Project Echo Beta launches Selling Manager Service
Project Echo, the opening up of the eBay platform to enable third party providers to build applications into Selling Manager has gone into full public beta.
Selling Manager Applications will become available on eBay.com for Selling Manager subscribers. UPS will be the first shipping provider to launch a Selling Manager Application which will eliminating the re-keying (or copy and pasting) of information between eBay and UPS WorldShip.
Developers can choose to charge a one off fee, or an ongoing subscription but must agree to a revenue share, with eBay getting a 20% cut. In the future usage based charging will be added giving developers more flexible charging options.
Currently the Selling Manager Service Beta platform is only open for applications on eBay.com with the full release expected towards the middle of the year followed by a worldwide roll out. eBay Ink has some video footage introducing the new service.
As a user of an array of eBay tools including Terapeak, Tradebox, Frooition and Aimco Packing Partner it’ll be great to start accessing some of these services from within eBay. I’m hoping that the larger UK carriers and Royal Mail also incorporate applications to streamline shipping once the services spreads to the UK.
Most sellers have at least one third party application which they simply couldn’t do without. What are your favourite eBay applications and which would you like to see available at the click of a mouse within Selling Manager?
quite possible the biggest thing to hit ebay in the last 5 years. This will spark innovation and benefit sellers with an array of tool from small to large developers
I met a guy (Nathon) who is an ex-ebay developer, and he is creating a tool to help me double listing volumes…its people like him with the skills to really make a difference. this will be the platform for him and others to market there tools and services…a gr8 idea
You can meet Nathon o’Hanlon at our eBay meeting in London every month – I drive 90 miles round trip to speak with him and other pro-sellers and newbies!
This is the single best thing eBay has done in years and once they work out the flexible billing I’ll be making full use of it.
I have recently started to use the Quantity Manager tool advertised on Tamebay. It allows me to limit the stock visible to customers to 2 items, rather than the Ebay default of 10 or more, seems to be working as i have noticed an uptake in Sales since using it.
Chris I see you have given Frooition yet another plug. How is the upgrade coming along? If I remember correctly the old shop layout is due for retirement any time now.
What I’m waiting for is a stock control integration with sage.
Stock control integration would be a cute thing – especially one that could handle returns and replenishment easily.
Shops doing fine – have minimal (I don’t like em big!) custom header on shop pages and control of promo boxes and categories displayed on landing page. It’s the listing design that buyers see first though and the listing tools and management back end that’ I’d love to see on Selling Manager. My favourite would be ParcelForce integration though – I use integrated labels so Royal Mail despatch is as easy as slapping a label on the outside of the parcel, but ParcelForce still has to be keyed one at a time onto their website.
@ # 3
Very nice to know. Thanks.
Chris I see you have given Frooition yet another plug. How is the upgrade coming along? If I remember correctly the old shop layout is due for retirement any time now.
I’d like to ‘plug’ Frooition – straight into the mains supply! The NSE (so-called) upgrade work is to a very poor standard in my opinion and the end result is materially different to what was suggested before we paid £99 + VAT for the privelige of having our £700 shopfront design continue to work.
Ill-looking, poorly functioning Promotion Boxes
Missing Links in both Storefront and Listings
Poor quality of FrooFlow box
Failure to integrate eBay generated slideshows (which was always the case before NSE, and I’ve been told should still be achievable)
Incorrect reordering of categories in pre-Freedom generated listings (which the Frooition support team have told me is irreversible)
Poor quality work when embedding header into eBay standard pages
Freedom generated listings do not show correctly in eBay’s new version of the listing page
Frooition’s response to these issues is that they’d like to improve their NSE product and they agree ‘the sooner the better’ but they won’t give any promises or timescales – so it doesn’t exactly sound like a priority, after all they’ve already got everyone’s money.
On the subject of money, I’m free to offer criticism because I actually paid Frooition to design my shop. Perhaps Chris is in a more difficult position?
Not at all – and I quite happily coughed up for the upgrade. I think everyone accepts that shop design will never be what it once was, but it’s worth remembering that the most important part is actually the listing design. Very few buyers find my shop compared to the numbers that find one of my listings. That’s where I believe most of the focus should be.
However I totally empathise with those who are tee’d off.
On the subject of categories you can control this – mine are back in the order I always had them in and if you go to http://freedom.frooition.com/ebaytools/ebaystorecats.php you can choose which you’d like to appear on your landing page and which you’d like to turn off and then force an update. You can control the order in the normal eBay manage my shop.
Chris I think you have a bit of a frooition blind spot.
I think the issue is many were mislead by the use of the word ‘upgrade’ and all the marketing bull.
The fact that nothing has been done about the bugs like the popup blocker issue is also a concern after all this time.
I am glad others are getting the pop up blocker issue. I thought is was only me with my crazy McAfee PC.
I am with Chris on the shop though, it is the listing and the category pages that my clients get the most traffic, so the buggy shop has stopped bothering me so much. It is a shame that the category page is no longer styled and the listing back ground gets cut off a bit with the new format.
This is a Frooition upgraded Store: http://stores.shop.ebay.co.uk/U-K-Sports-Warehouse
As far as the implementation it was smooth, I didn’t have to do anything but a gentle reminder close to the deadline.
(Please bear in mind the design will be changing in the next 60ish days as the client has outgrown Frooition design)
If you want to see eBay Shop design which works – you only have to look at eSellerPro’s design. Check out http://stores.shop.ebay.co.uk/XS-Stock-Online. Frooition promised so much but unfortunately delivered so little and at additional cost.
#12 Unfortunately I think you’ll find that store breaks the new eBay rules 🙁
Has anybody other than Frooition themselves actually said that shop category pages can’t be styled. I have not seen eBay say this and other shop designers who claim to be compliant are providing more than just a custom home page.
Hi Bob, eBay themselves have said this http://pages.ebay.com/stores/newstore.html#o9
Frooition also do not return phone calls + use very dubious business practices (like pay for the upgrage by such & such a date or the price goes up). I understand that they also surcharge on PayPal. But ho hum Tamebay love them & continue to endorse.
#15 from my reading of it the same restrictions also applies to the shop home page but they are able to customise that. It seems with the search / category results a white background to the gallery would be required but the shop frame, header and category menus etc would still be able to be customised. Maybe Frooition are now being over cautious or taking the easiest option in terms of revisions required to members shops.
Hi Chris, I’d agree that most people find the shop from the listings (rather than the other way round). As many of those will land straight onto a ‘plain’ category page, this means that the incentive to invest in a Frooition type ‘advanced’ shopfront is significantly reduced. As you say, the listing is most important. It will be interesting to see how Frooition and other companies respond to this. I quite understand that ‘the game’ has changed in this respect and that it’s not all within Frooition’s control – however, I do object to being bombarded with marketing that talks about an enhanced customer experience only to find that, after stumping up my cash, the result is ill-looking and poorly functioning (see my earlier post). I would not have paid for the (so-called) upgrade if these issues had been communicated transparently in advance. Several other Frooition customers have told me the same.
Re the issue with categories displaying in Frooition shopfronts and listings – it’s true that Frooition have implemented a manual solution for updating categories in the shopfront and for creation of listings. However, that solution can’t be applied retrospectively to listings created before the manual solution was implemented. I have this in writing from Frooition. eBay’s standard shopfront pulls in the correct categories in the correct order automatically. Frooition charges us extra for manually updating the information ourselves!
Chris, I usually enjoy reading your posts, but I really do think you have a blind spot here. Have you considered that you might just be getting special treatment from Frooition – whether you like it or not, Frooition think of you as a blogger in their pay. When you agreed to let Frooition design your store, you rather cutely 🙄 said that ‘Frooition have offered to redesign my shop and all I have to do is blog about it’.
Ho hum, indeed.
Savvy, I agree most potential customers having found a listing will visit a shop using the category links down the side and never visit the shop home page but instead will land on a standard eBay shop categories page. Therefore never actually seeing your Frooition designer shop front. Unless a solution is found to the branding of category pages I don’t see much of a future for Frooition because who is going to invest in a ‘advanced’ eBay shop design for one page?
Morning, Bob 🙂
Frooition have told me ‘we don’t like it but there’s nothing we can do about it’. I’m not so sure though. For custom pages they could have done HTML design that is just dropped into the ebay Manage Shop system in the normal way. They could also make much more use of the header area – our header looks pretty silly without the flash text that should go in the big ‘black hole’ in the middle. Frooition say they can’t do anything about this, either. Unless they can improve quickly, their offer is looking significantly downgraded.
Hey Paul re your enjoyment this post was about a totally different topic – Project Echo aka Selling Manager Services. Sure I mentioned the main providers I’d like to see integrated but I’m not going to retrospectively edit out any just because someone doesn’t happen to like them.
Anyway given that people have said who they don’t like, how about telling us a few of the providers that you do like that haven’t been mentioned but would be a great Selling Manager service?
Time for someone to give some positive input – give the companies *you* like a plug 😀
apologies for going off topic 😳 . Maybe you could post seperately about the latest issues around NSE? As more than half the posts on this topic refer to the Frooition upgrade, you could cover that at the same time. I’m sure a balanced report on the debates so far would attract plenty more interest!
Companies *I* like? Aimco, Spoonfeeder and Interparcel get my vote every time! Straightforward products that save me time and money, plus excellent after-sales service.
All the best, Paul.
Hey Paul, no problem, threads always go off topic! 😀
I’ll do an honest review of NSE so long as you guys promise not to knock me for “another Froo plug” 😛
Do you fancy doing a guest post on Spoonfeeder? We’ve not really covered that much – if so contact me – Chris at TameBay dot com
I also greatly appreciate Tamebay and also appreciate that you allow the blog to have an open policy towards posting (& take responsibility for taking this “off topic). Perhaps there could be a Tamebay feed into Selling Manager via “Project Echo”.
I would give Tradebox a big shout as to being a very helpful & attentive supplier of a third party solution.
PS Have you checked if your Xmas decorations will work? 😈
interparcel gets my vote too
#24 Trouble is with a TameBay feed into Selling Manager eBay want a 20% revenue share and we don’t charge readers so they’d be a bit disappointed 😀
(Xmas decs will work as I still use the same images 😉 Phew!)
Though SM Apps (aka Project Echo) is now open house, creating a workable app requires time and a $$investment$$, and to recoup that investment you need to monetize the app.
Therein lies the problem, SM apps will only be available to SM users, 270,000 of them according to eBay, and how many of those will want to use your app and pay for it, its the ‘paying for it’ that creates the low take up of any paid for app.
If you get 1% of ALL SM users thats only 2700 users, is that enough paid users to sustain the app and its maintanence and future developement, considering the eco climate for eBay developers has never really been a pot of gold, in eBay land FREE is good, paid for is not !
#27 Probably also worth pointing out that a lot of “free” eBay apps have in the past relied on eBay affiliate revenue as a means to making money.
Seeing as you can’t run affiliate links on the eBay site that means those “free” apps will either appear as cut down apps to tempt users into paying for the full blown incantation or will be charged for instead of free.
Interesting to see Paul mentioning Spoonfeeder – I used to love them, but the lack of support for multiple IDs just got too much. If that ever changed, I’d go back to them in a second, but I don’t see that it has yet.
I hope Channel Advisor has some plans to do something with the outdated MarketplaceAdvisor platform (formerly MarketWorks) in terms of updates and integration rather than just focusing development on the much more expensive MarketplaceAdvisor Premium platform.
that gormless bint ,gawking at a monitor, while you lugs get battered with strange music,
puts me off spoonfeeder straight away
Category pages can be styled, checked with eBay at Catalyst. Just got to be within thems rules…
Oh yes, Marketworks really does need an overhaul. I would suggest using the merchant version on inventory uploading and getting rid of the random ‘marketworks number’ method.
North, mine too – I did talk to Sf about it and they insisted that the majority of their users liked it. I can only conclude that they have particularly good product penetration amongst the non-speaker-owning community.
that gormless bint ,gawking at a monitor, while you lugs get battered with strange music, puts me off spoonfeeder straight away
Pardon? We drown it out with our own dodgy music lol 😆
Their homepage music is a lot worse than anything on the actual app. You just get a quick blast of the ‘Superman’ theme when your listing is submitted. We’ve kind of come to like it in an ironic retro sort of way.
As sellers of one-off items we find it saves us untold hours, and the unlimited free image hosting is a real bargain. It does have a few downsides – item specifics aren’t always updated as quickly as we’d like – but overall we wouldn’t be without it.
I wonder how long some of these third party services will survive, especially the ones that use eBay API to create listings with, and rely on that process to attract (or keep) users ?
We dropped AddItem functionality (used to create an eBay listing) nearly a year ago now, as it is the most complex set of eBay API calls available, and requires constant maintenance and updates, which are both time consuming and expensive in programming terms.
The income has to match or be greater than the expenses incurred, and as I said earlier, the eco climate for eBay developers blows a chilly wind!
we sell nothing but one off items
and the listing process is far and away the single most time consuming operation
we click like demented grass hoppers ,there are so many clicks and processes to go thru when listing
this is why blackthorne is king with us its worth its fee for
drag and drop of pictures and ftp upload alone
#13 Hi Chris, can you explain why it breaks the new eBay rules?
Hi James, sure – To be perfectly honest in my opinion it’s nit picking, but eBay have specifically forbidden a few things in their new (some would say existing but elaborated upon) policy.
“Taking over the eBay global header” – the store changes the eBay global header and restyles it to a fixed width.
…”or changing the appearance of the in-store search items list” – the line “Preferences: Title & item description [ Edit preferences | Clear preferences ]” is missing and the boxes around the item gallery view is restyled (Me – I like the curvy corner boxes much better than eBay’s straight lines….. are you reading this eBay? Can you change your site default to curvy corners please? 😀 )
There are a few more questionable bits (of what I think is actually a pretty good looking effective shop) but eBay specifically call out those two instances as conflicting with the site interference policy at http://pages.ebay.com/stores/newstore.html#n1
As I said I think it could hardly be considered as something that detracts from the buyer experience, but that’s the new rules.
It is a great shop and the breaches you have highlighted are not major and could be rectified to make the shop 100% compliant. There is no need to resize the width of the eBay global header and gallery boxes could be squared off, missing preferences could be added etc. The difference is eSellerPro’s design works and works on all shop pages.
It does seem Frooition have chosen the easier option as there must be more work in restyling the category pages, a major business decision error, but as Liz says in #32 “Category pages can be styled, checked with eBay at Catalyst. Just got to be within thems rules…”. I think Frooition must be seriously regretting the model they have chosen. They need to fix the bugs, apply the design to all pages and begin to look after their customers as a matter of urgency.
James Stewart on April 2nd, 2009 9:55 pm If you want to see eBay Shop design which works – you only have to look at eSellerPro’s design. Check out http://stores.shop.ebay.co.uk/XS-Stock-Online. Frooition promised so much but unfortunately delivered so little and at additional cost.
Chris Dawson on April 2nd, 2009 10:21 pm #12 Unfortunately I think you’ll find that store breaks the new eBay rules
Hi Chris, Our solution was approved by eBay in advance of the changes applied on January 8th and all client sites including the above mentioned site have been upgraded to meet NSE rules by eBay. We were notified along with other solution providers back in October of last year and our new solution has been signed of by eBay. In the interest of thoroughness if there is anything in particular you feel is in breach of eBay rules I would apprecaite you getting in touch.
I am really starting to lose faith in Frooition and their support and associated fees. Has anyone read their Support Centre text?
Personally, I’m having serious second thoughts about continuing to endorse them (and there’s a slight irony in that, too).
I agree with “SavvyPaul”, above. Good post.