I just got a visit from a friend of mine looking for advices making money online selling products as I do.
He came with plenty of great ideas and wanted me to approve them. Well he got very frustrated, blaming me for not wanted to share my experience. In fact he doesnâ€™t want to hear the truth.
So here are some of my tips and comments about selling on eBay.
The eBay margin is low
Itâ€™s true that your margin will be low after paying all the fees.
But eBay brings you tons of customers all day, everyday and free of charge. Imagine that you sell Abercrombie Jeans and you make a mere $5 net margin... and you feel itâ€™s doesnâ€™t worth it. Not if you sell one a day but what about 200 a month?
Itâ€™s true that you need to pick your niche.
Do you know that in the last 2 weeks, there were 7,690 Abercrombie Jeans listed on eBay and 4,897 were sold? Thatâ€™s 63% selling success. In the same last 2 weeks, 2,608 2Gb generic MP3 were listed and only 630 were sold? Thatâ€™s only 24%
Itâ€™s very important to find a niche. Use the Marketplace Research tool that eBay 'rents' at $25 a month. It gives you plenty of information that will help you to define your niche and your selling points.
Itâ€™s true that opening an eBay store helps a lot.
Start with a basic one, and feed it with tons of products within your niche. It costs less than $0.20 per items per 30 days. Use only gallery feature marketing for your store, everything else is a waste of money. A store has 2 advantages. First, you sell more if potential buyers see that you carry tons of items, they feel more confident. Second, you get cross-sales, they look for jeans and purchase a shirt in your store. We sell 20% of our items from our store.
Itâ€™s true that Store margins are bigger.
If you sell jeans and your auction selling point is $20, the exact same item in your store should be between $25 and $30. Potential buyers see the price difference as savings and bid on the auction. Others just donâ€™t wait the end of the auction and â€œBuy it Nowâ€ at the store price putting more money in your pocket.
Itâ€™s true that email newsletters and flyers work well.
Add an eBay flyer with your shipment and have a regular eBay newsletter. It brings you almost free sales - we get an average 15% customer return from flyers and newsletter - our eBay distribution list is (was) around 3,000, 15% of that is 450 free additional sales. Donâ€™t make daily newsletter, it bothers more than anything and donâ€™t go further than every month.
Itâ€™s false that Reserve Price limit your sales.
A reserve price works much better than a selling point start. For example you want to list a nice pair of jeans and your selling point is $30. Youâ€™ll have more success starting at $0.01 and a â€˜low reserveâ€™ of $30 than a No Reserve and a start bid of $30. Also, when potential buyers look at a list of items, they always visit the cheaper ones even if there is a reserve. Doing so they see you cross-selling products giving you more exposure and more chance to sell something.
Itâ€™s stupid trying making money on shipping
How many items did you purchase at $25 with $20 shipping?
Even if some eBay masters recommend it, itâ€™s a real bad idea. We tried. We sold 10 items in Dutch format $20 price and $15 shipping we sold one only and we got a neutral feedback like expensive shipping. Then we re-listed 10 items at $29.99 and the real shipping cost (5.70) and we sold all of them. Also buyers can file a claim for shipping cost abuse.
Having a lots of feedback helps.
Thatâ€™s true, our feedback pages are visited 2,000 times a day. But you have to start somewhere. When you start at zero donâ€™t try selling big items. Potential buyers will have some concerns risking $2000 with a less than 100 selling positive feedbacks. Start with small items under $50, and raise the bar with your feedbacks rating.
Itâ€™s true that you donâ€™t have to be the cheapest
Thatâ€™s impossible. Just sell your items trying to make money. Do your homework to find your selling point and if you make few dollars, thatâ€™s good. There are always sellers than sell grey market goods, sellers that buy 5,000 items and get bigger discounts. So donâ€™t worry too much about not being the cheapest, just try no being the most expensive.
Itâ€™s bad to use pre-written descriptions
Yes, it is. Some wholesalers and drop-shippers have ready to post items. Imagine that a wholesaler has 300 eBay customers selling the same pair of Jeans at the same price with the exact same description, title and pictures. You are part of the crowd and if one seller has a better discount or looks for a smaller margin, you sell nothing. You have to stand out, make your own descriptions, use your own words, your own pictures, be creative. Now there are 299 similar pairs of jeans and yours. Guess who will sell the most?
The last one for today: NEVER tell anyone.
What your niche is, how much you make etc... In this long post, I never say what my niche is, how successful I am and what is the name of my eBay store... Iâ€™ve enough competitors already :