This is a guest post from SaleHoo member, eBay Powerseller and Former eBay Top Seller Account Manager, Erika Garnica.
When eBay announced recently that SIF (Store Inventory Format) listings would be going the way of the dodo, there was widespread panic, confusion and concern on the part of many eBay sellers. In my capacity as an eBay trainer and consultant, I spoke with dozens of these sellers around the time of the announcement, and the overriding question most of them asked me was, “Should I close my store?”
Like many others, these sellers were under the mistaken impression that the primary benefit of having an eBay store was the lower insertion fee associated with SIF listings. I’m going to tell you now what I told them, and what I hope you remember forever.....the main benefits of having an eBay Store have nothing to do with lower insertion fees. They never have.
But first, the answer to the question, “Should I close my store?” in most cases is a resounding “NO!” If your eBay selling activity merits opening a store in the first place, then by all means, keep it open! In my opinion (one which was formed during 6 1/2 years working at eBay in Seller Support, followed by the next 1 1/2 years as an eBay expert and Powerseller), the only sellers who should not open an eBay store (or keep it open, as the case may be), are those whose monthly sales are less than $100, and/or who only list a few items here and there, those who aren’t serious about selling on eBay and making a living at it.
Anyone who has around at least 20-25 listings up on eBay all the time and/or is making a few hundred dollars or more on eBay every month can benefit greatly from opening an eBay store.
I could write volumes about all of the benefits of having an eBay Store, but in the interest of presenting you with an understandable, concise summary, I’m going to divide them into 2 types of benefits -- benefits ON eBay and benefits OUTSIDE of eBay.
Benefits On eBay
1. You'll have a unique, personalized and customized section of eBay just for your listings to be presented to potential buyers.
2. You'll be able to develop your own brand, including a color scheme, theme, logo, and format for your Store, to become more memorable and recognizable to other eBay users, particularly buyers.
3. You'll be able to have a Store header at the top of all of your item descriptions that includes links to some of your Store products/categories/pages, your Store logo and/or color scheme, and even a search box for buyers to search all of the items in your store right from an item page for one of your listings.
4. You'll have access to many additional advertising and marketing tools and techniques, including the ability to create Promotional Boxes to display prominently on your main Store homepage, announcing new items, specials, sales, or featured products
5. You'll have an email mailing list for which eBay users can sign up and opt in to receive promotional emails, newsletters, etc. from you, all of which will include links to some of your current listings so people can essentially buy your items right from their email inboxes!
6. You'll have several different buttons, links, icons, logos, etc. you can use to promote your store and drive attention and traffic to it.
Benefits Outside eBay
1. Having an eBay Store is one of the most effective methods of obtaining exposure for your listings outside of eBay. There are many features included with an eBay Store that can provide greater prominence to your listings within the search results on Google, Yahoo and other search engine websites, and many of these don’t exist within regular eBay listings. For example, the Search Engine Keywords feature within “Manage My Store” gives you the invaluable opportunity of determining your own keywords and meta tags for Google indexing.
2. Along with that, there are certain sections of your eBay Store that are highly searchable on the internet, even more so than your Store in general, and you can optimize those aspects of your Store quite easily to improve your rankings in the search results on Google, Yahoo, and other search engines. One of the most notable of these is the custom pages you can create, which are considered extremely content-rich and thus, highly searchable.
3. You'll have a FREE subscription to Traffic Reports, which measures how many people visit your store, where they came from, what they looked at/clicked on within your store, what keywords they typed in that took them to your store, etc., so you can continue refining and streamlining your store pages, keywords, etc. and constantly be improving it to obtain more and more traffic and site visitors which will then turn into more and more buyers, purchases, sales, and money for you.
4. You'll have several different buttons, links, icons, logos, etc. you can use outside eBay to promote your store and drive attention and traffic to it.
5. You'll have several promotional tools available to you so you can print store-branded business cards, promotional flyers, email templates, etc. and market your store both online and offline.
Last but definitely not least, you'll be given a toll-free telephone number to contact eBay Stores Support, which is a luxury non-Store sellers don't get unless they become a Powerseller, instead of or as well as having a Store.
Believe it or not, these fantastic features and benefits are just the tip of the iceberg of the vast multitude of functionality and abilities suddenly available to you when you open an eBay Store. Every serious eBay seller needs to have a Store, without question.
eBay User ID theauctionguru
eBay Powerseller and Top-Rated Seller
Former eBay Top Seller Account Manager