eBay at 20: Twenty Top Tips for Traders from e-commerce expert

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eBay is 20 years old this month. To mark the event marketplace fulfilment expert ParcelHero delivers 20 tips for eBay success

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ParcelHero reveals 20 Top Tips To Mark eBay's 20th Birthday

Once an item has been returned twice no one makes any money on it.

As eBay celebrates 20 years of auctioning the weird and the wonderful, SME e-commerce expert ParcelHero has 20 Top Tips to deliver success for online businesses. Says David Jinks MILT, ParcelHero’s Head of Public Relations: ‘Over the US Labor Day weekend in 1995, eBay’s founder, Pierre Omidyar, wrote the code to create what was then called AuctionWeb and launched it from a spare bedroom. What happened next has become business legend.’

David says: ‘The first item Pierre sold was a broken $30 laser pointer he had bought to make flashy presentations, but ended up using only to make his cat chase the red dot. In that historic listing Pierre admitted the item didn’t work. While no one bid on it for a week, a bidding war started the next week, and the product first listed for $1 ended up selling for $14.83.’

Reveals David: ‘Today Omidyar’s $14.83 profit has risen to a personal net worth of $8.4 billion and the site is one of the 50 most valuable brands in the world, with 157 million buyers, around 25 million sellers and 800 million listings. We don’t guarantee every spare room start-up will achieve the same; but here’s ParcelHero’s Twenty Tips for success’:

1)    Price goods fairly: As long as goods are priced honestly and transparently, they will sell in a short space of time.

2)    Compare delivery options: Not shopping around for the best courier service can really eat into earnings; savings of 70% are currently possible. Consider where to pitch between cost and service quality.

3)    Know the market: Any product will have a specific customer base. Amazon, eBay and Etsy all offer tutorials on how to make the most of their platforms, which makes them very popular with new merchants.

4)    Reading market research conducted by major retailers offers invaluable information into consumer habits.

5)    Establish the brand: Using third party sites like eBay is a way around the initial cost of setting up an online business. Successful businesses will build online presence with an engaging blog to support their eBay store.

6)    Reputation, Reputation, Reputation: New businesses to eBay need to build up a couple of reviews before users are convinced they are a safe and reliable seller. The delivery proposition and costs are also important factors in seller ratings.

7)    Always ask for reviews from customers. Customers flock to sellers who have positive reviews, it just makes sense.

8)    New eBay businesses should aim to sell on other platforms too, because this will make their eBay platform even more powerful. An eBay business can use testimonials from other sites.

9)    Find customers by monitoring social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. Successful eBayers get involved in the conversation they are having about products that they sell.

10) Share videos about the products with tips for potential buyers. People like to know who they're buying from, especially with online stores.

11) Be aware of competitors: Aim if possible to undercut rivals and still make a worthwhile profit. Software is available to track other businesses’ prices on various items.

12)    As eBay sales grow, so will the need to manage and track sales. Selling Manager is a free eBay sales management tool geared to medium-to high-volume sellers that enables retailers to keep track of listings and sales, and create and schedule listings.

13)    Save time: Turbo Lister is free, easy-to-use software that helps create multiple item listings all at once and upload them to eBay.

14)    For swift turnaround of items, the quickest results are through one day listings, however this type of listing doesn’t always lend the best results in terms of traffic, because eBay search results typically take longer than 24 hours to appear in Google.

15)     Bundles usually sell better than individual items. However, if selling highly collectable items, research thoroughly first to ensure the value of each item is maximised.

16)     If selling clothing, Designer labels or well-known brands always sell best as buyers regularly search these. Collectable, retro or vintage items are always sought after, but command less in terms of transaction rates and price points.

17)     Remember to use words like ‘vintage’, ‘designer’ or ‘retro’ in fashion listing’s title as these are the most popular descriptive search terms.

18)     Even if the item being sold is second-hand, if it has quite a high value, it’s worth considering setting a ‘Buy It Now’ price.

19)     Just like Pierre Omidyar and his broken laser pointer, it pays to always be honest about the condition of items. The more accurate the description, the more trust is built.

20)     Finally, successful traders ensure their order picking is effective and they are shipping the correct product and size. Once an item has been returned twice no one makes any money on it.

For more information see: http://www.parcelhero.com/en-gb/courier-services/ebay

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David Jinks
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