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ChannelAdvisor Customization Offers Improved eBay Selling

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Posted August 26, 2004 By Christopher Saunders     Feedback

PowerSellers using Configurator can enable shoppers to tweak and customize their wares -- potentially improving sales and satisfaction.

Enabling shoppers to customize their sought-after products can be a great way to increase sales and boost customer satisfaction. But for merchants selling through eBay, it's nigh-impossible to offer customization within product listings -- till now, that is.

That's because this week, ChannelAdvisor has officially made its Configurator widely available. The tool, which has been in a limited pilot program, enables eBay PowerSellers to add an interactive feature to their online auctions that let visitors customize the product for sale.

Similarly to how shoppers can customize desired products on advanced e-commerce sites like, merchants selling items in certain eBay categories can now let visitors tweak certain features of their own wares.

Once a potential customer has created their dream design, they're directed to an eBay Store where they can buy their customized product.

"We've been working with eBay on a pilot program that we're making more widely available," said Scot Wingo, ChannelAdvisor's president and chief executive. "It lets you take what's pretty popular in e-commerce, and put that in an eBay listing."

One example might be implementing ChannelAdvisor Configurator in a computer listing, Wingo said.

For instance, "Here's a computer, but if you'd like to customize your own, here's how you customize it," he said. "You choose which type of memory, which accessories -- you can do that in an eBay listing. Once a consumer has configured the product, that creates a new listing in an eBay store, where the user can do a Buy it Now on that configuration."

At present, ChannelAdvisor's Configurator is only available for use in certain eBay categories -- merchants in the computers, electronics, cameras and photo, sporting goods, and automobile/boat parts categories can avail themselves to the tool. But ChannelAdvisor said that it would work with eBay to enable the Configurator for merchants in other categories on a case-by-case basis.

The Configurator also is only available for merchants in the Platinum PowerSeller category -- those doing upwards of $50,000 in business a month.

On the plus side, enabling shoppers to customize products to their liking can be important for both customer satisfaction and sales.

For one thing, Wingo said the pilot program has shown that the Configurator "really increases your average selling price because people can add-on right in the listing -- rather than later, after the fact."

It also increases conversion rates, he said. Merchants using Configurator no longer need to try to target customers with specific offerings.

"If a customer is looking for very specific items, it's going to be hard to reach them" unless the seller offers that particular product. "If a customer can build what they want, the conversion rate goes up. That drives sales -- or Gross Merchandise Sales, GMS, in the eBay world."

Christopher Saunders is managing editor of

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