Gary: A friend of mine had started selling a few things on eBay and decided that he didn’t have enough time to continue, so I bought his business including the UKBluetooth brand from him. I was making a good profit from the off.
Gary: I have always been involved in hi tech electronics, so it was natural that I should start to sell these kind of products. At the time Bluetooth was big, and I was selling Bluetooth USB dongles.
Soon everyone wanted hands free devices for their mobile phones, so I started selling Bluetooth headsets and followed this up with Bluetooth stereo headphones, Bluetooth car kits and other devices.
Gary: Customer’s buying habits. Tracking the times when your listings are viewed and items purchased can really help you optimise your sales efforts. There are different patterns for different days of the week too.
I had no idea at first; I would just list and hope. Once I began to understand my customers, sales increased.
Gary: I was shipping 10 to 20 items a day at peak, so around 300 items a month. I also sold on Amazon and directly from my website, though by far the most sales were on eBay.
Average selling price was around £30 so turnover was around £9,000 a month. However as more people got into the market the margins fell as did sales.
Gary: Yes – I started using turbolister which made life considerably easier. I then moved on to Selling Manager Pro which was well worth its low price. For me the biggest benefit was scheduling my sales to start at optimum times.
I found the times of days when most of my sales occurred and scheduled my listings accordingly. This increased sales volumes considerably.
Gary: Yes, it changed considerably. When I started it was still the kind of auction site that it was designed to be, but it has now become more up-market with its emphasis on big business rather than the small seller.
The fees are considerably more expensive too, and they can eat away your margins making it more difficult to compete with the big sellers.
Certainly to make real money you have to be a bit smarter than in the past. For instance providing top class customer service can go a long way.
You also need to be able to negotiate good prices with manufacturers and wholesalers, which means buying in larger volumes, so you need to be certain to choose the right products and be willing to invest sufficient funds.
Gary: The eBay seller’s forum is always a useful source of information, and eBay provides a load of useful information, but ultimately selling on eBay is not that different from selling on any platform.
You can never learn too much about sales and marketing, and there are plenty of useful resources on the web.
Gary: I’m not currently selling on eBay; I had planned to move into Bluetooth low energy devices, but the market for them turned out to be disappointing.
I might well return in the future, but for now my time is fully occupied with other activities.
Gary: You’re welcome.
Let us know in the comments below what eBay tips you learnt today and what topics you want us to tackle in the future.