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Making Money on Ebay


Making Money on eBay: Growing Your Customer Base

  • Do Your Research

It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the competition, particularly when you’re just starting out. Not sure how much to charge for the ceramic vases you make? Do your research to find out how much other sellers are charging. If you severely undercut other sellers you might not make enough to cover your costs, and you might lead customers to think your items are low-quality. But if you price your items well above what other sellers are charging for comparable items, you might not make any sales.

  • Establish a Brand Identity

If you want to start your eBay journey by selling items you already own and no longer want while you get a feel for the selling process that’s fine. But at some point it’s a good idea to establish a consistent brand identity, whether you sell items as a user or establish a store. That means keeping the general quality and feel of the items you sell consistent so that customers know what to expect and what you’re all about.

  • Keep the Quality High

Having multiple well-shot, high-quality images for your items will go a long way toward boosting your sales. The same goes for a thoughtful logo and store design, and the design of any items you include when you ship packages. Some of the most successful eBay stores have appealing logos and branded material that they include with their shipments.

  • Keep Your Costs Down

Some eBay sellers make a name for themselves by offering expensive items that are costly to make (jewelry, etc.). If this is you and you can make enough sales of expensive items, that’s great. In general, though, it’s a good idea to keep your costs down to maximize the money you make on eBay. That goes for the cost of buying or making the items you list, the cost of eBay fees and the cost of shipping.

  • Add a Personal Touch

To really make money on eBay you’ll need to have good feedback from customers. That means, at the minimum, being honest about what you’re selling, being responsive to customer questions and providing prompt shipping. But it can also be helpful to send follow-up emails to customers asking them to rate their experience or letting them know about sales you’re having. Depending on the volume of your sales, you may be able to include a hand-written thank-you note with each shipment, which can help you get customers’ repeat business.

  • Keep Records

For tax purposes and to analyze the progress of your business, you’ll want to keep meticulous records. You can use Excel or Quicken to keep track of your expenses, revenue and sales tax. If all that sounds like too much for you, you can hire an accountant to help you keep track of your business revenue and expenses and comply with tax requirements.

Compare savings accounts here.

Making Money on eBay: Wholesalers vs. Dropshippers

Unless you stick to selling items you already own, at some point you will have to decide how you’ll acquire the items you list. You can buy items and store them in your home or in a warehouse. You may decide to buy your items wholesale, or hunt around for bargains and mark up what you find. And of course if you make your own items you won’t have this problem, but you’ll have to decide whether to buy your materials retail or wholesale, and where to store your materials and finished products.

For those who don’t make their own items, another option is to use dropshippers. Dropshippers store items on your behalf and ship them when you complete a sale on eBay. However, using a dropshipper gives you less control over your business than you’d have if you bought the items wholesale before making a sale.

Advertising on eBay

EBay sells ads that it calls classified ads. If you want to bring more eyes to your eBay items, you may be tempted to advertise. $9.95 gets you a 30-day listing in eBay’s classified ads in any category except real estate. There are additional fees for upgrades to your ad.

Ads expire after 30 days unless you opt to create a “Good ‘Til Cancelled” listing. These renew automatically every 30 days until the items sell, you cancel the listing, or eBay cuts off your listing.

Bottom Line

You won’t earn the coveted Power Seller title on eBay in just a week or two. It can take time to build up a successful eBay store. As with any small business, identifying a market need, deciding on appropriate pricing, growing your customer base and providing good customer service are keys to success. If you think you can run a successful e-commerce business without going through eBay and paying eBay’s fees, you can always set up your own website and sell your items there.

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