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Ramp Up Sales

Cristiane Oliveira, 30, put all her furniture in storage and was using her Sunnyvale, California, living room to sell minerals and geodes on eBay in 2003. She had reached PowerSeller status under the eBay User ID petrifinds, but knew the market for her earth treasures was limited.

So a year later, she decided to try her hand at selling swimwear under the eBay User ID butterfly_twins. It was a business that sustained itself nicely, but she felt it wasn't reaching its potential. When she had the opportunity to participate in eBay's Seller OnRamp program in October 2006, she signed on.

"They really emphasized diversifying my products and increasing my listings to achieve higher sales goals," she recalls. At the same time, Oliveira was experimenting with other product lines, such as luggage and baby products, making it easier to take her average of 10 listings a day up to between 35 and 50 listings a day.

The program's emphasis on information analysis and automation has also helped Oliveira. She estimates she saves an hour a day with the automating suggestions her eBay consultant taught her to use in Selling Manager Pro, a tool eBay offers sellers for $15.99 per month or for free to Featured and Anchor eBay Store subscribers. Activities such as preprogramming listings in advance of the day they appear and using autoresponders for payments received and items shipped take routine chores off her plate, and she devotes the extra time to finding new product sources. She also learned that her Store gets the most traffic on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, so she increases her listings on those days to capitalize on the additional traffic.

In the six months since she signed on with the Seller OnRamp program, Oliveira has shot from a Bronze PowerSeller to a Platinum PowerSeller, although she declines to share specific revenue levels. "Right now, we're aiming to increase volume on eBay to triple sales in three months," says Oliveira. "I now see there's that potential with our product lines."

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Gwen Moran is a freelance writer and co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans (Alpha, 2010).

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