There are huge opportunities for any online seller looking to grow their business on eBay, the problem is that despite the site’s global reach and large active customer base, simply having a presence on the marketplace isn’t enough to secure visibility and generate sales.
Think about it.
There are millions of users actively selling on eBay, and depending on what it is you sell, you could very easily be competing with hundreds of thousands of other sellers for the top spot on eBay’s search results pages.
So, whether your eBay sales are down and you’re looking for ideas on how to sell more and increase your profits, or you’re simply looking for guidance on how to take your business to the next level, the following advice and best practices are designed to help you beat the competition and ultimately sell more on eBay.
Increase listing visibility with eBay SEO
Now this is important.
If you don’t optimise your listings so that they rank well on relevant eBay searches, then anything you do beyond this point will be a wasted effort.
While I’ll cover a few of the key considerations for achieving this below, if you’re looking for step-by-step guidance on how to get your listings to the top of the search results page, I would highly recommend that you read our detailed guide on this topic.
The fact is, you should be doing all you can to ensure your listings are found by consumers searching for products that you sell.
In short, this is achieved by understanding three key things:
1. The keywords and search terms potential customers are using to search for an item that you sell
Understanding your customer’s search behaviour on eBay is crucial to your success.
After all, the closer your eBay titles come to matching the users search query, the more likely it is to be seen by them, which is why you need to understand the keywords and search terms that they are likely to be using.
2. How these potential customers are filtering/refining their eBay search queries
eBay titles are important, but they’re not the only thing to consider.
Failing to acknowledge how users are refining their eBay searches could lead to you losing out on a whole load of visibility, not to mention sales.
If you’ve ever shopped on eBay, you should be familiar with their advanced search functionality.
Now depending on what it is you’ve searched for, you will be given the option to refine your search to only include relevant products that match your needs.
Let’s say you are searching for a men’s shirt.
You might include some detail about the shirt in the search query “men’s blue shirt size 15.5” slim-fit”, or you might simply search for “men’s shirt” and filter the criteria in eBay’s advanced search tab.
Or you might do both.
By including the details in the title, you certainly increase your chances of appearing, BUT (and it’s a big but), if you fail to include the Item Specifics when creating your listings – the specific details about the item you are selling – and a user filters their search, eBay won’t know that your product is an ideal match and your listing won’t appear.
3. How eBay rank relevant listings
Assuming you perfect your eBay title and include all of the relevant Item Specifics in your listing(s), you may well be eligible to appear in relevant searches.
The thing is, so might thousands of other sellers.
This is why you need to optimise your listings for eBay’s Best Match algorithm, which essentially determines how well a listing matches the user’s search criteria and ranks them accordingly.
While we discuss some of eBay’s ranking factors in our listing optimisation article, it’s worth keeping in mind that many of these factors are the same criteria for actually optimising your listings as a whole to ultimately sell more on eBay.
How to increase your sales on eBay
Now that you’ve got a basic understanding of how eBay SEO works, we will jump straight into the steps you need to take to boost your sales on eBay.
Whether you’ve seen a drop in eBay sales, or you are doing okay but want to know how to sell even more, there are a number of ways you can improve your eBay listings to increase the number of products you sell.
You will need to start with listing optimisation.
In addition to your title and item specifics, you will need to think about the things that actually generate interest amongst buyers and convince them to purchase your product(s).
These often include:
- Product images
Images are arguably the most important element of your listings, in terms of actually selling the product.
Think about it – how often do you make an online purchase without actually seeing what the item looks like? My guess would be never.
With the option to include up to 12 images per listing, free of charge, we would recommend that you make the most of them.
You can get plenty of tips for taking perfect photos on eBay’s dedicated page, however a few initial things to keep in mind are to ensure your images accurately convey the product details such as colour and size, while highlighting any faults and also showcasing the product at various angles.
You should also avoid using stock images as this can mislead customers, as well as avoiding the use of borders, text and artwork on the images.
- Item description
Your item description not only helps eBay to appropriately rank your product in relevant searches, but it also helps to convince the user to buy your product. This is why each of your listings should include a detailed and accurate product description.
Keep in mind that 1-2 sentences won’t suffice, nor will copying text from the manufacturers or your competitors.
Instead, you should aim to write a clear, yet informative description that provides potential customers with all of the information they need to know about the product.
Read these top tips for perfect eBay listings for more information on what to include.
- Price and delivery fees
Being able to offer competitive pricing is crucial for success on eBay, particularly if you are selling a popular product.
That said, you don’t always need to offer the lowest price on the market if you can offer benefits in other areas, for example lower (or free) shipping costs or outstanding customer service.
- Seller rating and feedback information
Your feedback score on eBay not only impacts your search position, but it also plays a significant role in whether or not someone decides to buy from you.
For the customer, nothing is more reassuring than knowing other buyers had a good customer experience, which is why you should strive to achieve 100% positive feedback.
- Returns policy
eBay encourage all sellers to offer a buyer-friendly returns policy, as this not only increases your chance of qualifying for Top Rated Seller Status, but it also helps to attract more buyers.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, there are of course some more advanced things you can do to extend your reach and increase your sales.
Make sure you read eBay's own best practices for taking your eBay business to the next level.
Boosting visibility with eBay Deals
eBay deals is one of the site’s biggest promotional opportunities for its top merchants.
We say ‘top merchants’, because in order to be eligible to participate in the programme, you will need to meet certain seller standards, which include becoming a top-rated seller, as well as offering at least one standard free shipping option for the product, a stated returns policy and a fixed Buy-It-Now price.
In addition to being featured on the eBay homepage, products that are featured as an eBay Deal may also be included in eBay’s regular email communications, while also being promoted through various campaigns.
Ultimately, these deals provide huge exposure for sellers and their products, significantly increasing conversion.
Learn more in our introduction to eBay Deals.
Expand onto international eBay sites
One of the best ways to sell more on eBay is by expanding across eBay's international sites.
Of course, when selling through more than one marketplace, you'll eventually find that you'll need to invest in effective eBay inventory management software in order to build a profitable business across eBay's sites and other selling channels.
Fortunately, eBay make it easy to start selling globally, through the use of their various international selling programmes, each of which we have briefly covered below:
eBay’s Basic International Selling
The easiest way to sell internationally on eBay is through their Basic International Selling programme.
With this option, all you need to do is offer international postage on your eBay.co.uk listings, which in-turn does two things; firstly it enables international visitors to eBay UK to purchase your products and secondly it enables your products to appear on international eBay sites, for users who refine their search results to include international listings.
If you are looking to test a new market, this is probably the best place to start, as it will allow you to get a smaller scale understanding of product demand in your chosen country, while also learning whether or not you can realistically offer support to these countries and successfully fulfil these orders.
eBay’s Advanced International Selling
While Basic International Selling is a good option requiring minimal effort, by choosing eBay’s Advanced International Selling option, you can see up to 8x more revenue per listing.
That said, it does require you to optimise and localise your listings for the market(s) you wish to sell on.
One important thing to remember is that if you opt go down the advanced route, you should avoid offering international postage options on those domestic listings, as they may be seen as a duplicate listing, which can cause all sorts of issues.
eBay’s Global Shipping Programme (GSP)
eBay GSP is an extremely popular solution to selling internationally through eBay, for the simple reason that it enables sellers to ship their item directly to the global shipping centre once it has sold, and hand over the global fulfilment of the product to eBay.
This includes completion of custom forms, the calculation of international shipping and import charges, complete tracking and customer service.
If you'd like more information about using eBay's Global Shipping Programme, have a read of our detailed guide here.
Alternatively, if you'd like further guidance on running a successful eBay business, either domestically or internationally, have a read of our Selling on eBay guide.