Former Bidstart Owner and Stanley Gibbons Director Launches HipStamp.com
First impressions visually are good and, given the previous experience of the owner, you'd expect functionality in terms of navigation and the buying & selling processes to be slick. HipStamp, whatever you think about the name, have avoided some of the basic errors we've all seen before with new start up sites. They've made sure there's plenty of listings and many active, experienced sellers already there and waiting to tempt buyers with offers.
So, while I've not tested the buying or selling functionality, all looks set well for the site IF it can attract buyers to keep sellers interested.
Sellers are being asked to pay an 8% final value fee, not undercutting eBay by very much. The monthly fees for a store seem quite a bit cheaper than eBay but eBay then discount other fees for store subscribers. While I appreciate fees must be charged if the cash is going to be available to actively promote the site and get buyer traffic, I wonder if the lack of any honeymoon discount may cause some sellers to give up on HipStamp before there's any significant volume of sales? Is the marginal difference in selling costs likely to tempt more sellers to steer a course away from the buyers proven to be at eBay?
This is not a unique challenge to HipStamp. indeed my partner, Helen, has just ventured to pastures outside of eBay in order to start offering philatelic items and services at postmarket.uk. Her thinking is, as she isn't looking for a full time income, she has more flexibility to offer things like mailing services and can take advantage of a lower cost regime to test new ideas. While she is still making use of a marketplace to achieve some of the functionality she needs, control of domain names, the ability to use multiple currencies, availability of RSS feeds for offsite promotion etc. have all been carefully researched.
So, returning to HipStamp, I have a feeling they will face an uphill struggle on two fronts. The first is attracting buyers and I see no reason why HipStamp can't overcome this hurdle as well as any other site. The second issue is more undefined but, as Helen's recent experience has shown me, internet users are now expecting far more flexibility and freedom in the ways they do things online and this includes trading, sharing thoughts and getting enjoyment too.
I'm convinced eBay itself is struggling to overcome an increasing loss of interest in closed, rigid, rulebook driven marketplaces and I question whether a new start up should be offering some radical new ideas from the get go in order to tempt buyers and sellers?
Hopefully I've said enough to provide food for thought to any wannabe webpreneurs without spilling the beans too much on some of the ideas people have been sharing with me in confidence! Anyway, I wish HipStamp well now that they've launched and I urge anyone interested in buying and selling online to take a look.
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