The future may hold far fewer and radically redesigned stores, analysts say.
eValueville.com handled more than 300,000 eBay auctions in 12 months with internally-developed high-volume listing software and streamlined fulfillment. Now it wants to sell its expertise to apparel retailers who want to do the same.
eValueville.com knows online apparel closeout auctions – so well, in fact, that it’s closed some 300,000 auctions on eBay in the last year, more than any other seller. Now, it’s preparing to offer its do-it-yourself formula to other retailers. “The needs of the marketplace keep changing,” president Andrew Waites tells Internet Retailer. “As larger retailers and manufacturers are deciding they want to take advantage of the eBay marketplace, their needs may be different today than last year or the year before, when an auction management service company may have been the only option.”
Over the past two years, eValueville has internally developed ultra-high volume listing software for its own use. That’s one key element of the offering it hopes to roll out soon to retailers; the other is an operations manual for the simplified pick, pack, and ship system it’s developed in its own warehouse, an operation so streamlined on the back end that Waites says four workers using the system fulfilled more than 2,500 auctions from eValueville’s warehouse on a single day last week. “The catalog industry will tell you that can’t be done,” he adds. The system keeps it simple and fast on the back end by automating more of the process on the front end, in the way the software creates and tracks inventory numbers, for example.
With further development, Waites says eValueville’s bundled software and operational plan offering could have a retailer producing hundreds or perhaps thousands of auctions and fulfilling out of its own warehouse within weeks of implementation. EValueville has rewritten its entire base code to make it possible to export its software to other retailers’ systems. Retailer Chadwick’s of Boston in July expanded its use of eValueville.com as a liquidation outlet by posting branded auctions on eValuevillle’s site. It’s currently testing marketplace response to the greater volume of online liquidations and could become one of the first retailers to test eValueville’s software and system in-house, Waites says.
Chadwick’s moves merchandise through eValueville’s eBay storefront and shares profits with eValueville. The potential lure of taking auction management services in-house for retailers is that they’d keep all the profits from any sales that result. “We think that if we can teach other people how to do it and show them the tools we’ve developed, rather than paying us to pick, pack, pull and ship, some will want to do it themselves,” Waites says.
eValueville currently launches its auction listings on eBay through auction management services provider FairMarket Inc. “We serve auctions to FairMarket and FairMarket sends them to eBay,” Waites says. With some programming changes, he adds, eValueville could launch directly on eBay and may look at that option sometime next year. But he grants that not all retailers considering high volume liquidations on eBay would want to handle auction listing and launching duties and the accompanying pick, pack, and ship operations themselves, even with the technology and tools to do it available. “A lot of people don’t want the hassle, and the additional profit they may or may not gain is not worth it to them,” he says. “There may be a need for both kinds of services and we think we’ve identified a niche that’s a need in the marketplace.”