Lesson 11

Supercharging your eBay Business with eBay Tools Part 1

One of the huge benefits of starting an eBay business is how easy it is to list items for sale on the eBay site.  Even if you're not exactly a computer guru nor particularly net-savvy, all you need to do is follow the clear, simple instructions eBay has posted on its site, and you'll be able to start listing items and making money on eBay right away.

This is how many longtime eBay sellers got started, just by following the basics of listing and selling items on eBay.   The difficulty, however, comes when you want to grow and expand your eBay business, beyond just listing a few items at a time.  You soon realize how time-consuming it is to photograph, research, and manually list every single item you have to sell.

If you're like most sellers, at this point you start wondering what you can do to speed things up, as well as make everything more efficient and easier to manage.  After all, time is money, so if it takes you an hour or more to submit a decent listing, you have to wonder whether or not you'll really have the time to ramp up to the level of sales you want anytime in the near future.

eBay hadn't been around very long before its sellers started getting very creative and coming up with tools and programs they could use to submit large numbers of listings in bulk, make bulk revisions to their listings, re-list items in bulk, etc. One major problem with many of these tools, though, was that they had a hard time staying up-to-date with eBay and all its changes.

Additionally, whenever there was a technical problem of some kind within one of these programs, it was often complicated and difficult to resolve, since the issue could reside with eBay, with the program, or both.  Sellers often found themselves stuck between the two entities in these situations - eBay would tell them to contact the program developers, and the program developers would tell them to contact eBay.

Sellers were constantly asking eBay to develop its own tools, so finally, eBay did exactly that.  Little by little eBay created its own tools to handle everything from listing and selling items to inventory management, profit and loss statements, and even consignment.  And although there are still third-party tools that are excellent and offer features that eBay still doesn't, the biggest benefit to using eBay tools is compatibility, as indicated earlier in this article.

Here's an overview and summary of each of eBay's seller tools, and how they can enhance and improve your eBay business, divided into four categories:

●    Listing Tools

●    Tracking/Managing Tools

●    All-in-One Tools

●    Sales Insight Tools

Listing Tools 

Sell Your Item 

Yes, the eBay selling form is considered an eBay selling tool.  But it's being included in this article primarily to compare it with eBay's more robust tools.  The hallmarks of the eBay Sell Your Item form are simplicity and customization, but arguably its biggest drawback is its inability to list more than one item at a time.

Turbo Lister

eBay's other listing tool is Turbo Lister, and it's different from the Sell Your Item item in almost every way.  It's a desktop-based program and is designed primarily to facilitate bulk listing, so it is characterized primarily by grid-view listing and editing, search and toolbar functionality, and inventory management. 

Tracking/Managing Tools

My eBay

Like the Sell Your Item form, My eBay is a built-in tool that every eBay user automatically has at his/her disposal. It's a dashboard containing each member's activity on the site. 

My eBay has everything you need to effectively track your searching, watching, bidding and buying on eBay, but when it comes to selling, once you're listing and selling more than a handful of items at a time, the functionality in My eBay is pretty limited. 

Basically, the main elements of My eBay Selling are monitoring active listings, tracking and managing sales, writing and saving notes for each listing or transaction, and setting up cross-promotions for more item exposure.

Selling Manager 

Selling Manager is an upgraded version of My eBay.  It contains all of the features of My eBay, but adds a great deal of additional functionality as well.  It's not helpful for those who are just eBay buyers; instead, it's designed entirely to assist new and/or small eBay sellers. 

When you subscribe to Selling Manager, the appearance of your Selling page within My eBay changes completely, and in the left navigation column of the page, instead of the standard "Sell" section, you'll suddenly see a section labeled "Selling Manager" instead.

You can tell from the images above how different Selling Manager is from the My eBay Active Selling page.

And in addition to all of the functions present in My eBay Selling,  here are some of the additional benefits present in Selling Manager:

●    Leaving feedback for multiple buyers at a time

●    Using email and feedback templates

●    Printing invoices and shipping labels in bulk

Selling Manager used to cost $4.99 a month, but now it's free for anyone to use, which is a huge benefit for eBay sellers.

Seller Dashboard

One fairly recent addition to eBay's tools for tracking and managing selling activity is the Seller Dashboard, free for all sellers:

eBay's documentation says that the Seller Dashboard is only available to sellers once they have at least 10 or more DSRs (Detailed Seller Ratings) within the past 12 months, but as you can see from the Seller Dashboard example above, this seller doesn't have the requisite number of DSRs within the past 12 months, but obviously still has a visible Seller Dashboard to review.

You can access the Seller Dashboard from its link in the menu that appears when you hover over your Accounts tab in My eBay. 

Listing Analytics 

eBay recently introduced another free tracking and managing tool for sellers, and it has the potential to be very beneficial in a way that no previous tools have been -- to help sellers analyze and improve their exposure in eBay's search results.

Unlike all of eBay's other tools, Listing Analytics is one of the new   series of Apps eBay launched to the site fairly recently as well.     Every My eBay page now has a fourth tab labeled "Applications", where you can access all of the Apps that are currently available, and subscribe to any of them that appeal to you.

Some of the Apps have fees associated with them, but many of them are free, including Listing Analytics.

Here are the main features offered by Listing Analytics:

  • Search for a listing by keyword and instantly know its rank in the search results
  • View the impressions, clicks and sales metrics for all of your listings
  • See how your listings compare to the top five similar fixed price listings
  • Get rolling 30-day trending data for impressions, clicks and sales
  • Learn tips and best practices to help optimize your listings

Again, Listing Analytics is free for all eBay sellers, and it promises to be a huge advancement in allowing sellers more control and insight into their listing performance. 

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