We've talked about the influence of Pinterest on e-commerce marketing efforts in this blog before, so it should be no surprise that the highly successful format has spawned a few high-profile clones. One such clone, eBay Collections, may just be your ticket to developing a faithful following for your eBay Sellers account.
Today we'll go over the platform, and examine some of the ways in which you can leverage it to build an online fan base.
eBay Collections are a sort of board where you post items that you pick yourself. It's fully customizable and can be organized into themes. It's a little like a standalone featured/similar products page. So you get your customers to examine one type of item and you can cross sell them on all of the related products that also appear on your board.
Of course, your Collections page isn't limited to your own items. You can hand pick any number of products to appear in your collections. Bear in mind, though: you may end up selling some inventory for your competitors. Still, there's a purpose to doing that as well, which we'll cover in a bit more depth in the next section. For now, it's enough to know that your Collection serves as a topical product feed that can attractively display any number of products sold on eBay.
But that's not all they do. With eBay Collections you can find products you want to sell, that will go well with your other offerings, by following other seller's collections. You can even get your Collection featured on the eBay homepage, massively increasing your store's exposure.
It's even possible for your Collection to begin “Trending” so that all sorts of people in the eBay community can explore your inventory, and find your seller's account through the Collection's search function, which filters by both category and keyword.
eBay Collections works as a social commerce feature. That means networking and building online relationships will help you build your own following. Just as you would follow, comment, like, favorite, and interact with fans or folks that you're following on any other social network, you can do the same with eBay collections.
When you begin following a Collection and/or eBay Collections member, they will begin to appear in your feed. Furthermore, these collections/members will also appear in your update feed's overview, which appears on the left side of your Collection's page.
Following other boards serves as an easy source of inspiration, but moreover it connects you to a burgeoning community of online sellers. You can find commonalities between your brand and a fellow seller, develop professional contacts, and build your own following by connecting with others. You may even run into opportunities for cross-promotions.
Even if you don't want to delve too deeply into this “sleeping with the enemy” kind of strategy, you can still build your own brand awareness, by promoting your own items through your eBay Collection. eBay has made it supremely easy to start Collections. All you have to do is find an item that fits with your planned theme, go to its product page and click “add to collection,” below the “Add to watch list” drop down menu.
This will prompt you to either select an already existing collection, or to name your first collection, as well as entering a description to it. This is an excellent opportunity to engage in some SEO tactics normally reserved for product pages.
The next thing you'll have to do is promote the items in your inventory that match a chosen theme. The entire point of Collections is to build a list centered on a passion. The whole idea of “sell what you love” is a hotbed of controversy. Some say it's helpful to do so because you're familiar with your subject matter, others claim that it's too idealistic and often impractical.
Either way, it's the stated purpose behind eBay Collections, so my suggestion is to find a unifying theme in your products and promote them as a group. If you don't actually love what you're selling, then it's probably best to affect that appearance. In my experience, passion is always more persuasive than objectivity.
Now you can also add items that you don't sell to your Collections. Promoting these items that belong to other sellers isn't necessarily a bad thing. As I mentioned, it will help build good will between your brand and theirs. Better yet, it increases your chances of getting your collection to “trend.” When this happens, your collection will receive a ton of exposure. More exposure to your collection means more exposure for your brand, and obviously more sales as well. There are certainly enough consumers out there to keep more than one seller in business.
Following other seller's items or collections, and/or adding their items to your own can have a boosting effect to your own sales. You'll be reeling in other seller's followers by combining their offerings with your own. It's a very non-intrusive method of cross-promoting.
There are a few extra things you need to consider when adding to your collections. Because the items you're adding are essentially just product pages, you need to make sure that all the items in your individual collections are all still high-quality listings. Of course, you already know how to build beautiful product pages for yourself, but you need to make sure any other items you add that don't already exist in your own inventory follow the major caveats of product page creation:
Anything less will reflect badly on your own business. The idea here is to receive credit for other seller's hard work by curating their listings in your own collection, while not getting any of the grief they might get. That means being selective about the products you include.
If there's one single most important consideration it's definitely the product image. The Collections board is, in essence, a visual experience created to elicit a visceral reaction from visitors. If the imagery isn't up to par, then you'll never achieve that effect. So make sure every item is presented properly!
eBay collections is a new and interesting development in the e-commerce giant's portfolio. What do you think about its long-term implications? Let us know in the comments section.