The Other Half
There's a lot more to eBay than the main site. Half.com was acquired by eBay in 2000, and it has been a valuable tool for online businesses ever since. The fixed-price listing site covers specific categories and features a straightforward, user-friendly interface for both buyers and sellers. We caught up with Amy Skeeters-Behrens, senior manager of Half.com, to get the scoop on how eBay sellers can incorporate the site into their businesses.
Entrepreneur: Can you give us an overview of Half.com?
Amy Skeeters-Behrens: Half.com is a specialty site on eBay focused on books, textbooks, movies, music, video games and video game systems. The guiding principles of the site have always been that it's easy to sell and easy to find and buy items. It's fixed-price only, so there's no bidding. There are also no listing fees, although the Final Value Fees are typically higher than those on eBay. Another important feature for sellers is that the listings don't expire as long as the account is active.
Your eBay User ID works on Half.com, so logging in to the site is simple. And because the member IDs are shared, feedback for Half.com and eBay is shared.
Regarding payments, we intermediate every transaction, which means we collect payment from buyers at the time of purchase, aggregate a seller's payments minus fees for all transactions in a given period, and reimburse sellers twice a month. Overall, it's a great platform to complement any retail business or business on eBay.
Entrepreneur: What's the latest news?
Skeeters-Behrens: Given that the site is catalog-only (meaning you can only list items that are in our catalog of products), increasing the depth and breadth of the catalog is crucial to our sellers' Half.com businesses. To this end, we launched a project that allows users to make suggestions for items to include in the catalog. We have received thousands of user recommendations that have been incorporated into the catalog. We're also working on surfacing the Half.com inventory on eBay Express, so keep an eye out for announcements.
Entrepreneur: What kinds of sellers are a good fit for Half.com?
Skeeters-Behrens: We have a variety of sellers on the site, from individuals selling a handful of items to professional sellers with inventories of hundreds of thousands of items. Because of the lack of insertion fees, it is a good channel for lots of different types of sellers, including retailers who want to take their businesses online. The thing to keep in mind is that it is a smaller site relative to eBay, and eBay is still an excellent place to sell media products. However, Half.com is a relatively low-risk platform, and my recommendation is always for folks to test it out. In terms of specific products, Half.com is a great platform for selling textbooks, as we have really strong brand recognition among college students.
Entrepreneur: What tools are available for sellers on Half.com?
Skeeters-Behrens: Most large sellers use our file exchange product, which allows them to use a flat file to load large quantities of inventory and receive orders. For small and medium sellers, the listing process is tremendously easy with our multiple item listing pages. Additionally, every Half.com seller gets a shop that highlights all their inventory in one location.
Entrepreneur: What advice do you have for eBay sellers new to Half.com?
Skeeters-Behrens: Test your way into it. List a small set of inventory to get familiar with the platform and its differences with eBay. It's pretty low-risk to test it out.