Given the hundreds of millions of pounds that changes hands on eBay every single year, the site's growing number of active users and glowing popularity on a global scale, mastering the art of selling on this particular online marketplace has its clear advantages.
The fact is that any budding entrepreneur with access to a computer and the internet can set up an eBay account and start selling their unwanted items. To the average Joe Bloggs looking to move their excess clutter on for a reasonable rate, eBay provides a way to gain a fair price for a one-off sale. For online businesses, the act of selling and the preparation beforehand is taken a lot more seriously.
Fortunately the site fully recognises the importance of being able to cater for professional or at least semi-professional sellers and has laid out a few useful tools to help them strike the big bucks. So if you're looking to take your eBay selling to the next level, here's some of the advanced features you may wish to use.
It may cut the figure of a run-of-the-mill third-party application for monitoring social media campaigns, but do not underestimate the power of eBay's very own Turbo Lister.
The design editor and templates within this free tool help businesses create professional-looking listings without the hassle that comes with having to shape something from scratch. You can also save and reuse listings if something really hits a chord with your customers, while the option to upload thousands of ads at once could save you hours over the space of a week.
A great tool for medium-to-high volume sellers and free to download from the eBay site, Turbo Lister is the go-to program for advanced selling.
One of the biggest difficulties in selling items via eBay is keeping track of everything that's been sold and is about to be sold in the near future. Business managers have their own tried and tested methods of ensuring that everything's kept ticking over throughout the week, but eBay offers a helping hand with Selling Manager.
Again, the tool is free to download and can create huge savings of time. Its main features include an interface for managing all kinds of listings, which makes it even easier for sellers to track where they're at for the week. Selling Manager also allows account holders to print invoices and labels for the items that do sell, and there's also time to be saved in communicating with buyers thanks to its stored text templates and feedback.
Selling Manager is a great solution for medium-volume sellers, although a Pro version is available for those selling products at an even faster pace. This includes all of the features in the previous model along with monthly finance reports, the ability to schedule listings and the ability to re-list unsold items. A one-month subscription to the program may come in at £4.99 but could earn this back within days.
It almost goes without saying but leaving several fields empty when filling out the information for your product can only have bad consequences. You won't lose anything by saying your kids t-shirt is 100 per cent cotton and this may even gain interest from the parents that are searching for products with this material.
When listing any one of your items, no matter how big or small, always use the advanced selling form to give you more selling formats, listing layouts and other options. Get specific with your listings and see the interest grow.
Product browsing on eBay is primarily conducted through the site's very own search engine, which means optimising a listing to improve its search rankings is always a possibility.
The site's search function actually works very similarly to the way in which Google's very own information trawling service used to, before pandas and penguins tore things apart. To score high with eBay's algorithm, you should include at least two important keyword phrases - such as brands or product types - in your listing title that are likely to attract interest.
You'll want to place these same phrases at the start and end of your product descriptions for both search and reading purposes, while you should always make these entries at least 200 words long to ensure they contain enough information. That way you're making your ad as relevant and informative as possible, which is exactly what eBay will be looking for.
Finally, if you're a small seller and cannot find a way up the listings in a competitive market, you may want to consider selecting upgrades for some of your best-selling products.
Promoted ads feature higher in eBay's search rankings but come at a cost. This will vary depending on the upgrade and the selling format you choose, but they're generally considered to be good value for the service they provide. Most companies will use this feature to advertise their products in the first few weeks of setting up. That way they can make a few quick sales and gain the feedback they need to become a reputable seller.