eBay is a terrific marketplace that has allowed many people to earn a living by selling items found in their houses. Many have even started a full time business on eBay. If you are thinking of selling something, the first advice you’ll get is “Sell it on eBay.”
But alas, everyone by now knows about eBay. It feels that everyone and anyone is selling on eBay. Competition is really tough. When I started selling on eBay 3 years ago, the scrapbook kits I was selling then were literally flying off the shelves. Same with pearl necklaces, vintage postcards, home decor items from Southeast Asia, ikat cloth from Uzbekistan and several other items. Now admittedly, it is getting harder to sell on eBay. There’s just too many sellers today. Plus, the fees keep on increasing and increasing.
No wonder savvy sellers are exploring other avenues to sell their wares. If you want to keep your profit margin growing, it is wise to look beyond eBay in selling items. A new book “Selling Beyond eBay: Foolproof Ways to Reach More Customers and Make Big Money on Rival Online Marketplaces” by Greg Holden urges sellers to look at opportunities beyond eBay. My colleague Lyve has written about the alternative marketplaces that sellers can consider other than eBay.
The author of the book provides the following tips when thinking of exploring other marketplaces:
1. Develop the right attitude — have the confidence in your product. More importantly, set a goal such as aiming to double your sales by starting your own website and selling in two more auction destinations other than eBay.
2. Build on what you know already — maintain your presence on eBay, but start exploring other venues by first offering your best selling products. Don’t reinvent the wheel in terms of your system for listing, packaging and shipping items. Use tools such as Mr. Grabber and offer items that don’t sell on eBay immediately to other marketplaces such as iOffer.
3. Be Flexible and try new approaches — Some of the marketplaces operate differently from eBay so it is important to be flexible and learn about the customers of these marketplaces.
4. Match your merchandise to the venue — Find the right marketplace for your products and see if there is a niche market specifically for your items. If there is, you may stand a better chance in offering your products to a place where enthusiasts and buyers for your products gather rather than a large marketplace such as eBay where clients are more diverse.
5. Find the right operational partner — Try to find a solution provider or software to handle repetitive tasks such as relisting items, managing customer databases, sending confirmation and follow up emails, even feedback. Tools such as Vendio or ChannelAdvisor may increase your monthly operating costs, but these tools can save you lots of time and can allow you to focus more on productive activies.
6. Sell on your website — Having your own website saves you listing and final value fees when the item is sold. When you are thinking of expanding beyond eBay, consider first selling on your own website.
7. Expand your sourcing efforts — Don’t think of starting your own website or expanding into other alternative marketplaces without first verifying that you indeed have enough inventory to sell!
8. Move from B2C to B2B e-commerce — Consider selling in bulk to other businesses and use B2B marketplaces such as Liquidation.com or UBid.com
9. Ask for help — the discussion boards of eBay and your marketplaces of choice can provide valuable inputs and assistance. Check them out if you haven’t done so and get advice from these savvy sellers.
10. Buy globally, sell locally — Consider selling locally through your newspaper classified ads, or online classifieds such as Craigslist.com and others.
If I have time, I really want to sell my wares in my own website, but I need first to check for tip #7 to see if I do have enough items to sell. Everyone wants to maximize their profits, so consider if selling beyond eBay can improve your bottomline.