From Fine to Fabulous: 7 Ways to Improve Your eBay Business

by Kentin Waits on 30 May 2013 2 comments

Online auction heavyweight eBay has gone through a sea change since it was first launched in 1995. For sellers and buyers and alike, the site has never been more robust, feature rich, or easier to use than it is right now. But a booming business brings tight competition, and when you combine more people online with easier listing processes, you get a rarefied selling atmosphere where merchants need to stay on top of their game in order to win. (See also: Shop Like a Ninja on eBay)

I’ve been selling on eBay since 1999, and I’m always tweaking my strategy to keep my sales consistent and my motivation intact. For longtime sellers and for those new to the biz, I’ve created seven tips to boost sales and keep your customers coming back.

1. Personalize Your About Me Page

Your brand is your business, and eBay’s About Me page gives buyers a chance to read your story and learn more about the types of items you offer. It’s a great place to showcase what’s for sale, tout your feedback rating, and reiterate your general selling, payment, and shipping policies. Take a few minutes to customize this page with an image and well-written copy. It will help market your business to current and future fans.

2. List Like a Searcher

Failing to think like a searcher or buyer is perhaps the most common mistake online sellers make. From keyword usage in titles to detailed descriptions and multiple photographs, it’s essential to channel buyers when you’re selling anything. Ask yourself what words or word combinations would buyers likely use to find an item? What parts of it will they need to see? What measurements or specs will be important to them? What extras are included? Anticipate the common questions buyers might ask and write a description that proactively answers them all.

3. Post More Photos

It’s simple; photos sell items. eBay’s revised fee structure encourages sellers to post more photos by no longer assessing charges per image. Get shots from different angles and perspectives, showing both the positive and negative details of your item. Use adequate lighting and experiment with simple photo-editing software to improve and refine picture quality.

4. Bullet-Point Your Descriptions

Buyers are often in a hurry — the simpler and faster you make the buying process, the better. Rather than long paragraph descriptions, try listing all relevant pieces of information in easy-to-scan bullet points and arrange them in order of importance. Be brief, clear, accurate, and concise.

5. Provide Tracking Information

eBay’s seller dashboard makes updates easy. Let sellers know when an item ships and, if relevant, provide tracking numbers so buyers can check on their shipments independently. This will help reduce random "Where’s my package?" questions for you and is just good customer service.

6. Include a Thank-You

Including a printed thank-you note in each package you ship is a smart professional touch that will help buyers remember you and, hopefully, keep them coming back again and again. Make sure your note includes your seller ID to make follow-up shopping easier.

7. Leave Appropriate Feedback

Honest and timely feedback is the lifeblood of any online shopping system. Although I’m personally not a fan of sellers being unable to leave negative feedback for buyers on eBay (a change that creates an imbalance in the feedback system and makes little sense in the grand scheme of things), at least there’s a structure in place to promote easy communication and independent resolution between buyers and sellers. Encourage your buyers to leave appropriate feedback if they’re happy with the transaction and to contact you if there’s an issue that might lead to a negative score.

eBay remains a fantastic venue for moving miscellaneous items as you declutter, making a few extra bucks flipping vintage items, or liquidating a large collection. Sellers just need to work a bit harder, know how to market themselves, and take full advantage of the technology.

Are you an eBayer? What methods do you use to boost sales and distinguish your service from the competition?

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I read your article and i have been swayed by it! I am thinking of opening a business in ebay and i have found your article to be extremely useful. I would like to know if you have any recommendations/suggestions regarding the ebay business i want to go into. You definitely know what you are talking about and would love to receive advise and suggestions from you.

Thank you

Kentin Waits's picture

Thanks for your comment. My first question would be, what are your interest and skills? It's always best to focus your energies and structure your business around what you know best and what you're most passionate about. How might those skills translate into a viable eBay business? Happy to explore ideas with you.