How to Increase Your Ebay Sales
Welcome Ebay Sellers - Learn how to beat the slow times!
Hi! Are you an Ebay seller? Selling on Ebay seems to go in cycles - sometimes I have lots and lots of sales and other times it's slow.
This lens outlines the techniques I have used to take advantage of slow times and to continue to make money on Ebay. Of course I would love your suggestions too, so feel free to sign the guest book, or submit your favorite ebay blog link to the plexo below. :)
Buy Low, Sell High!
Slow times are a GREAT time to buy! Although buying inventory right now may not result in an immediate increase in sales, it will get you ready for the next few months. If you don't buy inventory now, then you won't be prepared for when sales do pick up. You need to stock up your Ebay store or build a stockpile of items ready to auction off in the next few months.
Of course, it's scary to buy when things aren't selling.... What if this recession lasts a lot longer? Wouldn't it be better to save your money? What happens if you end up buying the wrong stuff that no one wants? The doubts are always going to be there and that's why this is a challenging business."Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful" -Warren Buffett
Become a Trend-Spotter
and it will be easier to figure out what to buy!
Ebay makes it easy to find out exactly what's hot. Check out Ebay Pulse for lists of popular searches, hot items, and information on trends.
However, the way to really profit on trends is to be one of the first people to spot them, or to cater to things that are hot when they are just warming up.
This is a little bit trickier, but definitely feasible. One of the main ways to find out what your buyers are really interested in is to hang out where they are. Whatever your niche is, there probably are some magazines that your buyers read, some forums they participate in, some websites they frequent, etc. Go where your buyers hang out, and you will be able to enter into their minds. Try to fulfill their needs and wants. Being the first seller to offer a product in a certain niche will give you a great advantage.
Also, look at what you have sold, and what other things your buyers have bought. Is there a way you could sell the same item over and over? Or perhaps find similar items of interest? For people selling new merchandise, this is common, but for sellers of antiques & collectibles, it might seem harder to do. However, with some work you may be able to source out the same product over and over and sell it for a decent profit each time.
Diversify your Ebay Business
.... Don't keep all of your eggs in one basket...
If it's not selling, sell something else.
Things have their seasons. For example, textbooks sell really well during the beginning of semesters, but not very well during the rest of the year.
If you would like to have more steady sales during the entire year, it might be a good idea to learn about other kinds of products to sell.
There are so many things to sell on Ebay - books, clothing, collectibles, car parts, cars, crafts - pretty much anything you can think of!
In trying to figure out how to diversify your business, think about what you are interested in and what you can find to buy. It's fun to sell stuff that you enjoy. :)
Improve the quality of your Ebay listings...
Tips for how you write your Ebay auctions
I believe that there is ALWAYS room for improvement. Remember that people will only buy your items if they feel that they can trust you.
- Get rid of the NO's! Count how many times you say "no" or "not." Even one NO is too many. Do you really need to say "Do not bid if...?" Ebay clearly tells bidders that they are entering into a contract when they bid, so there really is no reason for you to state that in your listing. See what happens if you get rid of all of your no's.
- Do you have a disclaimer that says that you are not responsible if the package is damaged by the postal service or doesn't arrive? This is a REALLY bad way to do business. How would you feel if you ordered something online from a major online retailer and when it didn't arrive, they said "We sent it. I guess it's your fault that it didn't arrive." I self-insure on all low-cost items and purchase insurance on all higher cost items. Insurance is really for your protection, not the buyer's. For more expensive items, I ship by Fedex and require signature.
- Offer FAST shipping. Don't just say that you can offer priority mail or overnight shipping, but list the actual cost. Buyers who want something fast don't want to wait around for an email response. State how long it will take for your item to ship. Be specific and you will win sales.
- Use keyword rich titles and descriptions. Fill your title with keywords that your buyers will search for. In the description, use the same keywords again, and also any additional keywords that may help your buyers find your items.
- Learn to take high-quality pictures of your items. Also, photograph any defects or damage. Camera Jim's Guide to Ebay Auction Photography is a great how-to resource. I found his page about photographic lighting particularly useful.
Compete on price, if you can.
During slow times, people try to save money. If you can compete on price, you should try your best to do so. (However, remember that your feedback and service makes a difference, and people will pay more for good customer service.)
You can offer a really good deal by pricing below the competition. Remember that your competition is not just other Ebay sellers. Although some people only shop on Ebay, many people shop for the same kind of product on other sites as well as in stores. Keep up on what the prices are elsewhere. In some cases this may even mean that you are competing with Walmart! When setting a price, try to think like a buyer who is looking to get the fastest, cheapest, and most convenient deal.
By the way, you might not like selling for less. However, if you can sell more of your inventory by lowing your prices just a bit, then you can take the money you make on that and re-invest it. Investing your profits in more inventory is a good way to grow your business.
Remember to factor in shipping costs. Try to charge a reasonable shipping fee. You may even consider offering free or very low-cost shipping.
My favorite place to shop for supplements is iHerb.com The reason is that they offer good products at a competitive price and they charge really low shipping, and ship very fast. Not only do they charge really low shipping, but they also give a "Thank-you" discount on every order. My most recent purchase was for an item that cost $15.00. They gave me a $0.75 thank you discount. Then they charged $1.50 for shipping. The total price came out to $15.75. Wow - I was amazed! Meanwhile, their competition had the same item for $12.95 but the shipping cost from their store was $5.95. So not only did I get a better deal, I also felt really, really good about it! :) Make your buyers feel good :)
Evaluate your Pricing Strategies
I know I just told you above to compete on price, but believe me, I don't think we should all sell things really cheap!
Often, people will pay more for things when they can "buy-it-now" because they can get it immediately and there is no waiting to find out if they are the winner. You may want to add buy-it-now to your auctions, list things in the fixed-price format, or create an Ebay store to list your items there. Learn how to add Buy-it-Now to your listings.
Ebay stores are really good for one-of-a-kind type items that might take awhile to sell. That's because you only pay about 20 cents per month per item (plus about a $15 monthly store fee). Some items just won't sell in a 7-day time period, but may very well sell within a few months or a year. These items only interest a small number of people. They should be somewhat uncommon because if there are lots of auction listings for your item, those auctions will show up in the search results, but not your store listing. However if you are one of only a few people who have the item, you can put it in your store and wait for the right buyer. (** 2011 update - This has changed... if you have multiples of the same item, stores are also a good idea now! Learn about how Ebay Best Match works for more information.)
Try enabling the best offer feature on your fixed-priced listings. Now, Ebay allows buyers to make 3 offers, and sellers can also make counteroffers. You can also specify the lowest amount you will accept and have Ebay automatically decline lower offers.
How to Make More Money on Ebay
Increasing Ebay Sales is one of the ways... Here are all 3!
There are really only three ways to make more money on Ebay:
1. Reduce your costs so that you have more profit on each sale.
Here are some ideas:
- Increase your feedback rating, which will qualify you for a discount on Ebay fees. You can increase your feedback rating by providing more accurate descriptions, shipping faster, and answering customer emails faster & better. Find out more about how to get a Top Rated Seller discount (up to 20%) on Ebay fees here.
- Look into saving money on shipping. Compare UPS, Fedex, and USPS rates. I ship by Fedex sometimes because they are sometimes cheaper, especially on large packages or those requiring insurance. Save money on gas by having your packages picked up. Try USPS Carrier Pick-up for free!
- Buy supplies like boxes and tape in bulk. I found the best prices at Papermart
- Lower costs on acquisition of inventory by negotiating prices or buying more quantity.
2. Sell things for more money - higher value items.
Don't sell cheap stuff! Most things take about the same amount of work to list, pack, and ship. Spend your time wisely by only selling more expensive things. Calculate how much money you make on something after ebay fees, paypal fees, shipping costs, etc... You might find it not worth your time to sell things for less than $10.
3. Sell more things.
If you're going to sell cheap stuff, you will need to sell a lot of them in order to make it worth your time! And you will have to figure out how to do it fast. If you have 100 of the same item, it only takes 1 listing. If you have 100 different items, you need to create 100 different listings. Plus you will have to find different shaped boxes or envelopes to mail in.... Much trickier! So if you go for cheap, go for a lot of the same. Personally I choose to go for expensive and I try to sell unique items.
I sell on Ebay all of the time, and also use Ebay as a place to buy my inventory. Overtime I have found some extremely useful Ebay tools. I'm not affiliated with any of these, but thought I would share them with you. (Plus, then I can come back to my own lens to find these tools when I get forgetful :)
Terapeak offers a year's worth of history. Check out what something sold for this month, 3 months ago, or even 12 months ago! (NOT free, but well worth the monthly subscription price!)
- Fat Fingers
Searches for Ebay typos & misspellings. Easy to use & searches for a huge number of variations.
Tired of looking through lots of feedback to find out what the negatives were? Just enter the username on this website and it will retrieve all of the negative and neutral feedback for you to read.