10 Tips for Selling on eBay

Increase sales and exposure with these 10 key tips for eBay omnichannel merchants.

10 Tips for Omichannel Merchants Selling on eBay
135 million users around the world shop with eBay. Not a bad market to tap into for omnichannel merchants.

Along with Amazon, eBay holds the distinction of being one of the very first online marketplaces. Introduced in 1995, eBay’s presence and longevity on the Internet helped shape modern eCommerce as we know it. They are the second largest online retailer in the world with 135 million users worldwide and almost 2 billion live listings available every day. eBay was initially an auction site for everyday users to buy and sell secondhand merchandise but has since expanded to include brand new, direct-to-customer products from major consumer brands. Some of the world’s most popular brands have set up shop on eBay including Microsoft, Adidas, Razer, Apple, and The North Face.

For omnichannel merchants–especially, those with unique products or those who appeal to niche customers–eBay is a good avenue to take in order to boost income, broaden their customer bases, and to establish a foothold in online retail. But with so much competition on the eBay marketplace, it can be quite the challenge to get noticed and begin the process of growing a business through eBay omnichannel. If this pertains to your situation and you’re wanting to turn your eBay venture into a successful and reliable source of income, keep reading to find out our 10 tips for selling on eBay.

#1: Open an eBay Store

An eBay Store acts as a central hub for your specific brand and products; think of it as a condensed version of your actual eCommerce website. According to eBay themselves, 75% of eBay Store merchants said that just having an eBay Store made a significant positive impact on their sales. Shoppers who visit your eBay Store will browse only the products you have made available there without the distraction of competitor’s listings that would normally appear on the general search. You can even set up an eBay Store to reflect your branding which, in turn, helps you establish your own identity among the millions of other merchants on eBay. Shopify and BigCommerce make it easy to create eBay listings in bulk and for a fully custom eBay Store experience, we at Diztinct can help you with that.

#2: Get to Know Cassini

Cassini is eBay’s internal search engine and algorithm. It works similarly to Amazon’s A9 and the Google Search algorithm by prioritizing the best listings from the best sellers. Regardless of what you put into your eBay product listing and how you set it up, Cassini will still organize it into eBay’s infinite void of product listings but to help ensure prime positioning amongst the ranks, you’ll need to understand what Cassini looks for in judging preferred listings.

Cassini looks for relevant content, competitive pricing, high seller’s records, and high quality product images. If you’re new to eBay, not having that high seller’s record will be a slight disadvantage but one that isn’t too difficult to overcome (more on this later). As for the other criteria that determines your rank:

  • Relevant Content – Relevant content is the product title, product description, essentially every critical bit of information about the item. Be as direct and as accurate as absolutely possible when writing product titles and descriptions. Remember that you’re not only writing for the shopper, but you’re also writing for Cassini’s non-human bot “eyes”. Shoppers need to know EXACTLY what they’re buying but Cassini needs to know EXACTLY what’s being sold to them. If your titles and descriptions don’t match, you’ll not only turn off prospective customers but you’ll also do yourself a disservice by getting your listings buried by Cassini in favor of those with accurate and reliable information.
  • Competitive Pricing – Shoppers turn to eBay for deals, just as they would with any retailer. It’s understandable that merchants would want to raise their prices to cover eBay’s seller fees but shoppers hunting for deals and bargains don’t care about your business expenses. Price too high and no one will want to buy, undercut yourself and you risk operating at a loss. Unless you produce and sell your own product and have already done the math to ensure profit, keep your pricing within the current market price to appease both customer demand as well as cover company overhead. Cassini looks for competitive pricing as competitive pricing attracts customers and sales.
  • High Quality Product Images – You can include up to 12 product images for free on each eBay listing. Make use of every single image slot but don’t just put anything in there. Photograph your merchandise from multiple angles and definitely include zoom-in and close-up shots of specific details. Do not include undersized or blurry images; in fact, like Amazon, aim for a dimension of 1500 x 1500 pixels (eBay does 1600 pixels but it’s best not to overcrowd an image canvas from corner to corner). You can even use some of the slots to include promo pieces that highlight unique features. Cassini likes listings with lots of photos but it’s not necessary to exceed the 12-free limit. Just make sure you don’t put less than 12 images in your listings.

#3: List in the Appropriate Category

Unlike Amazon’s ASIN system, eBay no longer requires sellers to link their listings with pre-existing products in their catalog. While this allows for more freedom of what can be sold and how to more accurately categorize it (versus Amazon’s system which often leads to miscategorized products), you will need to be even more vigilant in paying attention to the fine details of your product so that you don’t end up with incomplete listings that do not turn up in search. Don’t be afraid to be redundant in filling out product information, even if it’s been stated numerous times. The clearer the product information is, the better your shoppers will understand what it is they’re buying and Cassini will have a better idea of how to rank the listing.

#4: Update Your Listings, Keep Adding New Listings

In Social Media, the term ‘bump’ means to add filler content to an original post to ensure that it stays at the top of the thread. eBay works in a similar fashion. Cassini favors brand new listings or listings that are regularly revised. Since your listing should include every bit of pertinent information, the best way to revise an already-posted listing is to watch your competitor’s pricing and reprice the listing accordingly. Or, instead of acting reactively, be proactive and reprice according to spikes in customer demand, upcoming shopping holidays, etc. Run sales and special promotions to drive customer interest; Cassini will see the price readjustment(s) which can boost your listings’ visibility. For new listings, you can upload in bulk and use eBay’s scheduling feature to space out the posting of each new product listing.

#5: Aim for 5-Star Ratings and 100% Customer Satisfaction

Private eBay users have a much easier time achieving 5-star seller ratings and 100% ratings because, typically, their transactions are spaced further apart than those from an eBay business. eBay businesses deal with a higher volume of products and shoppers thus, their transactions are far more frequent. When dealing with mass groups of people, it’s virtually impossible to please everyone every time–but never let that stop you from trying. In addition to having accurate and bulletproof product descriptions, providing excellent customer service will help build your reputation on eBay as a trusted and reliable seller; thereby making your eBay Store an attractive spot for new shoppers. Keep your customers informed of when to expect their items to arrive. Offer free shipping and a clear returns policy to build customer confidence. Make your store policies known and in clear view, easy to digest; NEVER intentionally obscurate any details that would lead customers to believe that you’re trying to cheat them. Address any customer complaints and grievances immediately and don’t ever be combative with even the rudest and most onerous individuals. Keep your communication open; as with typical online retail, shoppers appreciate communicating with live humans. Providing the very best service to your shoppers builds trust and increases the likelihood of them becoming repeat customers. Don’t be afraid to ask them to leave you positive reviews. eBay will position your store higher in the search as you continue to garner more and more positive reviews. ALWAYS REMEMBER: Cassini likes high-ranking, trusted sellers. And so do shoppers.

#6: Eliminate Negative Feedback

This one isn’t as deceptive as it sounds. As stated before, when dealing with large groups of people, it’s impossible to please everyone all of the time. This includes issues that aren’t even your fault but because of eBay’s feedback system, users take to this public forum to voice any and all complaints they have with the purchase–regardless of relevance to your end of the deal. That’s why it’s paramount to keep your lines of communication open with each and every transaction that comes your way. But for issues that arise that are completely out of your control, such as problems with the shipping carrier(s) and in-transit damage, you can open a case with eBay and as long as it satisfies their negative feedback removal guidelines, you can have any instance where negative feedback was received but not caused by your own doing. If the customer dispute/complaint is of your own doing (IE: misrepresented item, late shipment, etc.), it will reflect on your eBay seller rank and by the very nature of human beings, people are more likely to point out negative experiences than they are to hand out compliments. Unlike asking your customers to leave positive reviews on successful transactions, negative feedback is never wanted and you’ll never have to ask for it because you’ll absolutely get it if you deserve it.

#7: Try eBay’s Promoted Listings Campaign

Long story short, eBay Promoted Listings is a pay-to-play service. For an additional fee, eBay will push your listings higher within their search and at a much quicker rate than if it were to happen organically through Cassini. This can help draw fast and immediate attention to your listings as they will be seen by millions of active shoppers. It’s still good practice to make your listings Cassini-friendly so that you won’t need to rely on giving eBay a bigger cut of your sales but eBay Promoted Listings can help set the wheels in motion for you.

There are three tiers of eBay Promoted Listings:

  • Promoted Listings Standard – This service also includes suggestions on how to set up a Promoted Listing. Merchants are only charged when a customer purchases from a Promoted Listing. Promoted Listings can also appear with regular standard campaigns.
  • Promoted Listings Express – This service is mainly for the eBay app. For an additional fee to be paid upfront, Promoted Listings Express will boost a listing’s visibility on the eBay app. While of little to no effect for desktop users, keep in mind that over half of all eCommerce sales come through mobile devices. Plus, the eBay app itself is used by over 3.67 million users in the US alone every month. Mobile users can be considered their own individual market–and one that should not be ignored.
  • Promoted Listings Advanced – This service will push your listings to the top slots of eBay’s search results, across both desktop and mobile users. Here, merchants will have control over targeted keywords, ad budget, ad spend, and ad visibility options. However, whereas Promoted Listings Standard only charges you when an item is sold through a Promoted Listing, you will be charged a fee if a shopper just clicks on your listing.

See eBay’s guide to Promoted Listings: https://www.ebay.com/help/selling/listings/promoted-listings-overview?id=5295

#8: Take Advantage of Social Media’s Market Power

Advertising and marketing yourself outside of eBay is a good idea. While you can purchase paid posts and sponsored posts on Facebook and Instagram, as well as through eBay’s Promoted Listings service, you can also build a strong organic presence on social media through engaging content and direct engagement with your followers. Advertising on forums that are specific to your field/product/industry can also be a good strategy if you want to reach a targeted audience; niche forums and communities can be good places for you to do this. Additionally, you can also drive targeted traffic to your eBay Store through your EMail mailing list and pay-per-click (PPC) Google Ads. By doing so, you will be able to increase listing views which will (hopefully) result in additional sales. You can guide traffic to your eBay Store and try to initiate repeat purchases by using eBay’s own EMail marketing tools.

#9: Use eBay Fast ‘N Free Shipping Whenever Possible

Since 2018, the eBay Fast ‘N Free program allows you to highlight fast shipping on your product listings, pages, and ads. Upon enrollment, eBay will automatically estimate delivery time based on your handling time and it will also list your delivery services.

To qualify for eBay Fast ‘N Free, you must:

  • Deliver in 4 days or less
  • Offer free shipping and expedited shipping option(s)
  • Ship within the 48 contiguous US states (buyer must also be from the contiguous 48)
  • Have same day or 1-day handling
  • Not have your default shipping option set to local pick up or freight
  • Not use the Classified Ad format

eBay automatically applies this label to orders and it covers them with a seller protection program. eBay will take care of listings’ liability, and if delivery is delayed, eBay will compensate the buyer. Shoppers will see the ‘Fast ‘N Free’ logo and ‘Guaranteed by’ dates instead of ‘Estimated delivery’ dates. eBay protects you if the shipment is late. Negative or neutral feedback as a result of a late delivery will be removed by the company (You aren’t protected against defects or listing inaccuracies and continued problems can result in termination from the program). As an added benefit, eBay covers any costs associated with making the situation right for the shopper – either by paying for return shipping if you accept returns, or by giving them a voucher for their next eBay purchase. Also included are a few standard eBay protections, like coverage when guaranteed items are delayed due to weather.

Learn more about eBay Fast ‘N Free here: https://community.ebay.com/t5/Announcements/eBay-Now-Guarantees-Fast-N-Free-Shipments/ba-p/29127299

#10: Don’t Forget Google

eBay listings can also appear in Google Shopping and with Google being the world’s most popular website and #1 search engine, the added exposure that Google provides can be appreciably more effective in driving traffic and sales than just on eBay alone. If you have a successful product or series of product listings, Google may naturally pick up on them and automatically promote them through the Google Search algorithm. But if you don’t have that kind of track record yet and are looking to use Google as means to generate traffic, you’ll need to revise your product listings to appease both eBay’s Cassini search algorithm and the big bad, the Google Search algorithm. Unfortunately, the rules for both are as opposite as they can be. eBay’s Cassini likes product titles that include relevant bits of information to the product, such as size and color but Google considers such data as ‘keyword stuffing’, a form of black hat SEO that Google actually punishes by actively seeking out such terms and burying violators towards the bottom of the search results; doing the exact opposite of the tactic’s intended purpose. When revising your product information, you must find a happy medium between eBay’s keyword salad and Google’s direct and concise search results. Plus, keep in mind that both eBay and Google look for new content so as you revise your listing(s), you’ll also be drawing attention to eBay’s Cassini and Google Search concurrently. If you’re able to claim prime spots on both eBay’s and Google’s respective searches, you can maximize your exposure and ensure that you have a sales and visibility advantage over your competition.

Additional Reading for Omnichannel Merchants

Introduction to Omnichannel Retail
10 Tips for Selling on Amazon
10 Tips for Selling on Walmart

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