Setting Up an eBay Store
Is it time to expand your listings and move into a virtual eBay Store? Follow this advice for setting up shop.
For the past seven years, Lynn Dralle (eBay User ID:thequeenofauctions) has made a living buying and selling on eBay.While she averages approximately 100 listings per week, she hasabout 2,500 items that never see any frenzied bidding but bring inthousands a month.
Dralle is one of some 336,000 entrepreneurs worldwide whooperates an eBay Store, a virtual online storefront where anyonecan sell items on eBay across several listing formats, includingauction-style, Fixed-Price and Store Inventory. Store owners cancustomize their virtual storefronts, adding colors, logos, featureditems for sale, and their own set of categories. More important,eBay gives Store owners a complete platform to present and sellgoods, with the power to cross-sell and upsell while reducinglisting costs and gaining marketing exposure.
Unlimited Shelf Space
Most sellers start with eBay auction-style listings, then add eBayStores to the mix when they have more merchandise to sell. Openinga Store offers sellers the "ability to have a central,professional-looking web store within eBay," says DarleneClementz, senior marketing manager for eBay Stores. "They alsosign up to get access to tools that help create a customized andunique shopping experience, and to attract and retain buyers. eBayStore sellers also have the option of listing via the StoreInventory format, which has a longer duration and can be morecost-effective."
Dralle agrees. Since she opened an eBay Store, she'sgenerating an extra $1,000 to $2,000 in revenue per month. "Ihave sold rings at $65 that I couldn't get $9.99 for atauction. The beauty of [an eBay Store] is items can get theexposure they need to sell at a very [cost-effective] listingprice."
An eBay Store gives customers a familiar place to return toevery week to see items, and it provides sellers with a permanentweb address. eBay shoppers can bookmark Favorite Sellers with aStore or join a Store seller's e-mail marketing list."When I find a good eBay seller, I like to go back to theirStore first when I need something new," says computerspecialist Anthony Choi. "That peace of mind makes it easy,and even fun, to keep shopping with that person."
Promotion Is Key
eBay Stores require promotion to bring in virtual foot traffic.Most Store owners use regular auction-style or Fixed-Price eBaylistings to remind people of merchandise available in their Stores."To truly take advantage of the eBay Marketplace, we recommendhaving a blend of live listings across several listingformats," says Clementz. Store owners can also cross-sell orupsell additional merchandise to winning bidders and offer dealslike shipping discounts for multiple purchases. Within the Storeand throughout the shopping experience, eBay offers Store sellerstools that help cross-promote every Store Inventory item toincrease overall sales.
eBay also reaches out to every internet user by optimizing eBayStores descriptions so they show up on major search engines. AndeBay maintains a special Stores Directory and displays StoreInventory when a customer's search for item listings on themain eBay site turns up 20 or fewer results. Some Store plans comewith eBay Keyword Advertising credit to help Store owners reach outto targeted eBay consumers.
Setting Up Shop
Any eBay user with a valid PayPal account, a feedback score of 20or ID Verified status can open an eBay Store. The first step is tochoose from one of three monthly subscription plans:
1. The basic store plan ($15.95 per month), a starterpackage with the customizable Store platform, offers access tovarious reports and the chance to start branding a business oneBay. Subscribers also receive free phone support and free accessto Selling Manager, eBay's online sales management tool.
2. The featured store plan ($49.95 per month), a morecomprehensive solution for mid- to high-volume sellers with moremarketing and reporting options, such as eBay's Selling ManagerPro sales organizer software, gives the seller better placement insearch results and priority placement in select on-site promotionalareas.
3. The anchor store plan ($499.95 per month) is asolution for high-volume sellers who need maximum exposure. Itworks just like an anchor store at a mall, giving maximumvisibility in searches for a certain category and within thecategory's individual pages.
In addition to the monthly fee, Store owners can gain access tothe Store Inventory listing at just 2 cents per listing per month.It offers a longer listing duration at lower Insertion Fees, saysClementz. eBay collects a final commission when a Store Inventoryitem sells (a percentage of the item's sales price), similar toother sales.
Any eBay seller can open a Store in seconds. Just go to www.ebay.com/stores, and add the Store subscription ofyour choice. Then choose from dozens of custom templates to createyour storefront. Store owners can define up to 20 custom categoriesto fit their inventory, such as "My Homemade Purses" or"Items Under $9.99."
Once your eBay Store is open, you can add Store Inventory to belisted for 30 days or sell items as Good 'Til Cancelled, whichmeans those items will stay in Store Inventory until someone buysthem. When Dralle first opened her Store, she didn't use theGood 'Til Cancelled option. "This was a mistake because wewould then have to relist and relist," says Dralle. "With[Good 'Til Cancelled], I leave those items in the store for oneto two years, and then if they don't sell, I take them out anddonate them to charity."
Clementz recommends that Store sellers focus on setting up andusing eBay Store features like custom categories, searchable Storedescriptions, custom listing headers and cross-promotional tools.Says Clementz, "Many sellers do not realize the breadth ofbranding and customization tools available to them."
Add Up the Receipts
In the end, eBay Stores are designed to increase revenue, moveslower merchandise and raise profit potential. For Dralle, an eBayStore opened up a new world of possibilities. "Things that Icouldn't give away online [in auction format] will sell for agood price this way," she says. In one recent example, whileselling pieces of a china collection, her auctions were onlygetting bids up to $26, so she moved the rest of her inventory toher Store and quickly sold several pieces for as much as $40 each.Dralle says buyers like the Store because "they are assured ofgetting the item and [the] immediate gratification."