An entrepreneur's cool product receives a warm welcome on eBay.
Vital Stats >> Ender Korkmaz, 22, of AC Factory Outlet
Company >> Miami e-tailer of residential and commercial air-conditioning units
2006 Sales >> $1.85 million
eBay User ID >> ac4less
Staying Cool >> People were always telling Korkmaz it couldn't be done. eBay is a great place to sell DVDs and CDs, they told him, but selling air conditioners, which are difficult and expensive to ship, wouldn't fly online. In late 2003, he decided to prove them wrong by launching AC Factory Outlet.
Sold! >> With his dad in the air-conditioning business, Korkmaz listed a few spare units on eBay. The first items didn't sell. But after reformulating his strategy, taking better pictures and designing more colorful listings, he tried again--and it worked. "From [then] on, I believed in eBay," he says. "The commercial air conditioner I originally posted became one of my hottest selling items."
Shipshape >> When Korkmaz pumped up his keywords to increase traffic to his eBay Store, air conditioners started flying off the shelves. Ultimately, Korkmaz had to find an efficient way to ship the large AC units. He tried different methods before choosing FedEx Freight. His customers were more than willing to pay the higher shipping costs because they were still saving money on the units, which were priced well below retail.
Building blocks >> Korkmaz continued to build his company on eBay with tools like Turbo Lister and Selling Manager Pro. He hired a web designer to help launch www.acfactoryoutlet.com and cement his brand name. He also implemented other sales and marketing channels, setting up search engine marketing with Google and Yahoo!, and getting listed on shopping comparison websites.
Extended Family >> Still, it was a trip to eBay Live! in 2003, where Korkmaz met other eBay entrepreneurs and attended workshops, that initiated him into the eBay family. "Anything is possible on eBay [if you] try," he says. "Where else can you be up and running in minutes, having more than 200 million potential customers view your listings?"