Last Updated: Jul 26, 2016
Do you sell on eBay? Whether you’re just selling a few things you no longer need or are running a full-time eBay store, these tips can help you be more successful and sell more.
Whether you have an eBay shop to earn a bit of extra spending money, to act as an online branch of your brick-and-mortar shop or for any other reason, more eBay sales can lead to more cash in your pocket. If you’re hoping to boost your cash flow, you may be wondering how to boost those eBay sales. Here are some ideas that can help you reach your financial goals.
1. Create quality listings
Make sure to pair your eBay listing with quality photos of your item. eBay allows you to post several photos for free and, in most cases, you can capture the good sides of your item with those photos. However, for items with lots of details to showcase, you may want to splurge for the extra photos.
In addition to the tags eBay provides for you, make sure you also write a detailed description of your item. Put yourself in the shoppers’ shoes and write what you would like to know about the item. Also, make sure that you include frequently-searched terms to help shoppers easily find your listings.
2. Pay attention to timing
If you want to maximize your eBay sales, you need to pay attention to seasonal factors. For example, Christmas cookie cutters will typically garner higher prices in November or early December when shoppers are making holiday plans as opposed to the summer or after the new year. Similarly, beach gear sells more effectively in the spring or early summer than in the fall or winter.
In addition to paying attention to time in a broad sense, schedule your specific auctions with timing in mind. In particular, don’t have your auctions end in the middle of the night when shoppers are likely to be sleeping. Instead, have the timer set to run out when shoppers are likely to be sitting at their office or at home, wide awake and with plenty of time on their hands to react to a last-minute flurry of bids.
3. Safeguard your seller rating
Your seller rating is critical on sites such as eBay and, in most cases, if a shopper has a choice between two items with relatively the same price, the shopper will choose the item from the seller with the higher rating.
To safeguard your rating, make sure you are honest about descriptions and answer shopper’s questions as promptly as possible. When setting your handling time (the amount of time between when you receive the payment and ship the item), be realistic and select a time frame that you know you can manage. Ideally, you want to offer clients a fast turnaround, but if you make promises you cannot keep, it may negatively impact your seller rating. Find a balance between offering a short handling time and giving yourself long enough so that you don’t accidentally miss the window.
4. Have operating capital available
Whether you use eBay sales for extra income or to support your entire livelihood, you should treat your sales like a business and, to that end, you need operating capital available to do so. For example, if you receive a sale and you are so cash-strapped that you cannot afford packaging and postage, you may miss your handling deadline, receive a negative review from your customer and watch your seller rating plummet, which can reduce your sales over the long-term.
Similarly, if you stock inventory in your eBay shop and you run out when demand is high, you miss the opportunity for extra sales. In cases like these, you need a reserve of operating capital. Ideally, to ensure you have funds when you need them, you should have a savings account in reserve, earmarked for your business, or you should consider applying for a revolving line of credit.
Remember, if you are reporting sales from eBay, you are considered a small business owner for taxation purposes, and if you take out a loan from an alternative lender, you can write off the fees as a business expense as long as you use the loan for your business. Whether you use the funds to pay for extra photos on eBay, to compensate people who work for you, to buy new inventory, or for other similar reasons, those expenses are all considered as business expenses.
5. Pay attention to competitors
If you want to maintain your competitive edge and keep your sales numbers high, you also have to pay attention to your competitors. What are their prices? How do they run their auctions? Do they use “reserve” or “buy now” prices? How do their descriptions sound? How do their pictures look? If other sellers are selling similar products to you and doing so more successfully, try to ascertain why, and learn from their practices, prices, listings and other sales tactics.
6. Leverage synergy to sell more
If you do a lot of eBay sales, you should open an eBay shop. With a shop, you get your own URL where all of your products can be listed. Many sellers also link their eBay shop to an external website that showcases their products, and, on average, eBay shop owners sell 25 percent more items than their competitors who do not have eBay shops.
You can also use your auction listings and your eBay shop to upsell to clients. For example, if a client buys one of your items, you should direct them to your eBay shop and let them know which other items might be a good match based on their preferences.
Incorporating these six tips into your eBay selling strategy can ultimately boost your business’ cash flow. Keeping these strategies in mind as your business grows will help you ensure that you can continuously meet, and even exceed, all of your financial objectives.
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