Masterpiece Marketing Group (MMG) is a global collectibles dealer with more than 40 years of experience selling some of the world’s rarest and finest coins, currency, comic books, stamps, movie posters and photographs. Today the company specialises in digitising and marketing photographic archives and works with private, institutional and news archives to digitise and sell original vintage photos to collectors and enthusiasts worldwide. In 2005 the company started selling on eBay and has been a purely online retailer ever since.
MMG’s photographic archives instantly generated interest on eBay. But as its order volume accrued, it became challenging for MMG to manage its inventory and upload product listings. It didn’t take long for MMG to realise it didn’t have the functionalities or bandwidth to efficiently manage its eBay business.
MMG started working with a solution provider to address some of its eBay issues. Eventually it became obvious that the provider wouldn’t be able to sustain MMG’s growth. “We were constantly overselling items,” said Eric Moore, MMG director of operations. “The relationship with our first solution provider lasted about a year and a half. Everything we sell has a quantity of one — so as soon as it’s sold, it’s gone. Our items would get relisted and then ordered again. And when we went to pull it from our inventory, we’d realise it actually sold three weeks ago.”
Consumers would order a vintage photo from MMG on eBay, only to find out that it wasn’t in stock. Considering the photo was typically the only original copy remaining, consumers started to complain. This created significant customer service issues.
“Customers were frustrated,” said Moore. “We were doing a lot of auctions, and bids would get up to $200 or $300. Then, we wouldn’t have the photo. Our previous solution provider couldn’t handle our growth, so we started looking for another answer.”
While attending an eBay trade show, MMG heard a presentation from a seller that was in a similar space and performing exceptionally well. After the session was over, MMG asked the presenter what software the company was using, and MMG was introduced to ChannelAdvisor. “At that point, we knew the direction we needed to go,” said Moore. “So we immediately connected with ChannelAdvisor and started using Marketplaces.”
MMG sent its inventory data to the ChannelAdvisor platform, where it was automatically optimised to meet eBay’s listing requirements. ChannelAdvisor took over full management of MMG’s inventory and kept the company’s product listings up to date. Additionally, MMG used ChannelAdvisor to launch an Amazon Webstore that synchronised inventory with eBay.
“We quickly saw the benefits of using ChannelAdvisor. The software automated our eBay listings, and items were immediately taken down once transactions occurred,” said Moore. “ChannelAdvisor provided us with an easy-to-use template to launch our Amazon webstore, and the process was straightforward.”
After getting its eBay and webstore business organised, MMG used ChannelAdvisor Marketplaces to launch on Sears. “Our skepticism kept us from previously selling on Sears,” said Moore. “But our Account Manager was instrumental in convincing us to give it a try. You don’t think of Sears as a place to purchase collectible photos, so we didn’t have big expectations. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of orders we’ve received.”
MMG implemented ChannelAdvisor’s Inventory Juggler feature to sync its inventory across eBay, Sears and its Amazon Webstore. As a business that has a lot of products with low quantities, the feature is instrumental in preventing MMG from overselling items.
“With limited inventory, we want to make sure our products are available to buyers wherever they’re searching,” said Moore. “Inventory Juggler allows us to list the same collectible in multiple places for maximum visibility, yet also provides us the peace of mind that we won’t oversell. When something sells on eBay, it’s taken down from Sears and from our webstore. It’s tremendously helpful.”
MMG credits ChannelAdvisor for much of its continued expansion and increased sales. “We barely had over 100,000 SKUs when we started with ChannelAdvisor. Now, we’re managing well over 1.5 million SKUs,” said Moore. “ChannelAdvisor has virtually grown with us. I know that no other solution provider could have handled our growth.”
The ChannelAdvisor Support team has been a great asset for Moore. He raves about the team’s willingness to help. “ChannelAdvisor is head and shoulders above the other support teams I deal with at various other companies,” said Moore. “They’re knowledgeable and understanding. And they’re quick to get back to you and follow up on issues.”
After seeing great success on eBay and Sears with ChannelAdvisor Marketplaces, MMG is exploring new options. “We hope to be selling on Rakuten.com Shopping soon,” said Moore. “A lot of our inventory is long tail, and only a few people in the world would be interested in buying it. Selling across multiple channels puts us in front of people we never would have reached before. ChannelAdvisor has given us exposure that was previously unimaginable.”