For most people, starting an eBay business is very exciting. The desire to have a successful, thriving business and make lots of money right away can be overwhelming. This makes some new sellers go a bit overboard in the beginning, trying to tackle too much too soon. As a result, many of these sellers burn out early on in the process and never succeed at all.
One of the primary ways new eBay sellers often take on too much is by opening an eBay store as soon as or soon after they start selling on eBay. This is a big mistake and an even bigger waste of money. Opening an eBay store soon after you start selling on eBay is like trying to run before you can walk.
Some new sellers get confused, thinking that having an eBay store is the equivalent of selling items on eBay, that the two are identical, when that's completely incorrect. In other words, they think that they have to open an eBay store in order to list items for sale on eBay -- again, that's totally inaccurate.
There are many, many eBay sellers who don't have eBay stores, and who are still very successful at selling on eBay. In fact, having a store won't do much in and of itself to help sell your items or improve your sales. That's not the purpose of an eBay store, nor is increased sales a normal result of opening an eBay store, unless by pure coincidence.
There are many features of an eBay store that justify its monthly subscription fee and which can greatly enhance your eBay business, but new eBay sellers should not be taking the time to worry about any of these things before they've even established a solid sales flow on the site.
eBay's official recommendation on this is that sellers should not even think about opening a store until they have at least 25 or more listings on eBay at all times, but I would venture to go a bit further. Based on my 8 1/2 years of experience working at eBay and being an eBay Powerseller, I recommend that new sellers wait until they have been selling for at least 3-6 months on eBay as well, and until they are already generating at least $500 a month in sales.
Additionally, once you have met all of the above requirements, if you're still struggling with obtaining enough exposure for your listings and/or getting enough sales, you should hold off opening a store until you've made more progress in these areas.
You need to make sure and spend enough time to become very comfortable and efficient with the eBay listing and selling process. You also need enough time to learn how to refine and improve your listings and your listing strategy, as well as develop a successful approach to gaining exposure in the eBay search results.
You will still have a Seller List that displays all of the items you have for sale. Sure, it's not fancy nor unique -- it looks almost like a regular eBay search results page -- but it gets the job done and then some. In fact, many buyers prefer to review a seller's items from their Seller List instead of their store, since it's very easy to quickly review everything a seller has listed for sale, all on one page, which usually isn't what you'll see on a seller's main store page.
And since there will be a prominent link to "See other items" on every one of your listings, which takes people to your Seller List, it's really unnecessary to also have a store in order for people to quickly and easily see everything you have for sale.
At this point, you may be wondering whether or not you should ever open a Store at all. The answer to that question is a resounding "YES", for many reasons, most importantly the following:
Benefits On eBay
- You'll have a unique, personalized and customized section of eBay just for your listings to be presented to potential buyers.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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!
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The main thing to notice and remember about all of the benefits listed above is that they are all supplementary tools, benefits and resources to help improve your eBay sales, but they won't be very helpful to you unless you already have developed a solid, effective listing strategy and a healthy sales success rate.