A new Australian company is taking the hassle and confusion out of selling online, by making eBay auctions accessible to anyone - even people without computers.
Going Gone, based at Surry Hills in Sydney, will physically take a customer's goods and list them on eBay, providing access to a global market for those without technical skills or facilities.
"It's ideal for people who are too busy, don't have a digital camera or computer, or that don't know how to use eBay," said company founder Michael Berkovits, who owns and runs the IT services business Silverdata, from the same premises.
Berkovits explained how the process works: Customers can drop items off, or have them collected from their home. Going Gone photographs them, writes an advertisement, lists a seven-day auction on eBay and fields all customer queries via phone or e-mail. Once the auction is over, Going Gone collects payment, packages up the item, delivers it to the buyer and sends the seller a cheque. The seller never puts up any money, and if the item doesn't sell, it gets returned.
Most of this is done through an automated system that was developed in-house and also uses a complete tracking service called "sellerthon", that helps track key words and other marketing information.
Going Gone charges a commission fee of around 25 per cent on each sale.
eBay is easy to buy from but not so easy to sell over, according to Berkovits, who modelled his site on similar American businesses such as auctionbytes.com, and I-soldit.com, but changed the back end to suit the Australian market.
"This concept is massive across America - there are big chain franchises all over the country, not to mention the drop-off stores," said Berkovits.
He said that if the business was successful in Sydney over the next 6-12 months it might be expanded as a franchise system.
Berkovits said that although the business was only two weeks old, the response had been huge.
"We expect this to appeal to retail businesses with excess stock as well," he said. "We have already had five approach us, and that's before we've even launched an advertising campaign."
Berkovits said logistics and storage prevent him being able to sell cars or large furniture at this stage, but he's aiming to do so "about six months down the track." He said he had no plans to launch his own auction facility, however, as eBay already had a massive subscriber base.
He said Going Gone cost "around $50,000 to $100,000" to set up. It is a registered company and has insurance to cover any goods held on its premises.
Quickdrop, based in Gosford offers a similar service, but only listed two items for sale at the time of writing.