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Review of eBay Strategies by Scott Wingo

by trevor. Average Reading Time: about 7 minutes.

eBay strategies is a book aimed at the advanced eBay seller and makes no excuses for assuming comprehensive knowledge of the working of eBay such as the feedback and listing formats. Like all advanced books about eBay, this book has to tread the line between targeted eBay advice (useful) and basic business advice (less useful). Whist there are a large number of books on starting a basic business (5 Ps, porters forces etc) there are few books which give insightful advice on how to run a success eBay business. This book largely succeeds in getting the balance right and is a recommended read for any eBay business looking to raise their game. My only criticism is that some of it strategies are not really strategies at all, but simply best practise. Is knowing the metrics relevant to your business a strategy or merely good book keeping?

Strategy One: Know your eBay Vital Signs. This is an excellent introduction of how to measure the sales success of your eBay business. The chapter covers metrics such as the commonly used conversion rate, gross merchandising volume and average selling price and then moves onto other potentially interesting metrics such as take rate and Buy it now rate.

Strategy Two: Set Strategic Goals. Here Scott recommends that you set clear goals for your eBay business. Excellent advice, but I am not sure that having a strategy counts as a strategy.

Strategy Three: Understand and Leverage eBay’s Sweet spots. This covers you choice of product. This can be broadly divided into two areas, what to sell and when to sell it. The eBay platform is better for selling some products than other and before purchasing stock it is important to investigate the market for products on eBay. Other factors such as seasonality and product lifecycle are considered. eBay’s strengths are at the beginning (demand outstripping supply) and end (liquidation) stage of the product lifecycle. Make you understand where your products lie.

Strategy Four: Understand the Price Velocity Curve. Simply put, this is to understand that as you push more products onto the marketplace, the price drops. It is often said that eBay is a wide but not very deep market, i.e. prices quickly tail off as supply increases. Strategies five and six deal with ways of shifting more stock whilst maintaining price.

Strategy Five: The Perception of Scarcity Strategy. In a nutshell, if you have a volume of items to sell, only list a limited number of items at any one time to give the impression that supply is limited. List one auction and a limited number of BIN items, replacing the BIN as they are sold.

Strategy Six: Use second chance offers. To sell more items without increasing the number of listing (and giving the impression supply is not limited), make extensive use of second chance offers.

Strategy Seven: Optimise your eBay search results. Again, not really a strategy, but sensible advice nonetheless. When listing your items, ensure that the keywords in your titles correspond to popular search terms. For popular search terms consult eBay pulse.

Strategy Eight: Build your eBay brand. As someone from channeladvisor said to me once, you would not go to an important business meeting wearing a pair of jeans. As with any sales channel it is important to build a professional looking presence with consistent branding. It is possible to do almost anything with the eBay interface which you can do with a website as HTML can be used in the eBay auction template, shop front and custom pages. For examples of good eBay shops, follow these links:
eBay strategies is a book aimed at the advanced eBay seller and makes no excuses for assuming comprehensive knowledge of the working of eBay such as the feedback and listing formats. Like all advanced books about eBay, this book has to tread the line between targeted eBay advice (useful) and basic business advice (less useful). Whist there are a large number of books on starting a basic business (5 Ps, porters forces etc) there are few books which give insightful advice on how to run a success eBay business. This book largely succeeds in getting the balance right and is a recommended read for any eBay business looking to raise their game. My only criticism is that some of it strategies are not really strategies at all, but simply best practise. Is knowing the metrics relevant to your business a strategy or merely good book keeping?

Strategy One: Know your eBay Vital Signs. This is an excellent introduction of how to measure the sales success of your eBay business. The chapter covers metrics such as the commonly used conversion rate, gross merchandising volume and average selling price and then moves onto other potentially interesting metrics such as take rate and Buy it now rate.

Strategy Two:
Set Strategic Goals. Here Scott recommends that you set clear goals for your eBay business. Excellent advice, but I am not sure that having a strategy counts as a strategy.

Strategy Three: Understand and Leverage eBay’s Sweet spots. This covers you choice of product. This can be broadly divided into two areas, what to sell and when to sell it. The eBay platform is better for selling some products than other and before purchasing stock it is important to investigate the market for products on eBay. Other factors such as seasonality and product lifecycle are considered. eBay’s strengths are at the beginning (demand outstripping supply) and end (liquidation) stage of the product lifecycle. Make you understand where your products lie.

Strategy Four:
Understand the Price Velocity Curve. Simply put, this is to understand that as you push more products onto the marketplace, the price drops. It is often said that eBay is a wide but not very deep market, i.e. prices quickly tail off as supply increases. Strategies five and six deal with ways of shifting more stock whilst maintaining price.

Strategy Five: The Perception of Scarcity Strategy. In a nutshell, if you have a volume of items to sell, only list a limited number of items at any one time to give the impression that supply is limited. List one auction and a limited number of BIN items, replacing the BIN as they are sold.

Strategy Six: Use second chance offers. To sell more items without increasing the number of listing (and giving the impression supply is not limited), make extensive use of second chance offers.

Strategy Seven: Optimise your eBay search results. Again, not really a strategy, but sensible advice nonetheless. When listing your items, ensure that the keywords in your titles correspond to popular search terms. For popular search terms consult eBay pulse.

Strategy Eight: Build your eBay brand. As someone from channeladvisor said to me once, you would not go to an important business meeting wearing a pair of jeans. As with any sales channel it is important to build a professional looking presence with consistent branding. It is possible to do almost anything with the eBay interface which you can do with a website as HTML can be used in the eBay auction template, shop front and custom pages. For examples of good eBay shops, follow these links:

http://stores.ebay.co.uk/auctioning4u

http://stores.ebay.co.uk/primestop

Strategy Nine: explore other channels. eBay is an excellent channel but not the only online channel available. To build your business it is important to look at other channels such as your own ecommerce website, Amazon, shopping comparison channels and search engines to reach more customers.

Strategy Ten: Use an eBay dashboard. These dashboards can be found on Wingo’s blog. A dashboard is a summary of your sales and sales metrics, compiled in a spreadsheet. A good idea, but you could only call it a strategy if you can call using a accounting package a strategy.

I think that this book is a very interesting read, particularly useful for the many people for whom eBay is their first foray into selling online. Scott writes with authority (and so he should as he is CEO of channeladvisor, a leading channel management software provider) and manages to make, what could be a dry subject, interesting and engaging.

Strategy Nine: explore other channels. eBay is an excellent channel but not the only online channel available. To build your business it is important to look at other channels such as your own ecommerce website, Amazon, shopping comparison channels and search engines to reach more customers.

Strategy Ten: Use an eBay dashboard. These dashboards can be found on Wingo’s blog. A dashboard is a summary of your sales and sales metrics, compiled in a spreadsheet. A good idea, but you could only call it a strategy if you can call using a accounting package a strategy.

I think that this book is a very interesting read, particularly useful for the many people for whom eBay is their first foray into selling online. Scott writes with authority (and so he should as he is CEO of channeladvisor, a leading channel management software provider) and manages to make, what could be a dry subject, interesting and engaging.

4 comments on ‘Review of eBay Strategies by Scott Wingo’

  1. Allen Harp says:

    Scott,
    Thank you for your review. I think you have hit the nail on the head with your comment “targeted Line between basic business advice and targeted ebay advice”. This can be a difficult line to focus around. I think the author had done a fine job here as reflected in your review.

    I appreciate your input and may well incorporate it into my own approach. Thanks.

  2. darthoz says:

    Step 8: Build your ebay brand. Yes, I strongly agree that once you find your niche on ebay such as I have with Star Wars Holographs and Star Wars Holographic items, you start a customer base. I am amazed how the word is spreading via social networking sites about my ebay store:

    http://stores.ebay.com/land-of-the-jawas-star-wars-toys

    This is a great review. On item that should be mentioned is having a strong online positive reputation.

    Oz. [-o-]

  3. DayJobNuker says:

    Good detailed review. Thanks. I need to do more of the building my brand part.

    My first Ebay SECRET NICHE is revealed at
    http://www.DayJobNuker.com

  4. Excellent review of a fine book. I also liked how you put down the strategies so we can see. Nice blog keep up the good work!

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