Why is eSellerPro still the best of a “Bad Bunch”?

It was 3 years ago I left eSellerPro and still today, eSellerPro is generally the better choice for larger multi-channel marketplace businesses, but why is this? That’s the question I aim to answer in this article & accompanying video.

I’m answering the same question a couple of times a week and rather than repeating myself over and over, I thought it would be more productive for me to create a video and explain the once :) If I’ve referred you to this page, scroll down and hit play on the YouTube video.

 

So why 3 years on is eSellerPro still the best of a bad bunch?

Just for the record, “Bad Bunch” is not my term, this is the term being used by business owners like you to describe the multi-channel eCommerce software providers out there today.

And back on topic… Well, the answer falls down to only three key areas:

  1. Inventory Management
  2. Importing & Exporting
  3. Stock Control

So let’s look at these in more detail. You can either follow these in the video below or the written overview that follows.

1. Inventory Management

I’m really surprised that none of the other providers have picked up on this and this can be boiled down to two key areas, inventory structure and the extensible data fields called “custom fields”. So let’s look at the inventory management side in more detail and custom fields, I’ve covered before.

Simply Master, Sub, Listing, Variation and Kit inventory records are the answer here.

No other multi-channel software product out there has an inventory system similar to what is found in eSellerPro and it’s still holding strong  with the inventory types we created over 6 years ago. And this boils down to several key inventory types, these are:

  • Master
  • Sub
  • Listing
  • Variation
  • Kits

Basically you have maximum control over the way your inventory works and if you’re selling products that come in variations or have more than one sales channel, then these really come into their own and kick every other software providers butts.

2. Importing and Exporting

If we take a moment to look at what some of the other software tools have out there and then look at eSellerPro, you’ll then understand why importing & export still rocks in eSellerPro.

Let’s take Linnworks, what would take a single import in eSellerPro takes 3 imports in Linnworks, oh and then you have to combine this with a disjointed interface, managing lots of inventory becomes cumbersome.

Now let’s look at ChannelAdvisor, ChannelAdvisor has the second best importing system out there and in a few places a superior import system as you can run excel based logic when importing product data, but it’s let down by the poor inventory management system behind it, thus falls flat on that part.

ChannelGrabber, they still don’t seem to be able to handle a single import for all products, instead you have separate records for the same product. So if you have one product and 10 listings on the channels, you have 11 records (or there-abouts), times that over 1000 products, you can see the problem.

Other software tools like SellerExpress, StoreFeeder, 247TopSeller etc… I’m unable/unwilling to comment on, but they don’t have the same inventory structure we covered in #1, so they’re basically flawed for larger businesses when compared like for like.

3. Stock Control

In eSellerPro there is a system that was a cool idea in the beginning and even today I’d personally class it as “insanely cool” and I bow to the developer that built the code behind this, it’s amazing.

This all boils down to the way that stock is managed over multiple sales channels and inventory records. But let’s keep it simple!

Say we have a pair of sunglasses that we have 10 in stock, we are selling these on eBay on two accounts, Amazon and our website, we can sell these sunglasses on all the sales channels and when the stock level decreases, then all the channels are updated, when we have stock arrive, then the stock levels are also updated.

But it doesn’t stop there with the channel profile you can set up minimum quantities to limit the risk of overselling, you can use it to calculate prices and it’ll list and delist products as your products come in and out of stock and also by it’s very name “Channel Profile”, you can have more than one profile doing different things for different products

So why is eSellerPro still the best of a bad bunch?

Their inventory system is designed for large multi-channel marketplace businesses, their import & export system is one of the best and most flexible systems out there and finally with the Channel Profile, you can have ultimate control over where and how products are listed.

And frankly what did you expect?

After all I genuinely did believe that eSellerPro was the last software product I would be helping create for multichannel businesses, this is clearly shown  six years on as it’s still the better choice of a bunch of providers out there.

I hope that helps you!

PS: If you’re one of the 3rd party software providers I just covered above and don’t like my summaries or explanations, make your software better, the keys to doing this are covered in the video :)

15 replies
  1. Anthony Taylor
    Anthony Taylor says:

    Kieran,

    I appreciate your points, however referring back to the WordPress example, this a community based product that is open source but also provides for developers to charge for their themes, extensions etc. How many website owners rely on it every single day? I can tell you – 1 out of 6!

    An open source system means that problems can be dealt with by the community. Rather than relying on the decision making framework of these companies (have you ever made a feature request?) you can hire a developer to fix your issues and customise the system to your requirements.

    Without mentioning any specific names, I can honestly say I wouldn’t trust one of my previous providers as far as I could throw them. When the sh*t hit the fan, they didn’t pass the umbrella, they gave me a fan. I would have much preferred a community system, as I could have hired a talented coder to bring a brolly, and a mop!

    With regards to Linnworks, this is probably as close to an open source system as the market has at the moment. Quite a few issues can be handled via their scripting system, which isn’t impossible to use, even if you are not a coder.

    If they would only improve the import / export functionality and LinnLive listing automation, it would be a strong contender in the market.

    Reply
  2. Kieran
    Kieran says:

    Great overall summary about a subject i have raised with you recently, it is almost as if this article was just for me, but i am sure many face these problems as you have suggested.

    In terms of Inventory Management channel grabber have improved in this area and support variations and kits, i am not sure how good the variation support is but kits work well.

    We will not even talk about import export, i am glad i read this to find linnworks is not much better because i was looking at linnworks.

    I am generally not too affected by overselling as we hold good stock levels of nearly everything we sell.

    I would love to see a community supported esellerpro type product but credit where credit is due these companies are great when it comes to fixing order download issues and issues which would completely ruin your day, in a free or community system you could be taking a big risk as a business if the system goes wrong, who picks up the pieces, i currently pay a company to fix these major issues, they may not be great at smaller issues but when the sh*t hits the fan i have someone to fall back on, what would happen in a community environment?

    Thanks

    Kieran

    Reply
  3. Anthony Taylor
    Anthony Taylor says:

    Hi Matthew,

    Basically WordPress, but for Multi-Channel Ecommerce? I love WordPress!

    I think I would be very interested in something like that, as would most members of the business community :o)

    Anthony

    Reply
  4. Ben@choice
    [email protected] says:

    My only gripe with esp is the lack of reports available. If esp could only allow a report to be exported to excel which contained items in stock which haven’t sold in the last 30, 60, 90 days.

    Reply
  5. Anthony Taylor
    Anthony Taylor says:

    I think you have a major advantage over ESP in that you haven’t walked down a cul-de-sac in developing a desktop based application. The cloud based systems are a ways behind ESP on the desktop, but if you buy into the cloud as the future (I do) then it’s a completely different assessment and conclusion.

    Reply
  6. Anthony Taylor
    Anthony Taylor says:

    All good points, but the performance of a system isn’t just about functionality. Overall value to a business is determined by functionality + support.

    Reply
    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Howdy Anthony,

      Overall value to a business is determined by functionality + support.

      Almost 100% agreed, cost is the other major factor.

      eSellerPro is one of the most expensive providers out there, we’re talking a £2000 implementation fee and then once live (which takes 1-3 months), a percentage of sale in the region of 1-2% including postage costs combined with a minimum monthly fee of around £600 as well, which is why you’ll see monthly fees anywhere from the minimum to several thousand per month depending upon volume.

      A question for you:

      Imagine you had a system that had very similar functionality to eSellerPro, was community supported and cost practically nothing in comparison, would that gain your interest?

      Matt

      Reply
  7. Matt Warren
    Matt Warren says:

    Really good, detailed, no-nonsense article which might not be sexy, but I think for retailers is one of the biggest headaches. It’s also something for us at Veeqo to aim for!

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. RT @matthewogborne: Why is #eSellerPro still the best of a “Bad Bunch”? http://t.co/s6HvXb2JNv via @lastdropofink

  2. Why is eSellerPro still the best of a “Bad Bunch”?: It was 3 years ago I left eSellerPro and st… http://t.co/sqZKKeOwel @lastdropofink

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *