Design a killer eBay growth strategy

Selling on eBay in 1998: Photographing vintage finds on a mannequin, auctioning them off to the highest bidder, and make a few hundred bucks per month.

Selling on eBay in 2018 and beyond: Sellers and large retailers posting their own branded, authorized listings on a marketplace with over 172 million active users globally.

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Today, eBay’s average visit duration is reportedly 50% longer than on Amazon.

The company may not be able to fully shake-off its label as an “auction site.”  And due to this perception, large retailers have shied away from such marketplaces. Many fear a loss of brand control and a lack of clarity regardless of whether the benefits outweigh the perceived risks.

But make no mistake, eBay is an incredible marketplace for brands to extend their sales mix; it’s great for sellers with niche or hard-to-find products, and for commercial retailers that ship globally too.

To make it big on eBay, you must have a strong understanding of the platform, its user needs, and how they navigate the site.

Pricing items on eBay

Previously, the cost of listing on the site was too high and too risky for retailers new to the channel. eBay has since provided retailers a fixed-price format, and a low risk opportunity to list their full catalog, only paying eBay a commission when a sale goes through.

In order to price your products and remain profitable, you must understand how eBay makes money from your listings.

This will help you think more strategically about pricing decisions like leveraging loss leaders to attract buyers into your listings.

Next, create a system that has different prices and listing categories for regular items vs auction items vs consignment items. But how do you know if auction-style listings are right for your products?

  • You’re selling an in-demand item that can garner more than its retail value.
  • The value of your products (i.e. rare collectibles) fluctuates.
  • You’re able to target your perfect buyer.
  • You have dead inventory, not moving as much as you like.

Unlike auction-style pricing, you can bundle multiple products under one price with fixed-price listing. You also have the option of having buyers select “Best Offer,” allowing them to negotiate with you on the price.

The benefits of fixed-price listing are:

  • Selling products for a consistent amount each time.
  • Your payment comes in much faster.
  • Buyers favor quick sales (with the Buy Now button) over auction-style deals.
  • Bundled products stand out from a-la-carte items 

RELATED: [How TradeGecko integrates with eBay]

Design brand stores or focus on listings?

In the Spring 2018 Seller Release, eBay announced that custom store designs will be phased out starting May 2018. This is the end of eBay Store designs, but there are no changes to listings.eBay Stores shopping experience in mobile

An example of the new eBay Stores shopping experience in mobile, which will look similar to eBay’s home page and other category pages.

Five years ago, the marketplace was brimming with vibrantly designed eBay Stores and listing templates. But more buyers are shopping on mobile phones and tablets, with $11 billion sales completed on mobile devices in Q3 of 2017 alone. However, this announced change resulted in seller arguments over branded presence vs. better search placement with plain text listings. 

Our take? Focus on your listings. Here’s why.

Make eBay’s search engine work for you

Ever heard of Cassini? It’s eBay’s search engine.

Because eBay’s marketplace is highly search-oriented, sellers that get great search placement (an appearance on the first two pages of results) move products fast. Sellers with poor search placement struggle to survive.

While the company hasn’t released in-depth documentation on how Cassini calculates search results (kept secret to avoid algorithm gaming), master these eBay basics:

  • Create a robust landing page for your top-selling products with rich descriptions, images, etc.
  • Be thorough with your product listing data: product title, description, item specifics, well-lit and appealing photos.
  • Categorize products appropriately.
  • Make sure you’re selling your products during the correct season
  • Don’t get lazy. Make sure your listing is free of spelling or grammatical errors.
  • Avoid keyword and category stuffing.
  • Be transparent about your payment options, return policy (and additional fees) shipping policy, and delivery times.
  • Communicate with buyers quickly and efficiently
  • Improve your eBay seller feedback by accurately describing your items, dispatching your products in the timeframe you’ve provided, and if possible, offer free shipping or use eBay’s delivery services and automatically get a high rating in this category.

Sellers that adhere to this checklist are more likely to build trust (and prompt purchases), as well as encourage buyers to return again in the near future. 

Cassini-eBay-marketplace

Be proactive and detailed with product labeling. This will ensure your products show up in search results.

The key to eBay growth: The right system

If you're selling on multiple sales channels, including eBay, it's crucial to have a system that will help you grow by managing pricing from a central location. Don’t waste your time on manual processes or juggling between multiple applications.

The right eCommerce system integrated with eBay should help you:

  • keep your product listings up to date and accurate
  • dramatically increase efficiency with seamless inventory tracking
  • protect customers from scams
  • provide great customer service
  • accurately predict product demand with forecasting tools
  • manage multiple warehouses and fulfillment requirements
  • increase revenues by avoiding stock-outs or overstocks

Spend less energy on manual tasks and more time focused on growth.

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