If you’re thinking of starting an ebay business then you will need to consider the factors involved and understand your market before jumping into it. While it’s very easy to assume you’ve got an open audience, you really need to plan carefully to make ebay really work for you.
It’s also important to remember that an online business is not necessarily a quick cash solution for making money – while selling your old belongings may offer you some ‘pocket money’, making ebay a decent business concern needs to be approached in exactly the same way as any business.
To give you a helping hand, Little Big Voice Search Engine Marketing has come up with this helpful blog which should guide you through the steps you’ll need to take in order to implement an ebay business that will earn money and one that will help you achieve success.
If you want further information, check out our other blogs as they’re full of helpful advice.
From Buyer To Seller
Most sellers on ebay started their lives out as buyers. As a buyer you gain a certain understanding and knowledge of how the system works. This helps you to identify what problems exist and what buyers are generally looking for. Becoming an ebay buyer is the first step to becoming a dexterous seller and helping you understand what people want when they use the world’s biggest online selling place.
While you stalk through the ebay universe as a buyer for the first time, you should take note of the positive and negative issues encountered along the way. Customer service is a principal concern of any successful business and eBay businesses are no different. In fact, you could say it is one of the most important factors to consider. Your bad feedback is on show for everyone, so ensuring you maintain a good level of customer service will make you stand out.
So, if you’re wondering what customer service means in ebay terms then try to implement the following in to what you do:
- Be efficient – answer questions promptly, ensure the listings are complete.
- If you promise a next day delivery – make sure it happens.
- Try to be honest – while it’s easy to put a sheen on everything, people have expectations and by being honest you’re much more likely to attain good customer service.
eBay itself has its own specific set of circumstances to look at. You must observe details like the accuracy of descriptions for products/items, layout and design, delivery costs, and the quality of communication from the seller. Become an expert buyer first and then evolve into an expert seller as this will save you a lot of time and hassle down the line.
Building Your Store
Setting up your own ebay store and/or website is a good move to make if you are transitioning from buying to selling. The advantages are veritable and invaluable. eBay contains information on how to do this from start to finish and there are a number of handy forums where you can pick up lots of tips from experienced buyers in how to list a lot of products simultaneously, or how to brand your shop.
There are so many options for ebay these days, that you can even have specially coded shop pages to offer a really branded buying experience to buyers.
You may opt for an independent website that can become your primary business “flagship.” This can diversify your business on going and it will allow you to build a subscriber list to benefit both your eBay store and your website business by offering specific discounts or special promotions through ebay and vice versa. Or you can use ebay as a way to gain ‘proper’ traffic to your website. A listing with your website included means the buyer may want to go direct.
Establishing The Market
Note the products/items that are the big sellers on ebay. Research your competitors, their prices, availability and their selling techniques. This is the best way to ascertain the viability of particular items and whether or not you will be able to make a profit from selling them.
ebay is a very fluid market place. You will find that items of mass interest will get a shelf life for a limited period on ebay and then disappear, so try and keep up with what’s happening and what’s popular as this will allow you to gain sales through shorter life items that have a quick turnover rate.
This is simple, pivotal supply and demand research – which sits at the heart of any business venture and it can be surprisingly easy to master if you adapt what you do in the right way.
Also remember to consider things like time it takes to package items or send them out and don’t assume that by being the cheapest you’ll sell more. By nature, ebay buyers take a lot in to consideration before buying. They don’t just want the ‘cheap as chips’ approach and if you’re a good, trusted seller you may find that your prices are justifiably higher than competitors because of the service you offer.
Just don’t undersell your efforts!
Registering Your Business
Registering a business account means registering with a company name. This is the name that will be displayed on invoices and emails etc. This of course requires some basic costs via a monthly subscription fee, but it is relatively low – especially if you’re selling high quantities of goods, so try to think of a name that will allow you freedom of product choice.
You will need to open a Paypal account in order to receive credit/debit card payments. There are various levels of Paypal accounts – some such as the Merchant account deal with business selling and are surprisingly easy to use and implement. A Merchant account allows you to have a much higher receiving limit, whereas a personal account is more restricted, so remember to take this in to account before jumping straight in!
If you do have a personal account that you want to use, remember that should your selling limits get higher, you will need to ‘upgrade’ in order to continue receiving payments.
Once you’ve got your Paypal account set up though, you open your online business up to worldwide trade.
The next thing to do is to contact the Inland Revenue to inform them that you are starting your business, either as a limited company or as a self-employed person. Do not risk penalties by ignoring this either. If you’re earning money from an online source, you will need to tell them as they do run periodic checks!
Finally, unless you’re a whizz with the figures, you might want someone to manage and keep your books and records.
With ebay, you will need to ensure you include the associated costs such as your monthly payments, commissions etc as well, so do make sure that whoever looks after things understands the structure.
Paypal offers a very easy, downloadable accounts feature, which is great for printing off once a month as it keeps track of money going in and out of the account, but also includes the commission payments, so effectively you can run it all from one place.
If you don’t fancy doing it yourself, accountants offer reasonable deals for new businesses to help you with taxes, accounts and possibly even pay-rolls, if you are recruiting staff.