I have been an eBay seller for a long time. Initially, it was to try it out and ended up finding that it did not work that great for me.
I didn’t spend a lot of time figuring out the reason. I left eBay as it is and moved on to the other business.
Later one day, I heard someone talking about the potential of eBay. After listening to him, I was convinced to give eBay an another chance to see if it works.
Fortunately, I followed the suggestion from that person and ended up making more than $5000 in 6 weeks.
My mind literally was blown away. Then I looked to find what made the difference from the previous experience.
And that is something I want to share in today’s post so you can follow it too.
I know every platform has its own way to sell. Similarly, eBay has its own tricks and process to sell.
Understanding this process was important for me to move in the right direction.
How does eBay work?
eBay as you might know, is a marketplace to sell almost any products. It is free to get started and sell any physical products. The product can be in any condition whether new or old, you can sell on eBay.
There are 2 ways to sell on eBay. Either you can list it as a fixed price product or set it up for bidding.
Each of these has its own pros and cons and used for specific reasons.
However, today I am going to stick with the fixed price listing to show you how it works.
This type of listing worked better for me, as I was selling new products and was targeting to sell items faster.
First, you need to list the product and set a price to it along with shipping and handling fees.
After listing, if someone buys the product you will be notified by email. You will have to ship the product to the buyer within the promised time.
eBay doesn’t enforce you to follow certain policies, like shipping, handling or return policies. eBay lets you decide all that policy by yourself.
All they care is if you are complaint with the commitment you made in the listing or not.
You can set the shipping and processing time, shipping cost and return policy as it fits your needs.
There is also seller rating and dashboard to keep track of your performance on eBay as a seller. These seller rating, as it gets better you would earn new badges and additional tools to help increase your sales.
Monthly Limits – eBay has limits on how much you can sell in a month and as your rating and performance go up the limit could be increased.
eBay Stores – You can also subscribe for stores on eBay. Different levels of stores are available on this platform. And at each level, they offer various benefits like lower fees, more selling limits and a personalized store within eBay.
However, when I started I just started with my individual account. I did not subscribe to a store or had any advanced selling tools with me.
Still, I was able to make a significant revenue without any restrictions.
Initially, I listed only a few items. I was still able to scale up quickly with those items. There is no need to have many items to make a good amount of money on eBay.
3 Things differentiate between a dead or slow selling seller vs a high volume seller.
- A good profitable product that sells quickly.
- The price of the product.
- Number of Competitors.
Without a good research to identify the right product, the chances to sell in eBay are slim for anyone.
Mainly because of the competition within eBay sellers.
You can easily find many sellers, who sell products for a few cents margin and makes up for it with higher volume.
For beginners, it is hard to compete with these sellers.
So we need to stay away from the products that have too many competition.
I use this simple method to find the depth of competition for any product.
Type the product name and search on eBay. Select item location as US only.
In the result, look for a range in pricing. If more than 3 people in the top of the page have listed for $20 then that’s the range.
If you see there are more that 10 sellers selling at this price range. Then it is too competitive. Not the right product for you.
If you see only 3 – 5 sellers than you are good to go.
Find the right product
To identify the right product go to watchcount.com
Look for popular niches. Don’t go with electronics, clothing, fragile, or large goods like furniture.
Pick something in home or garden or kids or some hobby,
Select the category in watchcount.com
And see what is best selling on eBay.
Look for some accessory or tool type products that people use. Also not an expensive one that falls within $20 -50 range. The product should also be small and weight less than 2 lb.
If you find a product that meets the criteria, now go to watchcount.com and look for the past sales data.
If the sales numbers are too high then skip that product. The number should be in 200-400 range so we know the market is not saturated yet.
Spend some time in watchcount.com to dig deeper into the sub-niche until you find a product that is trending up and still doesn’t have a ton of competition yet.
Alternatively, you can look for the best-selling products on Amazon too.
Make sure you pick at least 2 products, so you can have some options.
Once you have the right products next we need to buy the inventory.
Another important aspect of the eBay is your seller rating.
This rating is determined by your sales performance as a seller.
Your customer support data and how much sales you are bringing in to eBay.
To stay on top of this rating, you need to make sure you have the inventory in your control. To ship products on time and provide better customer experience by fixing issues.
To maintain inventory, you need to either buy the inventory in bulk or find a reliable drop shipper. If you had picked an inexpensive product then the cost of inventory would be less.
If you find a drop shipper then you don’t need to buy inventory too.
You can find these wholesalers and drop shippers in Salehoo. I found few reliable suppliers using this directory service and I highly recommend if you are serious about this business in a long term
Once you have the supply chain figured out.
Next, is listing the product.
Listing product in eBay
Keyword research – To find the right keywords, there are many advanced ways to do keyword research on eBay.
However, I follow the simple technique.
Once I identify the product, I just look at the top seller for that product and just copy his title as it is.
When you list your product on eBay it will automatically populate the related product with categories and other details.
Enter this competitor title as it is and accept all defaults and you are done.
Listing details – The basic details that are populated from copying is not sufficient to make a compelling listing. You need to update the description with more details.
Write some personalized message stating the reason why your potential customer should buy your products. And list benefits about the product and its features. Also, don’t forget to advertise about you as a seller.
Believe it or not, many people do read these descriptions and take decisions based on the information.
In one of the post, I had written more than 1000 words description with all the details and description about the product. Guess what that product sold really well. That means people do read your description.
Pay attention to details and make sure your listing has all appropriate information.
If there are any false or incorrect information, it could end up in more returns and complaints. That would cause more damage to your performance as a seller in a marketplace like eBay.
Pictures – Pictures are the most important element in e-commerce. People cannot look at the item so they rely totally on the pictures to take the decision. Make sure the picture are high in quality and clear. Add as many pictures as possible to tell the functions of the product. And how to use it.
Ebay Store – I would park this store setup until you start selling some volume. You can get more benefits from setting up the store only when you sell quite a bit volume of products. They not only cost you monthly but also are only beneficial for high volume sellers.
As I mentioned earlier, pricing is one of the aspects that will make or break your sales.
You need to price your product in the same range as other sellers have listed. Although there is a theory that higher the price more the sales is true to some extent. In eBay keeping within the price range works better to keep the sales coming.
You cannot price the product too high or too low.
However, you can keep testing the price range from time to time and for some product, the higher price might work better.
When trying the higher price of the product looks for the return rate. If the product return rate is low then keep the price.
Sometimes higher price would mean high perceived value and the expectation would be higher. But when the customer receives the item and if it doesn’t meet his expectation then he would get disappointed and return the item.
The right balance is critical to find and once you find it stick to it.
Slowly you will see more competition start coming in as they see you selling more products.
When you have more competition they would start a price war and eventually, you would be fighting for few cents in profit for each product.
Personally, I would quit at this point because I don’t want to waste my effort for low-profit margins. Rather I would find the next product and make some decent money for the time spent.
Seller badges and rating
When you become an eBay seller you will have a seller dashboard and ratings to measure the sales performance.
Better your performance trends without any complaints and in line with compliance, you would start earning badges as you progress to achieve higher levels.
Fast and Free – You get this badge when you offer free shipping and quick processing time of a day or 2. The badge will automatically show up in your listing.
This badge is so powerful because everyone wants free shipping and quick delivery. This badge from eBay ensures that in the listing and helps skyrocket your sales.
Top-rated seller – This level bit hard to achieve, especially for beginners. There are various criteria you need to meet to achieve this level. Return rate, customer complaints, late shipment rate and much more. It’s again a trust badge that will increase your sales.
A marketplace like eBay takes customer service seriously. The site favors buyers more than the sellers. I think customer service is the focus area for most business in this economy. Customer service wins more business and helps longer sustainability.
Whenever a customer has a question, try to answer it as soon as possible. Don’t ignore any questions, even if doesn’t make sense. They are accounted against your seller rating.
Similarly, when a customer raises a complaint about something. Never get into argument or fight. Even if it not your fault, try to help them out and resolve without the intervention of eBay.
If you ask eBay to step in, it’s a negative score in your seller rating.
Getting customer review is also important. Make sure you get good ratings. If any products start getting negative review or complaints, remove that product. It will impact your overall seller rating and impede your ability to sell more products in a long run.
If you mess up something, tell that to your customer openly. Often times you will notice customers are understanding and will try to help you out. Only times they get mad is when you try to manipulate or hide something from the customer.
Quitting a product
All good things should come to an end.
The product sale will be highly profitable only until the competitors find the opportunity and list the same product. Once the market is flooded with more sellers then the price drops and you make less profit. Or the no of units that sells in a month goes down.
Consider these as a symptom and quit that product. There is no point in selling a product with low profit margin. Move on to the next best selling and a profitable product.
Overall selling in eBay is one of the best ways to make money quickly. It is important to follow the process and start making money from selling physical products on eBay.