21 August 2006
If you are starting up and or even already running an eBay business here are some key things to bear in mind if you want to successfully sell on ebay.
1. Groundwork - Before you even start, you need to research your market. If you have a already product in mind, you may need to consider: Do you have a lot of competition? Can you make a profit by selling on eBay? What about postage? Do you have the time and money if it takes off? Do you forsee any initial problems?
2. Committment - Although selling on ebay may sound easy, if you want to set-up a profitable business, you will not only need commitment but discipline just as you would in any other business area, but especially working from home as many ebayers do. It is not as easy as some may think - but still have time for you and family.
3. Presentation - Marketing your products is very important. Your listings pages are like dressing in a shop window. Take time creating clear and uncluttered listings templates, make your listings look and feel as professional as possible and you could just gain that competitive edge over other sellers in your field. Tools like Turbo Lister should help ease the monotonous pressures of bulk uploading also means you can work for weeks on your listings and upload them all at once - remember to update the database!!
4. Growing your eBay business - Organic growth is best. Rather than spending a fortune on products and storage, why not test the waters? See how the selling process works in practice, which items are the most popular and then grow the business at a reasonable pace. I started off with a basic shop subscription but within 10 months I had felt that I had done all I could do at that level. So I upgraded to a featured shop. I do not regret (at the moment!) this decision.
5. Reputation - ebay has a feedback system which rates sellers according to the amount of positive feedback they receive. People are unlikely to buy of sellers with a low percentage of good feedback. Over time, the number of feedback points your get will increase. Your feedback of other ebayers should be factual and reflect your experience with them, not tit4tat as in some circumstances (culprits will remain anon)
6. Communication - Despite being Internet based, you will regularly interact with buyers via email and ebay messages - asking questions, confirming postage costs, confirming details from sales pages, letting buyer know item dispatched because payment has cleared or indeed if there are any hiccups etc. Make sure you answer all your buyers' questions in a timely and professional manner - you may well be selling to them again if you get it right the first time. Always thank them for contacting you, bringing this to your attention, to feel free to contact you again should this be unsatisfactory and of course for their time and attention. Try to be tactful and understanding of the buyers circumstances, sometimes benefit-of-doubt is the best route.
7. Packaging - When sending goods out to customers, ensure they are well packaged. Receiving a securely wrapped parcel will impress customers and ensure you receive glowing feedback points. For higher value items, we recommend you use recorded or registered post. It is also worth sending a copy of the bid receipt with the package. Always pu sender's details on the back, at least it will come back to you if it gets lost - this has happened to me 2 in 10 months - not bad?
8. Payment - Paypal is the recommended method of payment on ebay - transactions are instant and linked to the buyer/seller's bank accounts securely. Disputed transactions are easy to clear up. However, to reach as wider audience as possible, you'd be wise to accept all types of payment. If you do opt to accept personal cheques, make sure the payment has cleared before sending out the item. Do not accept cash throught the post or Money Gram - not only is the buyer not protected but neither is the seller.
9. Keywords & Description - Take time to input accurate keywords relating to your product and make your title line as precise as possible. Buyers will often make a decision at the search stage, i.e. if the title is clear and not full of sales nonsense, they are more likely to click on the link. Try learning the lingo - BN (brand new) BNWT (brand new with tags) BNIB (brand new in bag). If unsure, ask seller who I ma sure will be only too pleased to fill you in.
10. Tax Liabilities - You do need to keep a record of your costs and profits for tax purposes. The Inland Revenue is more than aware of the money made on ebay UK and you must declare your profits (minus costs) on your tax return each year as any small business would do.