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A focused inventory makes for a strong e-commerce website

Greetings from Inside the SEOigloo!

The recent eBay fee hikes have lead to us having a very full inbox over the past month or so. Solas Web Design’s Ebay store is one of our graphics-oriented side ventures, and we’ve come to like and respect many of the people who are selling their wares via an eBay store. These folks are truly small web business owners, and the fee hike is causing many of them considerable concern as the new rates are going to prove a financial hardship.

Because of this, many of the eBay store owners began investigating moving their inventories over to a traditional e-commerce platform. I’d estimate we’ve received more than a hundred requests for price quotes from these vendors over the past month, and apart from having to hand them the ‘bad’ news that they are looking at a serious investment if they want to run a serious e-commerce website, one of the main issues that has come up repeatedly is that a large percentage of eBay store owners are unacquainted with the concept of having a focused inventory.

Ebay’s grab-bag environment enables a vendor to sell everything from socks to pickles to antique lamps, all in one store. Some of the people we replied to were both surprised and, even, disbelieving that we were telling them trying to rank well for 300 totally unrelated products was not going to cut it. Our advice was that they come up with a cohesive, related inventory that could all fit under one sensible heading (gourmet foods, vintage lamps, footwear). We feel that unless the business owner is willing to do this, SEOs like us are simply not going to know what to optimize the site for. The alternative is to set up some kind of shopping mall or directory site that has products in hundreds or thousands of different fields – but to us, that no longer qualifies the vendor as a small business owner. In point of fact, it puts them in the same category as eBay!

It would appear that some of the vendors have started moving over to Wagglepop. Unless Wagglepop starts getting more traffic, I worry that folks are not going to be happy with this. Others have launched their own sites using store templates like Citymax and Shoppal. In these cases, they are going to be solely responsible for driving the traffic to their websites, and over the next few months, I’m afraid they will start to see what a full-time challenge this will be.

At any rate, if you are one of the eBay store sellers, or simply a person who is looking into starting your own e-commerce business, we certainly advise coming up with an inventory that makes good sense. We have repeatedly seen, in our work, that specialist sites (nameofproduct.com) often have an edge over diverse sites (things’n’stuff.com). As a small web business owner, you should firmly grasp any edge you can get. It’s a big Internet out there!