Is eBay All or Nothing for You?

By: gbm000
Like any activity, eBay can become routine. You list, you monitor, you sell, you email, you pack, you ship, etc.

Indeed, selling on eBay can become so consuming that sometimes you don't have the time or energy to think about other options. Although you might begin to have thoughts in this direction if your profit margins reduce or your sell-through rates dip.

Instead of sticking slavishly to eBay alone, why not consider some additional marketing ideas? Here are a few thoughts...

Repeat Business
Businesses both off and online know that developing a clientele of regular customers can be responsible for producing more income. The more trading venues you have, the more opportunities you give those buyers to return to you for goods and services. One of the best ways of capitalising on loyal customers is by opening a website offering products which will be of interest to them.

Better Targeting
Some auction sites have a niche clientele of dedicated collectors who are willing to spend what it takes if you have the merchandise they want.

Cross-Marketing
When you add a website and other online storefronts to your eBay Store, you gain the ability to cross-market. Each site can link to the others, which gives you more attention and improves your search engine rankings.

Wider Range of Merchandise
Some auction sites let you sell things that are prohibited on eBay. LiveDeal.com lets owners sell animals, for instance.

Take a look at other auction opportunities. There's a good list here http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/pages/sitepricing.

Some suggestions for additional options are presented below.

Direct selling through your own website
Many high-volume sellers regard eBay as a customer acquisition tool. Millions of prospects are drawn to the auction site each day. Once you hook them with a successful eBay sale, you can channel them to your personal pond.

Bargaining with your customers
iOffer http://www.ioffer.com provides a complement to eBay. If you aren't sure of the value of an item or if the item did not sell on eBay, this is a good place to turn. You can invite offers or sell merchandise at fixed price. A software tool called Mr. Grabber "grabs" your eBay unsold auction items so you can easily relist them on iOffer.

Specialty auctions
If you are a knowledgeable collector in a particular area or if you specialize in selling to a dedicated niche group of consumers, consider posting merchandise for sale on specialty sites like PenBid.com ( http://www.penbid.com ) for fountain pens, LabX ( http://www.labx.com ) for lab equipment, or Just Beads ( http://www.justbeads.com ) enthusiasts. In addition to attracting buyers with well-focused interests, niche sites sometimes offer other perks: Just Beads does not charge for listing unsold items and provides members with free photo hosting, for instance. Listings on PenBid.com are free. PropertyRoom.com ( http://www.propertyroom.com ), Bid4Assets ( http://www.bid4assets.com ) and uBid ( http://www.ubid.com ) have stricter seller requirements, leading to reduced fraud, which can lead to higher bids from more confident shoppers.

Amazon.com ( http://www.amazon.com )
Amazon is worth a special mention. Suffice it to say that, while Amazon's auction site doesn't attract nearly as much attention as eBay, it's easy to sell books, CDs, and household merchandise in the Amazon marketplace. Search Amazon to see if your item is already described for sale. Click the button 'Sell Yours Here' to offer your new or used version of the same item for sale at a reduced price.

Overstock.com Auctions ( http://auctions.overstock.com )
Sometimes, you just need to liquidate a lot of merchandise at once. This well-known site attracts a primarily female clientele (as opposed to eBay, which reportedly attracts a 55 percent male to 45 percent female customer base). Overstock is a good place to sell women's jewelry and clothing. Volume sellers (those with 100 or more active listings) receive discounts on their listing fees.

eBay may be the king of the jungle in person-to-person sales, but it's not the only game in town. Don't wait until your business starts to break before you start to think about fixing it. By venturing into some other fields where the online auction sales game is played, you could end up with more sales.
Online Business
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