In many respects eBay is like any other sales channel and success requires marketing and attention to detail. This paper addresses the most basic reasons for poor eBay sales and provides some easy to implement solutions. It discusses 5 cost effective ways in which you can increase your eBay sales.
The Problem: Low eBay sales
So you’ve registered on eBay and listed some items, you may even have opened an eBay shop. The problem is none of eBay’s 157 Million registered users are buying from you!
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.
The solution: Optimizing your eBay presence
Many sellers do not get the basics of eBay selling right, putting them at an immediate disadvantage. This paper makes suggestions for improving your eBay presence in the following 5 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.
7 Ways to Boost your eBay sales
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 customized 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. Improve 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. Market 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%.
- Optimize 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.
- Use 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 browse 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.
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. Remove 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.
At Auction Partner we recommend our client to use the free tools before investing in the more complex (but more powerful) software solutions.
Some of the suggestions in this document are easy to implement whilst some will require planning and a considerable investment of time. Employing a consultancy like Auction Partner, will speed the process of optimizing your business but will cost more than an in-house solution.
If you have limited resources it is recommended that you take a staged approach, concentrating on the quick fixes to initially, and reassessing as your business grows.
About the Author:
Trevor Ginn is the Managing Director of Auction Partner. Auction Partner ( www.auction-partner.co.uk ) helps companies sell on eBay, the world’s biggest online marketplace. We offer a comprehensive service to businesses to sell unwanted assets, excess inventory as well as current stock.