3Balls.com Uses CoreSense to Enable eBay & Ecommerce Sales

Published in AuctionBytes-Update #121 - June 20, 2004

"It's a new retail world out there," according to Jason Jacobs, CEO of CoreSense.

In 2000, the founders of CoreSense recognized that small and medium brick & mortar retailers were going online, and the company developed a new generation of retail software to accommodate multi-channel selling. But it wasn't until they met Leigh Bader of 3Balls.com in 2002 that they saw the need to expand their service to eBay. The two companies crossed paths, and the growth of both businesses has been fueled in part as a result of that meeting.

Bader co-owns one of the largest golf shops in the country, and in 1998 he became a PowerSeller on eBay. He is also the vision behind the PGA.com Value Guide and the PGA Trade-In Network, which AuctionBytes.com wrote about in December.

When Bader first started selling used trade-ins from his golf pro-shop in 1998, he used eBay tools to list auctions, but they weren't good for scaling, so he began using Blackthorne Seller's Assistant. In December 2001, after extensive research, 3Balls.com switched to Auctionworks, but, Leigh said, at that time it lacked features he needed for managing and reporting his inventory using GAAP accounting policies. He continued to seek a solution that would handle inventory like the retail point-of-sale system in the brick & mortar pro-shop but would also allow them to sell online on their own site and on eBay.

In 2002, 3Balls began using CoreSense to build an ecommerce site and worked with CoreSense to build the features they needed to add eBay functionality to the program, which was in place by December 2003.

One way CoreSense pays off for 3Balls is the cross-sell and upselling features of the program. eBay winning bidders are taken to the 3Balls.com Web site to go through the checkout process, which includes verifying shipping information and entering payment information). While there, 3Balls can suggest items from the Web site that buyer might want to add to their shopping cart.

3Balls.com Operations
When golf clubs come into the 3Balls warehouse, they are examined, cleaned and ticketed. An employee then takes each club and enters it into the CoreSense inventory database and adds photos. As the item is entered, the database of existing product information is used to help save time in data-entry.

The CoreSense system is flexible enough to allow for different product types: golf clubs and shoes each have their own template structure. So the attributes on golf clubs (shaft type; grip model; hand, for example) would be different from shoes (width; spikes; waterproof). This also speeds data-entry.

Once the item is entered into the system, it immediately shows up for sale on the 3Balls.com Web site. At any time, an item can be launched to eBay. If it doesn't sell, the item goes back up on the Web site automatically.

If it does sell, the item is reserved in inventory and an automated message is sent to the winning bidder. The customer then goes through the Checkout system, which is customized for eBay auctions. The system links to PayPal, so the 3Balls system gets information back from PayPal about customer payments.

3Balls is pleased with the flexibility of CoreSense's shipping options. 3Balls sends all clubs via UPS and offers expedited UPS worldwide shipping for international orders, and USPS Priority Mail for small items like socks or gloves. While the process of shipping Priority Mail items is manual, the UPS shipping process is completely integrated - no manifests required. Order information is automatically sent to UPS, which produces a shipping label and tracking number. UPS sends the tracking information back to 3Balls, and an email is sent to the customer that includes the UPS tracking number. This saves 3Balls an enormous amount of time on the administrative part of shipping.

Even from the order stage, the process is seamless. Consumers ordering products from the 3Balls.com site or from 3Balls auctions on eBay can view what it will cost to ship a package. CoreSense automatically calculates the shipping rate using the UPS Rate and Service Selection Tool, and the process is transparent to the consumer.

CoreSense says it is not for every eBay seller, but is ideal for the Powerseller who is doing more than $1 million in sales a year on eBay and is looking to increase revenue, offer more items and enter other channels, like building their own ecommerce Web site. Most of its customers are conventional retailers who only started selling on eBay once they began using CoreSense. The system offers retailers everything they need, including robust reporting, analytics, customer relationship management and email marketing management, CoreSense's Jason Jacobs said.

It's a new eBay world out there.

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Ina Steiner is Editor of AuctionBytes.com. She has a background in marketing and research in the high-tech and publishing fields. If you have story ideas, comments or questions, send them to ina@auctionbytes.com