September 19, 2014

eBay Shuttering ProStores, Some Magento E-Commerce Platforms

ebay prostores closed

eBay recently announced that it is shutting down ProStores, leaving many merchants faced with a difficult decision.

ProStores, is a standalone eCommerce platform where you upload your products and sell them directly from your own site. ProStores was acquired by eBay recently and the auction site made the decision to cease operations. At the same time, eBay will also close Magento Go, another platform that was designed for small businesses.

If you use ProStores as your eCommerce platform, you can choose to switch now or wait until the site officially closes its shop (and yours) early next year. The problem with switching now, though, is that you’ll likely impact the SEO work you’ve put into your eCommerce site already. And that could have an effect on your holiday shopping sales.

ProStores merchants have been informed of the decision to shut down the eCommerce site. The company’s Senior Vice President of Product and Strategy Mark Lavelle posted a letter to the ProStores homepage informing others that no new stores can be created there.

In his letter, Lavelle writes:

“We’ve made the difficult decision to shut down ProStores on February 1, 2015. Your store will not be affected during the Holiday shopping season – it will continue to operate and perform normally, and ProStores will continue to provide customer service until February 1, 2015.”

In an interview with Small Business Trends, Small Business Marketing Strategist Gail Gardner recommends:

“They should create a new store now so it will be fully indexed before ProStores shuts down, but leave the existing store online through the holidays and until the new store is fully indexed.”

John Lawson, the CEO of ColderICE Media and the author of “Kick Ass Social Commerce for E-Prenuers” tells Small Business Trends that now is a particularly bad time to consider switching. He says:

“With July and August right around the corner, the ramp up to the fourth quarter sales season is nearly here and it all starts with back-to-school. From there it goes to Halloween, then Black Friday/Cyber Monday into Christmas.”

Lawson adds:

“A rush to move your site right now could jeopardize or seriously hamper a merchant’s ability to capitalize on the busiest shopping time of the year! I feel that there is a good reason why eBay made the date February 2015. It will allow merchants to make a timely transition to minimize search redirection and also to not force its users to move during this shopping season. That could be detrimental at worst and painstaking at best.”

But even if moving now before the Holiday shopping season is a bad idea, don’t let the delay stop you from planning. Lawson explains:

“Now that does NOT mean you should wait before you begin the process! No, use this time wisely to plan and prepare for the heavy lift that can come with moving a merchant website presence.”

eBay has suggested several options for eCommerce merchants. One of those suggestions is, and has been in the past, Magento. Though part of Magento will be shut down by eBay, too, there are other options on that platform. Gardner warns that Magento may not be for everyone, though:

“It is said to have a high learning curve and would not be a good solution for non-technical store owners who can’t afford to hire a developer.”

Bigcommerce is another eCommerce solution that eBay suggests. While Bigcommerce is not fully integrated with eBay, there are apps within that platform that allow you to connect your Bigcommerce site with your eBay profile possibly making relocating your store easier.

Closed Photo via Shutterstock

Editor’s Note: This article has been edited to accurately reflect Gardner’s advice about setting up a new store away from ProStores.

7 Comments ▼

Joshua Sophy - Staff Writer


Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is a staff writer for Small Business Trends, covering technology and business news. He is a journalist and editor with 15 years experience in media. A former newspaper reporter and editor, Joshua also serves as President of the Board of Directors of a curling club and is editor of a regional newsletter focused on the sport of curling in the Eastern U.S.

7 Reactions

  1. What happened? It did not work out? I remember reading some books about making money out of th9is back then. So I guess it’s gone now.

  2. This is part of the orchestrated elimination of small sellers from the eBay platform as the transformation to big box retailers becomes complete (JC Penney, KMart, Toys R Us, etc.).

  3. There is not sufficient time after the holiday sales period for a new ecommerce store to be fully indexed before the deadline of ProStores closing. Both SEO Bill Hartzer and I strongly recommend that existing stores be left open through the holiday sales period and a new store be created IMMEDIATELY so that it will be fully indexed prior to ProStores shutting down.

    As mentioned, Magento has a tough learning curve. BigCommerce is great for an ecommerce store; however, they do not natively integrate with Amazon or eBay in the way SureDone does. To quote from a post in community.ebay.com:

    “We spent weeks researching this field for our eBay-only inventory. We had about 2000 unique items on eBay and wanted to start shifting some of the weight to a dedicated online store. Our requirements were fairly simple. Import from eBay (or Blackthorne) and sync inventory so that a sale on the site would reflect on eBay and vise versa.

    We spent 3 painful weeks trying to get this working with BigCommerce. After countless hours of editing and correcting errors, it became apparent that the BigCommere/Volusion style integration with eBay simply doesnt’ work for us. No best offer, no freight, no ebay template option, 1 image per listing and broken sync’ing the moment you try to fix any of the issues.

    Conversely, we have been working with SureDone for 2 days. Within the 1st 3 hours, we already had a working system that was heads and shoulders over the BigCommerce solution. The difference was night and day! Their integration with eBay is amazing and they have gone out of their way to iron out any wrinkles for us. We ended up needing the mid price tier at $299/month but by the time we had stitched together something barely worked with BigCommerce, we were almost paying that much anyway and the sheer efficiency through the SureDone system puts it over the top. Their standard (1,000 sku) package is $99.

    This is a Blackthorne/SixBit in the cloud but with an online store and full eBay/Amazon sync’ing and integration included. Setting up for our entire crew (sales, listing, shipping etc) has been simple. Every part of the business can now work from this one interface. The online store is fairly simple to start but is fully customizable. The eBay templates are downright handsome.

    After almost a month of nightmare, this has been a breath of fresh air. I cannot recommend them enough.”

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