Homepreneurs has blogged about selling on eBay before. With 100 million active users around the world and close to 70 billion dollars in sale in 2011, eBay is the world’s largest and most successful online auction house. eBay is an ideal home business for virtually anyone. Start-up costs are very low and launching an eBay store is simple. If you have a bunch of stuff cluttering up your house, why not list the items on eBay to make extra money?
The most popular categories on eBay are collectibles, clothing, shoes, and accessories. Other strong sellers include computers and electronics, toys, antiques, and business/industrial goods. A quick visit to eBay Pulse shows hot daily search trends. According to eBay statistics, approximately $2100.00 in sales is generated every second! Wouldn’t you like a slice of that pie?
eBay’s website provides plenty of information on buying and selling, including its Quickstart guide; begin selling in 4 easy steps! Also available are resources for selling, for business, videos, and tips and tools. eBay also offers protection to both sides of sales – as a facilitator, eBay depends on happy buyers and sellers. Their long history of success and huge market presence proves eBay has a successful process.
eBay is a low-risk way of jumping into the sales/auction industry and starting a business. Successful selling requires a little more effort. A strong eBay store requires creative marketing with good text and digital pictures. The pictures must be uploaded to the store and inventory tracking is a must. Serious sellers must keep tabs on auctions and have a process for sales, shipping, customer service, and replacement inventory, as needed/desired.
Another consideration is the amount of time you will spend on a computer. You will also need to pack and ship items in a timely manner; eBay buyers expect quick response after a purchase. Pack items well and ship them immediately – or on the next business day. eBay’s website has a customer feedback form about sellers and the buying experience from purchasing to receipt. Sellers are rated based on buyer feedback, your shop policies, and the overall buying experience. Shops and sellers are encouraged to obtain and maintain the coveted 5-star rating.
Need to Have
A computer with a printer and a digital camera are must haves for eBay sellers. The camera doesn’t need to be high-end, but must be able to take quality pictures to show off the items for sale. Further, sellers may wish to purchase a scanner and a fax machine. All-in-One devices by several major manufacturers have printers, scanners, and fax machines in one. If you are going to pack these items, packing materials – bubble wrap, peanuts, boxes, and packing tape – are good to have. Depending on the item’s cost and material, you may wish to have a local FedEx or UPS store pack and send these items for you.
Storage space may be a consideration depending on the amount of business and type of item you expect to sell. If selling many or large items, consider a storage locker or dedicated space in the home or garage. You will also likely need reliable transportation if you need to transport items for shipping or obtain additional inventory. If you are unable to handle some of the heavier tasks, consider partnering with someone that can handle the physical aspect while you deal with the customer service. Teenagers and college students looking to make extra spending money are good choices.
As with any home business, a dedicated space separate from the common living area is desirable, though not a must. Have an area to take good, clean pictures for eBay listings. Lighting is a major issue; the photography setup should have natural light if at all possible. Storage of inventory items is another consideration. Will you keep the inventory in the basement, in a spare bedroom or garage? Item size and quantity are another factor when selecting space. If you plan to be a major seller, consider where and how you will keep and track the inventory. Numbered shelves or bins can be an effective way of tracking inventory. Use a free-to-download Excel spreadsheet or Access database from Microsoft for functional and customizable inventory control tracking.
Marketing and selling on eBay is very similar to any other kind of business. You’ll want to make it known that you are a seller of the ‘hot or gotta have’ xyz item. eBay provides help and resources to assist you in achieving top-seller status. Use those resources early and often. Make friends with other eBay sellers in a similar area – though maybe not direct competitors – and ask how they are successful. Learn about online marketing in general; these skills can help you with eBay, Etsy, Websites, Facebook, and more. Take a photography class at a local community college and learn how to take effective and striking pictures. Learning to write copy for presenting your products is a big plus too. Observe other successful online sellers and learn their best practices.
Customer service and feedback is numero uno – number one – in the eBay world. Good store or seller rankings are treasured and cannot be underestimated. You can help endear yourself to eBay buyers by not increasing expenses radically, and go above and beyond the minimum expectations stated in your shop policy. If an item arrives damaged, track the process to see if the shipper or packer is at fault. Whichever the case, get a replacement item in the buyers hands as quickly as possible. Constant status updates to the customer is a big plus. Even a negative experience can be turned around with diligence and communication.
There are many resources available for selling on eBay and putting up and eBay store. Searching on Google will yield many helpful websites to view. We believe you best choice is to use eBay’s wonderful resources:
entrepreneur press also offers a number of titles on how to make money on eBay
eBay for Dummies is a good starter and reference book for those interested
By Dion D, Shaw
Dion D, Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs
Homepreneurs. New Day. New Opportunity.
Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services listed. Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its suggestions. Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.
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