By now you have probably heard plenty of success stories of people that have managed to utilize eBay to make money. The degree of success varies, but generally speaking there are certainly enough tales of financial gain out there to make anyone with even a tiny bit of entrepreneurial spirit perk up and wonder if they too could pad their income through eBay. The problem that most people run into, however, is that even those with a keen business sense and a natural talent for knowing how to find a make a sale do not typically know the tips and tricks that must be used on eBay to get a leg up on the competition.
While it certainly matters what you are attempting to sell, there are other factors that will affect your trends of success. Understand that you are essentially using eBay as a store front and many of the traditional rules of making a sale apply. You have to be able to make yourself available to the customers, show that you can offer a better deal, and generally find a way to attract all of these different consumers to your product. Obviously, if you are not selling anything you will not be making any money; very soon you will most certainly need to begin mastering the different tactics that successful sellers use to attract customers to their listings, but before that you must become acquainted with the most basics of eBay.
What you want to do with eBay will determine how you need to approach the entirety of your situation. If you intend to mainly use the service to attempt to try and sell a few items that you just have lying around the house then you might be well served simply by creating a few listings with catchy titles and allowing the bidding to commence. However, if you are going to be using the service often or to sell several items, you might consider some of the other options that eBay offers. For example, one popular option that is offered is the ability to create an eBay “store”.
If you tend to offer items along a particular theme, antiques, for example, then a store can provide users a quick, easy way to peruse your wares and to frequent your offerings on a fairly regular basis. This provides you with the opportunity to have a base of interested customers that are constantly updated on your new items and what you have to bring to the table. Additionally, as with most other eBay items, you do not actually have to offer the listing as an auction; it is completely within the realm of possibility to price the item yourself at the amount you would like to charge using the “Buy It Now” option. You can even offer your customers the option to haggle a bit by allowing them to make an offer; you obviously have the option to refuse this offer, but you might find yourself able to make a sell if you are willing to compromise a bit.
This, essentially, is what you need to know if you are new to eBay- that the basic styles of selling an item are a traditional auction style, where the item goes to the highest seller at the end of a set amount of time, and a very store-like option where you set the price and wait for an interested party to come along and make the purchase. Knowing these things is a good start towards making money on eBay, but these are just the fundamentals.
How you present your item could very well be the key factor in whether or not you are able to profit from your eBay venture. As you know, if a customer is unable to find your item they will, obviously, be unable to purchase it. eBay differs from a traditional store front in a variety of ways, but one of the most significant ways is that customers have to find your item by a text search, usually. This means that there are any number of problems that can occur and make someone who is otherwise interested in buying your item unable to find it.
For example, let’s say that you make a spelling error when you list your item. This is going to make it significantly more difficult, perhaps even impossible, for someone who is looking for exactly what you have to offer to be able to find it. Basically, this means that you will have valuable equity locked up in an online limbo because no one is able to find your item to purchase it in the first place. You absolutely have to make sure that you do not make any errors such as this when listing your product.
There are other aspects of the title, however, that are immensely important. It is not just enough for a buyer to be able to find your item; you need to try and make sure that they see what you are selling before they see the competition’s merchandise. This means that you must be selective with the words that you use in your title, and even quite picky in the order of the words themselves. If at all possible, use Terapeak to try and discover what keywords customers search with to find products related to yours. These are the words that you need to use. Remember that you only have 55 characters so you have to use the most relevant keywords in the shortest space; these keywords are what will help you to be towards the highest results. If you need to communicate something else to a potential buyer you can use the subtitle feature; be aware, however, that eBay does not use this section to check for keywords, so keyword spam in this area is fruitless.
Additionally, you should be aware of the amount of time that an item is on sale for. If you have the item listed as a “Buy It Now” item this is not necessarily as relevant; if there is not very much competition on eBay from similar items it may be that you simply need to wait for the right customer; alternatively, lowering your price might be a good idea. However, the aspect in which you really need to be aware of time is the auction. Many sellers choose to put their item up for sale for the entire duration of seven days. This might seem to make the most sense- after all, the longer an item is for sale, the more opportunities people have to bid. This train of thought while being sound, is untrue.
If you pay very much attention to the various auctions on eBay you will notice that a sort of a bidding frenzy begins to ensue as the item approaches the end of the auction period. Once an item has less than a day remaining it becomes more immediate, and therefore more interesting, to a customer. In the last few hours customers are bidding constantly. One reason for this is the way in which eBay displays search results. An item with less time remaining will appear higher in the search results than an item with similar keywords but more time left. This means that you have the option to use good keywords and put your item on auction for a shorter amount of time to move your merchandise up the list of search results; additionally, you will still be able to attract the feeding frenzy type of bidding that occurs as an item nears its end. You can make the same amount of money in less time by making sure that your item is marketed properly.
Marketing is at the very soul of using eBay to make money. The odds are fairly strong that you will not be in a niche market and that you will have to struggle against competition to be able to really get a foot in the ground. If you are just starting out you can be at a distinct disadvantage against sellers that have been using eBay longer. For example, feedback is an important tool that many use when evaluating whether or not to make a purchase. Without good feedback you are fighting an uphill battle. There are, however, some tricks that can help you to overcome these obstacles and make a move on the competition.
Essentially, you must build your reputation as a quality seller from scratch. While it might be tempting to copy what it is that your competitors are doing, approach this from a customer’s point of view. Why would a consumer purchase the exact same item from an unknown seller when they could get the guarantee offered by high positive feedback for the same price? It is not enough to simply do the same thing that your competitors are doing; you have to go above and beyond. To make any progress, you must outperform them.
One of the things that you must consider in the beginning is to offer your product at a lower price than other sellers. It does not have to be significantly lower, maybe as little as five or ten percent. However, a lower price can be the perfect way to sway buyers who might have otherwise made their purchase from your competition.
This is not the only way to attract positive attention, however. Depending on what it is that you are selling you might be able to include a bonus item, something that is not very expensive if you have had the forethought to purchase it at a very low cost. For example, let’s say that you are selling a smart phone- well, typically a new phone comes equipped with a home charger and the necessary cables, but not a mobile charger. If you so desired, you could invest in a few of these and distribute them as a bonus with the order- you can often get a modular charger for which the owner supplies their own cable for only a dollar or two; it is a small gesture, but one that might influence a buyer to give you their business instead of your more popular competitor.
You can do other things, such as offering free gifts, that can help to build customer loyalty. For example, something as simple as including a small piece of candy with the package can be seen as a good will gesture; people will remember that you went the extra mile to make their experience just a little more pleasant, and if a mistake ever occurs they might be more likely to give you a bit more leniency.
Shipping is also of the utmost priority. A common tactic that many eBay sellers attempt to use is to make a profit by charging more for shipping than it actually costs; this is not an encouraged idea. The point is to build up a great reputation among the eBay community to ensure your possible customers that you are trustworthy and will deliver their item, as promised. Padding extra costs into the purchase price very often results in very negative feedback.
You do not have to offer free shipping, but you do need to do everything within your power to make sure the buyer receives their item as soon as possible. Try to ship the item the same day that the offer closes, and be sure to supply the buyer with a tracking number so that they can keep track of their package. If something goes wrong in shipping this allows them to know the mistake was not yours; while they will not be pleased at the delay, most people are basically reasonable and will not hold this against you when leaving feedback.
Along the same idea of customer service comes the feature of eBay to allow a potential buyer to ask a seller a question. If you happen to get a question from a consumer be aware that this person is, most likely, very interested in your merchandise. It is in your best interest to answer this question as quickly, and as honestly, as possible. You must do all of the little things that your competitors do not to build up positive feedback and to get the critical traffic you need as you are just getting started. The way to make money with eBay is to market yourself, market your product, and ensure people that you are a quality seller that makes sure they receive their item quickly and in the promised condition. Once you have established these things customers will be drawn to you; this is where you can begin to make money.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Miller Lewis is a Technical Support Consultant with over 10 years of experience. Click Here and Become A Power Seller On eBay