QUESTION on How to Start And Launch A Successful eBay Business
I want to start an Ebay business. I heard that many people are very successful in selling on Ebay. How can I be like them and succeed as well? I will initially sell items I have in my home that my family no longer need or want.
– Doreen (Oklahoma)
ANSWER by Isabel Isidro
eBay has become a very important marketplace for home business owners. Many people are making a living or earning additional income by selling on eBay.
One success model of eBay is the couple Jay and Marie Senese (username jayandmarie) of the 1-cent CD fame. At one point, they had the highest positive feedback number of all sellers on eBay. Their business model is to buy very low cost CDs in bulk (those that CD stores sell in their discount bins) and offer them on eBay at a starting price of 1 cent. Their success is based on the fact that they stumbled on a sustainable business model with products that people really want. They sold their business — where else but on eBay — for starting bid of $5 million!
To be successful on eBay, you only need to do one thing: Sell products that people actually want.
You need to have a well thought out business model. Buying from garage sales and selling on eBay is fun, and may even be good in getting a few dollars here and there on eBay. Sometimes, you luck out on an item and hit it big, but many times it will just be so-so (assuming the item will sell and that you can get the price you paid for it). The downside of this approach is that it is not sustainable. You may not always find great cheap items in flea markets that could be sold for tens of thousands on eBay.
While some are enjoying phenomenal success on eBay, understand that selling on eBay is not as easy as some portray. Just go to eBay and check out completed auctions and you will find many listings that end without a single bid.
For one, competition is getting tough, as more sellers flock to eBay; with even the big boys joining the eBay marketplace. Big businesses such as Sears, Dell, Hewlett Packard among others are now using eBay as an additional sales channel for their products (including returns and defective merchandise). With more and more sellers participating in the eBay marketplace, it has become harder for listings to be seen by potential buyers.
Add to that the increasing listing and final value fees, and eBay is slowly becoming an expensive marketplace. Imagine if you list 100 items, but only 10 ended up with bids – and all of them your minimum bids. A 10% selling rate is all too common, with some even seeing worse selling percentages. If this low sell-through rate persists, you will start to feel the pinch of all the listing and other fees associated with selling on eBay.
The article “How to Find the Hottest Products to Sell on eBay” lists the various ways eBay helps sellers like you to determine exactly what the hot items to sell on their marketplace, as follows:
eBay Marketplace Research = A paid service courtesy of eBay partner Terapeak, Marketplace Research allows you to view average selling prices, track products to gauge demand and seasonality, monitor your competition, and find the best performing keywords and categories for your listings. To go to Marketplace Research, click to http://pages.ebay.com/marketplace_research/index.html.
Seller Information Center = the most comprehensive resource you can find on how to successfully sell on eBay. eBay’s Seller Information Center offers best practices, resources and tips on how to sell your items successfully in their marketplace.
eBay Pulse = “a daily snapshot of current trends, hot picks, and cool stuff on eBay”. Go to http://pulse.eBay.com/ to see eBay Pulse in action. You can find the 10 most popular searches currently on eBay, most watched items and the largest stores in terms of the number of active listings.
Recommended Books on the How to Start and Launch A Successful eBay Business
- The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To Making Money on Ebay: A Simple, Practical System for Starting a Successful Ebay Business
- Starting a Successful eBay Business (Video Training): Start Selling Today – and Achieve Business Success Tomorrow!
- Streetwise Selling On Ebay: How to Start, Manage, And Maximize a Successful eBay Business
- eBay PowerSeller Secrets: Insider Tips from eBay’s Most Successful Sellers (2nd Edition) (v. 2)
Article originally published January 2006. Updated on January 21, 2012