Category Archives: Facebook

Retail Woes as Consumers flock to eBay and Facebook

Traditional brick and mortar retail shops may be struggling in the current economic climate but online shopping has never been better off.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports Australian retail turnover rose 0.6% in August 2011 but clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing fell 1.4% whilst department store sales fell by 0.5%.

ABS August 2011 Retail Sales

Dr Edwina Luck, retail expert at the Queensland University of Technology says the Australian dollar will continue to decline but this may not deter consumers from shopping online for cheaper overseas goods.

“Traditional bricks and mortar retailers must start realising that they can’t continue to charge huge prices as it will drive away smart shoppers,” she said.

With so many options and savings on brand-new items, online market-place eBay has now become the go-to shop for people looking to save money on new items and designer labels.

Communications Manager for eBay Australia Jenny Thomas said eBay has recently seen a steady increase in sales for new items, especially those with brand name labels.

“The highest grossing category on eBay is clothing, with an item selling on eBay Australia every 3.5 seconds,” she said.

Ms Thomas says that eBay started out as a second hand goods market-place but has now geared more towards new items.

“Vintage and second-hand goods are what made eBay successful. However approximately 78% of sales are now for brand new items with 60% of those being fixed price items.”

Ms Thomas says that eBay fees are very competitive in relation to the traffic generated, “eBay generates a huge amount of traffic to our sellers. The new fee structure released in September was created to assist people who sell infrequently and for shops and sellers who want to sell their items at fixed prices.”

Sellers discuss eBay fees and alternatives

The new fee structure means that infrequent sellers have the option of listing up to 30 items a month and only pay if the item sells. However eBay can now claim 7.9% of the purchase price which has some sellers put out.

Vintage and second-hand clothing sellers, feeling the pinch are now moving to Facebook in an attempt to bring more customer interaction and to save some money.

Maryanne Bridges who runs House of Maryanne, a vintage clothing shop on Facebook said she did not feel in control on eBay and loves the customer interaction that Facebook offers.

“On eBay the relationship between customer and seller was distant and fractured.  On Facebook, you can be ‘friends’ and I feel like the relationship is closer and more easygoing.”

House of Maryanne- a Facebook shop

Although it was difficult for Ms Bridges to build a customer base without the traffic that eBay generates, she believes it was worth it.

“It takes a long time to grow.  You have to be patient.  It is much more organic. I have more return customers and it is easier to grow a reputation. It is easier for happy customers to recommend you to their loved ones.  I can reach out to my customers all at once now,” she said.

Consumers can buy things by typing "SOLD" under the item

However, Ms Thomas says consumers are always looking for choicer and better product availability regardless of whether they shop online or at the local shop.

“Shopping online is convenient for consumers as they can compare prices and availability before deciding on the purchase. EBay recently acquired a product inventory tool called Milo that consumers can use to determine product availability and price via an app. This would also include shops in the vicinity of the consumer,” she said.

Ms Bridges said she has considered opening a physical store but loves the free time that owning a virtual shop offers.

“Selling online means that I can get other things done and even if I don’t make sales that day, at least I have ticked off other jobs.  If you have a shop, you have to just be there the whole time. “

However she doesn’t see Facebook becoming the next ‘eBay’.

“The more people who move onto Facebook will make it become a place where people are bombarded with advertising and they will just decide to stop logging on,” she said.

Popular Brisbane Northside Garage Sale- A Facebook Market

Facebook Shops become more popular, Vintage Marketplace has over 64,000 followers

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Filed under eBay, Facebook, retail and online shopping

Facebook changes may assist news-sourcing

Mark Zuckerberg smiles at his office in Palo Alto, Calif

The recent changes to Facebook have seen an intense backlash within the online community. With approximately 750 million users worldwide, the social networking giant is ready to push ahead with its changes in the hopes of providing further competition to Google’s Google Plus platform.

Although the new Facebook seems to be overcrowded and undeniably slower due to the ‘news ticker’ feature which is somewhat similar to the live feed simulated by Twitter, there are of course some benefits that have not yet been properly recognised by the online community.

The New Facebook Page- Featuring the News Ticker on the Right

Facebook Engineer Mark Tonkelowitz defended the Facebook changes on the company’s blog stating:

‘Starting today, it will be easier to keep up with the people in your life no matter how frequently or infrequently you’re on Facebook.’

‘When you pick up a newspaper after not reading it for a week, the front page quickly clues you into the most interesting stories. In the past, News Feed hasn’t worked like that.  Updates slide down in chronological order so it’s tough to zero in on what matters most.  Now, News Feed will act more like your own personal newspaper. You won’t have to worry about missing important stuff.’

Although this sounds good on the face of it many users are disgrunteled that they don’t get to choose what is the most important news to them:

Users discuss their frustration on Twitter

Facebook will also be getting music, movies and new buttons in addition to the ‘like’ button. The purpose of the changes is to increase user engagement. (As if we don’t already spend enough of our time procrastinating on Facebook!)
So what does this mean for news-sourcing? Having the top stories may assist in deciding what is important in the online world today whilst following the news ticker may be beneficial to those who want to discover what everyone is interested in right
now.
This in turn can assist with writing news stories that will generate the appropriate amount of traffic to the organisation.
Although it is only the beginning, the potential for news-sourcing is strong, regardless of how annoying some of the aspects may be on your own personal page.

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Filed under Facebook, online news