciting further down the line. For now, I think they need to decide who they’re targeting and who they’re competing with. Their “about us” page says:

You could always opt for ebay, but just like us, you know that ebay sucks ass big-time. It’s slow, bloated, kinda ugly, expensive and a real pain to use.

but in a comment on TechCrunch, founder Liad Shababo writes:

Shoply was built as a new market and low-end disruptive innovation and we are going after a market who have either never sold online in their own shops before or who are over-served by their current solutions. I don’t believe we share a market and are not looking to compete with amazon or ebay.

The latter seems like a more realistic goal. The clue is really in Shoply’s unbearably cutesy copy: they’re all about “empowering” people “through the marketplace that is the internet“. (Shoply guys, please hire a decent writer. “Servers are yucky”? Are you serious?!) This is a site for people playing at shops. People selling their own second hand goods might just accept higher prices to do it easily, because they have no alternative except to give it away: Shoply makes it easy to tell your Facebook friends “I’m selling my shoe collection”.

23 Responses

  1. Sue,
    Thanks for posting about shoply.
    I really appreciate your comments and feedback.

    We have recently decided to substantially change our pricing structure including the complete removal of basket fees. The changes will be reflected in the next release on Tuesday.

    Thanks again

    LIAD

  2. Like many competitive marketplaces to eBay, Shoply suffers from the truth that marketplaces are networks and the power of networks is proportional to the square of the membership.

    This means that a marketplace with 20m active users is 400 times as useful to its membership as one with 1m users.

    This is the real power that eBay brings to the party. (And the truly awesome power that Google wields).

    The solution to finding it hard to sell on eBay is to have someone help you to do it, rather than to sell on a different marketplace.

    The excellent eBay Education Specialists, such as Jane Bell ( https://https://eauctionanorak.co.uk/ ) can help businesses understand the rules which will make hitting those targets all the easier, and [blatant plug] Stuff U Sell exists to provide an end-to-end service for people who believe in the marketplace but who want an expert to do the work [/blatant plug].

    The answer isn’t ignoring eBay, it’s about making it better.

  3. There is space for aditional market places, Not sure if Shoply can fill that space or not but looks interesting.

    Anyone hoping to take market share from eBay, no matter how small a %, will have a very hard battle on their hands.

    The alure of the chance of coming up with the next multi billion online marketplace, is a great temptation, like the sirens of old….Good luck

  4. Nice idea, but I can’t see it going anywhere. It suffers from the same problems as hundreds of others like this that pop up on an almost daily basis, buyers or rather the lack of them, and bad mouthing eBay as a selling point.

    Sorry, but I can’t take a company seriously who’s web site says things like “Ready to live the dream? BOOYA!” and a features being a “Kick ass online shop” and “Will make your life better”.

  5. I read the artilce and it sounded interested til I got to their line that says.

    “You could always opt for ebay, but just like us, you know that ebay sucks ass big-time. It’s slow, bloated, kinda ugly, expensive and a real pain to use.”

    I am not interested in any business that uses gutter language like that, and wont even bother looking them up.

    You can be friendly and chatty, but not rude.

  6. Actually I use ebay and CQout, but find CQout is much cheaper and more customer friendly, it is certainly one of the best ebay alternatives

  7. @Sue

    You may have hit the head on it re ebid.
    “As long as they can keep those lifetime fees coming in from disgruntled ebay users”

    That does seem to be the case, there has been very little growth in ebid over the last few years as far as I can tell. Which is a shame as it is well set up for sellers and buyers.

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