Big changes are on the way at Bonanza as new owner Quincy Faison looks to make his mark and take the marketplace to the next level.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Quincy recently and must say, I'm impressed with the ambitious roadmap he's laid out for the platform.
Right out of the gate, Quincy says his number one priority is to build the Bonanza brand and bring more traffic to the site. While sellers may have awareness of the marketplace, it's often not on the radar for buyers when shopping online and he wants to change that ASAP.
We're a platform that sellers love and we have great features, but we built a platform so focused on just the technology that we were not focused on putting ourselves in the shoes of a seller outside of the functionality.
Putting yourself in the shoes of a seller says, how do we act, look, feel, and think like the seller? The functionality is great, but at the end of the day, they need to make sales. So we're starting to shift everybody in the company to be more marketing focused.
And that's really our initiative - what are those things that are going to drive eyeballs? Because eyeballs bring new sellers, bring good products on the platform and bring sales.
Quincy's marketing plans include advertising on streaming platforms and social networks to bring more awareness of the Bonanza brand to consumers, as well as engaging with seller influencers to help build the Bonanza community.
Some people still don't know Bonanza, so we're going to be running some television advertising. And for our sellers, that's now going to help them when they say, yeah, I'm on the Bonanza platform. I think it's important for us as the brand to be able to provide air for our sellers.
The other focus is we want to create a very tight community. You've talked to a lot of sellers that love the Bonanza platform, they just want more, right? So what we have to do is create this sense of community where we do things together.
It's not just Bonanza doing stuff. It's not just our top seller doing stuff - we create this community and we figure out how to do things together, because together we're larger, we're stronger, and we're more powerful. So we're going to be doing a lot to engage our sellers to build that community.
I look at some of the Etsy sellers on TikTok, and they're just talking about how can you sell on Etsy? They've got all this rich content and we have nobody telling anybody how to sell on Bonanza.
Part of that is getting sellers together and saying you love our tools, you love that we're not as expensive as some of the other platforms, so let's do this together because, in a very short period of time, we can overtake a lot of the other platforms out there if we buy into that concept.
In addition to brand advertising, Quincy says he wants to make it easier for sellers to advertise their items both onsite and offsite, while helping with the challenges of marketing unique and one of a kind items.
We want to give our sellers the ability to advertise on platform as well as off platform. So we are creating a demand side platform that allows them to go direct to some of these folks that are holding these ad assets and space for ads.
When you're marketing a product where you only have one piece of inventory, it's very hard to do the traditional way of Google AdWords or some of these places. So we have to figure out a way for them to get eyeballs on some of these unique products without having the competition and exorbitant marketing fees.
And that's all pass through - we're not going to try to make money on advertising. We're going to make sure that's as cheap as possible for our sellers so they can actually sell.
On the topic of promoting unique and one of a kind items, I suggested that Bonanza would be a prime candidate to pioneer innovative stocking seller verification to allow merchants who make or stock their own inventory on hand to differentiate from dropshippers.
Quincy was intrigued by the idea and said he is all about finding ways to support and promote unique and genuine items on the platform.
I'm not a big dropshipping fan. I think it kind of goes away from what the whole overall marketplace is supposed to be about. Yes, everyone's there to make money but at the end of the day, it's supposed to be about selling unique and genuine products on the platform.
Future initiatives on the roadmap for Bonanza include point of sale support for sellers with brick and mortar locations, completely integrated financial reporting and bookkeeping functionality, enhanced cross-listing and multi-channel inventory management solutions, expanding the affiliate program, video, 3PL logistics and fulfillment services and more.
And for sellers who enjoy Bonanza's fee-free social media sharing program - don't worry, it's not going anywhere.
We're not gonna change it [fee-free social sharing]. We think that's a good piece and again, it also helps with building the community. It helps with eyeballs and if you can give me ten eyeballs and a hundred thousand other people can give me ten eyeballs, we're all taking care of each other.
On the buyer side of the marketplace, Quincy acknowledged in the past Bonanza has not always gotten the experience right - especially when things go wrong.
We want to make sure that when someone orders something, they're getting it in a short period of time and they're getting what they ordered and how it was advertised. We're going to make sure that products are actually being shipped.
I've seen some instances where people have bought on our platform and all of a sudden it's like, well, where's my product? And, and they come to us and the way we're structured right now is the transaction is between the seller and the buyer and we're just a tech platform.
That really doesn't work, right? We can say it all day long, but from a buyer's perspective, I bought a product on your platform and I don't have it.
I've read a couple things that weren't great about the Bonanza platform, some of those things where the seller shipped the wrong item and the response from us was you have to call PayPal. And for me, that's a non-starter. If you buy it on our platform, it's our responsibility. And so there is this delicate balance of being seller friendly versus protecting the consumer.
So we have to figure out how do we integrate ourselves into that mix to provide a little bit of oversight just to make sure that people trust our platform when they're buying and they're sure they're going to get the right product.
Because when you have a platform as large as this, there's fraud on both sides. There's fraud from a seller perspective, there's fraud from the buyer's perspective.
So we have an internal loss and risk prevention manager, and that's all he does all day long but I think we can provide some more support for him in being able to make sure that some of these transactions are what they are.
When asked about his stance on going up against competition from other marketplaces, Quincy says he plans on letting the big dogs know Bonanza is a contender and he sees seller dissatisfaction with other marketplaces as a huge opportunity to win market share.
I've only been involved in this for five or six months throughout the acquisition, and I hear it everywhere. Etsy sellers are unhappy especially with the whole SVB thing lately. eBay sellers are unhappy. You know, people don't want to sell on Amazon, but it's the necessary evil because they've got Prime and they can get product out
So all these guys are doing some of the wrong things where if we just fix a couple things on Bonanza we can get an influx of new sellers, influx of new eyeballs, and influx of new sales.
I told our staff in our first staff meeting, when we do things great, we're going to be loud about it. And we're not going to be loud in our four walls, we're going to be loud out to the community. We're really trying to get everyone to have that as a part of our DNA within the organization.
We have great sellers and a plan to drive more traffic. We are going to be a different brand and we are going to tell eBay we're here, we're knocking at your door.
One of my favorite parts of running Value Added Resource is talking to sellers who are passionate and excited about their businesses - it's refreshing to hear from marketplace leadership that is equally passionate and excited about helping those sellers succeed. 👏
I can't wait to see what's next for Bonanza as they navigate this transition and look forward to watching the Bonanza community as it grows and evolves.
What suggestions and advice do you have for Bonanza's new owner? Let us know in the comments below!