After obtaining a degree in architecture, Sarah Embry went to work designing commercial buildings for an architectural firm in Nashville, Tennessee. There was one storefront she never imagined she'd design, however, let alone quit her job over. But that's exactly what happened in 2001 after her hobby of selling equine accessories on eBay grew so quickly it led her to open an eBay Store that has buyers ponying up nearly $50,000 a month for her products--more than her first year's salary as an architect.
"Opening the eBay Store was a big boost for sales," says Embry, who, for the fun of it, started selling the horse tack she used with her own stallions on eBay. Her business, Green River Discount Tack LLC (eBay User ID: greenrivertack), expanded into selling new items she purchased wholesale until it grew to the point that "we were literally moving saddles to get out of our front door," she says.
Soon, Embry, 30, realized, "My day job was hurting my eBay sales. There was a lot more happening on eBay, and I saw more promise in that." So in 2003, she moved the business out of her home and barn into a Morgantown, Kentucky, warehouse. She now employs five others, not including her husband, Derrick, 34, who quit his construction business to oversee the shipping process for the nearly 1,500 items they sell per week at an average price of about $25 per item.
An eBay Store is just one of the many marketing strategies and tools Embry and other PowerSellers use to help increase their profit margins, whether it's selling $75 horseshoes, $7,000 6-carat diamond tennis necklaces or $6.99 Teen Titans action figures. Here are some tools that will help you increase traffic, lower overhead and drive profitability. Pretty soon, you just may make that jump from Gold PowerSeller to Platinum or Titanium.
Set Up Shop
This online marketplace, which sells more than $1,359 worth of goods worldwide every second, is about more than selling items to the highest bidder. Think of it as a shopping mall. There are niche boutiques and anchor stores. Shoppers who salivate over one of your items in a listing--perhaps even bid on it--will more than likely want to seek you out to see what else might catch their eye. It would be a lot easier for them to find you and be tempted by other merchandise you offer if you have a store for them to saunter into--complete with signs directing the way--than it would be if you were a street peddler, folding up your table at the end of the day and setting up shop somewhere else tomorrow. Thus the creation of eBay Stores, which provides just such an online experience. An eBay Store is one of the best routes to improving your profitability as an eBay seller. To learn more about setting up an eBay Store, go to www.ebay.com/stores .
Take It to the Max
Many sellers have found that a completely customizable eBay Store instantly maximizes their online presence for as little as the cost of one tall mocha latte per week. Weiser Jewelry, a medium- to high-end diamond dealer with a brick-and-mortar store in Manhattan's jewelry district, saw a big increase in sales once it opened an eBay Store.
David Nativ is owner of KaNa Global, a Kew Gardens, New York, business management consulting firm that runs Weiser Jewelry on eBay (eBay User ID: weiserjewelry). Although Nativ occasionally puts some of the jewelry up for sale in auction-style listings, he does so primarily to drive traffic back to the eBay Store, since most eBay purchasers first access the regular eBay search and browse results instead of conducting a targeted search of eBay Store Inventory items. Visitors who find Weiser through auction-style listings can link to the eBay Store items by clicking on "Visit This Seller's eBay Store!" in the "Seller Information" box in the listing.
Store sellers get cross-promotion placements on all their "Item," "Bid Confirm" and "Purchase Confirmation" pages. Such cross-promotion is advantageous to Store sellers, who can use this as a tool to draw repeat business. For example, if Weiser is selling a diamond-and-sapphire bubble pendant, it could also display other pendants that might interest the potential buyer. Or after a bid is placed on that pendant, it might display complementary items, such as matching earrings, on the "Bid Confirm" and "Purchase Confirmation" pages.