How to sell online on eBay

Selling items online is not new.  We’ve been hawking wares online since the dawn of the internet. But now, as global trends and conditions continue to change, it should come as no surprise that the sheer number of people scouring the internet for things to buy is increasing year on year.

According to global research site, Statista, revenue in the eCommerce market is projected to reach a whopping AU$3.1 trillion in 2020, and is showing an annual growth rate of 8.2%. 

By selling online, businesses tap into this huge market of buyers and reach thousands more customers than would have been available in a simple bricks and mortar store.

But just how do you sell online effectively, and with so many options available, how do you choose the right option for you?

Ecommerce options

When it comes to selling online, there’s a range options to get your products into the hands of cashed-up consumers.

If you would like to have a stand-alone website, you can work with e-commerce sites such as Shopify or WIX. These sites allow you to start with a shopfront template, add your specific product listings and then add payment options such as credit card payments, PayPal and Afterpay. 

Unfortunately, setting up your own e-commerce website can be time consuming and tricky, even when using a template, so many people need to hand the work over to a web-designer.  

Designers can use templates, but often prefer to use something like Wordpress with a WooCommerce extension. Whilst these sites can look incredible, they are usually a costly and very time-consuming exercise. 

In addition, with both of these options, you will also need to undertake a lot of specialised marketing activity to direct customers to your site such as SEO, google or social media ads.

On the other hand, if you prefer to tap into a pool of active buyers instantly, then setting up a shop on hosted marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy and eBay will be a better option.   

The steps required to start selling on sites like these is very low and although these sites do charge a small fee for listing and selling items, unlike ‘free sites’ like Facebook Marketplace, they provide full technological support with things like stock management, order processing, shipping integrations, customer feedback and returns.

How to choose a marketplace

When deciding which marketplace to list your products, you need to work out which one will allow you to reach the most customers for your specific product, and which will provide you with more money in the bank.

For sellers, it’s important to understand which marketplace has access to the greatest number of qualified buyers for your specific location.  

Research shows that eBay is the number one online shopping destination in Australia, with 11 million unique monthly visitors, making it one of the top ten most visited websites in Australia, overall.

In addition, a recent report by Feedback Express which compared the options of selling on Amazon to those of eBay, found that ‘on average, eBay sellers retain more profit than those on Amazon’. 

Also, if you’re selling products that are also listed with larger retailers, that same report notes eBay offers the ‘ability to develop a brand and market it to potential customers,’ whereas on Amazon, larger retailers and Amazon itself own the bulk of the ‘recommended products’ and ‘enhanced brand content’ spaces, causing small businesses to get lost in the noise.

When it comes to small businesses in Australia, research clearly demonstrates that eBay is the most accessible, cost effective and reliable way to start selling online. 

How to sell on eBay

There are two types of eBay accounts to choose from when you are setting up. 

A personal account is best for a casual eBay user who is planning on selling things they no longer want such as clothes or furniture. A business account is more appropriate for people who plan to sell in large quantities, who want to use a company name, or, as the name says, are selling online as part of their business activities. 

With customer usability in mind, eBay has made it very straight forward to set up a business account and begin selling your products.

Once you create a seller account with your email address, you will be prompted to set up the back end of your business - allocating your payment methods, postage rates and return policies. 

Next, you will customise your eBay store by adding in your own company branding and product categories, before uploading your listings and setting your featured items. As part of this setup, you will be asked to write product titles, descriptions and keywords – all designed to bring customers directly to your eBay store.

Once you have sold products, the next step is to ship them. eBay has a postage platform which allows you to pay for your shipping with Australia Post or Sendle directly through your Seller Hub, and automatically tracks these items and alerts the customer. 

Finally, if returns are ever needed, eBay hosts communications between you and the customer through its messaging function, ensuring the situation is managed quickly and easily.

Optimising your eBay listings

  • eBay offer a range of promotional tools to increase your sales, including promoting specific listings or increasing your customer’s basket spend by offering volume-based discounts. The great thing about eBay promoted listings is you don’t pay for promoting your listings unless your item sells.
  • Consider making your products eligible for eBay Plus (similar to Amazon Prime), as listings with the eBay Plus badge see a 16% uplift in conversion compared to listings without. More information on eligibility for eBay Plus can be found on the eBay Seller Centre.
  • Offer free, fast and tracked shipping. If your customers are confident that their item will arrive on time, this will increase customer satisfaction and decrease customer service issues.
  • As is the same in all areas of business, knowledge is power and with the research tab in your eBay Seller Hub, you will be able to access insights into your sales data, listing formats, average sold item pricings, shipping costs and buyer search terms.

A big opportunity

Small business is a numbers game, and with the help of eBay, Australian sellers can quickly and easily place their products in front of over 182 million active buyers globally, and over 11 million buyers right here on Aussie shores.

With the internet predicted to remain the dominating marketplace for sellers, selling online with eBay is a great choice for small business. 

Starting your online journey on eBay is easy, with no need to set up your own website, or find customers. And for a limited time, new businesses who set up an eBay store will receive up to 3 months fee free.

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