Bidders on eBay are, by nature, in a competitive situation. And now the Salt Lake Valley has at least a couple companies competing to help people sell their stuff on the popular online auction site.
AuctionOpolis, 756 E. Fort Union Blvd. in Midvale, opened Friday, and The Spot for Auctions, 3652 W. 9800 South in South Jordan, will open Oct. 18, with a second site planned for November at 3300 S. 735 East in Sugar House.
Both companies are hoping to catch the eyes of people ready to sell but wanting to avoid the inconveniences of doing it.
"What it comes down to is making eBay selling as hassle-free as possible for customers," said Trent Fordham, founder of AuctionOpolis. "Basically, they bring in the item, and after that everything is taken care of by AuctionOpolis — everything from listing it, taking multiple pictures, answering questions from potential bidders and shipping it off. After the auction is complete, we do take a commission out and send off a check to the customer.
"The whole point is that people can now use the power of eBay, pretty much a global marketplace, to sell items without doing much of the work."
"In our society, it's so much about convenience," said Ron Gustaveson II, founder and acting chief executive officer of The Spot. "Do I want to take the time to go on the seller site to learn how to post my item and try to sell my item? A lot of people will try and they'll fail because the auction won't look good or they haven't taken good enough pictures or their ratings aren't very good or whatever it might be. There are some secrets to getting bids that we deploy."
Details are available at The Spot (at 877-We-eBay-4-U or www.thespotforauctions.com) and AuctionOpolis (at 255-4814 or www.auctionopolis.net), but both companies use a tiered system to determine commission rates. It starts at 32 percent for sales below $400 and and drops to 20 percent if over $800 at AuctionOpolis. The Spot has five levels, some with small up-front costs, with varying commission percentages, although up-front costs are deducted from commissions.
Although they're new, the companies have items ready to post. The Spot's stuff includes $170,000 worth of rubies, emeralds and sapphires; a dining set and china cabinet; and 170 computers. AuctionOpolis has a DVD player, skis and a colonial bench — an old refrigerator was rejected because it did not conform with shipping size requirements.
"It's the same way eBay is — we've got a wide variety coming in," said Fordham, who worked for four years for eBay at its Draper center.
In addition to helping individual sellers, The Spot hopes to help small businesses by establishing "storefronts" for them on the "eBay Stores" portion of the eBay site.
"Plus, we teach them what products sell and which ones don't sell, based on the historical data we have from eBay on a month-to-month basis," Gustaveson said. "So if you had a jewelry store, I could tell you what the pearl ring will sell for before you even list it, based on last month's numbers."
Gustaveson said the only way to have a successful e-commerce approach is to go where the traffic is.
"Traffic is king, and the people who have the traffic is eBay. They represent 20 percent of all e-commerce," he said.
"It's like Wal-Mart. If Wal-Mart calls up and says, 'We want you to put your products in our store on consignment,' would you do it? Heck, yeah, because of the traffic, right? Well, eBay's saying the same thing. It's just that people don't know how to do it."