10 years ago ebay was supply-sided – you could pretty much put any commodity or niche item on ebay and get a good price. Now there is much more competition and margins are much slimmer. However, ebay can still be an effective part of your business plan, especially if you set-up a good system and utilize ebay’s potential.
The biggest thing ebay has to offer is exposure with low overhead. It costs nothing to get started and only minutes to setup an account. Selling on ebay will put your business and products in front of a much larger audience than you would have solely on a website or selling at at store/outdoor market, etc.
Please, please, please! Before you start going crazy, do 2 things:
1) Research – use ebay’s “Completed listings” tool to research the item(s) you are thinking of selling. This is a quick and dirty way to determine whether there is a market for your products.
2) Test – Before you scale-up, test out ebay to determine: how much you can get for your products(s), learn the system so you know how to work ebay efficiently.
Efficiency on ebay is key, whether you are buying or selling. www.Auctiva.com is a tool I used for yeras – it is a great way to list and schedule items very quickly and manage your inventory. Once you find out what sells best you can quickly list and re-list the same items with Auctiva tools. When you scale up it is esential to have a good inventory control system and communication system as well. Works the numbers to figure out how much you can make and how much time it will take you. An efficient system can mean the difference between $1/ hour and $30/ hour.
Think about your selling strategy on ebay. I used to start everything at a penny before that was common. Got me a lot of bids and if you have niche items, dont be afraid to start bidding very low- its scary but this will get you more traffic on your auctions and most of the time result in higher overall bids. This is where testing comes in – figure out a selling strategy that works for your particular class of products. I sold low-cost items that sold for a few bucks and charged $4.99 for shipping first item, and $1.99 thereafter. Some people feel slimy when they do this, but its ok, buyers factor this into the cost and it reduces your risk exposure.
Utilize ebay features such as Ebay Store – its a few bucks/ month but very effective. Also there is a bunch of free stuff like the About Me page and Feedback. Give good feedback and you will get good feedback. It is essential to have a feedback rating of 98% or better. Use their mailing list features to keep in touch with your customers and I believe you can also promote your website somehow.
The bottom line is unless you are selling something rare, you will not make a fortune on ebay. BUT if you are getting started in business, I highly recommend you open an ebay account and start selling, even just a few things. This will give you invaluable experience and help you develop a loyal customer base.