Many entrepreneurs start their businesses on eBay as a long-term solution for reaching their customer base or as a stepping stone towards building their community and then eventually moving their store off the platform onto their own website.
With either goal in mind, it’s important to launch your eBay store with a strong idea for how your company will differentiate itself from others in the industry by using the feature sets unique to eBay and by optimizing for conversions by understanding the psychology of an eBay customer.
By optimizing the feature sets of your store and catering to the habits of an eBay user, your store will likely receive more qualified traffic and increased sales overtime.
Follow these six tips to successfully launching an eBay store on a shoestring budget.
1. Brand your store appropriately.
Branding is major component of any company no matter the size of their budget, since it helps define your unique position in an industry and the type of customers that would be interested in your offerings.
When it comes to your eBay store, begin branding it by uploading an image that accurately represents your business for the billboard image and also upload your company’s logo as the profile photo for your store. As seen below, Jeff’s Music Gear incorporates a unique cover photo, profile photo and quality product photos throughout their eBay storefront.
These visual elements are important since your eBay storefront is one of the ways a user generates a first impression of your business. Many businesses operating a store on eBay neglect to upload visuals to their storefront, which gives your organization the upper hand when it comes to adding a level of professionalism the other stores on the marketplace often lack.
Most business owners don’t have the design skills, tools or budget to support the marketing of their business, which is often why the branding aspect of their eBay store is lacking. Luckily there are many resources available for non-designers looking to make a visual impact with their business.
2. Use high quality images to help sell your products.
The images used for your products should also be taken into consideration when branding your eBay store since they too are often the first experience a user has with your business on the marketplace.
The typical eBay user isn’t aware of the stores found on the marketplace and typically uses search to find products they’re interested in. A majority of the time your business is competing with the similar items feature on an eBay search results page, which highlights how important selecting the right images for your product can be.
From this search for “leather jacket” above, multiple products appear on the search results page on eBay displaying the image, name, and price of each product best matched to the search. When reviewing the products that appear in the search results, it’s clear which photos are professional and appealing to the eye as compared to others that don’t properly display a product or appear in poor quality.
When a person is presented with this many options there are a few factors taken into consideration when someone clicks on one product thumbnail over another, one of which being that they can clearly see the item and that it looks to be a quality image. Other factors of course impact whether a person clicks on an item, but regardless, the image is one of the most important factors for driving traffic to your eBay products.
Spend the extra time it takes to shoot photos of your products with the right lighting and at the right perspective to highlight the entire product in its entirety. The extra time spent on perfecting your product photos, whether taken from your mobile device or a professional camera, can help your store perform better when customers search for your products.
3. Feature your best items at the top of your store.
To improve the experience on your storefront, feature some of your best sellers in the featured items section of your store. Choose to feature items that best express the assortment of products your store offers, while making sure to choose products with the most professional and appealing product photography.
In this example from SHOP it Fashion, they chose to feature a variety of products that highlight the different categories of items that their store offers for shoppers. The products featured use high quality photography that appropriately showcases the entire item, making it easy for a shopper to quickly see how it’s worn or displayed.
These product thumbnails are larger than the thumbnails found on your other products, therefore they display much more clearly and take up a larger portion of your storefront. When viewing your eBay store on mobile, these featured products are optimized to perfectly fit the screen on your device as well.
These optimized product thumbnails are one of the first impressions a mobile user has of your store, which makes it even more important for your team to feature your best products front and center. Websites optimized for mobile tend to drive more mobile sales, since it’s easier for them to shop your website. Continue to focus on how your eBay store is presented on mobile since a majority of consumer’s time online today is spent on the platform.
4. Incorporate your social profiles.
Integrate your store’s efforts on social media by setting up the links to your company’s social profiles on your eBay storefront like Fish West does. eBay allows storeowners to display either links to their Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube or e-mail on their billboard image.
It’s important to connect your community wherever they are active online to your other channels, making it as easy as possible for a person to connect with your business. The social networks you’re given an option to display are the most relevant to e-commerce stores, which is why eBay choose to only allow integration with these specific channels.
Connect your social media accounts with your eBay store as well by including a link to your store in the bio of your Twitter account, on your Facebook about section, and across your other relevant marketing channels.
5. Describe your products with extensive detail.
Every product sold on your eBay store should have a thorough description describing the item, its features, and how it should be used. This description will help a shopper better understand the value of a particular product, helping them make more informed decisions when browsing through your product assortment.
The inclusion of this copy will also help your products be more discoverable on eBay’s internal search, since the platform will be able to better understand how to categorize your particular products. This can help lead more shoppers on eBay to your products and ideally lead to an increase in long-term sales.
6. Create collections for your products.
With a similar appeal as Pinterest, the collections feature on eBay is an excellent tool for business owners to group their products based on a useful theme for their audience. eBay shoppers can follow these collections that are featured on your storefront to get updates on eBay about future additions to the collection.
For example, the eBay store handlizzie created collections focused on the beach, wedding, and eco-friendly products. Include your own products as well as the products from other businesses that aren’t direct competitors. This way you’re including products that match with your own and make the collection more valuable for an eBay shopper without losing out on sale to another eBay store that sells the same products.
Apply some of the principles of marketing on Pinterest like creating an appealing title for each collection, as well as a comprehensive description for your collections as well. The title and description of your collections will help them better resonate with your audience since they should be catered to match their interests, as well as come up for relevant searches across the eBay marketplace.
Experiment with this feature and others on eBay to find out what works best to help grow your business and enhance your relationships with returning customers. Not every feature will work the same for the products your eBay store is selling, which is why it’s important to experiment to find your unique approach to this shopping marketplace.
What strategies work the best for businesses selling on eBay? Has your eBay storefront helped move the needle for your business? Share your insights down below in the comments.
Updated November 21, 2014.