Vendio Not Just For eBay Any More

This article was written March 4th 2009 and may contain information which is outdated.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.

Dang!

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.

Using profiles, you can set up your shipping options, descriptions and layout. There are navigation tabs for an about us page, payment, shipping and return policy, privacy policy, everything you need to set up a credible and professional looking website.

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.

How much?

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!

Henrietta!

Related Articles:

Vendio Platform Review from All Business Auctions 5/16/2009

Free Vendio Stores Update Red Ink Diary 3/9/2009

13 comments.

  1. Hey Henrietta,

    When you write “Imagine! No more deleting inventory from your website that has been sold elsewhere, all automated!” I get excited — do you mean I could list the same unique item across all available platforms and when it sells on one it automatically deletes from inventory on all other platforms? That’s what it sounds like, but this is kind of like the Holy Grail feature for me, so I want to be sure.

    Thanks,Cliff

  2. Never mind, Henrietta, reading their features it looks like they confirm that too. I’m really going to take a look at this over the weekend. They are offering several features for free that are usually premium. What sticks out to me as being included are:

    Seller Branded
    Unlimited Products/Pages
    SSL (included? cool!)
    Up to 50 Images per product
    Real Time Inventory Management
    Coupons
    eBay/Amazon/etc. integration
    One Page Checkout
    Unlimited Shipping Options

    That’s a lot. Having tested/tried so many platforms these are all keys to me personally and most are either extras or not available at all.

    Thanks,Cliff

  3. It Looks promising….been looking for a second site this may be it!

  4. LOL at Cliff! As the demo progressed yesterday I thought of you. At first glance it appears to meet your wishlist in every respect except for Bonanzle integration.

    As Bonanzle grows and if enough Bonanzle sellers make it worthwhile, Vendio is open to the concept of integration with Bonanzle too.

    I am most impressed by Vendio’s approach. They are not sitting on their butts saying their whole business is tied to the sinking Titanic and every other platform is baaaaaaad, bound to fail.

    They have looked at the market, seen a need and moved to fill it. That is the kind of solutions provider I would regard as a partner. No negativity, simply enablement of increased productivity.

  5. Cliff,

    Let me try and answer your questions. Its an easy concept, but very complex.

    Yes, this is exactly what we mean, within certain Marketplace restrictions. So, for example, eBay requires that items available for sale there be held in reserve for that item. This means the same item cannot simultaneously be available for sale on your store and on eBay at the same time.

    But since other marketplaces, like Amazon, do not have such restrictions, if you set your “Allow Overselling” setting, then the same item can be available for sale in both your store and Amazon, understanding that you might be creating a race condition (where you item is sold on more than marketplace in the same instant..yes, we know it’s unlikely)

    Store items are typically always visible (unless you say..do not make my item visible) and available for purchase if they are in inventory, and not visible when there is no inventory. So a sale on Amazon, for example, would move your inventory to 0 and the item wouldn’t be visible (available for purchase) on your store any longer.

    Conversely, if you have an item on eBay and it ends with no sale, it becomes visible in your store as it is now “available” for purchase. This does the job of making sure you inventory is always available for purchase.

  6. Henrietta,
    I could not have summarized better. You are a gracious lady and it was a joy for me to spend a few minutes of phone time with you yesterday. I appreciate your perspective and I too, wish we were here for you waaay back when you started your journey.

    ~crystal

  7. Interesting, thank you Crystal for your reply.

    I went over and logged in (apparently I did have an account), but quickly got lost. I have to step out for a bit, but hope to play with this some more later.

    Are the Vendio “Platform” and the “Stores” part of the same animal? Once I log in and the screen changes I don’t know what step 1 is. Create a Store?

    Obviously I need to look at the forums and possibly schedule a demo.

    While we have Crystal’s ear, I did have one more question — I am assuming Vendio offers a third-party checkout system through eBay. Truth be told, I hate 3rd Party Checkout, so if there is one is it optional and would it effect the way my Store/Platform ran if I did.

    Thanks again, and lol Henrietta, for some reason I’m not surprised you thought of me, as you’re well aware the search for the “perfect” platform as become somewhat of a crippling obsession for me!

    Thanks,Cliff

  8. “I went over and logged in (apparently I did have an account), but quickly got lost. I have to step out for a bit, but hope to play with this some more later.”

    You will want to register a new account. That will get you access to the new platform. If you have an existing account. You may have to contact CS to get your old info turned off so you can use it again…

    “Are the Vendio “Platform” and the “Stores” part of the same animal? Once I log in and the screen changes I don’t know what step 1 is. Create a Store?”

    Yes..Create a store first. The platform includes the store and ability to list and manage (post-sale) your items. So think of the platform as the core of it all. Stores is a segment. One of the first things you will want to do is go to My Items>Store designer..you can always go back and change it at anytime..Set up categories, etc.

    I think then I’d recommend you go through preferences to get things how you want them…and then maybe set up profiles (under Items>Profiles). You can bypass profiles and create them on the fly as you use Create Items. You’ll discover a lot of cool features as you go through everything. But I think that’s the easiest path to get started.

    “Obviously I need to look at the forums and possibly schedule a demo.”

    That would also be great for you :)..

    “While we have Crystal’s ear, I did have one more question — I am assuming Vendio offers a third-party checkout system through eBay. Truth be told, I hate 3rd Party Checkout, so if there is one is it optional and would it effect the way my Store/Platform ran if I did.”

    We offer third party checkout. However, with the right settings, the buyer checks out directly on eBay and we bring the data into your account vs the other way. Drop me an email crystal@corp.vendio.com and I’ll assist you in getting the right setting for you.

    And while we are not perfect :).. I think we are darn close !!

    crystal

  9. Hey Crystal,

    Wow, thanks so much for the personal attention!

    First off, no provider is perfect, and believe me, if you were perfect for ME you wouldn’t be for the vast majority–each of our businesses is such a different animal.

    Okay, I’m going to go in and sign up w/a different account now, tinker around a bit. Not really committing as of yet, but going to test-drive it until I see something that doesn’t work for me, but hopefully I don’t.

    If I do follow through I’ll definitely be contacting you along that final line, I would want those settings.

    Okay, off to have some fun on the platform, thank you!

    Cliff

  10. Henrietta,
    Very insightful introduction to this amazing new opportunity offered by Vendio. I was close to choosing this company when I first started with eBay. Now that they are expanding their multichannel solutions with this all in one ecommerce package I am very interested and excited. Thanks for the info!

    Hunter

  11. Hunter I have been around the block enough times that it takes a fair bit to get me excited. I have learned to always take every opportunity to listen, even if it is something I don’t think will apply to me, my business, or my lifestyle because I am so often pleasantly surprised to learn something new.

    The Vendio Stores platform was one of those serendipitous moments and I have a feeling, as it progresses through beta into final release form it is going to change the way a lot of small businesses operate for the better.

    There have always been merchant solutions for the big boys, ChannelAdvisor, Infopia etc. Finally a provider has seen the immense potential for growth in servicing small to medium size business without wearing the channel specific blinders so prevalent in today’s marketplace.

  12. Thank you, Henrietta for the very good information on Vendio. I did sign up for a new, free account and found within 24 hours of my account being set up, I had a cc charge for $12.95…although there was no information on the sign up page where it still said everything was free…after the charge appeared I went to Vendio’s FAQ and found that I was not the only person charged this amount, nor was I the only person surprised by it! I then went back through all the information for the new ecommerce store and still did not find a statement that I would be charged for their new, FREE service!
    I really like Vendio’s platform and think their image hosting is 2nd to none, but I think saying Free and charging behind your back-so to speak-is just a way to earn distrust. I asked for my account to be cancelled and a refund to be issued…of course that is now pending on a phone call with a Vendio representative. I think their new stores will be an awesome way to build a website with much fewer “bugs” than most. Just be prepared to pay for the Free Service!
    Thank you for all you do to help us online sellers!

  13. Hi jewelrygirl !!
    We really do mean free. I promise. No store listing fees, no store image fees, no store fvfs.

    What you ran into is the Pre-Auth. And what that is, in a nutshell, is we “ping” your credit card, however, we never actually take the funds. Cliff ran into the same thing, and his suggestion was that we make it $1.00, and we’ll be doing just that (we listen).

    I don’t have your account, but please email me at crystal@corp.vendio so I can investigate the other charge. It may be that you did sign up for one of our applications that are a fee product, but I’d need to look at your account.

    Lastly, I’d really like to eliminate any mistrust here. There has so much in the industry. We really are offering a free store, and it’s not “just” a free store. Its a full featured store, and it is an amazing free offer and an amazing store. So please, please email me, let me clear this up and then you can tell all your friends how great Vendio is and what an AWESOME store you have !!

    crystal