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Mar 1, 2007
by Alfred Branch, Jr.
One of the biggest concerns buyers have when shopping online is whether or not the supplier is legitimate. Closeoutcentral.com is serious about quality and takes the following measures to ensure the highest level of quality possible. First, all suppliers who post their lots on Closeoutcentral.com must pay an annual membership fee. This alone virtually weeds out scammers, who typically look for free sites to promote their operations.
Second, Closeoutcentral.com staffers maintain contact with every company listed. If a company becomes unreachable at the contact information in their listing, they are dropped from the directory. Finally, Closeoutcentral.com immediately investigates every buyer complaint, and bans any company found to be fraudulent in any way. As a result of these efforts, Closeoutcentral.com is able to maintain a directory with a tremendously high quality of suppliers.
Searching Made Easy
Closeoutcentral.com strives to make it as easy as possible for buyers to find exactly what they are looking for, and contact the suppliers to place an order. In August 2006, CloseoutCentral.com was updated to make it even easier and faster to navigate, adding product images and pricing information to the lot listings, among other improvements. There are four different ways a buyer can search for closeouts.
The most popular way to search is simply to click one of the 50 product categories on the home page. For example, clicking the, "Electronics," category whisks the buyer to a page listing all current offerings featuring electronics of all types. If a buyer wishes to search for something more specific, Closeoutcentral.com offers a convenient Keyword search box at the top of the home page. Buyers simply enter the exact item they are looking for; "ipod speakers" for example, and they get a list of all lots that contain the term, "ipod speakers".
For buyers who have a favorite seller, Closeoutcentral.com offers a Quicklink search. The buyer can type the seller's Quicklink at the top of any page and go straight to that seller's profile page, where they can see a list of all the seller's current lots for sale.
Closeoutcentral.com also offers a handy Seller Directory. Buyers can search for a specific company name, they can click a letter of the alphabet to see all companies beginning with that letter, or click a type of supplier and get a list of all suppliers by type; for example, manufacturers, brokers, liquidators, etc.
Interacting with Sellers
Once the buyer does a search and gets a list of available closeout lots, they simply click on any lot to get the complete details, including the seller's contact information, picture of the product, price, quantity, quality (new, returns, shelf-pulls, etc.), and much more. And at the top of every lot page there are two links that allow the buyer to instantly, "Ask the Seller a Question," or, "Make an Offer to Purchase". Each lot detail also comes with a link at the top to see all of the other lots the seller currently has available.
Sellers Posting Closeouts
Selling closeouts on Closeoutcentral.com is just as easy. Sellers pay an annual membership fee of only $398 per year. All members are automatically listed in the Seller Directory, and may post unlimited lots all year long. In addition to appearing on the web site, sellers are also featured in a Closeout directory, printed in every issue of Web Wholesaler magazine.
Sellers have easy access to their traffic reports, which tell them how many clicks each lot gets. They may also choose to feature their lots or their company profile on the home page and throughout the site for a small additional advertising fee. Even though the site is completely self-serve, an experienced and helpful support staff is available five days a week to assist sellers.
"It is a great idea to post your lots on the site," said Eric Bordin, vice president of Spinning Disc Entertainment (Quicklink: DVD). "After the membership fee that I only pay once a year, it does not cost me anything to post as many lots as I like, as often as I like."
"It is very easy to use and very secure," said Karen Kingsley, vice president of sales and marketing for U.S. Marketing Co. (Quicklink: Deals) "Closeout Central has helped us pick up several very good accounts."
U.S. Marketing sells higher-end, often one of a kind watches, in addition to jewelry and small electronics. Watches wholesale for between $100 and $300, and the company has been one of the site's Featured Sellers. "The visibility is the key and it is what has helped us generate such quality accounts," Kingsley said.
"We have done rather well with it the last few months," said Brian Quach, a principal with SQ Group (Quicklink: Windspinner), wholesaler and closeout specialist of wind chimes and other decorative products. "We have been on the site for over two years and it has helped us generate a lot of traffic for our goods."
Lots that are posted stay up for 30 days before they expire. This ensures that only the most up to date lots are listed, so check back often for new closeouts. CloseoutCentral.com is a directory only site, and Sumner Communications, which owns and operates the site, is not involved in any of the transactions between buyers and lot sellers. The company does not charge fees to post lots, nor does it charge a commission on sales, which allows sellers to keep their costs down for the buyers of their closeout merchandise.
Topic: Web Tech Tips
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