This post is a little look at my experience with M2E Pro software over the past few years.
I first found M2E Pro in 2012 when helping a client who runs the clothing website The Outlet by Vanity House. She was successful on Ebay, we had just launched her new website and she had one eye on selling on Amazon too. The channel management systems we looked at were either expensive, incompetent, unwieldy or all three. It was frustrating as we knew it should be possible to run it all from one place.
Fortunately we came across M2E Pro and it ticked the right boxes. It allowed us to use Magento as a basis for stock management AND as a custom website, whilst listing to Ebay & Amazon and importing their orders. Best of all? We found it was free!
It’s not been without difficulty however. I’m an online marketer by trade, not a developer, so trying to corral Magento’s connection manager into working properly – and fixing it when it doesn’t – has been a bugbear for me! My advice for anyone installing it fresh would be to use the command line. Yes it’s quite a bit harder than just clicking buttons in the GUI but believe me when I tell you that it’s likely to save you a lot of time and stress!
Whilst I remember, re-installing doesn’t always go smoothly. When M2E Pro is uninstalled, something gets left in place by Magento so apparently it is both installed and not installed depending on where you look. I found that renaming the M2E setup field in the core resources table of my Magento database helped. However please remember that your mileage may vary and always backup!
On to listing – the Listing functionality in M2E Pro is very powerful. This means there’s a bit of a learning curve, which is unavoidable. The documentation and support teams are great but really the only way to really learn it is to throw yourself in by doing a few test listings. Then, if some settings aren’t the way you normally have them you can hunt through your templates (called policies in the newer versions) and adjust things to your liking.
A little hint for your first Ebay listings – bookmark their support pages. You’ll need them as a handy reference for what they expect attributes to be called (‘colour’ vs ‘color’ tripped us up!) and what values they’re allowed to take (we had issue with putting ‘size 16’ vs ‘16’). To get all the attributes you need you should add them to Magento. Some of them you might not be using on your own site, but filling them in on Ebay is either required or just common sense to help your performance in their search results. We made a special tab for Ebay/Amazon so the team could add these attributes there in one go.
A few months after sorting out Ebay we added Amazon. There are two main issues with listing to Amazon. The first, more minor issue, is that your listing is not processed anywhere near as quickly as with Ebay. It seems to go into a queue, so it depends on how busy the site is as to whether you see it in 5 minutes or 30. The other issue that can be rather problematic is finding the ASIN for your products. ASIN is an amazon specific product code – M2E Pro works really well in grabbing the right ASIN if your product already has a UPC/EAN barcode or an ISBN. The fun starts when your product doesn’t have a barcode. M2E will try to find the right ASIN from your product title. If that doesn’t work you’ll need to request a new ASIN from Amazon, which comes with its own set of requirements!
We’re now looking forward to the challenges posed by adding play.com to their set up. Let’s be clear at this point – this will likely be challenges posed by Play themselves, and not M2E Pro’s implantation of this channel!
Using M2E Pro can be a little trial and error, but once you’ve invested the time in learning the system you’ll save yourself a lot of time, money and effort in the future.