SA auction site turns sellers into business owners

South African auction site reports that up to 20% of the people selling goods on its site now make a living by doing so.

Bidorbuy is a web site where sellers can auction new or used goods to the highest bidders. Goods can also be bought and sold without auctioning. The company’s representatives recently toured South Africa to give awards their top sellers.

 “While we have successful sellers all over the country, most of them are concentrated in or around the major centres”, says bidorbuy CEO Jaco Jonker.  

According to Jonker, on average about 7000 individuals and businesses sell on the site every month, generating about USD5.14 million of annual gross turnover. It is estimated that about 20% of sellers make a living on bidorbuy.  Some specialise in the niche market of their choice; others sell a wide range of products.

Among the 2011 top sellers are people who sell jewellery, watches, collectible coins, computers, cell phones, electronic goods, home appliances and digital cameras. All of the top sellers agree that the important thing is not so much the type of products one sells, but to sell products one believes in, and to always offer good customer service.

“Our encounters with the top sellers revealed that the majority of them started out by chance. Their first experience usually involved buying on the site. However, they soon saw an opportunity to make some money”, says Jonker and adds: “For the most entrepreneurial-minded among them, the next step was to leave their day job.”

“The beauty of bidorbuy is that a seller can make of it anything he or she wants”, says the bidorbuy CEO. “We provide them with sophisticated online selling tools and with marketing exposure to the largest audience of online shoppers in South Africa. The rest is up to them. They can use the platform to sell as a hobby, or to sell as a serious business.”

Jonker explains that the costs of running a business on bidorbuy are low and the learning curve is relatively mild: “Once sellers have created their listings and uploaded images on the site, it is, of course, a business like any other business, requiring a lot of work, patience and perseverance, but also offering a lot of rewards”.

“With unemployment as high as it is in South Africa, I feel that accessible and affordable online trading platforms like provide valuable opportunities for people to start their own business, and even employ others, as quite a number of our top sellers do”.

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