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Power Seller Tips for New Sellers

by Lily O'Halloran

1. Use a memorable seller name that sounds professional.

Help your buyers remember your eBay store by choosing a seller name that is easy to remember. The name should be easy to spell; avoid using underscores, asterisks, and other symbols that are difficult to remember. Keep your seller name consistent with your store name and email address. The more time your (same) name is used, the easier it will be for your customers to remember. Similarly, avoid using a generic name or an unprofessional name. A generic name such as “Bob’s eBay Store” is not going to make your eBay store stand out in the crowd. A professional name helps to build customer trust. Generally, customers would rather buy products from a business than an individual. A business is more likely to handle a transaction with professionalism, and take care of any problems that surface, than “Bob” that sells on eBay.

2. Create professional quality listings.

Professional quality listings are vital to the success of your eBay business. Potential customers decide whether to keep browsing a listing within seconds of clicking on it. A high-quality listing that is easy-to-read, interesting to look at, and informative is much more likely to hold a customer’s interest than one that has dark background colors, a collage of clip art behind the product information, or an overwhelming amount of animated graphics. For the most part, customers do not want to see animated clip art when they are shopping. In fact, most customers find it terribly annoying and will immediately navigate away from the listing. If you must use animation, limit yourself to one animated graphic or logo. Templates make listing easy. Templates can be used to quickly create efficient listings that are consistent and professional.

3. Research items before listing them.

Research products before you sell them to become an expert on the product. It is much easier to sell a product when you know who wants the product, why they want the product, and what features of the product are the best selling points. Knowing your target customer will aid you in creating a listing that is appealing to them. An appealing, informative listing is similar to a sales person. A salesperson points out all of the best features and the benefits that you can obtain from the product. Use your product knowledge to let your listing work for you. Describe the products features and add positive product reviews if applicable. Customers may call the product by a name other than the manufacturer’s name for the product. Knowing the popular name can help you attract more customers. For example, a manufacturer might call a chair a roundabout chair, but the style is more commonly known as a papasan chair. In this case, you should use both names to attract the most customers.

4. List items in the proper category.

Items should always be listed in the correct category. If you are unsure of the category or if an item could be classified in multiple categories, then you may want to consider doing just that. Listing your item in multiple categories increases the potential customer views, because your listing will appear in searches for each category that you choose. If your item is listed in an incorrect category, fewer customers will have the chance to view your listing. Even if a customer uses the search feature rather than browsing categories, they may not see your item.

For example, a customer searches for moisturizer which results in 4019 listings. She doesn’t want to browse 4019 listings, so she narrows her search by clicking on Health & Beauty. If you are selling a moisturizer and listed your product in a category other than Health & Beauty, then this customer will not see your listing. Her search still yields 3954 listings, so she narrows the search even more by clicking on Skin Care. If you listed your product in Bath & Body, rather than Skin Care, then your listing is out. For this reason it can be beneficial to list your product in multiple categories. By listing your product in both categories, you will obtain more customer views. The more times your listing is viewed, the more likely it is that your item will sell.

Choosing the proper category also offers more information to the customer. For example, is the shirt a children’s size medium or a junior’s size medium? It is not always possible to tell by looking at a picture. The proper category will let the customer know that the shirt is a junior’s medium. If the customer is not sure about a product, they are not going to buy it. They may take the time to ask the seller a question, but sellers should not count on that.

This leads us to the next tip…

5. Assume customers are in a hurry.

Many customers are in a hurry. Even if they are not, customers don’t want to spend time emailing a seller over and over with each question. Always include all the necessary product information, which varies with the type of product. Important product details could include the brand name, condition, size, weight, color, scent, dimensions, style, etc.

Include at least one picture of the product. Listings without images do not end well. If you can, use a picture from the manufacturer. Not only will this save you time, the picture will be professional quality.

Respond to customer emails or calls as quickly as possible. The longer you wait to respond, the more time the customer has to shop elsewhere. Your timely response increases customer satisfaction, which can lead to customer loyalty.

6. Make the most of your title.

Use those 45 spaces as efficiently as possible. Include the name of the product, the abbreviation for the condition, other common names, size, color, and so on. The search feature on eBay favors titles that are packed with information, because each piece of information can be matched with searches.

For example, the title “CALVIN KLEIN CASHM* SWEATER MED RED NWT $198” works well because it is loaded with the following information:

  • Calvin Klein (popular brand name)
  • Cashm* (will return results for cashmere searches, * is a wildcard)
  • Sweater (popular search)
  • Med (size medium)
  • NWT (abbreviation for New With Tags)
  • $198 (MSRP of the sweater)

Try to be as specific as possible to use each character efficiently. Play around with a few different titles until you find the best one. This will get easier with practice.

Do not use attention getters such as “LOOK,” “MUST C,” or “AWESOME.” These attention getters are annoying to shoppers, but more importantly they are a waste of valuable space.

Do not use extra symbols to try to make your title stand out. Besides wasting space that could be used in a better method, they may cause problems with your search results.

Use all capital letters in your title. This will help your title stand out, as well as rank better on search engine results.

7. Spell words correctly – most of the time.

Product names should always be spelled correctly. However, if you are using the second title line, you may want to consider adding some common misspellings of the product’s name. Almost every eBay buyer has a story about finding an item that was spelled incorrectly and winning it for next to nothing. It may be fun to be that buyer, but it is not fun to be the seller in that situation. Always double check the spelling of the product’s name in the title line. Only add misspellings after the original or in the second title line.

8. Don’t compete solely on price.

Sure selling products for blowout prices will increase your sales, but it will also drop your profit margins to next-to-nothing. Competitive pricing can be helpful to increase sales, but low prices are not the only thing that customers look for when shopping. Shoppers like to feel they are buying a luxurious brand and receiving superior customer service. Your listings and eBay store should create an atmosphere and mood that attracts all types of customers, not just ones that are out for a bargain. However, all sales -- big and small -- are important. Every sale is a chance to let your business shine. Don’t just satisfy customers, exceed their expectations, and they will be back for more. Repeat business creates customer loyalty.

9. Don’t describe items as rare when they are not rare.

The term “rare” is widely overused on eBay. There are so many listings that claim the product is rare, yet that same product can be found online at numerous stores. There is nothing wrong with using the term rare, if it really does apply to the product. However, if the item is truly rare, the customer probably already knows that. Don’t waste any of your 45 title characters with the term rare; use those characters as effectively as possible to yield the most views.

10. Do sell what your customers want rather than what you like.

If you are selling products to make money, which I’m sure you are, then sell what customers want. It doesn’t matter if you like the product or not. It doesn’t matter if you wouldn’t want the product for free, if customers want to buy it – sell it! You are here to make a profit. By selling what the customer demands, you can increase your sales and profit margins.

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