Retail business has changed much over the last decade with the decline of the traditional high street, town centre vacancy rates doubling over the last two years and total consumer spend away from our high streets now over 50%. In addition shoppers are becoming more internet savvy and whilst many retailers are running successful websites the sheer volume of traffic on eBay makes ignoring the marketplace impossible.

eBay has changed over the last few years and today many large retailers already market their products on eBay. Over 180,000 registered businesses and over 100 high-street retailers use eBay as an additional sales channel to reach the UK’s largest online shopping audience, across categories including fashion, home & garden, and consumer electronics.

Retailers such as Littlewoods, Tesco, Maplin and House of Fraser have all been hugely successful and for one compelling reason – eBay UK have some 17 million visitors each month – that’s about a third of the UK population.

It’s not just the UK however who shop on eBay, some of the most successful businesses on eBay sell overseas with Germany, Australia and the US being some of the largest export markets from eBay UK. By advertising and selling on eBay and your products will reach a global audience of hundreds of millions of potential buyers.

Unlike your own retail website selling on eBay differs in that you don’t need to drive traffic to win sales. eBay already has the traffic and by placing inventory on eBay you make your products available to consumers and businesses ready to purchase.

British consumers spend almost half of their retail shopping budgets online and eBay UK has the highest spend per head of population compared to any other eBay territory worldwide. The marketplace is simply too big to ignore.

Once you’ve opened your business account on eBay there are several strategies for success. Firstly eBay is no longer an “auction” site, over 61% of items sold on eBay are now fixed price items and the vast majority are new. Selling in fixed price format enables you to list multiple quantities of the same product on eBay enabling many consumers to purchase the same item from the same listing.

To organise your products you’ll want to open an eBay Shop, this enables you to organise your merchandise in the same way you would in your retail outlet or on your own website. eBay shops also give access to fee savings on eBay.

There are four main types of eBay fees: Listing (or insertion fees), Final Value (selling) fees, Feature fees and Tools fees.

Listing fees are payable whenever you place merchandise on eBay. However with an eBay shop these can be reduced from 40p per listing (each listing can have unlimited stock of the same or similar items), to 10p, 5p or even free with an eBay Anchor Shop.

Final value selling fees are charge only when an item sells successfully. The fee percentage will vary according to the category that your item was listed in.

Feature fees are for listing enhancements such as more product images, subtitles and other listing promotions. Use feature fees sparingly – you don’t need them for every product and you definitely don’t need to pay for them all of the time. As you become more experienced on eBay you’ll learn when it’s worth investing in greater exposure for certain products.

Tools fees give access to features such as eBay Shops and Reporting tools to help you manage your business. The only essential eBay tool is an eBay Shops subscription as this will give access to reduced insertion fees and enable you to successfully merchandise your products.

Managing an eBay operation as an addition to your retail and/or your website has never been easier. Companies such as Brightpearl enable you to seamlessly offer the same inventory on eBay that you already have in stock.

The costs of advertising on eBay are generally far lower than the costs of opening an additional retail operation, or of driving traffic to your own website. Whether you use eBay for listing your distressed stock, for clearing out your end of line stock, or for listing your entire inventory it can quickly become a significant part of your overall profitability. 

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About the Author

Chris Dawson is co-founder and editor of TameBay. Before TameBay he was a full time eBay seller!Chris has extensive knowledge of both eBay and Amazon and can give any company advice surrounding the online marketplaces.