eBay’s VP of seller experience reveals 4 secrets for making your listing stand out from the 1.5 billion on the site

If you want to start a resale business to sell collectible, luxury, thrift, or pre-owned items, eBay could be the right platform for you. eBay sellers can make more than $1 million in sales, depending on their success listing and selling unique and in-demand items, such as sneakers, handbags, electronics, and furniture. 

Your eBay store is only as good as your listings. The resale site hosts approximately 1.5 billion listings, so it’s a highly competitive space to get shoppers to click on yours. Most shoppers search for specific items based on commonly-used keywords, so your listing must outrank thousands of similar products on the site. 

But there are some simple steps you can follow to ensure your listings stand out. eBay’s vice president of seller experience, Harry Temkin, said in a YouTube video that there are four essentials to the perfect listing. 

Here’s how to improve your listings to get more eyes on your eBay store.

1. Maximize your title

You can use up to 80 characters for your item title. The words you choose will determine how shoppers find your listing in their searches. Use descriptive keywords, brand names, and model names to optimize search results leading to your item. For example, “Michael Kors Women’s Black Leather Purse Handbag” is more specific than “Black Designer Handbag.” 

Always include the color of the item and include size if you’re selling clothing, shoes, or other wearable items.

2. Be specific in the item description

The same rules apply to your item description as your title. When you write your listing, eBay will show you how many buyers have searched for the terms you’ve used. The higher the number of recent searches, the more visible your item will be on the platform.  This Killer Kentucky Derby Cocktail Could Unseat the Mint Julep—Here’s How to Make It

3. Take quality photos

High-quality photos are a must. Your listing photos are your first impression to shoppers, so yours will need to stand out in a sea of search results. 

Photograph your products in good lighting with a clean background. Make sure the photo captures the true color of the item and doesn’t make it appear a shade darker or lighter. When in doubt, a white background will look crisp and highlight the details. eBay’s mobile app has a built-in photo editor that will automatically make your background white.

4. Ensure your price is right

Keep track of the prices other sellers set for products similar to yours. Your price should factor the demand, rarity, quality, and brand name of your item. 

eBay’s “Terapeak product research” tab within the seller hub will help you research the most effective price for your product. It shows you other listings of similar products, sell-through rate, and average price.

SEE ALSO: A step-by-step guide to selling on eBay, including how to create the perfect listing and authenticate luxury items

MUST READ: Selling thrifted clothing on Instagram earns a college student an extra $1,000 a month. Here’s how she handles marketing and selling to her 36.6K followers.

Read more: Business Insider

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The Ebay Veteran Cashing In On The $369 Billion Returns Boom

He raised $1.2 million from friends at VC firms True Ventures and Harrison Metal in 2009 and has collected a total of $73 million from investors. “They’re just scratching the surface of what we think is a massive market,” says Pete Jenson, a partner at Spectrum Equity, which led a $65 million Series C round in 2018. Neither he nor the company would discuss the company’s valuation or their ownership stakes other than to confirm that Rosenberg has a minority stake. Based on the one publicly traded competitor, Liquidity Services, the company is likely worth at least $130 million, but that is likely low, given how fast it is growing.

“That is why Spectrum wrote us a check for $65 million. They like big markets,” agrees Rosenberg.

B-Stock isn’t the only option, of course. Washington, D.C.-based Optoro operates one warehouse but these days mostly sells software that helps chains identify the best way to offload unwanted inventory, whether by restocking merchandise, returning it to a vendor, refurbishing, donating or sending it to a secondary marketplace. It also operates Blinq.com, which sells one-off returns to consumers, and Bulq.com, a smaller B2B competitor to B-Stock. Happy Returns installs pop-up receiving sites for chains that have limited brick-and-mortar presence, and Liquidations.com similarly sells excess inventory via auction.

Rosenberg has taken a different tack, putting all of the burden back on the original sellers, who deal with sorting, packing and shipping items to buyers. No inventory risk, no shipping costs and all the pricing decisions are made by the buyers and sellers. Even the warehouses where all that stuff sits in are the domain of retailers or third-party logistics companies. Sellers pay an estimated 5%-to-10% transaction fee based on the amount of merchandise they move through some 175,000 auctions every year. That keeps overhead low–85% of Rosenberg’s costs consist of doling out paychecks–and that, he claims, has helped him produce net profits since the day he started in 2009.

To help retailers get the best price, B-Stock tinkers with things like whether to sell stuff together or separately, how big a lot should be, how long an auction should run, what pictures to use and what day it should close. It also helps leverage the power of brands–trusted retailers can command a 15% premium–with separate marketplaces for each customer.

“There are times when we get bogged down with returns,” says a manager at a Fortune 500 company that has worked with B-Stock for six years and declined to speak on the record. “We needed someone to help us find homes for product that might beforehand been thrown away.”

Who’s buying all this? People like Clayton Cook, 33, who runs three discount stores in Salt Lake City. He spends an hour every morning browsing B-Stock and typically places about 150 to 200 bids for toys, apparel and other items sold by Walmart, Target and Costco. He doesn’t have time to haggle, so he lowballs his bids and figures he will only win a fraction of them. “The biggest plus is that I get it directly from the source. Because of that I get a better variety and a better product,” says Cook, who expects sales of $8 million in 2019. The site has also attracted a lot of eBay and Poshmark sellers, although the company doesn’t keep track of just how many.

That’s not to say the business is hassle-free. The company’s Better Business Bureau page is littered with complaints from unhappy buyers, most of them upset by the actions of a retailer but blaming the middleman as the face of the transaction.

Rosenberg says the marketplace model has allowed him to build the biggest online liquidation business in town, yet he still only lays claim to less than 2% of a liquidation market that totals $100 billion. To continue cashing in on the returns boom, he wants to bring on outside companies who can offer various logistics services, including sorting and shipping, for an extra fee. He also has plenty of new business to chase: Only 18 of the top 100 retailers in the country are working with B-Stock, plus his current customers could be liquidating even more stuff through his platform.

“It’s a huge opportunity,” says Rosenberg. “And a really, really big market.”

COVER PHOTOGRAPH BY AARON KOTOWSKI FOR FORBES.

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I am a staff writer at Forbes covering retail. I’m particularly interested in entrepreneurs who are finding success in a tough and changing landscape. I have been at Forbes since 2013, first on the markets and investing team and most recently on the billionaires team. In the course of my reporting, I have interviewed the father of Indian gambling, the first female billionaire to enter the space race and the immigrant founder of one of the nation’s most secretive financial upstarts. My work has also appeared in Money Magazine and CNNMoney.com. Tips or story ideas? Email me at ldebter@forbes.com.

Source: The Ebay Veteran Cashing In On The $369 Billion Returns Boom

 

 

How eBay is Leading The eCommerce Marketing Revolution – Michael Becker

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I look up at the clock and realize I’ve been surfing eBay, hypnotically engaged yet directionless for the past two hours. And I realize that what began as a quick search for a ball cap has turned into much more than that—a pleasantly surprising, almost-too-conveniently constructed browsing session of everything I love and want, or might want.

Thanks, eBay, for being the engine of online shopping that you are, keeping me from getting to sleep at a reasonable time tonight. Someone, something, I figured, has to be behind the curtain. And something surely is.

If it feels like e-commerce websites like eBay know you so well, that they seem to know exactly what you want, when you want it—almost biogenetically engineered to serve your every online shopping need—it’s because they’re built to do just that.

eBay’s “Customer DNA,” the company’s central data repository and customer relationship management (CRM) center, was engineered with one specific goal in mind—to provide more personal and relevant outbound marketing. That was the topic that Patrick Hildebrand, Director, eBay, and Sridhar Paidi, Sr. Product Manager, eBay, recently discussed at the Teradata 2014 Partners Conference & Expo in Nashville back in 2014.

The eBay Effect: Data Galore

eBay brings in yearly revenue upwards of $18 billion and employs more than 33,500 people globally. It is, without question, “e-normous”. In its beginning stages, eBay was actually known as an online auction site. But it’s evolved since that perception was established, back at the height of the Internet boom.

Now, most people recognize the brand as a place you can buy virtually anything, including a $400,000 plane…Woah. In fact, 80 percent of items sold are new products. It’s clear that eBay has capitalized big time on its e-commerce strategy. And how it did so is pretty fascinating.

More stats, first:

  • Each day, eBay generates 50 terabytes of new behavioral/transactional data
  • Every five minutes, a car or truck is bought via the mobile app in the U.S.
  • Every 12 seconds, a women’s handbag is bought via the mobile app in the U.S.
  • There have been 260 million downloads of eBay’s mobile app

Armed with what seems like almost too much data, eBay was tasked with understanding said data to gain individualized insights about its customers and their buying habits, characteristics, likes and preferences.

Though data was available, eBay was challenged to break down their data, dispersed by business units and across the data warehouse. It wasn’t long before a team of data scientists was introduced to focus strictly on customer data. Soon, it became clear that these data scientists were spending a lot of time just trying to find data, understand it and clean it before any actionable insights could be had. Mending this divide between IT’s capabilities and marketing’s goals (to use data and analytics to optimize every interaction with every customer) was in need of refinement.

Customer DNA

Enter “Customer DNA,”a single customer repository enabled by Teradata’s Enterprise Data Warehouse, the central system that collects all data. This allows for ultra-segmenting and targeting based on high value, medium value and low-value information.

Now, insights to drive business decisions and set strategy were able to be had. For example, eBay discovered that auction users—i.e. users who opted to “Bid” instead of “Buy It Now”—are more loyal than non-auction users.

It became clear that by cross-checking previously disparate data sets, new insights would follow. Results thus far have been staggering. Insights and models built from Customer DNA resulted in incremental sales in the first half of 2014.

“Customer DNA is becoming the backbone for eBay.” – Patrick Hildebrand, Director, eBay ß Text box

With enhanced data-driven marketing capabilities, eBay focused primarily on making its email marketing super-individualized and relevant. For example, “Daily Deals” were set up for select users—new deals based on search history sent every day. Pre-Customer DNA, these daily deals weren’t relevant or personalized. Now, reminders on “hot items” are sent to users, updating them on items they’re watching and the available inventory.

Emails tell recipients things like, “127 people watched this hot item in the last week. Only 8 left in stock!” They proved to be effective in generating more conversions than a traditional sale with no deadline to buy.

“Trending items” show which keywords are being searched the most, so if a customer has a high propensity in the category, they’ll get an email about the trending topic. First-time buyers also receive an email encouraging them to get involved in more than buying—selling (eBay has found that sellers are their most engaged customers).

Continuous Improvement

Is it perfect? No. I’ll sometimes receive an email for a product similar to what I like, but not exactly. For example, I search for a lot of basketball gear on eBay. However, this offer was irrelevant, as I don’t even know where my PS3 is:

ebay nba2k15 adAnd this one…as a guy looking for menswear, I’m unlikely to click on this:

ebay cynthia vincent adBut when it’s done right, striking the perfect balance of context and relevancy, made just for you – boy, it’s hard not to click:

ebay baseball hats adEven if it’s a little bit off, they’re using insights they’ve accurately collected about me to send me offers around stuff I love. eBay must constantly innovate and seek ways to accommodate its more than 150 million active buyers. They do this with an easy-to-use interface, quality protection and sales monitoring, safe transactional purchasing, customer service and – most importantly for me – relevant offers, discounts, and suggestions.

The Future of Online Shopping

I must confess, I do possess the ability to X-out at any time, of course, and eventually do. But there is always more; always a good offer on the sidebar. Before I know it, I have 23 tabs open, all showing items I might like, all with “similar items” that are also tempting my click.

As I look up, after those two-hour long browsing sessions on eBay, I realize something. I realize that the road I took had a few pit stops (and many tabs open on my desktop), but that this was a really good thing – chances are astronomically good that I found what I was looking for plus more due to the high level of relevancy and contextual offering that eBay has so beautifully mastered.

I realize that more and more customers like me are moving toward online shopping and that using technological capabilities and individualized insights is drastically transforming how brands are able to connect with the always-on customer. No longer do I run from store to store looking for my favorite pair of sneakers or that hat I need. It’s all at my fingertips.

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eBay Gives Rural and Small Town Businesses a Global Presence, Report Shows – Michael Guta

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For rural small businesses, the ability to expand beyond their local market is extremely challenging and important. The impact eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) is making on this front just came to light as the company partnered with a team of economists from Sidley Austin LLC to analyze the sellers on its platform.

According to the report (PDF) from the eBay Policy Lab, online marketplaces give small businesses and entrepreneurs access to outside economies in these rural areas. This is driving growth in counties across the country which are not experiencing the same amount of expansion as in the coastal or more popular regions.

The eBay Economy

Looking at the eBay economy in the US, the company said commercial sellers and full-time entrepreneurs on the platform are responsible for creating more than 690,000 jobs. And 36% of these sellers come from small towns and rural areas.

Keeping these communities intact is getting more difficult as fewer jobs become available locally. President and CEO of eBay Devin Wenig, says in a press release his company wants to use technology to keep these communities together. Wenig explains, “It’s about using technology to make people competitive and vibrant and to put life into communities, and not take it out.”

eBay by the Numbers

There are 6 million sellers on eBay and 63% of these sellers use the platform to reach global markets and customers. For 80% of them, eBay is the tool which enabled them to start an eCommerce business.

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For rural small businesses unable to afford all the associated costs for this global availability, eBay provides a great opportunity with minimal investment. And when you take into account 36% of these businesses also operate a brick and mortar store, the revenue eBay generates has become vitally important as part of their overall income.

Force Multiplier

In the  release, eBay says it aims to be a force multiplier for small businesses — exactly what the report shows it has become. And when economies are not growing at the same rate in different parts of the country, eCommerce platforms provide opportunities to distressed regions, which often times are in rural areas.

Whether you are an individual or a small business, eBay gives you a global presence so you can start selling your products and services on a proven and trusted platform.

If everyone who reads our articles and likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure by your donations – Thank you.

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