RealTime IT News

Making Auctions a Viable Sales Channel

GoTo Auctions, a unit of GoTo , has launched a pilot program for its new ChannelFusion application, a new product for businesses that integrates the auction process with a company's existing back-end systems.

The product links into a retailer's inventory systems, and can move inventory directly to more than 200 auction sites across the Internet, both B2B and B2C, GoTo Auctions said. It also manages the auctions across the board and ultimately takes the winning bidder's information and places it back into retailers' fulfillment systems.

ChannelFusion eliminates the barriers to entry that many small businesses face when deciding to enter the world of online auctions, GoTo Auctions said. The patent-pending Web interface was built by GoTo Auctions (formerly AuctionRover; acquired by GoTo.com in April 2000).

GoTo Auctions said that currently, companies interested in accessing the auction distribution channel face a labor-intensive date entry chore. For example, all items to be sold have to be manually entered and in many cases, product descriptions must be rewritten and new images scanned. When a bidder wins an auction, the company has to manually contact the customer, get the customer's payment information and re-key that information into their fulfillment system.

GoTo Auctions also is making available ChannelAdvisors, trained auction sales experts who can advise ChannelFusion users on which auction marketplace to use, timing, pricing and advertising.

"ChannelFusion empowers businesses to make online dynamic pricing their next major sales channel," said Scot Wingo, general manager of GoTo Auctions.

"Automating the flow of information between Internet exchanges and enterprises is a key step in fulfilling the promise of a friction-free economy," said Vernon Keenan, founder and chief analyst at market research firm Keenan Vision Inc. "GoTo Auctions' new products and services are designed to bring more mainstream products into eBay, Amazon and Yahoo! Auctions, which represent the greatest source of Internet exchange liquidity."