Bitbond: Hey Gary thank you for taking the time to talk to us. You ran the ebay store UKBluetooth with over 4000 positive reviews, making you the perfect person to give some helpful eBay tips. But first, how did you get started on eBay?
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.
Bitbond: How did you decide on what items to sell? Did it take you a long time to find your niche?
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.
Bitbond: Is there anything you wish you had known when you started out that you learnt the hard way? Share your eBay tips with us.
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.
Bitbond: How many items were you selling a month at the stores’ peak? Was this your only store on eBay or other marketplaces?
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.
Bitbond: Did you use any selling tools? And If so could you describe how they benefited you?
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.
Bitbond: Do you think eBay has changed much since you started selling? Are fees the #1 concern for new eBay sellers?
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.
Bitbond: Where did you go to stay updated on the news? Is there a resource you recommend for new and veteran sellers, such as websites, podcasts or forums?
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.
Bitbond: Tell us about your plans for the future.
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.
Bitbond: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us.
Gary: You’re welcome.
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