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Friday, April 01, 2005

Tell me whatcha want what ya really really want

AAASeller has been live for over a year now and I feel like a really truly understand all of the ins-and-outs of what sellers want. AND I WANT TO BUILD IT ALL INTO AAASELLER.COM! Problem is, it takes me longer to write the code than ever before. Answering phones, processing refunds, replying to technical support. Phew! Man! I don't mind doing that stuff it's just that it's so divergent from actually writing clean code.

Back to understanding all of the ins-and-outs... There are a lot of them. As a developer, it's not like you can just pick up a book and learn how eBay works. And as a seller, it's uncertain that you'll be able to build the right features that everyone can benefit from. My hunch is that there are developers and suppliers/sellers out there who have merged their skills. Still, I think the developer needs to understand how eBay works in greater depth than the seller.

Sure, you can get the gist of how to operate a business by purchasing Marsha Collier's eBay for dummies book, but that doesn't go into depth on things like how to customize your store, or the eBay fee structure. These could each have it's own book written about it. Insertion fees, reserve fees (hefty at 1%, but fully refundable if your item sells - there's a nice little gamble), final value fees, listing upgrade fees (i.e., $.40 for a 10 day listing), and the diminishing return of submitting your item with listing upgrades on a free upgrade day since everyone else is doing this too. Maybe I should try and write a book about it for developers, although eBay isn't doing a bad job with their developer's program.

What I really want to be able to do (and I think I know how to do it), is offer sellers a tool that’s easy to evaluate and has enough in-depth features to keep 'em busy for months. This means the ability to customize templates so sellers can choose a style and insert pictures however they please, any size they like, anywhere they want. I have a mockup for how to do this. This means the ability to craft semi-generic actions/macros to handle things like feedback. AAASeller has a feedback automation program works -- but it would be nice to have drop-down lists containing multiple choices for each automated response. Same applies to sales policy - why have just one? I'm not even a power seller and I have 2-3 sales policies. One policy for really nice stuff, another for regular stuff, and a third one for big bulky items that might require a local pickup.

Make it easy. Know where you stand. Macaroni and cheese. (I have to hire someone to help code all of this.)

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