Whether you're a new or veteran seller, the great thing about eBay is that you have lots of options to choose from to help you sell better. The only problem with this is that sellers often find the many offerings available to be very confusing. I get e-mails from sellers all the time who've become bogged down with the choices and are wondering if they're properly investing their time and money into the right tools. What should they subscribe to? What should they do?
There are so many tools and features to choose from that this dizzying display can cause the average seller to begin to question their own sanity. In this column, I'd like to tell you about a few of the most important (and often overlooked) tools and how to integrate them to boost your bottom line.
- Turbo Lister. This super eBay software that resides on your own computer is free, and is an excellent tool to use for almost any size seller. It's a must-have listing tool, allowing you to input hundreds of listings at once and launch them on the site in one huge bunch. It's a great tool that I've seen used by beginners as well as high-level PowerSellers. To download your own free copy of the newest version, go to http://pages.ebay.com/turbolister2/.
- Selling Manager and Selling Manager Pro. I honestly don't know what I would do without my own trusty Selling Manger Pro. Both versions of Selling Manager replace the Selling area in your "My eBay" pages. They help you in your listing management by supplying you with many tools to automate your sales. These reasonably priced products are worth their weight in gold as they expedite many of your eBay tasks (including automating feedback!) and will save you hours of time when it comes to organizing your business. The Pro version adds the features of inventory and bulk relisting, among others. The products are reasonably priced (the standard version is $4.99 a month and the pro version is $15.99) and are available free for eBay Stores subscribers (see below). Get the low-down at http://pages.ebay.com/selling_manager/products.html.
- Sales Reports and Sales Reports Plus. Here are more valuable tools that can make you aware of just how successful your eBay business is. Even the basic version will supply you with key performance metrics for your business, including data on total sales, average sale prices, your fees as a percentage to sales, and much more. Many sellers don't have a clue that these reports exist because eBay requires you to sign up for the service in order to get the basic reports at no cost. (Sales Reports Plus is free to eBay store owners.) So what are you waiting for? Go sign up! Get all the details at http://pages.ebay.com/salesreports/welcome.html.
- eBay Stores. Somehow eBay stores has become a mystery to sellers. It shouldn't be. Opening an eBay store is just the same as considering a brick-and-mortar store--you don't open up one if you don't have a regular source of merchandise. I highly recommend an eBay store to anyone who's serious about selling on eBay--but only after they've become established on the site. Don't open a store as a beginning seller. You really need to learn the rhythm of an eBay business before you open a store. Sell at least 50 items a month, have a good source of merchandise, and prepare to be creative when it comes to servicing your customers. Find out more about the various levels of eBay stores at http://pages.ebay.com/storefronts/seller-landing.html.
- ProStores. eBay's newest offering is possibly the most misunderstood. ProStores are not a replacement for your eBay store; ProStores give you your very own e-commerce enabled website. They work in concert with your eBay sales and your eBay store. In my eBay classes, I always teach that once you get the hand of eBay selling, you need to open an eBay store. Once you have your eBay store management mastered (and are running a successful enterprise), it's time for you to expand and open your own website. It's the website part that causes many sellers to stumble. eBay sellers aren't usually masters of HTML and the idea of running and setting up a website is a huge, daunting task. ProStores supplies you with practically everything you need to set up a website. If you want help you can always search eBay for ProStores support or website graphics and you'll find people who'll help you make it perfect. You won't find more reasonable website hosting, especially when you consider that it includes a shopping cart and e-commerce specialties. You can jump aboard with ProStores for as little as $6.95 a month. Check out the details at http://prostores.com/.
eBay is coming up with great new features each day. A serious seller needs to keep up and I'll always try to keep you up-to-date in this column. A new feature, eBay Express, will be available soon. Next month I'll give you all the details on how you can sell and succeed on eBay's new "Express" venue.