Tips on Maximizing Your eBay Profits
Tip #1: List a lot of stuff
At the time of this writing, eBay offers free listings. This gratis program is limited to a fixed number per month, but taking advantage is crucial to pumping up your profits. The only cost to you will be your time and effort. Turn off Family Guy long enough to populate your eBay account with the maximum number of free listings every month.
You can use this strategy to learn precisely what sells and what doesn't. Each free listing provides you with a little peek into the minds of your potential customers.
Tip #2: Think of it as an online garage sale
If you haven't been to a traditional garage sale, it's high time to do so. Open your local newspaper and find one in your neighborhood. Join the hordes of otherwise normal folks who troll for bargains every weekend. Paw over stuff that someone else no longer wants or needs.
Do you have to buy anything? No. If you're nervous, leave your money in the car. They probably don't accept credit cards anyway. The purpose of your trip is to acquire strategic knowledge of the 'junk' people sell. Someone is buying this stuff all the time. There's no reason you can't transfer this model to your online store.
Tip #3: Specialize in something, or not
Your eBay store can be a cornucopia of products gleaned from your junk closet or it can be a specialized cache of focused and interrelated items. Everyone's an expert in something: sell that. Leverage your knowledge of Harry Potter trivia into an ongoing relationship with like-minded collectors from around the digital world.
Your shoppers will come to depend on you for your expertise as well as your products. Buyers become loyal when you give them a reason to do so.
Tip #4: Maintain Contact
Never let go of your clients. The cost to acquire a new customer far exceeds the expenses required to keep an existing one. Brick and mortar businesses already know this: it's time for you to understand it as well.
Hang on to your buyers by providing a level of service exceeding their expectations. Typical eBay bidders will become loyal bidders if they know that you care:
- Personalized thank-you notes included with their items.
- A little extra effort put into the packaging.
- A little lagniappe included with the item that was actually purchased.
- Follow-up emails to request feedback and monitor customer satisfaction.
(don't overdo it)
Tip #5: Never give up, never ever give up
Winston Churchill wasn't a big eBay user, but his famous advice still applies. Your sales will ebb and flow like the tides: don't allow your hard work to follow. Keep listing and selling and shipping regardless of incremental profits. Don't focus on how much you made yesterday, rather keep the big picture in mind. A low-margin sale may lead to a big payday somewhere down the road. Keep the customers happy and they will stick with you.
I am reminded of a story told to me by a real estate agent: she listed a modest modular home for a client. The listing was nothing dramatic and promised little in the way of profit, but the seller insisted on an Open House. The realtor followed through. She staged the Open House and sold the property. Shortly thereafter, she received a call from another seller with a new listing. This new seller was impressed with the job the agent had done with his mother's home. He was ready to list his $300K home with the agent.
Tip #6: Consider wholesale sources
Check out wholesale distributors such as alibaba.com. This global leader in e-commerce for small business can help you find manufacturers. It's globally simple to identify products for potential sale on eBay. Simply use the search feature on the site to come up with saleable items along with vendors happy to send you hundreds or even thousands of them.
You can find high-volume items such as pens, mugs, and T-shirts that are easy to list, sell, and ship on eBay. You will also find specialized products and high-value products. Be careful to not get carried away. Only order items that you understand and that you can sell in a reasonable amount of time. The last thing you need is an inventory backlog as an eBay seller.