To get the most from your eBay business, make sure you're using the "triangle of success": eBay auctions, an eBay Store (read my previous column on eBay Stores) and a website. eBay Power-Seller and 47-year-old website owner Yaron Hankin (www.anytimesale.com) says, "People look at someone who not only sells on eBay, but also has his or her own website, as a more established seller."
Steps to creating a successful e-commerce website include:
- Domain and hosting: Use a site like GoDaddy.com or Register.com to locate and purchase your domain, as well as find hosting for your site. sdesign: As an entrepreneur, you're worth a lot of money per hour. If a company, person or piece of software can do a task for less, let it. You can find many talented, inexpensive designers on Craigslist, Elance and even eBay.
- Shopping cart: To ensure your buyers have smooth transactions, use an integrated shopping cart that offers various payment options. PayPal's Merchant Tools offers many choices, including a free shopping cart.
- Sales reports: Stop thinking like a seller and start thinking like an eBay buyer. Use reports that contain valuable information on how your buyers are coming to and moving around your site. These are offered by eBay or as add-ons to your hosting package.
- Search engine optimization: Still hoping people will just happen to find your website in the internet "mall" of 9 billion other stores? Buyers use search engines to locate what they're looking for. Read Search Engine Advertising by Catherine Seda to get a better understanding of how search engine marketing can drive huge amounts of buying traffic to your website.
eBay also has a powerful, award-winning website solution for you: ProStores. Besides complementing your presence on eBay, ProStores allows you to add another site through which you can sell. "I've been able to maximize profits by placing items we don't [offer] on eBay on [ProStores]," says Hankin, a ProStore owner. "The sale on the [ProStores] website just adds to the bottom line."
Pricing for ProStores starts as low as $4.85 per month, and depending on the level of ProStore you choose, includes a unique domain name with hosting as well as up to 200 e-mail boxes. You can easily create your website using a setup wizard with more than 130 themed templates. Your shopping cart includes PayPal and credit card payment options, as well as a virtual point-of-service terminal. ProStores helps you easily incorporate advanced marketing strategies into your website, including storewide sales, daily feeds to shopping search engines and an SEO Manager that automatically defines your website for natural search.
Use your triangle of success to achieve a triangle of results: Grow, expand and sanction your e-commerce business.