Opening an eBay Store

Opening an eBay Store
After selling through the auction listings for a while, many eBay merchants take the next step: setting up an eBay store. In many respects, it’s a natural next step. You wet your feet with auction listings, discover your products are selling, start making money, and now want more. So you bring in more products and more inventory, and set up an eBay store. But are you sure it’s the right step? What are the advantages and disadvantages? How will you get people into your store? These are the issues we’ll cover in this chapter. Why Set Up an eBay Store? Should you set up an eBay store? Maybe. Let’s consider some of the reasons merchants do just that. ■ They want a web site. Many merchants begin by selling through the auction listings, doing well, and then expanding. Selling online is more than just selling in auctions: they want to create a web site that they can direct buyers to, a site that can be promoted in many ways (see Chapters 22 to 29). ■ It’s fast and cheap. Merchants can set up a web site through eBay very quickly and affordably. ■ Merchants want to sell accessories. A merchant may sell digital cameras through the auctions, then direct people toward their store where they can sell them accessories such as batteries, memory cards, camera cases, and so on. ■ They want to sell many fixed-price items. A merchant who sells mostly fixed-price items may find it easier to do so through a store. ■ Merchants can sell multiples. More like a regular store; merchants attempt to sell as many of each product as they can. Thus, they’re not just selling “one off” products. ■ Insertion fees are very low. A merchant could list a thousand products for a month for just $20. ■ Final Value Fees are much lower. As long as the buyer comes directly to a merchant’s store and not through eBay, Final Value Fees are considerably lower. ■ Merchants end up selling to repeat customers. Why should a merchant pay high Insertion Fees and Final Value Fees if they’ve done a good job of bringing customers back to their site? ■ eBay Stores is turning into a destination. More people now know about eBay Stores, and eBay is doing more to educate people about it. So having a store provides another way to reach people. ■ eBay pays 25 percent of a merchant’s advertising. If a merchant owns a store, eBay will pay up to 25 percent of the cost of placing ads in newspapers and magazines. Of course, there are always disadvantages to any choice in this world. Take, for example, the following: ■ Final Value Fees are higher. If the buyer gets to a merchant’s site after arriving at either the main eBay or eBay Stores site, the Final Value Fees are higher. ■ Store listings are not found in the main eBay site as easily. Searches through eBay.com mostly find listings in the auctions. eBay Stores listings are only included if there aren’t enough matches. Pushing People to Your Store If you set up an eBay store, how are you going to get people to visit it? There are two ways people can arrive at your store: through eBay’s efforts, and through your own. If you wish, you can create a domain name and point it to your eBay store—for example, instead of typing http://stores.ebay.com/really-cool-toys, your clients would only have to type really-cool-toys.com. To learn more, click the Register your domain name link in the Manage Your Store area of your My eBay page. In the early days, eBay Stores was a little-used backwater. These days it’s much better known, and eBay is doing more to let people know it exists and push people toward it. eBay will direct people to your site in the following ways: ■ By including a little eBay Stores link in the Specialty Sites box at the top of the eBay Home page. ■ By including various eBay Stores links in the Other Ways to Browse box at the bottom of the main Buy page. ■ By including the Visit this seller’s eBay Store! link in the Seller Information box at the top of the items listed in auctions by eBay store owners. ■ eBay store items are included in search results when eBay can’t find enough auction listings that match. ■ Products are included in the More on eBay box in auction search results (see Figure 9-1). Of course, since this is your store you’ll have your own URL—http://stores.ebay.com/ storename—so you can guide people directly to your store. This way, you can market directly to people, and cross-promote from your eBay listings. For instance, you can ■ Promote your store in all your auction listings, prominently and multiple times. ■ Promote your store in your eBay auctions About Me page. ■ Use various eBay marketing tools (see Chapter 10). ■ Market directly to existing customers through postcards and e-mails. ■ Use Pay Per Click systems (see Chapter 22). ■ Include your store’s URL in ads. ■ Promote your store to customers with in-packaging flyers. Remember, this is your web site. You can promote it in any manner you see fit.