by Simon Morton
Being in the online business, my friends always ask me how they can “do e-commerce”. If they have no experience of selling online my answer is always the same, “get yourself on eBay and have a go”. eBay is a great place to start; it’s bootcamp for e-commerce with a tough set of rules to follow that will shape you up for retailing online.
Why should I start on eBay first?
- It teaches you retail discipline
eBay forces you to provide good customer service; the feedback system demands you do nothing wrong.
- It teaches you good product choice
If you can’t sell your product on eBay with all those ready made customers your chances of selling it from your own site aren’t so good.
- It teaches you how important a good product description and pictures are
Look at the guys with huge feedback numbers and notice how they all have great descriptions. They do this for a reason; awesome long copy descriptions sell harder and show good intent.
- It teaches you how important pricing is online
Selling on eBay is a reality check for traditional retailers as your normal margins often disappear in two seconds flat.
- It teaches you about e-commerce in a risk free environment
You don’t have to invest in a shiny new web shop to retail online. With eBay, setup costs are tiny and the worst possible scenario is that you don’t sell anything.
Why eBay isn’t for Wimps….Be prepared for eBay. If you’re going to get serious expect the following:
- It requires your time to maintain an eBay business
Managing the eBay process is time consuming so you have to be prepared to devote time & effort to making it a success.
- It requires exceptional Customer Service
eBay never feels a particularly fair environment to deal in, particularly if you are a distributor not used to dealing with consumers directly. You will find yourself having to give away product or pick it up with no good reason other than to keep your feedback high. Poor feedback at the early stage could see you struggling to recover or being banned. Don’t blame eBay for this though – if you can’t cut it here then look in the mirror, not at eBay rules. And if you are thinking of doing Amazon instead, it’s tough x 2…. that’s another story.
- It requires you to understand pricing & salesmanship
Do you have have descriptions that are only half as good as other eBayers? Look at yourself to see if you’re up to scratch. Good descriptions create happy customers and good feedback. They also create lots of social buzz. Want to know what we’re talking about? click here