Sometimes it's the simple things that can make your eBay business more profitable and run smoother. Here are twelve things you can do that will lead to more sales and increased profits on eBay.
1. Use auction management tools or services
Using an auction management tool or service allows you to automate most of your day-to-day auction business and frees up time for other activities. There are numerous ones available and the majority of them offer a free 30-day trial period. Find one that fits your needs and budget, learn how to use all of it's features, and then stick with it. Make certain the one you choose supports eBay's Item Specifics and Pre-Filled features.
2. Target all your items toward the same market
There's nothing wrong with offering several different items on eBay, but try to sell things that target the same general market or 2-3 markets. You will find this makes it much easier for satisfied customers to buy from you again. The majority of my customers have returned to buy five or more items from me in the past year. You should strive for this also.
3. End all your auctions on the same day and during the same general time frame
Whatever you are selling, test different days and times of the day to determine what works best for you. Once you determine what day and time works best for you, stick to that time. Your customers will come to know your auctions always end on a certain day at a certain time and know that they can go on the computer on Sunday night at 10 PM, for example, and be able to bid.
4. Fast shipping equates to repeat sales
We live in an instant gratification world. Once an item is paid for, get it in the mail as quickly as possible. This will lead to higher customer feedback and repeat sales. If you aren't seeing comments about how fast a customer received their item in 60 to 70 percent of your feedback, it's taking you too long to get things in the mail and it's hurting your business.
5. Give your product a vacation once in a while
It pays to stop listing an item, or type of item, every once in a while so that potential customers don't begin to take it for granted that it will always be available. You will find that if you don't list an item for two or three weeks, when you do it again, it will almost always result in increased bidding and higher bids.
6. Make use of eBay's "Second Chance" offers
If you have multiples of the same item and more than one person has bid on it, make a "Second Chance" offer to the next one or two unsuccessful bidders. You will find the response rate to these offers is quite high. If you simply choose to re list, there's a good chance that many of the under-bidders will never see your item when it is re-listed.
7. Use a template to create a recognizable identity
Every auction you run should have a similar layout, graphics, and style that your customers can quickly associate with you. When one of your customers clicks on an item link and first arrives at your auction, they should instantly be able to say, "This is one of Bill's auctions." They will instantly feel at home and be more ready to bid.
8. Make use of eBay's Keyword program
Most people associate eBay's Keyword program with eBay stores, but it can be used very successfully in conjunction with your auctions too. The Keyword program is usually running some kind of free trial. Take advantage of it and see how it can increase both the number of bids and the ending price for your auctions.
9. Use Google's Adwords program to attract buyers
Used correctly, Google's Adwords program is an excellent way to attract potential bidders who would otherwise never see your auctions. As long as you use search words or phrases that are tightly targeted to the item you are selling, this can be a cheap and effective promotional tool.
10. Sell only one item per auction
There are exceptions, but bundling similar products into one auction almost always leads to fewer bids and decreased sales. While there may be times you do this to get rid of inventory that hasn't sold, it's normally not a good way to do business.
11. Sell internationally
The simple truth is that if you don't allow international buyers to bid on your auctions you are throwing money out the door. This is a lucrative market with lots of money to spend. Since many sellers exclude these buyers, it only makes sense that you give them the opportunity to spend their money with you.
12. Accept PayPal
If you're not accepting payment by PayPal, you may be loosing a lot of bidders and money. Buyers love the convenience of using this service and many won't bid on an item if the seller doesn't offer it as a payment option. If you're not doing it, you are throwing money away.
Gary Hendrickson has been making his living selling on eBay for more than six years. He's the author of two eBay related ebooks, has a blog for eBay sellers, and is the owner of ColdItems.Com.