|Founded||January 18, 2008|
|Headquarters||Yakima, Washington, United States|
|Key people||Michael Shannon, founder|
|Products||Online Multi-Seller Marketplace, eCommerce Web Store Builder|
|Slogan(s)||We're kind of a BIG DEAL!|
|Alexa rank||269,820 (April 2014[update])|
|Type of site||Online Shopping Mall|
|Registration||Required to sell, not required to purchase|
|Launched||July 1, 2008|
Atomic Mall is a multi-seller online marketplace based in Yakima, Washington. It was launched in July 2008 by founder Michael Shannon, who had previously worked as an independent software publisher and distributor, and had developed and operated private ecommerce sites in the retail sector. As of April 2014, Atomicmall.com hosts over 166,000 established members, roughly 1/3-million active product listings, and 15 million total items for sale with an aggregate market value approaching a quarter billion dollars.
Although many companies in this market space adhere to the online auction business model, Atomic Mall offers items in a multitude of purchasing formats, including fixed-price, best offer, and a recently added auction format in which the auction ends after a fixed number of bids are received, in contrast to traditional time-based auction formats. The aggregation of a large merchant base makes Atomic Mall the online equivalent of a shopping mall, hence the origin of the domain name. Sellers on the site may elect to receive offers on a single item or an entire lot, making time-sensitive negotiations possible prior to the completion of a sale. The site's search engine crawls each merchant's store when queries are entered and presents results which include all sellers' relevant items. Each seller is also able to create their own storefront space, each incorporating a high degree of customization including banners, fonts, categories, splash messages, and even special effects. When a product search is done within a seller's store, only items for that store are returned within the results, creating a "store within a store" atmosphere for shoppers. Even though a shopper's activities can easily be confined to a single seller's storefront, access to the core site remains available through links on each page, allowing buyers to toggle between sitewide searches and centralized in-store browsing.
Shannon began experimenting with online sales in 1988, using bulletin board network systems such as RelayNet and FidoNet, several years before the internet and worldwide web had entered mainstream use. By 1989 he had turned his hobby into a full-time software distribution business, gaining valuable experience in the brand new field of ecommerce as one of its early pioneers.
With the advent of the worldwide web in the 1990s, Shannon recognized the internet's tremendous potential and expanded his software distribution business to include web sites and ftp catalog retrieval using the (then) new technology. After expanding further by offering his products on third-party marketplace sites like Amazon.com and eBay, he began to see a need for a marketplace site which put both buyers and sellers on equal footing, and which made purchasing products as intuitive and free of obstacles as possible. Recognizing a potential void in the marketplace for such a service, Atomic Mall was born in January 2008 as a scratch-built site, followed by nearly six months of beta testing and development.
The first item sold on Atomic Mall was an oscillating bronze pedestal fan, which found a buyer on June 10, 2008. The first non-employee registered member was user Falcon, who has neither purchased nor posted any items for sale.
Atomicmall.com launched publicly on July 1, 2008 with its original 61 Charter Members. These members provided Shannon with valuable suggestions for key site features, security and overall usability. Charter Members are rewarded for their input with lifetime discounts on final sale fees (FSF), an increased listing limit, a unique store badge and other benefits.
In November 2013, Atomic Mall became one of the first online multi-seller marketplaces to allow the acceptance of Bitcoin digital currency as an authorized store payment method for approved sellers. The addition of Bitcoin to the site with its low transaction fees and peer-to-peer operation, gave sellers the ability to accept micropayments for low cost items. This had been impractical prior to Bitcoin, with traditional online pay methods and their relatively high transaction costs. In addition to Bitcoin, Atomic Mall offers many other payment option choices to its seller-members, including PayPal, Amazon Payments, Xcoin, Credit Cards, and checks/money orders.
By April 2014, Atomic Mall had nearly 170,000 active members and over 300,000 listings. Its relatively quick growth caught the attention of many online sellers who had become disenchanted with established marketplaces and auction sites, and were looking for alternatives to help recover some of the profits being lost to rising listing, final value and payment processing fees. By April of that same year, membership had nearly doubled , with listing counts enjoying steady growth as well. Many of these new Atomic Mall sellers discovered the site through polls and posts created in online forums and discussion groups like Powersellers Unite, leading to periods of site-to-site transitioning which seemed to ebb and flow according to the prevailing sentiments at the time involving the venue(s) which were under fire. Typically these transitions and boycotts resulted from policy or administrative changes which proved to be unpopular with members at the various established marketplace sites. These periods of unrest seemed to have little effect on the bottom lines of the larger auction sites, but did benefit smaller sites like Atomic Mall by simultaneously increasing their brand awareness and seller bases.
Atomic Mall contains a fairly comprehensive array of ecommerce and inventory management features, allowing many sellers to utilize AM as their primary internet presence for the showcasing of their products and services. The site has no listing fees, and selling fees are performance-based, meaning there are no fees assessed if no sale is made. For successful transactions, final sale fees are calculated using a sliding scale, with a range of 6.5% to 0.75% of the final transaction value, with a minimum FSF of 10¢ on completed sales. Gold account-holders are able to list up to 2000 items with no monthly fees, while higher listing limits are available with upgraded account levels carrying a monthly subscription fee.
On January 24, 2010, Auctionbytes.com held an open survey in which online sellers were asked to rank 15 auction and marketplace sites based on five criteria:
- Customer Service
- Ease of Use
After the results were published, Atomic Mall placed third overall, beating several of the more established venues like Amazon.com, eBay and eCRATER. In the individual categories, Atomic Mall finished 2nd in Communication, 3rd in Customer Service and Ease of Use, 6th in Recommendations and in the middle of the pack in Profitability.
Founder Shannon had commented publicly during 2010 that a new type of auction format was likely to be introduced to Atomic Mall at some point in the near future, with the site poised to make use of their atomicauction.com domain. Details were few during the early stages, but Shannon did hint that the auction format would be unique and unlike the more traditional formats found on existing sites. On Jan 1st 2011, Atomic Mall announced the birth of AtomicAuction.com, a site which was integrated into Atomic Mall and featured the new, unique auction format hinted at earlier. In the AtomicAuction format, sellers select a fixed number of bids to trigger the end of the auction, as compared to traditional time-based formats where the auction ends at a specified time. The benefit of this modified format is twofold, making last-second sniping impossible, and greatly inhibiting a seller's ability to shill bid their own auction(s). Sellers may choose to end their auctions after 2, 5, or 10 bids, and can set either a reserve or no-reserve option.
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