Do you have a nice piece of jewelry given to you as a gift from an ex-lover? Do you have a nice painting that’s too dusty to hang? How about old dental supplies, or an automobile that is missing a hood? Maybe your child’s pre-K artwork?
Ebay is the ultimate catalyst for selling objects online in a protected environment. Where Craigslist is a sort of catch-all for debauchery and diversity in all mediums, ebay is just slightly more moderated. This allows ebay to exist in a nice median where you can explore its vast limits of selling options, customizability, and profits without the fear of being attacked with a hacksaw.
But in all seriousness, ebay is not just an environment for older people to sell antique flower pots and VHS tapes. Ebay has evolved steadily over the years, to be a viable business opportunity for those who want to explore the vast world of online sales. The structure of ebay is simple. You post an item for sale under a certain category. This can be almost anything as long as it is not alive or hazardous. During this process, you add images of our object, specifications, and other information an individual may need to know (how much it was used for example). Of course, you can set a beginning bid so you do not let the item sell below that amount. You can also sell directly without going through the auction process. Once posted with all your specifications, you can monitor the sale by seeing view counts and responding the questions directed to you about the item. Through this whole process, ebay is regulating the auction confirming that you are not breaking their policy.
Once the item sells, the individual pays and you are to ship out the item. Ebay acts as an overseer, and any conflicts go through them. This is what makes ebay special, among many things. There is a protective barrier for sellers and buyers. If an item is not how it was listed, or an individual does not pay, ebay steps in to regulate the situation and keep it as fair as possible. This oversight makes ebay viable in its fairness.
Ebay has two valuable components making it a viable place to earn money. The auction component makes for the fairest way to sell an item. You can set minimums and maximums, and the highest bidder wins. This allows maximizes the potential a seller can make. Instead of setting a certain value (which can be too low or too high) it sells for what people are willing to pay. For certain items, such as antiques or art, this is momentously significant.
The second component is the massive user base. Truthfully, ebay gets millions of visitors a day, and any item posted is nearly guaranteed to get some views, if not sell every time. This is productive for sellers who want to sell quickly and sell in high quantities. As well, this is useful for buyers who want variety and to find the items they are looking for (as well as competitive prices). If many items exist of a single laptop, it allows a buyer to be choosey with the price they are willing to pay.
The ebay environment fosters interaction and potential on both ends of the spectrum. Buyers find what they need, and sellers profit to the best they can expect to (ideally). Because of this, ebay has substantiated itself as the de-facto force for online used sales. Craigslist holds a different sector, but ebay’s moderation makes it the superior choice.
For all this, ebay does only one thing- they take a percent of a sale. When you sell an item, you pay ebay an amount relative to the final sale price.
In exchange, you get an environment to reach millions of users, an auction style listing, and moderation for disputes.
Starting a small business through ebay is more than selling a few items here and there. You can use ebay to sell scattered items in varying mediums, but the business aspect derives from selling in larger quantities.
When starting an ebay business, you must know that you differentiate yourself as a “business.” The great opportunity available in ebay is there business honing attributes that are conducive to business starters. When making a profile on ebay (and in turn, starting a business), you should act as a business. Ebay allows this easily. Their cart and business shop options allow anyone to turn their marketable items into consistent cash flow.
Here is how it goes. You create a profile. You begin with zero feedback. When you make a sale or buy a product, you leave the seller or buyer feedback that substantiates his or her trust. For example, if Suzy sells an item to Joe and Joe pays quickly, and Suzy ships out right away, Joe may make a feedback comment along the lines of “Quick selling and item was great!” Suzy retaliates with a comment such as “Made payment quick. Very nice!” Both of these are to add to the feedback section of a profile, allowing users to know if the buyer or seller is trustworthy- sort of a “product review” section for people.
So after you set up your profile, you now have the option to customize the listings. Here is where the business aspect comes in. If you want to start an ebay business, you need to sell a product that is a bit more consistent than “random stuff around the house.” An idea could be art. For example, you are beginning a business where you sell your own paintings. An easy way to begin this business is by making it on ebay. The cost of entry is virtually nonexistent, and all it takes is Internet access.
Add one of your paintings to ebay. In the listing, state you have two of them by listing two available quantities. Perhaps you plan on making two a month. You can make the listing reappear after thirty days identical to how it was. This way, the listing will remain posted until you remove it.
This is the crux of an online ebay shop. At this point, listing multiple items in the same category is building an online shop through the ebay interface. Individuals can see all listings by a user (which is you) or they can enter your shop where all your listings exist. You can customize the shop with basic color schemes, and obtain your own personal web address. As well, your username is something such as “PaintingHouse.” The shop name is identical. You have essentially created an entire online shop through ebay, where postings are reposted automatically. At this point, you can monitor your views, promote this page through your Facebook profile or other means you may have established, and garner traffic to your ebay listings.
Clothing lines work exceptionally well with the ebay environment. You may list multiple sizes for a specific design, and individuals can scan through your shop’s clothing options.
This is the very basics of creating a business through ebay. But Ebay’s shop service is not free. They not only take a percent of every sale, but charge you monthly for having a shop with them. This amount is relative to how many listings you have. It is roughly $1.50 a month for each item listed. If you have 30 items listed for any given month, you will be charged approximately $45 for that month. If you are not substantiating sales, this can be costly, even ignoring the percent Ebay takes from each sale.
But ebay knows its strengths. The action of selling on ebay allows you to reach a wide base of buyers. Creating a business is one of the easiest businesses to create, and by result, you are charged appropriately. Getting started on ebay does not take much beyond understanding the dynamic and cost structure of the ebay environment. Continuing success on ebay warrants a few understandings. You need to properly categorize your items. If it is a jacket, list it as a jacket and not a shirt. As well, it is important you understand auction listings by not making items have to high of a maximum. Many users set a cap that says, for example, this item will not sell for $20. They may open a bid at $5, but when the user bids that amount; they will get a message that says something along the lines of, “this was not a high enough bid.” This is bad. It deters users from bidding again, and will turn people off from your shop.
The best strategy is to have rarer or more limited items available for auction. Do not set a minimum, and let the customers set the value.
For your more popular higher quantity items, it is suggested you use a set price that is competitive and intelligent.
With this knowledge, you can hopefully not only begin a business through ebay, but have it continue growing throughout its existence. Ebay has formulated an excellent environment for online sales. Take advantage of this opportunity by exploring the world of Internet sales through its accessibility and wide user base of people clamming to get your stuff- and support your business.