Boosting Sales with an eBay Store

The second goal of your eBay Store should be to encourage repeat traffic. eBay PowerSeller Blue Star Computers does 95 percent of its eBay sales through its store. The majority of those sales are from repeat customers. Blue Star has proven itself to be friendly, fast and accurate. Their store is so well stocked, and their service is so reliable, that their customers have no reason to shop the rest of eBay for better deals. They just come right back to Blue Star's store.

Your aim should be to create a store that gives your customers no reason to shop elsewhere. To do this your store must be easy to use, helpful to the specific needs of your customers and well stocked with items at fair prices. In an effort to address the specific needs of their customers, eBay PowerSeller Trumbull Mountain Tack Shop has posted helpful articles written by the staff. These articles address proper saddle fitting, saddle terminology and the store's unique saddle trial ride policy.

Anticipate the needs of your customers and provide help in as many ways as you can. If a browsing customer finds your store to be more helpful, more attractive and easier to use than any of the other stores they've come across, you'll be the first seller they think of when they return to make a purchase.

The final goal of your eBay Store should be to pull in traffic from beyond eBay. With your unique design, your helpful tools, your informative articles and eBay's full-service sales platform, there's no reason you shouldn't be promoting your eBay Store to every corner of the internet. People all over the world are aware of eBay. It is an asset to you. Buyers know and trust eBay with their sensitive credit card information. Often buyers are skeptical of submitting personal information to the mom-and-pop e-commerce shops trying to make it independently on the internet. eBay gives your buyers a level of protection.

A custom designed welcome page goes a long way toward making shoppers who might be unfamiliar with eBay feel welcome. eBay's default store template shows a long list of all your store items as your welcome page. No independent e-commerce store would ever think to design a welcome page in this way. Shoppers are not used to seeing it--they want to see something more professional before they lay down their cash. The same design rules that apply on the internet at large, apply to your eBay Store.

One of the keys to capturing sales from both eBay and non-eBay shoppers is to use techniques that appeal to both. For example, while eBay shoppers may be accustomed to seeing quick-and-dirty lists of items, regular online shoppers may not. To appease both groups, build a custom designed welcome page that presents many of your items or categories that the eBay shoppers are seeking with the professional design that the off-eBay retail shoppers need to see. The last thing you want your store to be is exclusive.

Your design and helpful tips should not stop at your welcome page. Each store item listing page needs to be considered for both audiences as well. Include the usual eBay information for the regulars: shipping policies, return policies and accepted forms of payment. But also include a little hand holding for buyers who might have found you through Froogle and aren't familiar with eBay. Include a blurb for these buyers walking them through the checkout process. Explain to them what PayPal is and that they do not need a PayPal account to use the service.

The best thing you can do to help both eBay veterans and newbies is to provide your telephone number, e-mail address, photos of your location and some company history. Shoppers new to eBay are used to dealing directly with businesses, not through intermediaries like eBay. They don't understand what all the colorful stars mean and put no stock in "PowerSeller" banners or Store icons. Providing them with proof that your products are indeed from a legitimate business will make them feel better about making the final click. eBay veterans will appreciate having the assurance that this background and contact information provides as well--especially in the early days of your store when your feedback rating isn't yet off-the-charts impressive.

J. S. McDougall is the owner of Fruition Web Systems, an internet development firm that works with small businesses to create dynamic websites, databases and communication systems. He is the author of Expand Your Business Using eBay, available fromEntrepreneur Press.

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