Today, starting and growing your own small business is easier than ever thanks to platforms like eBay. Whether you just want a small project on the side or have big business ambitions, eBay can be a great way to show off some entrepreneurship and make a bit of money all on your own. Anyone can set up an account and buy or sell on eBay, whether it’s second-hand items from around the home or reselling wholesale items as an independent online retailer. Of course, however small you are at the moment, there’s a good chance you’re interested in making sure your eBay operation is as successful as possible, maybe even growing it further. We’ve helped eBay sellers and other online retailers grow their businesses with affordable inventory space over the years, so we’ve learned a few tricks ourselves along the way.
Why you need to keep your eBay set-up healthy
A lot of eBay sellers have some ambitions to grow their current operations but even if you’re happy with the number of orders and size of your own at the moment, you still need to make sure you keep it healthy to continue with your current success. There are thousands of sellers on eBay from one-offs to huge online retailers and it can be easy to get lost in the noise or overtaken by new competition if you’re not on the ball.
These tips work wonders for those looking to grow their eBay business, but most of them are just as vital for ensuring that any size eBay operation continues successfully and doesn’t get drowned out by the competition.
1. Find and keep up with trending products
For those just starting out on eBay, the first step should always be some market research to gauge what products are popular and trending both long term and currently. If you’re already a well-establish eBay retailer then you’ll still need to continue this research on an ongoing basis so that you’re ready to take advantage of new trends and don’t spend time or money promoting outdated and unpopular products.
Buying stock of something that doesn’t sell very well or holding onto inventory that is going out of fashion can take up space and cost money. If you’re just selling second-hand items from around the home then trends are still important as you don’t want to spend time and energy on things that just won’t sell. Keep on top of the trends and you may find that what doesn’t sell today will sell tomorrow, so you’ll want to capitalise on these moments.
Image: You can use Google Trends to find and keep up with trending products.
To identify popular products and keep an eye on trends you can use Google Trends and set up Google Alerts that will tell you when particular keywords are rising or falling in popularity. Google Trends can also help you identify any seasonal trends by showing historical search data for certain terms.
You can also use the eBay itself. The search bar provides search suggestions as you type in items, but these are just similar or related products. These suggestions are listed in order of popularity and often include the most popular categories for these products so you can identify some of the most popular products and niches by researching broader topics or find other product lines that are similar to the ones you already sell and are also popular.
Finally, look at the eBay homepage and the seller page here that can give you clues about what is currently selling well on the platform.
2. Drive traffic to your products
Even if you don’t want to actively grow your eBay operation and expand your product range, you’ll still want to ensure that you get traffic to anything that you are selling. This applies to one-off sellers and large retailers alike! There are a few ways you can ensure your items get enough traffic. These best practices usually fall under two main steps; optimising listings to rank on eBay so people can find your products and then making sure your items stand out against the competition so people get clicking.
Optimise your products for eBay
There are hundreds if not thousands of sellers on eBay for many categories on eBay so it’s important to understand how you can ensure your items rank well and get found.
People usually find products on eBay by searching for them and eBay matches items to these searches based on the keywords included in product titles and descriptions. This means that keywords research and what you include in your listing are very important. You can use Googles AdWords keyword planner as a free way to help and you’ll find free versions of other keyword tools like SEM Rush that can help you find out how popular certain search terms are and recommend other popular search terms people use for the same product. Again, the suggestions from the eBay search bar can also help here as well as the Google search bar.
Another good indication of which keywords are likely to rank well for certain products is to look at the competition. Search for the items you are looking to sell on eBay using a variety of different keywords and phrases and take a look to see which competitors are ranking on the first page. Make note of the headlines and descriptions of listings that competitors are consistently managing to rank well with.
You then need to make sure you include the most popular search terms in product titles and descriptions. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when optimising your product titles and descriptions:
- Make the most of the 80 character limit but only include keywords relevant to the product.
- Include attribute keywords relevant to the product such as size, colour, condition, model and style in the title and description.
- Be wary of adjectives and words like ‘amazing’. Although you want to promote your products and make them stand out, buyers won’t use these when searching on eBay.
- Avoid using misleading words, all capitals and unnecessary punctuation like exclamation marks as eBay doesn’t like these and they don’t often perform well.
Of course, people don’t just find products by searching in the search bar. They often refine their searches by specific product attributes such as sub-category, size, colour and even by delivery method and time scale. You’ll want to include as many attributes as possible when creating your listing to help ensure your product appears in as many searches as possible, but you also want to ensure you only include relevant ones so that you get relevant traffic.
You can also pay to promote your listings on eBay and secure good rankings. You only pay a percentage of the item sale price when someone purchases a product so it can often be a relatively affordable way to promote your listings. This is a great strategy if you want to get some sales and feedback on a new product so that it can start performing well on its own or for quickly selling the last of some inventory that is no longer trending or seasonal.
Stand out from the competition
Once you’ve managed to secure your place in one of the top spots for relevant buyer searches, you’ll need to stand out on the page from the competition and get buyers clicking your listing. There are a few best practices to keep in mind when setting up your listings to help them stand out on the page.
- Use clear quality images, the more professional looking the better. If you are selling second-hand products or items from around your home then make sure they are well lit and have as blank a backdrop as possible. If you can find professional images for your items then use one for your first image.
- Take note of the eBay guidelines, including the minimum 500 pixel image size and ensure that your images don’t have borders or seller-added text.
- Differentiate your product and attract buyers by offering additional benefits as possible such as free delivery, click and collect, next delivery and so on but make sure you can deliver on them!
- Make sure you price your product well. Do some research to make sure you’re not priced way above competitors but make sure you consider what you can afford by taking into account your margin, delivery costs and more.
3. Improve product sales
Finally, you need to make sure that your products are optimised to sell once buyers click through and view your listing. Your conversion rate is actually one of the signals eBay will use when ranking your listings, so it’s important you do this alongside the previous steps. Fortunately, many of the things that you use to drive traffic to your products will also encourage conversions so these practices go hand-in-hand.
Make attractive eBay listings
You need to ensure your products are as attractive as possible to potential buyers. You can also use many of these practices to rank well and drive traffic to your listing in the first place.
- Take advantage of the 12 images you can upload for each product. Include different angles and use other items to show the size of items where relevant. If you are selling hand this is even more vital; pictures clearly showing the condition of the product all around will help buyers decide if it’s in a good enough condition. Make sure photos are well lit so people can see accurate colouring and detail.
- Create detailed product descriptions with everything potential buyers may want to know but keep it concise and relevant so they don’t get weighed down by waffle.
- Ensure your products are priced well compared to competitors.
- Use additional promotions such as free delivery, click and collect and fast delivery if possible to attract buyers.
- Display a clear returns policy so customers know they can safely return items if they need to.
Focus on feedback
With eBay it’s all about feedback. Customer reviews are becoming increasingly important for all businesses as more customers than ever have access to the internet and the various review platforms and forums online to leave feedback, but for eBay it’s even more important. Buyers and sellers both can leave feedback for each other, which means it’s not just about ensuring your complete orders on time but also means you can leave good buyer feedback for your eBay customers. Giving feedback is a great way to encourage buyers to leave you feedback in return, so make sure you leave feedback for each one and send them a message afterward to prompt a good review.
Feedback is also a great step towards becoming an eBay top-rated seller. You need to have a high feedback score as well as meet a few other criteria such as a minimum number of sales in the past year and compliance with eBay’s selling policy, but the additional sales you can get are worth it.
Grow your business on eBay
Remember that whether you just want to keep your eBay operation at its current size but running successfully or if you have big plans to grow your business, you’ll need to keep up with all the best practices in this guide. Keyword research, competitor research and optimisations will need to be ongoing if you want to keep your products ranking and selling well.
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