As eBay has grown, so has the availability of eBay's little helpers: listing software. Listing software, whether it's in the form of programs that you install or applications that run over the web, can save you time, help you build more advanced listings and simplify the whole process. Automation is the key. When you no longer have to manually relist items or send out individual buyer notifications, you have more time to spend on building your business.

Growing businesses should start with eBay's built-in features. Its free, downloadable Turbo Lister lets you list multiple items at once, access HTML templates, reuse listings and create listings with an intuitive design editor. If you're already taking advantage of Turbo Lister, it might be time to move up to the basic version of Selling Manager ($4.99 per month) for tracking your listing activities, printing labels and invoices, and creating custom templates. Some other handy programs you can try include:

  • Auctiva: Auctiva has a variety of web-based services for eBay sellers, including everything from a listing designer with customizable templates to image hosting and scheduling. The best news of all is that the offerings are completely free. Auctiva recently reorganized itself from being a pay service, so look for new features to be rolled out soon.
  • Marketworks: Marketworks offers a full-featured suite of listing services along with a good customer-service reputation. Growing businesses that are looking to bring their websites and eBay sales in line can take advantage of Marketworks' integration and management capabilities. The pricing structure varies with the volume of sales and the features used, but you should expect a monthly fee starting at about $30.
  • Sales Manager from Vendio: This program comes in a couple of different editions. The Inventory Edition is geared toward sellers who tend to list multiples of the same items and are willing to put in a little time to learn how to use the more advanced automation features. The Merchandising Edition works best for sellers who tend to offer unique items and want a fast solution that can be mastered and implemented in less than an hour.

With Sales Manager, you also get your choice of ways to pay. Monthly plans start at just $12.95, or you can choose to jump onboard for a yearly subscription at $250. Not ready to commit? You can also choose to pay as you go. Listing fees in addition to the service fees can apply.

Take Your Pick

Andale is one of the biggest movers and shakers in listing software. Services range from eBay pricing research to image storage and e-mail management. Andale works on an a la carte system, so you choose which components you need. For added savings, check into its discounted bundles. The 110 Listings Quick Pack, for example, includes the price-finder service, 10MB of image storage, professional counters and a gallery with 110 ad listings for $34.95 per month. That saves you nearly $10 per month off the individual pricing. The Andale Lister service is another good place to start, and the plans are easy to upgrade as your business grows.