Growing eBay business? Well done! It’s not easy to get to that point so you’re obviously doing something right. Now you’re onto the next stage, which can bring greater returns but also more decisions to make.
At Parcelhub we work with over 500 eCommerce, eBay and Amazon retailers so we have seen first-hand what works and what doesn’t and how to avoid the most common pitfalls.
With that in mind, the Parcelhub team has put together a checklist of things to consider when scaling up your eBay operations.
1. Packaging – Is it up to scratch?
Following their purchase from your eBay store, the first thing your customer will see is your packaging. This is your opportunity to impress – invest in some corporate tape to wrap around your package, or branded labels on your packaging. It’s the details that matter. Also make sure that your items are expertly wrapped, with appropriate use of bubble wrap and polystyrene chips or moulds. Remember to thank your customer for their purchase, and let them know of your sale terms and conditions to further reinforce confidence.
Make sure you have all the right equipment, and an appropriate workspace to prepare and package your products.
2. Parcel delivery – Use a broker or go direct with a mainstream carrier?
Are you sending parcels locally, nationally or internationally? eBay buyers love free delivery, and offering this as a standard option will give potential buyers confidence in your offering.
To ensure that you can comfortably offer free postage, whilst achieving a profitable retail price, you need to consider the best freight options for this. Delivering direct with a mainstream carrier such as DHL or Yodel is the only option available to businesses sending small volumes, but if you are sending multiple parcels on a daily basis, you need to consider a shipping solution which specialises in bulk quantities. This will give you access to pooled volume discounts, immediately granting you access to reduced rates.
Sending up to 350,000 parcels per month, a wide spectrum of UK based eBay sellers rely on Parcelhub as a discounted multi-carrier solution.
3. Become a PowerSeller
eBay offer incentives to sellers who are consistently delivering excellent service, which can be realised by becoming an eBay PowerSeller. Benefits include improved search visibility, and if your listings meet specific requirements, PowerSellers can qualify for a 15% discount on final value fees.
4. Invest in a label printer
Buying your own label printer will speed up your despatching process, and make your service look much more professional. Parcelhub supplies clients with Zebra GK420d or similar, which we consider to be the industry standard.
5. Find an alternative supplier
Your sales are steadily increasing every month, so there will be a point when you have to reassess your supply chain. Are you buying your product direct from the source, or from a reseller? Cutting out the middle man will give you access to much lower prices, and you may even save on the costs associated with importing the goods. Are you happy with the quality of your products? If not, then how can you expect your customers to be? Use Alibaba or similar to check for alternative manufacturers. Eastern Asia is no longer the default choice for sourcing product; Turkey and the European Union can offer similar prices, improved quality/customer service and much cheaper freight and import charges to the United Kingdom.
6. Invest in ‘repeat purchase incentives’
Once the customer has made their purchase from your store, the battle is won, the hardest part is over, right? You have already won their confidence, so why not encourage them to buy more off you, or better still, recommend your range to their friends? One popular option with eBay sellers is to include a flyer asking to leave positive feedback and to revisit your store. Don’t make this mistake! Simply include a thank you note, and some cheap promotional gifts such as branded sweets, USB sticks or similar.
Impress your customers with a surprise promotional gift, and encourage them to share your excellent service across social media channels.
7. Drive eBay traffic to your eCommerce website
One great way of maximising long term profit from your eBay customers is to encourage them to visit your e-commerce website, where the fees will be much lower. By this I don’t mean shift your focus away from eBay, but consider that your own online store will give you greater control over visitors, and improved insight. Persuade visitors to sign up by entering their email address, send regular email updates about your most exciting products. Install tracking software which will allow you to tailor specific emails based on visitor behaviour / pages visited on your website. Don’t have an e-commerce website? I would recommend using a WordPress theme with the WooCommerce installation, or an alternative e-commerce content management system such as Magento, Shopify or Linnworks.
Encourage eBay customers to buy direct from your online store, avoiding 10% final value fees. Not to say your content management system won’t incur charges, you will still incur PayPal charges of between 2.9 and 3.4%.
8. Upgrade your business premises
You can no longer enter your garage as it’s now so full of parcels that you have to negotiate your way through an assault course to get to a certain product. Now is time to move, and scale up your operations. Having your own warehouse doesn’t have to be expensive, and will come with many added benefits. You will be given a confidence boost, be more organised and will now have room to grow. You will be able to source and store more pallet loads of products. This will lower your unit costs, and make you more competitive, increasing your profit margins further.
Is your eBay business starting to look a little like this? Time to scale up and hire a warehouse.
9. Hire a professional product photographer
You’ve qualified for PowerSeller status, so you need to make the most of this increased visibility. Getting professional photography can cost as little as £5 an item, for a high resolution image. Having a standardised look and feel across your entire product portfolio will help buyers associate with and remember your store, improving your range’s perception of quality.
Suffering from writer’s block? Hire a freelance expert to improve your eBay listings.
10. Hire a professional copywriter
Another way to increase buyer confidence is by writing convincing, but succinct copy. You don’t have to be a word-smith, but make sure that you address all of your customer’s potential concerns. They may love your new high resolution product photographs, but you need to answer all of the potential issues that may enter their mind on first impression. Have you included a returns policy? Testimonials from past buyers? Video testimonials? Maybe your supplier has an official product video, which you can embed from YouTube.
Suffering from writers block, or simply don’t have time to do the above? Freelancing sites such as Fiverr, oDesk and Elance let you hire an expert in a wide range of skills sets.
Fiverr.com is an excellent resource for hiring freelancers for as little as $5 to create video testimonials, graphic design, copywriting or even product photography projects.
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