Opening an eBay store is novice internet entrepreneur’s dream. All you have to do is get a product, put it online, and watch the offers come pouring into your inbox.
Well, unfortunately, things don’t work like that-at least not anymore. Maybe in 1999 that would have been a viable business plan, because at the very least, any sliver of sales would have had some big company offering to buy you out for way more than you were worth. However, in 2010, it’s a lot harder to do that. People have way too much control over what they see on the internet, and you can’t force them to your site simply by uploading some interesting pictures of your new “suits for dogs” line of clothing.
So what do you need to be aware of before you open up that eBay store. Take it from a guy who has tried, failed and tried again, there are some things you just have to know, that eBay wont’ tell you, prior to ever publishing your inventory to eBay.
1. Even though you are on eBay, people are not just going to show up at your site.
It would be nice if all things were fair and that putting your new line of t-shirts on eBay were subject to as many eyeballs as the more notable lines already on the site, but it just doesn’t work that way. So be prepared to put in a lot of work to get people to visit your eBay store. You also have to consider how you want people to find the items in your eBay store. On the one hand, you can have your items listed as auction items, in which case somebody looking for your item, at your price, has a pretty good chance of finding your store. Of course, putting your items in eBay’s auction listings cost more than simply listing them in your store. If you opt to go that route, however, you can take other measures to have your items found, but they include search engine marketing and online advertising, which means you will then have to familiarize yourself with these concepts.
2. Is your product different from everybody else’s? Be honest!
One of the problems people have in starting an eBay store is that they think their stuff is so different and that it will automatically create this unique selling point as a result of their distinctiveness-and in some cases, that is exactly what happens. But in most cases, your product is no different from what a hundred other people are selling. There’s nothing wrong with that thought, you just have to recognize that. Unlike in a brick and mortar operation, when people come to your eBay store, they still are presented with a myriad of outside options and can easily click to something else, shop and compare. So unless your products are really that different from everybody else, you’re not going to stand out and you’re not going to make sells on the basis of having a unique product alone. Combating that is easy though, you just have to admit that your product is not as different as you thought. Simply alluding to different aspects of your product, coming up with unique pricing strategies, and offering discounts, stories and other ancillary products and services can create a brand that makes your product stand out when your product isn’t unique enough to do that on its own.
3. Even if you have everything right, you still won’t make sales in the beginning.
One of great things about eBay is that they create a pool of traffic from which you can pull visitors to your own site, and you can do it at a relatively low cost as well. However, eBay is big on trust, and if you are new people naturally don’t trust you yet. Even getting that initial sell is difficult, when there are now ratings, no reviews and no history for potentials buyers to rely on when purchasing your products. People won’t buy from somebody they don’t know they can trust, especially when they have multitudes of brand name stores, as well as hundreds of tenured eBay sellers, offering products and customer service that has stood the test of time. Lucky for you, you can overcome this buy having some of your friends buy your products from you eBay store during its initial stages. Have them write reviews and rate your transactions. Just having that initial quality sell is very important, because it will allow the next potential buyer to see that you aren’t on eBay trying to scam people. And make sure once you do get that first buy (from someone other than your friend) make sure you treat them well. A mess up early on in the process can derail your eBay store from the beginning. So even if you’re right and your potential first customer is asking for something outrageous, do your best to appease that person.