Last week I introduced the “Lean Startup” methodology we used to grow our eBay business from zero to beyond $100k / month in sales. This week I’m diving into describing the exact process, and how you can implement it to sell more on eBay.
In my very first post of this blog “how to sell on eBay“, I talked about our journey from zero to becoming an award winning eBay sellers to building CrazyLister for the purpose of empowering millions of small and medium eBay sellers around the world.
We had nothing but disadvantages to begin with –
Being Israeli-based eBay seller, we constantly had a lower starting point:
- No local market
- Expensive shipping (not the mention longer delivery times)
- Language/time zone/culture barriers
- No local support from eBay
And the list goes on…
And so, we understood that our advantage had to come from the way we presented the products on eBay, e.g. – the listings’ design .
As I explained last week, we implemented the lean startup methodology and I’m going to explain in details exactly what we did and how you can do that same.
How to sell more on eBay with the “Build-Measure-Learn” process (increased sales by 220%!)
If you remember, last week we explained the build-measure-learn cycle to validate your assumptions quickly and cheaply, let’s see exactly how we used it:
One of the products that helped us grow our eBay sales significantly was a car gps, but it was far from a success story early on.
We were selling the car gps devices and knew very little about building a professional, high converting listing on eBay. Having no CrazyLister at the time, I studied Photoshop to be able to somehow build a visually appealing listing.
Once the eBay listing was ready, it was time to put it out there and see how many people will buy, this is the “measure” step.
So my listing was ready and I was very proud of its design:
It may have been (somewhat 🙂 ) visually appealing, but there’s a big difference between “beautiful” and “high converting”.
We began measuring the conversion rate.
Here’s a brief explanation on calculating the conversion rate/sell through rates, according to eBay:
Conversion rate – A percentage based on the number of sales divided by the number of clicks for a listing. For example, if a 100 people click on your listing in the search results and 1 person purchases an item, your sell through rate is 1%. (Example: 1 sale per 100 clicks = 1% sell through rate). (For more info on conversion rate check out our post about creating the perfect eBay listing).
Going back to our story, we measured the conversion rate and it was was around 2%, meaning that 2 out of every 100 visitors actually bought a GPS.
Now it was time to understand why it was 2% and how we could increase the number to sell more on eBay.
We used several sources to get feedback on our listings and find areas that could be improved:
- We asked for input from family and friends.
- We analyzed our own eBay feedback as well as our competitors’ profiles.
- We carefully read through our customers’ messages – this is a gold mine for ideas to improve your listing!
- We paid small amounts to micro-workers on Mturk.com to gather feedback from ordinary people we didn’t know.
This way, we assembled a list of ideas to test on our listings – anything from adding new design elements to changing the font size and color. Then we went back to the first step “Build” – made changes to the listing, and then the second step again where we measured the effect on the conversion rate. Then we got more ideas and so on…
The Build-Measure-Learn process in action (real example)
- Build – We built an initial listing for the car GPS and posted it on eBay Australia
- Measure – We measured the conversion rate and found out that it was around 2%
- Learn -That’s when we decided to add a big map of Australia and see how it would affect the conversion rate and sales –
Going through our eBay messages, we found out that many potential customers were asking if the GPS came with a map of Australia.
- Back to Build – We added a map of Australia and a text stating that it was indeed included
- Measure – We measured the conversion and discovered that it went up to 2.4% (an increase of 20%!!).
Additionally, the questions about maps stopped meaning we spent less time on customer service.
- Learn – Now we had a VALIDATED learning that adding an image of the map, actually had increased our sales.
Next we moved to the next idea to build, and so on and on…
Note that not all of your tests will result in a positive effect, many times you’ll see that a change you implement to your listing actually decreases your sales / conversion rate.
In this case, simply go one step back and pick a new idea to build and measure.
Important note about the measure step
The more traffic and sales you have, the faster you can learn and measure.
If you have 100 visitors a day, you’ll quickly see if your conversion went up or down. If you only have 5 visitors a day, it will take a long time to come to a conclusion as to the impact of your most recent changes to your listing. In this case, I would advise you to stick to the best practices (adding an image gallery, a video, social proof – you can find all of these tips in this blog) instead of doing the build-measure-learn loop.
Stop reading, start implementing! Build-Measure-Learn…
Back in 2010 we had to use Photoshop and study some HTML, it was hard enough to push us to build CrazyLister –
Now any eBay seller can create professional listing in minutes, and easily make changes as they go through the Build-Measure-Learn loop…