Setting up Shop on eBay

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This guide is intended to help eBayers opening an eBay shop to get the maximum benefit as quickly as possible. The topics covered are:

1) Opening your shop and Branding your eBay Identity
2) Shop Inventory Format (SIF) Listings
3) Categories
4) Item Display
5) Cross promotions
6) email Marketing/add to favourites
7) Keywords

Implementing these tried and tested methods will significantly increase your business.

1) Branding

This section looks at the benefits of a ‘Brand’ for your business, and how an eBay shop can help you with this.

Your own brand tells customers that they are looking at one of your auctions or your shop. A memorable brand and colour scheme sets you apart from your competitors. Your brand will help customers remember that they’ve dealt before and give them the confidence to shop again – and tell their friends to shop too!

If you look at many experienced eBayer's shops you'll see that they tend to have very individual colour schemes. These colour schemes carry through to  AuctionsAbout Me PageCustom Shop Pages , and  eMail Marketing . This branding instantly tells customers that they're still looking at content from the same seller. Use every customer communication to promote your unique brand/theme on flyers, packing slips, thank you notes, business cards, invoices - and anything else you can think of! What about framing your  gallery picture with your brand colours?

Most people create an auction template, write an About Me page, open a shop and pick a standard  eBay Shop Theme , and then get someone to design them a logo. Often they end up with very different colours, touch and feel for each part instead of one common theme. When you open a shop this is an ideal time to create your own Brand on eBay and tell customers who you are.

Start with your  logo . A professional looking logo not only tells customers that you are serious about your business but is the basis for your branding. You can either use a professionally designed logo from those eBay offer, pay for someone to design you one, or use a program like to create your own.

Once you have your logo choose shop colours to complement it, and then create your auction template, About Me page etc to match your shop colours. Don't forget that you can still use an eBay Shop Themes and customise the colours to match your logo, you don't have to know any HTML to do this. Choose colours, logos and symbols which reflect what you sell. Make your shop unique and individual to create your own Brand!

Your Brand lets customers know they are still looking at your auctions, tells returning eBayers that they have found you again, and reminds them of the great buying experience they had last time they purchased. Opening a shop gives you an ideal opportunity to establish your own Brand and constantly remind buyers who they're trading with.

2) Shop Inventory Format (SIF) Listings
SIF stands for  SHOP INVENTORY FORMAT . This is a special type of listing which you can only use if you have an eBay shop. SIF listings can help you sell more product faster!

SIF like eBay auctions and eBay  Buy It Now (BIN) will appear in your eBay shop. They will also appear in search and browse results, but they will appear at the end after all matching auction and BIN results.  SIF costs much less than  Auction or BIN Fees to list but you will pay a slightly higher Final Value Fee. SIF listings run for a minimum of 30 days or can run for longer periods including Good Til Cancelled (GTC) which means they run until you stop them. It's worth noting that if you use listing upgrade features like Gallery a 90 day listing works out more cost effective than GTC as the upgrade fee is only charged once, with GTC the fees are charged every 30 days.

One of the most powerful ways you can use SIF is to run a normal 10 day auction maybe with a 99p start price and no reserve but with a big link saying "Buy this item now in our eBay shop". You can create a link to your shop where the SIF listing is available and if it is priced correctly you can sell many items to people that don't want to wait for the auction to finish. Experienced sellers use this method all the time to sell multiple quantities incurring very low listing fees. Even with the slightly higher Final Value Fees incurred by SIF you save money, except on high priced items. So, do your sums!

Because SIF listings can run for long time periods you can also link directly to them because they keep the same item number. If you had a link to a BIN it would only run for up to 10 days and then you would have to edit the links in your listings. If you link to a SIF you could leave it running forever if you had enough stock. Consider linking to a Shop Category where the SIF is listed instead of direct to the listing - Categories are discussed in the next section.

Another great feature of SIF listings is when you are selling rare items. If  Search or Browse don't have any (or many) results then your SIF listing will be near the top of the results. A rare item may not sell on a 10 day BIN if not many people are looking for it. At the same time search engines like Google catalogue eBay listings, the longer a listing runs the more chance search engines will find it and direct people to your items. This is a great way of getting new customers so on a SIF listing it's important to have the right Keywords and Part Numbers.

If you have more than one of an item always have one on an auction and list the remaining quantity as a SIF listing. When the auction finishes start another, and reduce the SIF quantity by one unit. If you buy more stock increase the SIF quantity by the amount of new stock you have. Unless you run out of stock you should always have SIF listings to point buyers to from your auctions! Don't forget sometimes a buyer will want more than one of the same item and with SIF you can let them buy as many as you have in stock!

SIF listings can save you money on eBay fees, sell more product by links to them from auctions, and find you buyers from search engines.

3) Categories
This section outlines the basics of using  shop categories and how you can make it easier for your customer to buy from you

Shop Categories allow you to display the items you have for sale in the same way when you go to the supermarket. Similar products are placed in the same aisle. Categories make it easy for you to guide your customers through your listings. Categories are all about making it easy for your customers to buy from you and showing them more products that they may like to buy!

Always rename the default shop categories. When you first start using them look at your current stock and decide which products go together. For instance if you sell clothes you may have mens, womens, boys, girls and babies clothes. If someone is buying ladies clothing by looking at the 'Womens' category they won't have to browse through the clothes they're not interested in.

When you list new items you can choose which of your shop categories the item is to be displayed in, similar to choosing which eBay category they'll appear in. Sometimes you may have items which suit more than one of your shop categories, and eBay allow you to list them in both with no increase in fees. This is great because if you list in two eBay categories you have to pay double - you don't with shop categories!

When you have a link in an auction such as "Buy this item now in our eBay shop" I always link to the shop category the item is in, not direct to the item. This means the buyer is presented with all the similar items I have for sale - they may find a more expensive (or cheaper) item, one with more features, or they may find two items they like and buy them both!

later guide examines shop categories in more detail but start using them as soon as you open your shop. If you show your buyers more items similar to the first they looked at there is a good chance they will make multiple purchases!

The great thing about having an eBay shop is that you can choose and experiment with how you organise your items to get the best results. You can't do this with the 'View Sellers Other Items' link as eBay set the defaults for this. By opening a shop you can not only use your own categories to help buyers find the product they want, but also  present similar products to the customer – tempting them to make multiple purchases. 'View Sellers Other Items' is the standard eBay look and feel, whereas when searching your shop they are constantly having your unique brand embossed and embedded in their minds which will help them remember you later, at Christmas for instance!

Shop Categories make it easier to direct customers to your products - give categories meaningful names and use them to drive customers to the product they're interested in.

4) Item Display
When you open a shop you can choose how your customers see your items. This gives you control of the best way to display them, and you can decide what's best based on the type of customer you are looking to attract.

Choosing how to present your items is similar to how high street shops display their merchandise. In a mens clothes shop generally clothes are hung so that you can see them from the front, whereas ladies clothes shop are more likely to have items hung side on. This is because men are (in general) impatient shoppers whereas women are more inclined to browse though racks. With your shop you can do the same!

Some items (like computer parts) are mainly searched on by part number - pictures confirm to buyers that they have found the right part but in general if they see the part number they know they have the correct item. Other items are purchased more for their appearance, so sellers of products like jewellery may find it better to use  Gallery View which displays bigger pictures (but as a trade off less items per page).

You can also choose to display items by price (Highest or lowest), Time remaining or newly listed. Again you may like to attract people with low prices, or equally you may want to show them the highest price items so that they have to hunt for a bargain.

The great thing about having an eBay shop is that you decide how you display your items to get the best results. As with Shop Categories you can't do this with the 'View Sellers Other Items' link as eBay set the defaults for this. You can choose whether to present larger pictures (with gallery view), more items (with list view), highest price, lowest price, ending soonest or newly listed.

Think about what will attract your customers (what would make you browse longer) and then customise your shop display to maximise your sales to customers!

5) Cross promotions
Earlier this guide touched on multiple sales to one customer, now we're going to look at another method to achieve this!

You may have noticed in some peoples auctions there is a box displaying 'Additional items from this seller's other listings'. This is how your  cross promotions will appear in auctions. Anyone with an eBay shop can customise which items will be presented in this box. If you don't have an eBay shop buyers will only see cross promotions if they bid on a listing. With a shop buyers see cross promotions merely for looking at your auction!

To achieve multiple sales to one customer you can tempt them to keep buying from you. You can choose which items to cross promote when someone views an item, but you can also choose which items to display when someone bids on or wins an item. You may like to think about different promotions in these two instances.

As an example suppose you sell Digital Cameras. If someone has found one of your cameras from eBay Search or Browse it's a great idea to cross promote the other model cameras you have for sale - they may want one with different features and pay more, or possibly want a cheaper model to save money. By offering a choice, you can help keep them buying from you.

Once someone has bid or won an item this is where you can use cross promotions to sell add-on sales. In the camera example, a good cross promotion ‘after sale’ would be a camera bag, a tripod, a memory card or batteries – or maybe even a book about photography!

Cross Promotions are a very powerful way to increase your sales and sell add-ons. Finding a new customer is a lot harder than selling additional items to an existing customer!

6) eMail Marketing/add to favourites
eMail Marketing  is a fantastic tool to remind previous customers who you are and to build repeat business! We are going to consider how to build a list of customers to market to.

A future guide will look at what to say in eMail Marketing, but the first thing we need is for customers permission to market to them. Spam, or unsolicited email is illegal. You don't need to worry about the legal side if you use eBay’s email marketing, as eBay take care of this for you.

Many buyers may not be aware that they can add you to their favourite sellers, you can remind them by adding a link in your shop (and in all your auctions if you wish!). The format for this link is (replace User_ID with your eBay ID)

When someone adds you as a favourite seller if you have an eBay shop they can opt to receive newsletters (eMail Marketing). The default newsletter is 'General' -the first thing you should do is to change it to something like 'Special offers', or 'Sale items' to encourage people to sign up. If you sell gifts or seasonal items, then offer a ‘Christmas’ or ‘Valentines’ newsletter. Similarly if you sell say CD's or DVD's you might create an eMail Marketing list called 'New Releases' for people that always want to buy the latest films or music.

If you review the topics in this guide you will see that they are all related to building your brand and increasing sales. eMail Marketing is a way to remind buyers who you are, and encourage them to return! The first thing to do is to start building your marketing list. Pick topics which will excite your buyers and make them want to receive news from you. It may not even be connected with your products - for CD/DVD sellers it could be a monthly newsletter with concert and gig news or if you sell craft items, why not have a 'projects’ newsletter. These ‘freebies’ add value and pay back by increasing customer return rates and average spend.

Start building your eMail Marketing lists the day you open your shop. Create names for the lists that people will want to sign up for. This is your opportunity to expose buyers to your brand months after they looked at your auctions.

eMail Marketing builds future sales for your business, the more people that sign up for your Marketing the more successful you will be in the future. Start building your lists today!

7) KeyWords
Keywords are what search engines like Google use to catalogue your shop. When someone searches on the Internet if they happen to have searched for keywords that are promoted in your shop you can gain new customers.

The best 'Shop description' is sentence full of keywords. You should choose them to enable search engines to catalogue your shop when they find it. Don't use this area to describe your shop with words that aren't relevant eg "We specialise in used computer components and give great service. We can ship the same day if you pay by midday" would be a poor use of the shop description. The only relevant words would be  'Computer Components' and it's unlikely too many people will search for that! They may however search for "Dell Laptop Inspiron Power Supply" and all those words should be in the description if that's what you sell!

Remember that search engines will also catalogue your auctions. Keywords in auctions are very important (especially for SIF items as they are live on eBay for so long!). Make sure that when you create content on eBay whether it be an auction, shop, About Me page, any other shop custom pages, that the content always contains keywords someone may search on. A buyer that comes direct to one of your auctions from a search engine may not even look at your competitor’s auctions but just purchase directly from you!

Keywords are probably the most important thing you can do to enable buyers to find you. Don't include irrelevant words (Keyword Spamming isn't allowed) but make sure you include the ones you'd search for if you were looking for your item or a shop like yours!

Remember if a search engine can't find you neither will your buyers!

This guide aimed to show why you should open an eBay shop, and the first steps to take to make it successful. It discussed
1) Opening your shop and Branding your eBay Identity
2) Shop Inventory Format (SIF) Listings
3) Categories
4) Item Display
5) Cross promotions
6) email Marketing/add to favourites
7) Keywords
These are the top tips many PowerSellers used to start increasing their business.

It can be summed up as:

Start by building your Brand. Drive traffic to SIF items for instant sales.Use categories and choose how to display your items to guide buyers to your products. Cross promote to highlight options and sell accessories. Build eMail Marketing lists for future business and make sure you can be found with KeyWords!

This guide was co-written by mountcomp and  iron*lion*zion with editing by  georgiegirlsgems
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