ebay business

By Kevin North

Many small businesses rely on eBay and Amazon to sell their goods, but determining cost and maximizing sales can be a real challenge. Here are 5 ways small businesses can maximize their eBay sales.

1.  Know your competitive advantage. Online selling is becoming more and more crowded, so to build a competitive advantage from the start, you need to sell something that a) you know something about already, b) you are passionate about and c) for which you can validate demand, preferably by researching it before you open shop.

2.  Start small. Don’t sell too many products too quickly — stay small and lean at the beginning of your sales journey, and don’t incur losses from inventory that you thought was a good idea but had trouble moving.

3.  Understand that profits, great or small, are determined during the sourcing process. If you need to understand the fair value of a particular product or SKU, tools like Terapeak’s mobile app allow you to instantly recognize whether or not it’s a buying opportunity by understanding the product’s popularity and price trending on eBay.  Sourcing separates many of the successful eBay sellers from the unsuccessful sellers.  After becoming established, successful firms focus on developing (usually by trial and error) a reliable supply chain and sourcing network where product volume assures them of discounts and price advantages.

4.  Understand opportunity by watching your competitors. However, don’t just look at the products that are competing directly against you. Also look at what’s in their inventory that you haven’t started selling yet — but could.  Terapeak can help you gain a complete view of your competitor’s performance on a product-by-product basis and discover new ideas in the process.

5.  Get found. The marketing challenges that brick-and-mortar businesses have are the same struggles that eBay businesses have—and they understand that more than half of the battle is getting found by the customer. The keywords used to promote the products in your eBay listings are critical, and if they don’t relate to how buyers are searching for products like yours, you will have a hard time getting ahead.  Watch the keyword usage in the listings of top sellers, and when you do have a buyer, ask him or her what keywords he or she used to ultimately find you — and the ones used prior to finding you.  At a minimum, sign up for eBay’s Listing Analytics tool to help you better understand the performance of your listings.

Kevin North is CEO and President of Terapeak, which provides market research tools to help eBay and Amazon sellers boost their sales by gaining insights into product, pricing and marketplace behavior.