Tuesday, August 11, 2009

eCrater, eBay & Dragon*Con.....

This is probably the busiest August Walkin' Willie's Comix has had in a long while. Dragon*Con is only 21 days away (that's 23 days for attendees) and it has become our biggest show of the year. Obviously, a large amount of time will be spent preparing for that extravaganza - that show has really grown a ton over the last few years. There are not a whole lot of comic dealers there which is a shame. All the bigtime dealers used to come to Dragon*Con back in the late 1980's through the early 1990's. Now it has become more Sci-Fi and Fantasy oriented with only around seven or eight comic dealers there. Comic dealers that do well at Dragon*Con have merchandise with low price points - folks will buy bargain bin books, $10 (or less) Silver and Bronze age and discount trades. They will not buy $5000 CGC books.

Secondly, we are ratcheting up our inventory over at our eCrater store with literally hundreds of discount books loaded up in the past month. We will start putting up some old stuff this week - there is a little up there but not near enough. Basically, our Walkin' Willie's Comix eCrater store will have (and already has) a ton of single issues WAY below price guide prices. There are still some trades and hardcovers there but they will be moving to our own Walkin' Willie's Comix website website at www.wwillie.com

We are throwing a ton onto eBay as well. eBay is not the huge elephant in the room it once was but it still gets a ton of eyeballs and we are hoping we can move some of those eyeballs to our eCrater store and our own website. We have twenty auctions ending starting tonight and finishing tomorrow night and twenty more for next week (although that number will grow today). eBay used to be our main revenue stream but not anymore - too many other sales channels with better profit margins EVEN selling at steep discounts. eBay is now much, much better for BUYING than SELLING - you can really get some bargains there now.

Our long term strategy is to do shows for about five more years and then hopefully, we have developed the online relationships with customers to stay just online only after that. Maybe do a couple of shows with one table or booth once in awhile but mainly attend shows to BUY merchandise.

It's extremely busy around Walkin' Willie's Comix right now but that's a good thing....

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

eCrater - the best eBay alternative....

Well, eCrater is the best in our opinion because a) it is FREE, b) it works and c) every Google search for eBay alternatives - as well as eCommerce articles - seem to put eCrater as one of the top two or three eBay alternatives. Let's face it, eBay fees have gone so sky high that one has to look where one can to cut costs. Pretty much we just use eBay to market our other selling channels - it is a minor player for us.

Another nice eCrater feature is that they host all the photos. That allows merchants to put up some really low-cost merchandise since they don't have to host the photo on their own server or on some other image hosting service. There are no limits on the number of products and the number of categories or sub-categories - that is nice. They give you your own subdomain like...um, er... walkinwilliescomix.ecrater.com for example - so you can build your own store.

In fact, the only criticism we have is that there is no alphanumeric sort for products. Really.... that is the only criticism we have. Yeah, it would be nice to have an inventory download (they have a bulk upload but we haven't tried it yet) but we can live without it.

The admin interface is very, very clean. Google attributes are very easy to add which helps immensely in Google product search. If you have someone to scan books for you (Thanks Melissa!), it makes it even that much quicker.

How can it be free? Well eCrater makes a little on any sale using Google Checkout, they make some on premium product placement on their main eCrater site and then they use Google Adsense in certain places on their site but not in your store.

Well, as far as Walkin' Willie's Comix is concerned, we are loading up inventory on our eCrater store. We are adding hundreds of books per week so check us out - and if you have something to sell yourself, you can't go wrong with eCrater and the price SURE is right....