Sell as a man
It’s recently been revealed that men selling on eBay earn more than their females selling the exact same stuff. Although this earning difference could depend on other factors its enough to make you think.
For some products – like products directed towards women and girls (eg make-up and dolls) the women sellers earned more.
My advice to woman sellers, (selling male targeted items) is to think about your user name and account details. This small change could increase your earning significantly.
For male eBay sellers, who target female customers with female items, think about changing your account details to a female name. Better still have a generic eBay business name and know one will know the difference. This will also give you’re a more professional look instead of looking like a one man band.
(Source: www.businessinsider.com 2016)
Organization for quicker working
You need to have your work space highly organized because a cluttered one can drain your time which means that you’re working harder not smarter.
In a busy place things can go missing and I often found that half the battle was taking 20 minutes to find some scissors or a pen.
I came to realize that I needed dedicated space for certain tasks. I would have storage areas, loading areas for parcels, packing areas, sorting areas and much more. That way we knew where everything was (or should be) this helped our work flow on daily basis because, when there’s more than one of you in the team getting in each other’s way is another battle than can be avoided.
We became even more organized when we had a filing system for invoices, suppliers, customer details.
With stationary being so cheap things like paper, files, pens and scissors, could be ordered in bulk and placed at the workstations and points throughout our unit.
If you’re selling or thinking of selling on eBay from home as a business then the same thing applies. When I started out I had rooms for different jobs but it was such a smaller scale than when I moved to an industrial unit.
Learn the basics of copywriting
Copy writing is the writing to sell. It is persuasive writing that informs the potential buyer about the details and benefits of a product or service. Writing copy is the skill of targeting customers with words that appeal to their needs and wants.
The product descriptions that you read online or in a catalog are pieces of copy. The full sheet adverts in a Sunday papers are also pieces of copy. Copy is everywhere and we don’t realize it. All copy is designed to get you interested and to buy the product.
The style of writing is different from “traditional” writing in that strict grammar does not have to be used e.g. a sentence can begin with “And”)
Copy writing is so powerful that when done well it can mean the difference between getting a sale and not getting a sale. You need to be able to write good copy for when selling your items on eBay because you want them to buy but also it sets you’re apart for your competitors. Your eBay description is what can tip the person into buying from you even if they have seen the same product elsewhere.
The best thing is that anyone can learn copywriting and within no time at all you can produce good copy. You just have to know the basics and take it from there.
Copy writing skills grow with practice and the best practice can be to start with looking real examples of copywriting that appeal to you.
Remember: your eBay description is as important as the photos of the item. You would not be happy with bad photos so don’t be happy with bad copy.
Know the scams
The majority of buyers on eBay, and on the internet, are law abiding people with good intentions. However, there are some not so nice people who buy with intention of scamming sellers. There are many different ways that people scam eBay sellers and it happens to all sellers at some point.
You should be aware of them so that you know what to do. Don’t be ashamed if you get caught out by them as it’s happened to the best of us – many times as well (although each time it was a different type of scam).
Some of us have put it down to experience, kept on eye on the buyer’s usernames, addresses.
The one thing I can say is that the scams have a pattern – and it’s this what you look out for when your become more experienced.
Dedicate time for checking eBay inbox
Checking your messages is important because communication to your customers or potential customers reflects on your business. You don’t want to check your inbox through the day – this is a real time waster which could be spent on other tasks.
Instead check messages in the morning, lunch time and early evening. These are peak times for buyer activity, such as morning, late afternoon and evening. You should follow this pattern too. (Unless you are expecting a vital message)
Seek an accountant
Get the advice from an accountant as early as possible, even before you begin trading. Accountants can help in all sorts of ways and they are worth every penny. They help you with a business plan as well as find ways for you’re to save money.
Hire an accountant you’re comfortable with and get along with because its important as you’ll want to forge a lasting professional relationship with them.
My accountant was able to get me registered as a business and help with my start up. They also looked at my business proposal and pointed out the problems with it.
Your accountant can advise on when to pay tax and how much you. They really are worth every penny.
Set up a website
Not setting up a website is a common mistake of most eBay sellers. Some sellers have a separate website linked to their accounts but they are not it using to full effect.
I set up my separate website to run alongside my eBay account but I failed to send my customers the website details.
Having your website up and running is a chance for you to send your repeat customers to your website instead of coming back to eBay. That way you save on listing fees and get a chance to interact with them on your terms – they can see you other products etc.
Setting up a website is no longer as complicated as it used to be and with low start-up prices, you can be online in less than 30 minutes.
Have more than one supplier
You should have more than one supplier, especially if you are operating in a niche market e.g. selling specific items.
I started off selling coats (a niche item) and when my supplier could not meet my order it meant that I could not meet my own orders. As a result I had to cancel orders and buyers were furious. I managed to find another supplier to fill the gap left from my first supplier.
From then on a made sure I had more than on supplier at the ready to fulfill my requests.
Have multiple eBay accounts
It’s important to have more than one account for various reasons. Having many accounts, you can separate different niches rather than mix them up. You can also concentrate on one account at a time and maybe have someone else concentrate on your other account for you and so help organize your business work flow.
Should you have an unexpected negative review (which happens because you’ll never be able to fully control the buyer’s experience) your other account, which has 100% positive feedback, then, becomes your main account while you work on “restoring” the other account.
Having multiple accounts is a standard thing eBay sellers do and the ability to manage multiple eBay accounts is easier than you think (depending on how organized you are).
Division of labor
If there is more than one of you setting up a business on eBay then want to think about dividing up the tasks. this way, each team member is responsible for a specific job.
I learned who had specific skills and experiences that I could get the best out of them. As a result things got completed faster because we all knew what each of us had to do.
Its also important to rotate tasks so that you all don’t get bored and can learn new things.
Communication is the thing that sets apart successful sellers from those that are not successful and don’t get repeat customers or good levels of sales.
When a potential customer sends you a message you should aim to reply as soon as possible. Also, you want to go above and beyond so that you’re really impressing them. It’s a chance to put your copywriting skills to the test (in a less obvious way). The person on the other end of your message is interested- Don’t spoil lose your chance.
Get someone in your team or who you know to help you out with your communication skills in the beginning. Get it right and you’ll end up with more sales AND repeat customers.
Learn HTML and CSS
HTML (Hyper Text Mark-up Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) are the building blocks of a webpage. They can also be used to style your eBay adverts so that they don’t look bland and boring.
Once you know some basic HTML/CSS all you need to do is open the HTML editor in eBay.
There are many designs available that you can buy to use for your eBay account. I always recommend learning the basics so that you can fully design your own or makes changes to them. Free HTML templates are available from FREE to a few pounds.
EBay sellers with good designs and eye catching descriptions with images and colors look professional.
Remember: The aim is to look professional and get more sales. Learning HTML and CSS (even the basics) can help enormously.
Customer service is the single most important aspect of any business – even yours on eBay. You need to build a great customer service reputation and maintain it.
Communication will set you apart from your rivals; it is the heart of customer service. Communicating with buyers will win you more sales, more repeat sales and that great feedback. People remember great customer service.
Online and offline shopping is all about customer experience. They are as important as the products themselves. The experience you give them, no matter how small, can determine if they return or not.
Some of the world’s biggest companies become the world biggest companies by defining their customer service. It was what set them apart from their rivals. For you, you are never too small to start.
EBay is a buyers’ market. The buyer is spoiled for choice – remember this every time you interact with a customer.
Have specific protocols ready to deal with typical situations that may arise. Be aware of what negatives might come your way and be ready to respond.
Andrew From UnFound - unfound.co.uk