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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:28 pm 
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Location: Tulare, CA, US
First post. Hi all btw.

I would love to see the sites server stats for unique visitors.

I'm just curious. Does anyone ever actually succeed at selling anything here?

I found this site about a year or so ago. Tried the listings. Followed all the basic rules: vetted myself and my bona fides, give clear and concise descriptions, include equally clear and well lit pictures, price competitively, offer reasonable terms, and so on.

Have yet to make even a single sale on at least several dozen listings.

I'd like to think this site has some potential as a viable alternative to Ebay, but having some serious doubts and second thoughts.

So what gives?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:44 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 11:09 am
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Location: Sault Ste. Marie, ON, CA
Maybe listing items that are not in demand?I've been tracking this site for several years and it is becoming more populated.Audiogon fees are probably part of that movement.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:24 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 5:59 pm
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Location: Brownsburg, IN, US
Just checked my ad history and it looks like I've made a few sales here. I think it has to do with what you're selling and more importantly, the price you list it at.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:08 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 10:54 am
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Location: Greenfield, MA, US
I think so ,I've purchased several nice cartridges here. If the price is right, it will sell. Cheers,Chet


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:51 pm 
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Location: Tulare, CA, US
I'm certainly not a novice when it comes to buying and selling. Indeed my Feedback on other sites such as Ebay is impeccable. Ditto for other places I've sold at such as on FB.

I don't just randomly list items in a vacuum. I do search to see if what I'm offering is available. Or not. If so, what are they selling for (not asking). I do all of that.

The other reason I'm curious as to the sites traffic is that in *MOST* cases, when I price, I make it a point to set a level that's at or below what comps are going for. My reasoning is twofold: One, because there are no fees (for basic freelance sellers such as myself), that lowers my overhead. That means I can offer buyers a better price over Ebay while still netting the same amount (eighty cents on the dollar seems to be that parity point). A win-win for everyone. At least on paper. Yet my experience runs contrary to all that: I see the same items I'm offering continue to sell for HIGHER prices on Ebay while mine go seemingly unnoticed. So there's more to this than simply setting a reasonable price.

If I may offer a suggestion, how difficult would it be to alter the sites to actually put in a "purchase" option. Currently I don't see one; it's all done via email. Not that that's a bad thing, but it does eliminate the 'impulse purchase' factor which I think helps sellers a lot on Ebay. Has this aspect of buyer psychology been factored into the USAM layout? If not, perhaps it could or should be.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:02 pm 
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USAM is getting fairly good visits from interested buyers and our size is fairly decent, but compared to ebay it would be a fairly massive difference. I do believe we've been very successful and firing "on all cylinders" for our size and I hope to continue hard work in that direction.

In the past 30 days around 200k people have come to the site (uniques). On average each time someone comes to the site they look at 5.5 pages and stay ~4minutes. 2.6 million pages have been viewed in that timeframe. Over 60% of visits are from people who have come before. Our data shows that we're growing around 15-20% per year, YOY, but we have around 5x growth left before we're larger than CAM and it will take time. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that ebay might have 25x more buyers than we do, but as a grassroots hifi buy/sell community I feel we're growing quickly.

The "buy now" and "make offer" concepts will come in the future, but it would probably not be a free service, and many users will prefer not to use it because they want to vet their buyers.

Anyway, we didn't set out to replace ebay or other marketplaces. We're guided by our effort to build a good community and marketplace and so far we're lucky that many sellers and buyers are finding some success here. We'll keep working hard to make the site useful for all and hopefully somewhere along the way we'll hit that critical mass. In the meantime, listing prices the way you are by discounting from what you'd do on ebay does help. You could also let your buyers and potential buyers know you also maintain some items here. Word of mouth goes a long way to build a sustainable platform. Maybe USAM becomes a platform for you to sell to your existing buyers, while ebay remains where you source new buyers, and that's ok.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:48 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:55 am
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Location: Orlando, FL, US
I am very happy with the quality of buyers here. Especially compared with Audiogon.
Sold 100's of items here.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:50 pm 
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Location: Orlando, FL, US
Also, you are selling Reel to Reel tape gear, that isn't something for the USAudiomart audience.
You should have more success on AudioAsylumTrader.com and AudioKarma.org

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 6:18 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:20 pm
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Location: Delta, BC, CA
Bought and sold a few items here, it all has to do with what you have for sale and for what price.... I have found that 95% of the CAM members are really good at knowing the price the item should sell for...


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 8:48 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:56 am
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Location: Tulare, CA, US
admin wrote:
USAM is getting fairly good visits from interested buyers and our size is fairly decent, but compared to ebay it would be a fairly massive difference. I do believe we've been very successful and firing "on all cylinders" for our size and I hope to continue hard work in that direction.

In the past 30 days around 200k people have come to the site (uniques). On average each time someone comes to the site they look at 5.5 pages and stay ~4minutes. 2.6 million pages have been viewed in that timeframe. Over 60% of visits are from people who have come before. Our data shows that we're growing around 15-20% per year, YOY, but we have around 5x growth left before we're larger than CAM and it will take time. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that ebay might have 25x more buyers than we do, but as a grassroots hifi buy/sell community I feel we're growing quickly.


Those numbers do seem to be pretty respectable given the specialized nature of this site. But I've seen multiple references to CAM and in connecting a few dots, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that CAM is the 'parent' site, meaning that Canada is the primary intended audience? If so, then would a reasonable conclusion be that USAM is more of an 'afterthought' and 'cousin' site but not the site owners primary focus?

You would not need to come anywhere near what Ebay has to be viable, since Ebay is everything to everyone everywhere. Or at least tries to be. You would only need to target a specific audience, in this case all things vintage audio. That audience may only be a small percentage of Ebays overall traffic. But if you can capture a large chunk of that specific segment, that would make a huge difference.

admin wrote:
The "buy now" and "make offer" concepts will come in the future, but it would probably not be a free service, and many users will prefer not to use it because they want to vet their buyers.


Again just my own opinion, but I think charging a fee for that would be an unspeakably bad call. See what I said about buyer psychology and the 'impulse' factor. By not having this option there, it requires would-be buyers to 'think about it' for awhile. And they end up changing their mind. As a marketplace site, that's not a good way to stimulate sales. And nothing has taken away a sellers chance to vet buyers. Again, we are talking about selling vintage audio gear, not a complete background evaluation for obtaining clearances to join the FBI. Buyer vetting isn't that hard to do and there are safeguards that can be in place to resolve a transaction gone bad.

admin wrote:
Anyway, we didn't set out to replace ebay or other marketplaces. We're guided by our effort to build a good community and marketplace and so far we're lucky that many sellers and buyers are finding some success here. We'll keep working hard to make the site useful for all and hopefully somewhere along the way we'll hit that critical mass. In the meantime, listing prices the way you are by discounting from what you'd do on ebay does help. You could also let your buyers and potential buyers know you also maintain some items here. Word of mouth goes a long way to build a sustainable platform. Maybe USAM becomes a platform for you to sell to your existing buyers, while ebay remains where you source new buyers, and that's ok.


Overall, I like that. But to be honest, strikes me as a bit too passive. Growing a site does take some ambition and calculated risks. Especially for something like this. In order for a marketplace to succeed, it needs to appeal equally to buyers and sellers alike. Given how difficult it already is to draw traffic away from the Ebays of the world for more than a few minutes is extraordinarily difficult even on a good day. It has to be promoted; people need to be pulled in to 'hey check this site out'. Word of mouth does help, but it still takes effort from the site owners. Relying too heavily on a closed-loop group of already 'in the know' members isn't going to help much the long run.

When I was building TH and it was a nascent, nothing site with no traffic, I employed a multiplicity of tactics to grow it: word of mouth through people I knew, watermarks in my Ebay listings, testimonials enclosed with my Ebay items I sold, carefully worded indexing terms for placement in Google spiders, YouTube videos, and so on. Each one by itself may not have been much, but collectively over time, they made a huge difference. And in less than 5 years, I built that site up from literally nothing to the well known site it was up until I chose to divest it. I made some missteps along the way and learned what worked and what didn't. Most peoples default inclination is to stick with what they know and are comfortable with (Ebay), even if they don't like it (you know the expression about taking the path of least resistance). You have to give them a reason to not just check you out once, but to keep coming back and stick around. The point to all this here is that organic growth takes active aggressive effort from the owners. It isn't going to happen on its own.


Last edited by TulareTapehead on Wed Feb 08, 2017 9:30 am, edited 7 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 8:54 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:56 am
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Location: Tulare, CA, US
rmkarman wrote:
Also, you are selling Reel to Reel tape gear, that isn't something for the USAudiomart audience.


Why not? It's a branch of vintage audio.

rmkarman wrote:
You should have more success on AudioAsylumTrader.com and AudioKarma.org


Those sites are even worse. Especially the latter. If I'm going to go to AK, I might as well just list it on Craigslist or dump it on the curb and be done with it. The overall stinginess of AK's membership has been thoroughly documented. The majority of those users aren't even interested in the items per se. It's the hit of dopamine that comes from the "score"/getting something....anything....for little or next to nothing they're really after. As a seller, approaching that group would be a complete waste of time. Like opening a Tiffanies Jewelry in a primarily Welfare and Section 8 neighborhood. And AK's overly onerous and micro-managing policies and fees are also well known. So why go through all the hassle on both ends of the transaction when I can get the same experience for free elsewhere? Not worth it.

AA is ok and user friendly. But seems to have even less traffic than here.


Last edited by TulareTapehead on Wed Feb 08, 2017 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 9:31 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:54 pm
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Location: Portland, OR, US
I have sold several items here over the last few years. I also sell on Asylum Trader. If it's an item that may spark interest to a wider group, I sell it on Craigslist, locally. In my limited experience, reel to reel decks are not in high demand. Price is everything. Ebay has become a garbage dump, high prices, items re listed over and over for months and months and the fees are outright silly. I have also sold a few dozen items on Audiogon, but in the last year have had better luck on Audiomart and Asylum Trader.

Thomas

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 12:33 pm 
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Location: Ft. Myers, FL, US
Reel-to-reel machines are part of a very small niche market, even smaller than cassette decks and turntables so you're dealing with an increasingly small and specialized clientele.

Even though high-end R>R performance capabilities exceed even the finest examples of cassette deck technology, most tape enthusiasts from back in the day opted for the convenience and simplicity of a cassette deck versus a R>R. We grew up with them. But conversely, performance-wise a top-of-the-line cassette deck will blow the doors off of most of the entry-level R>R decks from that era.

So if my beloved Nakamichi took a fatal dump tomorrow, I'd replace it with another Nak. With the investment I've made in blank tapes and pre-recorded tapes over the past 4 decades, it's a no-brainer. So for me (as well as other cassette deck aficianados) to make the switch to a R>R right now makes little sense unless I'm necessarily well-heeled and looking for a new adventure. Have you seen what prerecorded R>R tapes are selling for nowadays?

So whether you're attempting to sell on ebay, here on USAM or elsewhere, you're looking at a very limited pool of would-be buyers. I really don't think your lack of success here on USAM thus far is connected in any way with the list of concerns that you mentioned in your posts. ebay classifieds will always have more eyes on them and that factor will never change. It's pretty basic really: continue to list your gear here for free - if you can't connect with a buyer in what you consider to be a reasonable amount of time, well...ebay will always be waiting for you but you've got to pay the piper.

And you mentioned that you consider USAM to be a site for vintage gear? If that's the case I don't know how you've come to that conclusion. To me vintage means gear from the '50s/'60s/'70s and '80s. Check the new items listed on the Homepage each day; only a fraction of them are truly 'vintage'.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:07 pm 
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Location: Vancouver, BC, CA
Hi TulareTapehead,

I respect what you're saying about needing to grow the site and I don't think we're being passive at all, nor is USAM a second citizen getting the leftovers of our time. I don't want anyone to read too much into whether a single individual seller has success on USAM and how that reflects the success of USAM as a marketplace or the efforts made by us to make USAM the best it can be. We absolutely work very hard on the site, maintaining it and improving it, and sellers and buyers absolutely have successful transactions every single day on the site.

USAM invests quite aggressively in many aspects to maintain our growth and success - we literally make changes every day, many of which are not always obvious to users because there is so much to do in running a site like this. We're currently the single largest non-fee based hifi marketplace in the US, the fastest growing hifi marketplace in the US, one of the safest marketplaces of its type due to proactive efforts, and the one with the most listings and the most buyers outside of the 2 key players (ebay/Agon). This is a culmination of the incredible support from our users, the efforts of our dedicated moderators, and a very proactive approach to managing and improving the site. Our rate of growth has far exceeded expectations and I think we will continue to deliver results for buyers and sellers. Even so, this is a drop in the bucket to what ebay does and we're probably about 20% of the way to our full potential, which is really, really exciting for the future if you think about it. Right now, around 200 inquiries are made on the site each day and up to 150 items are listed for sale each day. Users come back frequently, and over 500 hifi enthusiasts sign up each month to receive our weekly newsletter. These are not signs of a passively growing site, but a vibrant and growing community.

I still consider USAM a very grassroots marketplace. If you want it to succeed even more you can help it succeed. I guess what I'm getting at is USAM as it is today is a very good place to sell, and it can get better if you want it to. I think my previous note works very well for you: list your items here, let your ebay buyers know you have items here and encourage them to connect with you on USAM. Eventually your regular customers will know to find you here, while new customers will continue to find you on ebay. It is a win-win for you, your customers, and USAM.

As for the other buying options on the site, as I said, they will come, but it takes time, money, and effort to develop them. They will definitely be a fee based optional "add-on" that helps finance the free aspects of the site, but I don't think you will find the fee onerous and our intent is for it to be perfectly optional whether anyone wants to use them. If you believe that having those buttons increases your sales, saves you time, and gets you more buyers, then I think a small fee to help USAM pay for its continued efforts is a fair trade.

Finally, as others have noted, reel-to-reel is not our strongest category, so listing your products here and letting your customers know about it will help fill in that category and draw more buyers. If you have popular and well priced turntables, amps, pre-amps, or speakers you'll find they gain a lot more attention here too.

And don't think this means we won't take your opinion to heart: we will absolutely continue to work very hard on AudioMart and grow it for enthusiasts, buyers and sellers alike.


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