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EBay means business, and PowerSeller status is the mark of a successful seller. Power-Sellers must meet certain requirements, such as averaging at least $1,000 in sales per month for three consecutive months and maintaining a positive feedback rating of at least 98 percent. There are five tiers of PowerSellers ranging from Bronze ($1,000 in monthly sales) to Titanium ($150,000 in monthly sales).
Corri McFadden, 25, quickly brought her Chicago-based eBay startup, Edrop-off Express, to Platinum status. "I was selling things on eBay for [extra] money, and the return was really good," she says. "So I wrote up a business plan and got a private investor." In 2004, McFadden opened an eBay Store and a brick-and-mortar store to take in items she planned to sell on the site, and over the past year reached $1 million in sales. But don't be fooled: Getting to that level requires just as much time, attention and business acumen as starting any company. Follow McFadden's lead by creating a business plan and looking for funding if your business model calls for it.
eBay may be a wide-open marketplace, but it's still wise to find your business niche as you work your way up the PowerSeller ladder. Edrop-off Express covers the bases, but McFadden has also found a specialty. "We sell everything from designer clothing to cars, but I have homed in on the designer luxury market," she says. The nature of eBay, especially as a trading forum that lists items as a service, means your potential customer base is huge. Edrop-off Express cultivates clients outside of Chicago and even internationally. McFadden also provides a nationwide pickup service for her customers.
As you launch your eBay startup, think quality over quantity; it doesn't do much good to have thousands of listings if those items don't sell. "We're particular [about] the items we take in," says McFadden. "They have to have a value of $50 or more, and they have to be able to sell. I've sold 93 percent of my items. We stay true to the eBay style; very rarely do we use a reserve price."
Becoming a PowerSeller is only part of the battle. Maintaining that status and working your way up to higher levels means keeping your business standards high, encouraging repeat customers and making sure buyers are happy.
If technology is standing in the way of your chances at eBay stardom, give Auctiva a try.
On eBay, when you start moving into high-volume sales, you need tools to help automate the process. Auctiva offers a suite of free tools ranging from image hosting to templates and reports. Image hosting is unlimited and can handle uploads of hundreds of images at a time. Users start by creating auction, marketing, shipping and checkout profiles that can be used for all the auctions they create. A variety of tutorials are available to help you through the processes. Also, Auctiva's templates give listings a professional sheen and require minimal effort. Certain extras--like a personalized store domain or advanced auction counter--can be added for small fees.