Summer is traditionally a slower selling season on eBay. But this doesn’t mean that work has to slow down too. The summer season is actually a great time to step back and analyze ways to improve sales. This may not only help increase profits during the summer, but also into the next season and beyond. Take advantage of the slowdown and consider these 18 ways to improve your eBay sales now.
Revise your return policy
It is no secret that eBay favors sellers who offer generous return policies. The recent restructuring of return policy options is a clear move to compete with other online marketplaces that offer flexible (and free) returns. eBay claims that sellers who offer free returns could see a 25% increase in sales.
In addition, offering 30 day free returns is part of the eligibility criteria for the coveted Top Rated Plus listing status. Top Rated Plus listings automatically receive a search ranking boost plus a 10% discount on Final Value Fees.
Consider offering free shipping
eBay not only loves sellers with generous return policies, but those who offer free shipping too. With initiatives such as “Fast ‘N Free listings” and performance rating boosts, eBay actively encourages sellers to offer free shipping and handling on items. Besides these benefits, offering free shipping is one way to get an competitive edge over other sellers. Be careful, though, not to drive profits down to unsustainable levels.
Manage your inventory carefully
A period of slower sales is the ideal time to sort and organize your inventory. There are so many benefits to doing so, with one of the most important being the risk of transaction defects for selling items not in stock. This situation is usually avoidable in the vast majority of instances with careful inventory organization. Read more about organizing your eBay inventory.
Optimize item listings
Cassini is the name of eBay’s search engine. It runs on a secret algorithm, which means it scores and ranks listings according to its own unique criteria. While no-one knows the exact formula it uses, we do know that Cassini believes that relevance, value, trust and convenience is integral. eBay sellers who demonstrate these factors in item listings are likely to see their search rankings improve. Read more about optimizing item listings for Cassini.
Always complete item specifics
Item specifics help define products and ensure that buyers will be able to find what they want more easily. The latter is possible thanks to Cassini, eBay’s search engine that uses item specifics as a critical ranking factor. For this reason, it is so important to ensure that item specifics for each listing are completed. Where possible, use the eBay catalog. Add custom specifics if needed.
Try out Promoted Listings
Consider using eBay’s Promoted Listings feature to reduce long-sitting inventory or to stand out in a crowded niche. While it is true that the Promoted Listings feature comes with a price, it is important to take note that sellers do not pay any upfront costs and also do not pay if the promoted item does not sell.
Always be researching the competition
When sales slow down, it is the perfect time to examine how and what the competition is doing. Look at pricing, listing descriptions, photos and advertised shipping and handling time. If you have access to Terapeak, check for item sell through rates, average sale price and average shipping costs. Consider ways to undercut and do better than your competition.
Create a business website
If you don’t already have a website for your eBay business, take some time this summer to create one. Maintaining a website alongside your eBay business has a number of advantages. Some sellers enjoy having a website to advertise their eBay listings outside of the main site, while others use the opportunity to build their brand and authority. Read more about creating a business website.
Show eBay listings on your business website
Sellers with an existing business website may not realize how simple it is to integrate their eBay listings into it. Auction Nudge is a simple to use (and completely free) advertising tool that automatically inserts live eBay listings into a website once a code snippet has been added. No matter your website experience, Auction Nudge is easy to set up and customize.
Send offers to buyers
Did you know it is now possible to eBay sellers to send offers to potential buyers? Sellers using eBay.com are now able to contact buyers who have added an item onto their Watch List. Buyers who receive an offer will be notified and advised that the offer is valid for the next 48 hours. Sellers are not allowed to see any identifying details about the buyers.
Learn how to recognize potentially fraudulent buyers
eBay sellers can avoid most scam situations by looking out for common ‘red flags’ or warning signs during transactions. Some of the most obvious red flags include buyers wanting to continue the sale outside of eBay, changing the shipping address after the sale or offering to pay more than the asking price. Read more about recognizing fraudulent buyers on eBay.
Enable Unpaid Item Assistant
It is undoubtedly frustrating to spend time chasing up buyers who do not pay for items. The good news is that there is a way to save time on this task – eBay’s Unpaid Item Assistant. When the Unpaid Item Assistant is enabled, it automatically opens and closes unpaid item cases when the buyer does not pay. As well as saving time, using the Unpaid Item Assistant ensures that you never miss a final value fee credit.
Ever considered selling internationally on eBay? There is a whole world of buyers out there looking for items to purchase online. By limiting sales to your own country, you are missing out on millions of potential buyers (182 million to be precise). Before diving straight into international selling, read this guide first.
Use listing templates
Simplify your selling with listing templates. Not only does using listing templates save time, but it also gives buyers consistent information across many listings. Sellers can create and save up to 10 selling templates in Seller Hub and up to 20 in Selling Manager Pro. And don’t worry, creating listing templates can be quick. It is also possible to create templates from active or pending listings using Selling Manager Pro.
Start a sale
Discounting items is a great way to clear out inventory, attract new buyers and increase the number of items sold per order. Promotions Manager is exclusive to sellers with store subscriptions but is the most straightforward way to markdown items, create order size discounts, offer limited time shipping deals and share codeless coupons. Promotions Manager can be assessed via Seller Hub.
Don’t make customers wait
Make a resolution to improve your customer service this summer. One of the easiest ways to do this is to reply to customers as soon as possible. In addition to showing professionalism, a fast response may also lead to more sales. Some buyers send messages to multiple sellers at once and the first to reply is more likely to receive the sale.
Always consider seasonality
Think ahead and plan your eBay selling calendar for th”e months ahead. Gardening items are more likely to sell in spring, while swimwear will fly off the shelves in summer. Prepare for the busy holiday season now, stocking up on popular festive decorations and gifts. If you already sell internationally, remember that the other hemisphere experiences opposite seasons.
Take the best photos you can
It has never been more important to take the best photos possible for eBay listings. Photos provide buyers with their first impression with the item and can potentially make or break a sale. Take the time to first prepare the item (cleaning, dusting, steaming as necessary), locate a plain background and then create natural or diffused lighting. When taking photos, be sure to choose many different angles and include some close-ups too.
Read more about taking eBay item photos.