Officially launched in late 2008 Bonanzle.com has grown at an amazing rate of 70% per month through the beginning of 2009. It is now the 3rd biggest alternative to eBay in online traffic volume. Bonanzle was awarded the ‘best ebay alternative’ for 2008 by small business computing.
What makes this new-comer so exciting? It does what eBay did so well in their beginning — created a community. Chief Raconteur, Mark Dorsey calls Bonanzle “a social marketplace for buyers and sellers.” Once a seller sets up a booth (your selling account, which is free) buyers can have a ‘live chat’ with you via a text message dialog. There are forums for buyers and sellers and the atmosphere is very cordial. If you feel mean spirited, there is a special forum for you as well — it’s called “drama”.
Founder Bill Harding wanted to “create a simple marketplace that people could have fun and is easy to use.” I think he hit a home run here. Bonanzle is easy to join, setting up a booth is simple and listing an item takes just a minute or two. Bonanzle has a few helpful tools to get sellers from eBay to join. With a few mouse clicks you can import your eBay store listings and if you wish to build your reputation quickly you can bring over your last 5,000 feedback.
Built into the site is a simple way to set up a Google feed to build traffic into your both quickly. Currently about 50% of Bonanzle’s traffic comes from Google — so it’s great they make it easy to get listed. A button to announce your products on twitter and a simple to create a widget for your blog or on a website makes getting the word out about your products simple.
Bonanzle is about fixed priced listings, but your buyer has an open channel to negotiate prices, or dicker so expect a little negotiation before the price is settled. To help you set the value of your item, Bonanzle has a tool called the “Price Guesser” which pulls in the top five prices from Amazon.com and from Internet Shopping Comparison sites.
Another fun feature to build the community and bring traffic into your store is a section called “Freebie” where you can offer items for free. This is a great way to bring in shoppers by offering a free item with purchase — or just clean out the junk that is accumulating in your office.
Other marketing tools Bonanzle offers include a feature called a “Bonanza” a short time-limited (usually just a few hours) super sale in your booth. Sellers set them up and hang around their booth to welcome buyers into the store, answer questions and negotiate sales. Bonanzas are posted on the site, to help you build excitement.
Final value fees are very affordable, and locked until the end of 2010 from .50 cents to $10.00 max. Listings are on the site forever, or until you sell the item or remove them from your booth. There are no set listing times.
As a seller you can accept payment via PayPal, Cash, Checks, Money Orders, Google check-out, Chinese checkers, matches, trade or any method you wish — no restrictions. And, you are allowed to negotiate outside the platform. There is an honor system in place. If you sell the item via any other method besides the ‘buy now’ button on Bonanzle, they ask you to let them know — but don’t police the sellers.
Come on over and join the fun at Bonanzle.