Max and I won eBay awards for the highest conversion rates, and are now on a mission to help small & medium sellers build sustainable eCommerce businesses online.
We do so with this blog – sharing everything we’ve learned from our journey to an eBay business grossing more than $100K / month.
With our upcoming video tutorials.
And above all with CrazyLister – The solution we created to empower all sellers to create professional, high-converting eBay listings.
In this post I’ll share 5 tips that I wish I got when I was starting selling on eBay.
1. Two simple rules for success on eBay
Here is the secret to long term success on eBay (or any business venture for that matter),
The sooner you start applying these two, the faster you’ll grow a successful business.
1. Make the customer happy
2. If the customer is an [email protected] and you feel like it’s unfair to make him happy – see rule no.1
When you just start selling, you count every penny and you get frustrated about the 2% of frustrating customers that can ruin your day. Yes – I know first hand how frustrating it can be when you bust your ass for a customer, carefully pack his order pay extra for expedited shipping just to make him happy, only to get a negative feedback and a furious message because the customer was not at home to collect the item (enjoying a vacation in some exotic resort) and only got it from the post 2 weeks later (after the birthday of his daughter has already passed).
Your first instinct is “What an A-hole!!” I will scream and kick and complain to eBay etc.
But this will lead to no-good result, never, believe me – I’ve been there and did that…
Instead of being RIGHT, be SMART!
Calmly and friendly resolve the issue to the customer satisfaction, regardless the fact that your are right.
In the above case the right reaction would be:
“Hey Mellisa! I’m sorry to hear that you only got the package now. I have investigated the issue and it seems like the shipping company tried to contact you several times to schedule the delivery.
No worries though –
I’d be happy to offer a 10% refund as a friendly gesture from my side, what do you say?”
Usually this kind of message will lead to a friendly reply and to a revised / prevented negative feedback – which worth much more than a few $!
Just swallow your pride and make the customer HAPPY! If this is beyond your strength – think seriously about building a customer oriented business, it will take a too high of a toll from you!
2. Respond to your customers faster than your eBay competitors do
eCommerce (and eBay) is a very fast world full of alternatives, you should be thankful for every message you get from a customer – he bothered enough to actually invest his time in writing you with a question!
But don’t assume the customer only contacted you, he has probably contacted a dozen of sellers – awaiting the best / soonest reply. Forget about eBay’s 24h reply policy, make sure you reply ASAP – this has direct impact on the speed of growing your sales and eBay business.
Make sure to provide all the info the customer needs in your reply, this will dramatically increase your chances of winning the transaction.
For example – If a customer asks “How many days is shipping to Alaska?”
Don’t just say – “Hi, It’s 14 days”.
Provide a fully detailed reply: “Hi, I can ship to Alaska with regular mail which will take 14 business days, or UPS express which will be $2.90 extra and will arrive within 5 business days – please let me know which one you prefer?”.
3. Don’t get into wars with your competitors
I often hear about sellers who invest time and money into trying to hurt their competitors – buying off them and leaving negative feedback etc.
I have never heard of a success story that was built on the ruins of their competitor. If you have such a story – please do share in the comments section below.
But generally – eBay is big enough for everybody and they have mechanisms in place to insure that even if your competitor is cheaper, bigger, faster shipper, has higher feedback etc. You’ll still get sales – It’s not advertised, but we’ve seen this mechanism on many occasions.
Ina Steiner from eCommerceBytes wrote about this in her post, and yes these are bad news for big sellers, but it’s naturally good for the smaller ones.
4. Don’t test new dropship suppliers on your real customers
So you’ve got this guy from the other side of the world who promised he’ll dropship for you within 24h of payment.
Maybe he will – maybe he won’t, maybe he will run out of stock without letting you know – maybe he won’t, maybe he’ll send the wrong item – maybe he won’t.
My point is that your’e putting the future of your business in the hands of a party which is not necessarily dedicated to your success, thus putting your young eBay business at risk.
If you fail because of the dropship supplier, he may have lost 1 of many customers, but you’ve just lost your whole business.
Test every new supplier with “dummy” orders to friends and family across the world, if everything goes smooth – Awesome, start working with the supplier. If not – You just saved yourself from a lot of negative feedback, headache and a possible suspension from eBay.
5. Decide if your’e an commerce lover or a product lover
eBay identified that the successful sellers are people who are either enthusiastic about commerce –
Focus on growth, and don’t really care what to sell – as long as it sells.
Or enthusiastic about a product category –
Sellers who are passionate about a specific niche / category e.g musicians that sell guitars, Bicycle riders that cell Bicycle parts etc.
Deciding early on will help you establish the correct proposition value, your competitive advantage and your message to the world.
For example we see commerce enthusiasts creating several different templates with CrazyLister, all have similar branding and usually the advantages they advertise are cross-category: “Fast shipping”, “Affordable prices”, “Great customer support”.
While the product enthusiasts usually create one template for all items, and put emphasis on – “I play and fix guitars for 27 years, I only offer the best guitars”, “Expert befire – during and after sales support” etc…
These sellers have different selling points, different competitive advantages.
Think about your advantages, are you a commerce lover or a product lover?