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Start an eBay Store

Use an eBay store to set up shop in your own little corner of the eBay universe, and watch sales take off.

Whether you're thinking about starting an eBay business or already have one, one of the best ways to maximize your profits is with an eBay Store. An eBay Store is a complete e-commerce solution that includes a customized web URL; easy-to-use branding templates; reporting tools; built-in, automated marketing and retention tools; and simple, effective search engine optimization-all for $15.95 a month for the Basic package.

Lisa Deriau (eBay User ID: the frenchybee), a Silver PowerSeller on eBay and owner with her husband, Hugues, of the award-winning eBay Store The Frenchy Bee, has observed the tremendous power of this online storefront solution. "Our eBay Store allows us to reach a large and immediate audience," says Lisa, 48. She adds that the overall layout of her Store, which sells imported French products and brings in about $23,000 a month, makes shopping easy, which is important for customer satisfaction and increasing sales.

Your eBay Store is a website with two types of inventory: auction-style listings and Store Inventory. Auction-style listings run for 10 days or less and show up in the core search on the main eBay site, as well as in your eBay Store. Store Inventory listings are Fixed-Price listings that run as long as you want at two cents per SKU per 30 days. These listings are included in your eBay Store, but only show up on eBay's main search if less than 20 items are available through other listings.

Upon opening an eBay Store, you will find that you can accomplish more with auction-style listings than just selling items-listings become advertising tools that propel customers to your eBay Store. At the top of your listing description, you can include a linked Store marketing message such as, "Don't want to wait until this auction ends? Click here to buy this item immediately in my eBay Store."

Search engine optimization is the most powerful part of owning an eBay Store. Once you have correctly set up your Store, it will show up on major search engines, such as Google, MSN and Yahoo! On eBay, you're selling to an audience of 180 million, but if your site is picked up by a search engine, you're selling to the entire online world.

There are three main areas of your Store where you can include keywords for the search engines: store name, description and categories.

Store name: Use these 35 valuable characters for total search engine optimization. "Jill's Great Finds" is not as effective as "Jill's Jewelry, Art and Antiques," for example.

Description: Your 300-character description is a great place to bring in many SEO keywords for your Store.

Categories: You can customize up to 19 product categories with 29 characters each. Be specific: Instead of using the word kits for your category, for instance, use an optimized category name like "Shelby Cobra Model Kit Cars."

That's just a glimpse into the power of eBay Stores. You'll also get marketing and traffic reports, cross-promotional tools and e-mail marketing campaigns as well as the opportunity to receive 75 percent off your Final Value Fees. To learn more about eBay Stores, go to http://stores.ebay.com.

Consultant Janelle Elms' new educational video, Building Success With Your eBay Store, can be found at www.janelleelms.com/ebaystores.

Janelle Elms eBay University instructor and dean of Online Business for LA College International, is creator of the eBay Stores Video Series.

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This article was originally published in the April 2006 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Good Things in Store.

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