eBay

eBay 104 – eBay Pricing: Setting Appropriate Prices

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how to sell on ebay

Determining the right price for your item on eBay can be tough and there are a number of things to consider. This article walks through two methods that you can use for finding the elusive pricing sweet spot where customers will pay it and you’ll still be profitable. Pricing is all about trial and error, so we recommend using both of them together and seeing what works best for you and your business.

Method 1 – “Bottom-Up”

When you look at your eBay pricing from a “bottom-up” perspective, you’ll take all of your costs into account, determine the margin you want to make, and set a price that way.

1. Start With Your Raw Materials

Keep track of what materials you use to make your items, how much of the material you use per item, and what the cost was.

eSale Expert Tip: You may be able to reduce your material costs by buying materials in bulk if you have the volume to support it, or by substituting a different kind of material!

 

2. Bring In Your Overhead Costs

List out all of your business expenses that are not directly related to an item, such as rent or utilities for a studio, the cost of certain equipment that you use, or general marketing expenses. Add these up and then divide the number of items you produce to get a sense of the overhead cost per each item.

eSale Expert Tip: You may be able to reduce your overhead cost per item by increasing the number of items that you can produce or by using cheaper equipment or space!

 

3. Account For Your Labor Cost

It takes time to make, process, and ship your items out to customers. Think about each of your production steps from start to finish and note how long it takes you to fully process one sale. Next determine how much you should be “paying yourself” for your effort. How much would you pay someone else to do it? Does that change because it’s you as the business owner completing the tasks? If you’re the only one running your business, even if you’re having fun and it doesn’t seem like work, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give yourself a fair wage.

eSale Expert Tip: You may be able to reduce your labor cost per item by making certain steps in your process more efficient or by adjusting your own wage!

 

4. Choose a Profit Margin

Now that you know all of your costs, you can determine the price to set. Are you okay with just breaking even since you’re paying yourself, or are you looking for more of a profit? Are you going to stay selling direct to customers who may pay a higher margin, or are you thinking about going the wholesale route where they’ll require a lower margin to you? Make sure to consider both where you are now and where you want to be in the future.

Method 2 – “Top-Down”

When you look at your eBay pricing from a “top-down” perspective, you’ll take other factors into account aside from your costs to determine the price you want to set, then use that information to adjust your costs if necessary.

1. Understand Your Target Customer

Is your customer someone who has a lot of money to spend on things they want, or someone who tries to save for things they need? Do they appreciate the value of handmade items and are willing to pay more for them, or do they mostly look for low-priced items? Are your items good as gifts for which someone may pay a little more, or are your items mostly used by the purchaser? Make sure to fully define your customer and understand their pricing preferences.

eSale Expert Tip: You may be able to gain some insight into your customers by asking around to friends or people you know who fit your target!

 

2. Research Other Sellers

Even if you items are one-of-a-kind, there may be other eBay sellers who sell similar items. Take a look around the eBay site for items similar to yours and see what their prices are. Take this information with a grain of salt though – other sellers may have different costs, goals, or value for their products, so you don’t always need to beat or match them (this is especially true if your competitors are larger sellers).

Final Thoughts

When you use both of these methods, you may actually come up with completely different prices, which can be a good thing! That can indicate that your costs or business model may be mis-aligned with your target market, which gives you an opportunity to adjust something before it’s too late. At the end of the day, your eBay prices should both represent the value of your products while still giving you the profit you desire. This is your business – don’t take anything for granted!

eBay 102 – SEO: How to be found in eBay Search

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how to sell on ebay

eBay is a marketplace with millions of sellers and tens of millions of items, and one of the biggest concerns we hear from eBay sellers is “How in the world can I ensure that people find my products when they search for them?”

But just showing up isn’t enough. If you’re like the majority of shoppers out there, when you search for a product or a website, you rarely go past the first page – in fact, one study suggested that less than 10% of Google searchers went past the first page of results. Given that information, it can seem like a daunting task to have anyone find your products, but don’t worry – it comes down to just a handful of SEO tricks.

SEO Basics

SEO or “Search Engine Optimization” is the process of improving how high you show up in search results. When you hear “SEO”, it’s probably being referred to web search engines like Google or Yahoo, but marketplaces like eBay also have their own internal search engines that can be optimized. Each search engine or marketplace creates its own priorities for how it displays search results, so in this article we’ll explore only eBay’s.

It’s All About Relevancy

eBay’s search result algorithm tries to determine how relevant products are to what was being searched for, and relevancy comes down to basically three things for eBay – WHAT the product is, HOW customers respond to it, and WHO the seller is. There are seven things that you can do to affect the “WHAT”, “HOW”, and “WHO” to improve your eBay SEO:

1. Title – “WHAT”

Why It Matters:
-It’s the clearest description of what your product is
-It’s the first thing a customer reads
-eBay directly uses the words in the title to determine relevancy

How To Optimize It:
-Clearly describe your product at the beginning of the product title
-Use words you think a shopper may use
-Use proper spelling and capitalization
-Don’t use the same word many times
-If you have many similar products, list them as variations or change the order of words slightly so you’re not competing against yourself
-Add secondary descriptive words at the end

Good Examples:
-Vintage Gold Necklace with 14-inch Chain
-Custom Rustic Wedding Invitation – 5×7″
-Baby’s Bib with Cars and Stars – Cute and For All Ages

Bad Examples:
-14-inch Necklace – Gold and Vintage
-wedding invitation, yellow invitation, rustic invitation for weddings
-OMG Super cute bib for babies that has cars and stars on it fits everyone

2. Keywords/Tags – “WHAT”

Why They Matter:
-They help eBay determine what your product is outside of just the title
-They let you get your product in front of more customers who aren’t searching for your exact specific product

How To Optimize Them:
-Use all 13 keyword slots you’re allowed
-Be a mix of specific and general
-Put yourself in the shoes of customers – if you wouldn’t use them yourself to search for your product, don’t use them
-Repeat only the most important words from your title
-Put the most important words first in the keywords just like the title, but the order of the keywords themselves do not matter
-List synonyms and variations of your product
-Search for your product on eBay to get ideas of what else exists – the suggestions are based on actual eBay searches
-Phrases are better than single words
-Don’t worry about capitalization or adding an “s” at the end to make them plural – they’re treated the same
-If you have room, you can add a few misspellings of keywords, but the number of people searching for a misspelling will be far less than people searching for a real keyword

Good Examples:
-gold necklace, vintage necklace, yellow necklace, rustic necklace, gold jewelry, vintage jewelry, gift for mom, gifts for her
-custom wedding invitation, rustic wedding invitation, custom invitations, handmade invitations, handmade wedding invitations
-bib, baby’s bib, girl’s bib, boy’s bib, bib with cars, boy’s bib with cars, homemade bibs

Bad Examples:
-gold, vintage, jewelry, necklace, yellow, necklace gold, necklace vintage
-paper products, things for weddings, wedding, invitation, weding, weddig, homemade, handmade
-cute, boys, girls, baby, babies, cars, homemade

3. Category – “WHAT”

Why It Matters:
-Categories can act as keywords too
-Customers can filter results by category

How To Optimize It:
-Put your products in the proper category
-Be as specific as possible

4. Images – “HOW”

Why They Matter:
The number or quality of images does not directly improve search ranking, but images help indirectly because:
-They help grab customer interest and lead to clicks, which improve relevancy
-They help convert sales from your pages, which improves relevancy

How To Optimize Them:
Show a variety of images:
1. The plain shot – Your product clearly visible against a plain white background – it’s the best way to show your product for what it is and the plain background helps show off the details, even for a white product
2. The close-up – A zoomed-in shot of the fine details of your product – this image can help show off the texture of your item and the quality of your work
3. The reference point – Your product next to something else to show relative size (such as a necklace on a neck or a bar of soap in a hand) – this image gives customers a better sense of how big your product is since it can sometimes be hard to visualize when given just dimensions
4. The lifestyle – Your product in its “natural element” – this image is perfect for a piece of art or clothing to help the customer get a sense of what it’ll look like in action
5. The container – If your product comes in a nice-looking box or case, showing an image of that can help complete the circle for a customer

If you’d like some extra help with your images, take a look at our image optimization service.

5. Description – “HOW”

Why It Matters:
The description does not directly improve search ranking, but it does help indirectly because:
-It helps convert sales from your pages, which improves relevancy

-It helps lead to favorites/followers from potential customers, which improves relevancy

How To Optimize It:
-Be just as robust as if you were actually having a conversation with someone
-Be a mix of both sales-focused and technically descriptive
-Put the most important information first
-Ensure that all of someone’s questions are answered by what you write: How big is the product? Who is it for? How did you make it? Why is it better than something else? What is it made out of?
-Use proper grammar and spelling
-Match your brand style

6. Feedback – “WHO”

Why It Matters:
-Better feedback from buyers increases your likelihood of being a Power Seller and showing up higher
-Customers trust sellers more who have better feedback scores, which leads to more sales and more relevancy

How To Optimize It:
-Actively give buyer feedback
-Ask for reciprocal seller feedback
-Ensure items are as described
-Ship items promptly
-Respond quickly to any buyer questions or concerns

7. Policies – “WHO”

Why It Matters:
-Better return, shipping, and other policies make customers more likely to purchase your product
-Better policies can improve seller feedback score

How To Optimize It:
-Offer a loose return/refund policy
-Offer free shippings

What Doesn’t Improve Search Rankings

-Order of keywords
-Listing count
-Your location relative to the customer

Final Tips

-Test, test, and test some more
-Don’t change a lot of things at once – try a few things at a time to see what works
-Give it time – improvements in search results don’t happen overnight
-If you get stuck, don’t be afraid to send us an email at support@esalesolutions.com and we’ll be happy to answer any questions!

eBay 101 – The Basics: How to Sell on eBay

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how to sell on ebay

This article walks through the basic components of how to succeed on eBay. For a full guide of how to create your eBay account in the first place, sign up for a free (no credit card required) trial of the eSale Portal here and download the guide from the first page.

eBay is an e-commerce leader with more than 157 million customers globally. Over the last 20 years, eBay has grown from a place to sell your old junk to a core part of the e-commerce strategy of successful businesses, and worldwide eBay merchants sell over $2,600 worth of goods per second. Sellers on eBay can choose from a variety of plans, but the most basic fees are a $0.30 listing fee per product per month plus a 10% commission on the sale with PayPal (if that is the payment method) charging an extra 2.9% plus another $0.30. Despite the number of customers shopping on eBay, success doesn’t happen automatically and there are six things to keep in mind when selling on eBay:

Seller Name

Your eBay seller name is not the most important factor in determining whether or not you will succeed, but it definitely helps to create a sense of credibility and branding. Some things to keep in mind when coming up with your shop name:

1. Originality is good – Names that are memorable and interesting have a better chance of being remembered by your customers, as are those that can invoke an emotional connection.
2. Simplicity is also good – Long names are hard for us to comprehend and remember, so keep it to the point. Capitalize multiple letters where it makes sense to separate words and try to avoid uncommon spellings so that it’s easy to find you again.
3. Be yourself – This is your business, not someone else’s. Make sure your name represents you and your style.
4. Make sure it’s available – Search for the shop name on eBay and on various search engines and social media platforms. If someone searches for your name, will you come up or will someone else? Double check to make sure your name isn’t trademarked by someone else either.
5. Don’t let your name limit you – If you only sell one type of product, it might make sense to have that be a word in your shop name. But if you’re thinking about expanding into other categories, you don’t want to mislead customers who read your name.
6. Add modifiers if your name isn’t available – Adding words such as “shop”, “store”, “boutique”, and others to your shop name can help you set it up even if someone else has a similar name. Be careful with this though – you don’t want to be confused with someone else!

Product Selection

eBay isn’t tailored to certain categories (though some have argued it’s more for random items than established sellers, which isn’t necessarily the case). And the customers who shop on eBay aren’t necessarily the same ones who shop on other channels or who come to see your products in person, so put all of your items up there and see what happens! Even though you’re charged a small fee for each listing, consider it a marketing expense to let your eBay customers tell you what’s working and not working. After a few months of seeing what items are selling the best, make adjustments as warranted.

Think about when you go shopping either online or offline – do you prefer to see a wide range of products or do you want to see only a handful? A broader selection gives you credibility and the best opportunity to sell something. eBay doesn’t have a limit to the number of products you can list so take full advantage of the opportunity!

Product Titles

The title of your product is by far the most important factor in determining whether it will sell. Not only is it the first thing a customer reads about your product both inside and outside of eBay, but it also helps eBay determine how relevant your product is to a customer’s search (and therefore how high up to show it on the page of results).

Make sure to clearly describe your product at the beginning of the product title, so start strong and use keywords you think a shopper may search for. For example, “Vintage Gold Necklace with 14-inch Chain” is a better title than “14-inch Necklace – Gold and Vintage”.

Keywords

Keywords are another big part of eBay’s search algorithm and are very helpful for showing your products when customers search for them. Use a mixture of specific and general keywords, such as “fine jewelry”, “gold necklace”, “necklace”, “vintage jewelry”, “vintage necklace”, “fun jewelry”, etc. Put yourself in the shoes of a customer – if you yourself would not use that word or phrase to search for a product, it’s probably not a good one.

Images

The quality of product images is probably the thing that varies the most among eBay sellers. When you personally shop online, you can tell the difference between good and bad images, and you should keep that in mind when taking images of your own products. You don’t need to be a professional photographer, but we do recommend showing at least a few different views of your products (as a side note, eSale can help optimize your images for display on eBay):

1. The plain shot – Your product clearly visible against a plain white background. It’s the best way to show your product for what it is and the plain background helps show off the details, even for a white product.
2. The close-up – A zoomed-in shot of the fine details of your product. This image can help show off the texture of your item and the quality of your work.
3. The reference point – Your product next to something else to show relative size (such as a necklace on a neck or a bar of soap in a hand). This image gives customers a better sense of how big your product is since it can sometimes be hard to visualize when given just dimensions.
4. The lifestyle – Your product in its “natural element”. This image is perfect for a piece of art or clothing to help the customer get a sense of what it’ll look like in action.
5. The container – If your product comes in a nice-looking box or case, showing an image of that can help complete the circle for a customer.

Descriptions

When you sell your products online, you lose the opportunity to talk to your customers directly. Your product descriptions therefore need to be just as robust as if you were actually having a conversation with someone. Be a mix of both sales-focused and technically descriptive and ensure that all of someone’s questions are answered by what you write. How big is the product? Who is it for? How did you make it? Why is it better than something else? What is it made out of? Do your products justice and don’t skimp on the descriptions! Good grammar and spelling are important too, as is making sure that your descriptions match your brand style.

Price

Pricing is the biggest concern we hear from eBay sellers – “How should we price our products to make money but also compete against other sellers?” In short, the price of your product should represent the true value of your item, which admittedly can be hard to determine.

Make sure that your price represents the quality and craftsmanship of your items, and ensure that your titles/descriptions validate your price. Adding words such as “handcrafted”, “one-of-a-kind”, or “limited edition” can help justify a higher price. When in doubt, look at your competitors too – if you can afford to match or beat them on price and still make the margin you want, it may be worth a test to see how customers respond.

Final Thoughts

Despite its stigma as a website for “auctions of junk”, eBay has taken a number of steps to offer value to established businesses, and the most successful e-commerce merchants utilize eBay as part of a multi-channel strategy. We still have some time before we see how their recent spinoff of PayPal affects their vision for the company, but it hints at eBay being able to continue to focus on its marketplace. eSale’s merchants have seen success selling on eBay (even those that don’t fit the “traditional” eBay type) and we’re excited to offer merchants the opportunity to grow their sales on this marketplace. If you have any questions about eBay or how to succeed selling through it, send us an email at support@esalesolutions.com and keep an eye our for future eBay articles in the eSale Learning Center!