Selling on eBay is a great opportunity for any
eCommerce entrepreneur, but making a steady, livable income there isn't just a matter of
throwing a few products up for auction. In fact, of the more than 200 million registered eBay
users, only a little over a million make a part- or full-time living there.
What separates this group from the masses of recreational eBayers? The difference, according to
eBay veteran Sydney Johnston, founder of Auction-Genius-Course.com, is that this small percentage
of sellers have developed profitable selling strategies to help them harness the power of the
Internet's busiest traffic machine. She shares four of these proven strategies that have helped
many of her students reach, and exceed, their eBay goals:
1. Do your product sourcing in the right
The biggest question new sellers have is, "What should I sell?" But they often begin their
research process backwards, looking first for good product niches, then for suppliers.
Unfortunately, they can't always locate suppliers for their products, so they waste hours and
days gathering information they can't use.
First, find your product suppliers. The most basic technique is to call the
manufacturer, tell them you're a retailer looking to carry their products, and ask for a list
of their authorized wholesalers. You can also find potential suppliers through trade shows,
trade publications, and trade organizations. Once you know which products you can get suppliers
for, then begin researching those product markets, using a market research tool like Terapeak
2. Put your research results into practice.
It's easy to get caught in "paralysis by analysis." Many new sellers agonize over taking action
for endless weeks, months, and years. Advises Johnston, "Knowledge without action is useless.
If you've done your research, found a supplier and a promising product niche, then take that
next step and do what your research is telling you."
3. Start small and scale up as you gain experience.
Sometimes, brand new sellers are eager to sink their savings into a liquidation lot or a
container load of imports. The problem is, they don't know the first thing about what they're
getting, and they often end up losing their money and giving up on eCommerce all together.
The best way to minimize your risk is to start small. You might use drop shipping to
test a product without investing any funds in inventory. If it proves successful, you can move
up to buying in light bulk quantities, for a better price-per-piece. Then, if you find it's
still a strong, consistent seller, you can buy in even greater volume, to further increase your
4. Take advantage of the eBay store.
If you sell on eBay, you need to capitalize on the benefits an eBay store offers. The
listing fees are substantially cheaper than with auctions. And you have a place to send the
search engines (whereas your auction listings only last ten days, max). Your customers, who
came in for one item, can view and purchase many. And you gain the ability to send newsletters,
telling buyers what promotions you're running and what new products you're
While implementing these practices can help you increase your selling success on eBay, Johnston
insists that the most successful sellers aren't the ones who get everything right – they're the
ones who refuse to quit. Choose to learn from your feedback, your customers, and your experiences –
good and bad – and just keep going. States Johnston, "There really are no failures – only learning
opportunities. If you refuse to quit, you will succeed. Period."
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