This article was written March 4th 2009 and may contain information which is outdated. Please use the search box at the top of the right column to find the most recent article on this subject.
Yesterday I was able to preview Vendio’s new web store platform which is launched in beta today. Full disclosure: I have no connection with Vendio, I am not getting paid, or given anything for writing this.
Working with Senior Marketing Manager Crystal Wells-Miller (crystal at corp.vendio.com) she demonstrated how to build a webstore using simple click, drag and drop techniques.
Vendio.com has been an eBay solution provider for about ten years. When Crystal contacted me I reminded her I was no longer selling on eBay. That was the most diplomatic way I could think of saying it, because Crystal is a very nice lady who happens to work for a company that has been very closely associated with eBay since 1999. Crystal laughed and said “Vendio is not just for eBay any more!”
My regular readers are aware I spent two years building my website. Don’t get me wrong, I like my website. It is not perfect, when you are not an expert building a website is a learning process in every sense of the word. I still have a lot of learning to do and I have a strong suspicion that having a website is a project that is never done.
My first reaction to the demo was “Dang!” Followed by “I wish this had been around when I needed to start my site.” A Vendio store allows you to use your own self-hosted domain, or you can use a free Vendio provided domain (http://www.vendio.com/yourstore).
On the first screen you choose your template. There are a lot of variations, about 50 templates I believe. If you change your mind, changing the template, or part of the template is a one click process. You have complete control. You can customize your store with your own logo, custom categories, and sub-categories, use featured items, and see exactly how your store will look as you build it. You can even choose your buttons.
There is no html required. Everything is choose, drag and drop. My nine year old granddaughter could do it.
Just starting out on a standalone website used to be a long and intimidating process, not to mention expensive. This solution would appear to be the answer for smaller sellers who would like another basket to put their eggs in but do not have the capital for a completely custom built site. Want more customization? Different colors, bigger header? Easy, just hire a designer to make one for you.
Saving the best for last - integration
Owning a website is not just about “pretty”, it has to work on both sides. The information flow and checkout process has to be smooth for your buyers, but it also has to be workable for you on the back end, the working part your customers do not see.
The Vendio Store is fully Search Engine Optimized. A WOW! moment for me was the ease of inserting meta tags as you build your product listing. Everything is on one screen.
If you are selling on Amazon or eBay your Vendio store can be completely integrated with both platforms. You can place all your inventory (download from eBay inventory is available) in your Vendio store and send a listing to either venue with a single click. The fully integrated inventory management feature gives a live inventory count across all your venues.
I asked about the possibility of Bonanzle integration and was told
“We are constantly evaluating new channels and we prioritize based upon what we hear from our existing 100,000 merchants. To date, there has been larger demand for Overstock and Buy.com integration although we are certainly keeping an eye on Bonanzle”
if you are a Bonanzle seller and decide to try a free Vendio Store, you will need to let Vendio know you would like integration to Bonanzle too.
Imagine! No more deleting inventory from your website that has been sold elsewhere, all automated!
The platform is integrated with Shopping.com, Shopzilla, Yahoo and Google Product Search, you choose where you want to submit your product. Google Analytics is available so is Google Checkout, Authorize.net for those who have a merchant processing account and of course PayPal.
What you pay depends on what you want to use. There are of course fees associated with Amazon and eBay (and I believe Shopzilla?). The Vendio fees for a store integrated with either or both of these venues are $10 per month for a single seller account on each platform, plus, after a 60 day free trial, scaled fees ranging from 1.95% on the first $1000 down to 1% of your gross revenue. Vendio are waiving their Amazon account fees in 09 so if you are only integrating with Amazon the Vendio store is free.
All I want is a website!
That is cool too, Vendio will give you one for free. You will need to provide a credit card number for ID verification.
Why are they doing it? Well they hope you will want to use some of the other solutions and services they provide, for a fee. If those other services are as well thought out as the webstore platform you probably will want to use them which will make it a win win situation all around.
My recommendation? Give it a try, it is free, easy and you will learn about some of the process of having a webstore in about as painless a manner as I have ever seen. Did I mention it is free?
Y’all come back!
Vendio Platform Review from All Business Auctions 5/16/2009
Free Vendio Stores Update Red Ink Diary 3/9/2009