We have all heard people say “You can sell anything on eBay” which leads to the impression that making money on eBay is easy. Unfortunately nothing in life is ever straight forward and building sales on eBay takes planning, time and a certain amount of trial and error.
Optimising your eBay Presence
Many sellers do not get the basics of eBay selling right, putting them at an immediate disadvantage. This article makes suggestions for improving your eBay presence in the following areas:
- Present yourself as a reputable seller. By creating a strong brand you can stand out from the crowd and reassure buyers that you are a safe bet.
- Improve product presentation. Listings which do not give full information about the product or the T&Cs of purchase put off buyers.
- Remove barriers to sales. Making it easy for potential customers to make a purchase.
- Take advantage of free marketing for your eBay business. Marketing is expensive and so it is important to make best use of the all the free ways of promoting your products.
- Use Listing software. This will speed the process of listing on eBay.
1. Present yourself as a reputable seller
In the online as in the offline world people are attracted to brands that they can trust. If you can build a brand around your eBay business you increase the chance of return traffic, repeat business and referrals.
Choose a sensible username. Take care over choosing your username. Customers are more likely to remember “Floorheatingltd” than “xxxtigger”.
Develop a brand and logo. If you are going to be considered as a professional seller on eBay it is important to have a strong corporate identity. This brand should be implemented throughout the eBay platform.
Build a website. Most businesses have a website and your business should be no exception. A website will reassure buyers that they are dealing with an established business and it is worth spending the money necessary to get a professional website built.
2. Open an eBay shop.
An eBay shop is a seller’s footprint on eBay. Each shop has its own URL and displays all the items which that user has for sale. The shop can also be customised to your branding and can be used to increase sales in the following ways:
- List your entire inventory. Items can be listed for a fraction of the price of auction listings giving your business a way of vastly expanding the number of items available for sale.
- Up selling to customers. Place selected items in the auction listings and use these to drive traffic to your store where they can make additional purchases.
Typically eBay shop owners sell up to 25% more items.
3. Improving your product presentation
On eBay buyers cannot see or touch the items which are for sale. It is therefore vital to create a comprehensive listing showing all aspects of a product and providing all the information, such as P&P, required to make a purchase. The more reassured a browser is, the more likely they are to make a purchase. We have all seen listings of products where the description is short and the picture out of focus. The product could be great but there is no way of knowing it.
A good listing should include the following information
- Multiple, high quality pictures of each item. Needless to say these should be in focus and should show each items from several angles. Any damage should be recorded.
- Comprehensive description. Full description of the item including all features, dimensions and any damage.
- Postage costs. These should cover international postage if possible.
- Return policy.
- Payments accepted.
Presentation is everything in sales and so a well designed HTML template for your product will make you look like a professional, trustworthy seller.
4. Marketing your eBay business for free
As an eBay seller it is important to make use of all the opportunities available to drive traffic to your products and eBay shop.
Link to your eBay shop. All you listings, about me page, email and eBay shop custom pages should link back to your eBay shop and encourage buyers to take a look at your other listings. Cross promote with other eBay users. Within eBay there is the facility to make arrangements with other eBay sellers to cross promote each other’s products. Make arrangements with seller who sell complimentary products to yours.
Auctiva shopping window. Auctiva (www.auctiva.com) produce a free eBay scrolling product bar. This goes at the bottom of each listing and displays scrolling pictures of the other products which the user has for sale. Use this to promote your other products to browsers. According to Vendio such galleries increase sales by 18%.
Optimise your eBay Shop for search engines. Within the eBay shop set up it is possible to input keywords for which you would like your shop optimized, and also to make a feed file available for shopping comparison sites.
Froogle. Froogle is Google’s shopping comparison site. It accepts fixed price products and unlike all the other comparison sites it is free. Create a feed file (basically a spreadsheet with product descriptions, product URLS and image URLs) of your eBay shop items and submit this is Froogle.
Online shop malls. There are several eBay shop listing sites which can be used to list your shop, the most popular being www.listmystore.com.
Use the right category. When selling items make an effort to use the most appropriate category and fill in item specifics. Buyers will use these features to browser items.
About Me page. Each eBay user is entitled to an About Me page. This is an opportunity to tell buyers a bit more about your company and reassure them that they are dealing with a reputable seller.The About Me page is a free advert for your business on eBay. Amazingly less than 6% of users make use of it and so it will make your business stand out.
Choose your keywords carefully. To find items, buyers search on the keywords in the title. Avoid using words like “L@@K” or “fantastic” as these are rarely searched upon.
Email marketing. Acquiring customers is expensive. Marketing to your past customer is an extremely effective way of increasing sales. Consider starting a newsletter to promote new stock to your customers.
5. Use enhanced listing features.
If you believe eBay the listing enhancement options have a noticeable effect on selling price:
- First photo (Free!) – increases chances of selling by 15%
- Gallery – Typically sell for 12% more
- Subtitle – Typically sell for 10% more
6. Removing barriers to sales
In general the more information on items and the more delivery and payment options you give buyers, the more likely they are to make a purchase.
Sell internationally. Selling internationally can be a bit of a headache but items listed internationally, on average, sell for 16% more.
Accept multiple payment methods. Offering a number of payment options reassures buyers. It is also becoming increasingly important to offer PayPal as a payment option. Although expensive (2-3.4% of transaction value) it is extremely convenient and over 90% of eBay listings offer it as a method of payment.
7. Use listing software
Using listing and auction management software can speed up the process of listing items and managing auctions. Ebay provides free tools such as turbo lister and seller manager. However, as your business grows it will be necessary to use more sophisticated tools such as Marketworks or Channeladvisor.
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