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Ecommerce | Marketing

11 Tips for Boosting Your eBay Sales

image: chalkboard with top tips written in white
If you haven't yet found eBay to be a profitable online marketplace, these suggestions could reverse your fortunes

In EcommerceBytes' Sellers Choice 2015 survey, which tallied votes from more than 12,000 online sellers, eBay was ranked the most profitable online marketplace. If you haven't enjoyed success selling on eBay, however, it could be that you're making one of the errors that ecommerce optimisation firm ChannelAdvisor calls out in its white paper "The 11 eBay Mistakes That Are Costing You Sales":



Failing to offer free shipping.

Yes, free shipping eats into your bottom line. But because eBay offers a filter that lets shoppers select search results only from sellers that offer free shipping, your failure to do so could result in you being dismissed sight unseen, so to speak, by these potential shoppers. What's more, a Forrester study cited by ChannelAdvisor notes that more than half of U.S. online shoppers said that free shipping encourages them to make repeat purchases from a seller.


Before deciding whether to offer free shipping, check your competitors. If most of them already do, it's probably time for you to do the same.



Ignoring inaccurate customer feedback.

Not the inclusion of "inaccurate." If the negative feedback you received from a customer was warranted, you're just going to have to let it spur you on to improve your service. If, however, the feedback is incorrect, report it to eBay and ask to have it deleted, stating why the feedback is unwarranted. Furthermore, according to ChannelAdvisor, "You can also request a feedback revision if a seller initially left negative feedback but you went on to resolve the issue."


Make a point of looking over your customer reviews regularly—say, once a week. Many shoppers will dismiss out of hand any sellers that have what they consider unsatisfactory customer ratings. What's more, if all else is equal between two sellers, the one with the higher customer feedback score is likely to get the sale.



Refusing to use strike-through pricing (STP).

Everyone loves to see a higher price with a big slash mark through it followed by a new lower price. This sort of visual cue to savings instantly commands attention. Not all eBay sellers have access to the STP tool, however. Right now it's available only to U.S., U.K., and German sellers that have received approval from eBay. If you often showcase markdowns, however, it's worth reaching out to eBay to gain access to the tool.



Letting your product listings gather dust.

Just because you continue to sell the same staples and commodities that have worked for you since you first ventured onto eBay doesn't mean you should let your product pages remain the same. "By failing to update your product listings, you risk the possibility of losing relevance," ChannelAdvisor warns. "You could also be missing out on any updates eBay may have implemented to improve listings. If buyers struggle to find your items, or if your listings and titles don't grab their attention, you could see fewer clicks through to your item page."



Selling only domestically.

It's a small world, after all. "Enabling shipping to other countries will allow your products to be listed on other regions' sites through basic international selling," according to ChannelAdvisor. "All you need to do is offer international postage, indicate your shipping costs and services in your listing and include PayPal as a payment method."



Ignoring seller releases.

EBay updates its requirements, features, and fees every year. Ignoring its annual seller releases can eat into both your sales and your profits.



Shipping multiple packages to the same customer on the same day.

ChannelAdvisor contends that the average eBay seller can consolidate up to 5% of its orders. Bundling orders can boost your bottom line (especially if you offer free shipping) and save you time.



Entering only the necessary product data.

Less is not more when it comes to the information you include in your product listings. Shoppers can't touch, test, try on, or examine the items listed; they're reliant entirely on what you tell them to determine whether to buy the item. Break down any resistance they might have to completing the sale by serving up to them all the product information they could possibly need.



Ignoring eBay's free marketplace analytics.

Among the metrics you can track for each listing are impressions, clicks, click-through rate (the percentage of people who actually clicked through to a product page after seeing it in their search results), and sell-through rate (the percentage of people who purchased a product after clicking through to the product page). By tracking these metrics and analysing top-performing products vs. poor sellers you can determine how to improve your listings going forward.


For instance, if a product receives a disappointing number of impressions, it could be because the title and description are too vague or include words that aren't search-friendly ("Wow!"). On the other hand, if your click-through rate is poor, it could be because the price is too high, the description is lacking information, or the photo is poor, among other reasons.



Neglecting to conduct competitive analysis.

Who are your eBay competitors? How do you rank against them in terms of pricing, fulfilment, product descriptions, and promotions? You should be monitoring them regularly. A competitor that you regularly used to undercut in terms of pricing could have slashed its prices—and lured away your customers—while you weren't looking.



Taking policy violations lightly.

"Reasons for receiving a policy violation can include posting the same item multiple times, selling forbidden goods, listing offensive material, and more," ChannelAdvisor explains. "After you receive a certain number of policy violations, eBay will give you a first warning. The number of policy violations you commit before receiving a first warning depends on the severity of the breach. For instance, selling embargoed goods is a bigger violation than a duplicate listing. If you ignore the first warning, your account will be shut down for seven days. If this happens again, your account will be permanently suspended."


Ouch. Just don't.

author: Sherry Chiger

Sherry Chiger

The editorial director of Your Commerce, Sherry Chiger is an award-winning writer and editor. She was formerly editorial director of Multichannel Merchant and Catalogue e-business magazines.


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