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How to Start an Ebay Business in 5 Steps

By on December 27, 2012
how to start an ebay business

With the rapid growth of online shopping it’s now feasible to make a decent income, or to supplement your income, by starting your own Ebay business. Despite what your friends or family may tell you, it really is possible to work from home, and learning how to start an ebay business will get you moving in the right direction. Here is a simple step by step guide to help you set up your business and avoid commonly made mistakes.

1. Study Consumer Demand and Pick Your Niche

Before setting up shop it’s worth browsing Ebay’s current listings, to indentify which products or niches have a high level of bidding activity. The trick is to find products which are in high demand but are only sold through a handful of Ebay shops.

At the same time it’s extremely important to find a niche that you’re knowledgeable about, as potential customers are likely to ask you questions about your products and if you’re unable to confidentially answer such questions you’ll be unlikely to make sales, as you’ll come across as being unprofessional. Building a positive reputation is crucial to succeeding in running your own Ebay business.

However if you see an opportunity to sell an in demand product that you don’t know much about, your business can still succeed if you’re willing to learn everything there is to know about the product.

2. Purchase Inventory

Wholesalers:

A great way to make a decent profit is to purchase your inventory at wholesale prices, as generally the higher quantity of products you order the lower the cost per product will be. However, before placing a large order with a wholesaler it’s important to assess the risk of your order. Consider whether or not you’re confident that you can sell all of the stock you order, as you’ll make a loss on all the products that you’re unable to sell.

If you’re interested in purchasing inventory through a supplier then simply use a search engine like Google to find possible wholesalers. Once you’ve made a short list of wholesalers and browsed their catalogues, email each supplier with the quantity of product you’re interested in and they’ll get back to you with a quote.

Once you have a few quotes from different wholesalers you can accept the best quote you are offered, or if you feel the quoted prices are too step you can try negotiating a better deal.

Discounted retail stock:

Alternatively if you want to start off your Ebay business with little risk, it may be worthwhile to browse your local stores for heavily discounted stock. As long as there is still a demand for sale items and the items in question are still in good condition you can make a profit by buying low and selling high.

3. Fixed Price or Auction?

There are two ways to sell products on Ebay. Firstly you can offer customers a fixed “buy now” price. Alternatively you can create a timed auction. It may be worth offering some products at a fixed price to make fast cash and auction off others to increase chances of making a higher profit.

Fixed Price:

Fixed price auctions are ideal if you have more than one of each item to sell. One advantage of choosing to sell at a fixed price is that you don’t have to wait for an auction to time out to sell an item and make a profit. If your fixed price ensures that you’ll make a profit and offers your customers a good deal you’re likely to do a lot of business and build a client base of repeat customers.

Ebay Auctions:

If you choose to auction off your products you are able to set a reserve price. A reserve price is the lowest price you are willing to accept for an item. If the top bidder’s bid doesn’t meet the reserve price you won’t be obligated to complete the sale. A reserve price is crucial to ensure that you don’t make a huge loss on a sale.

4. Set Your Prices

Before setting your prices it’s important to factor in the running costs of your business.

Associated Costs:

* Ebay Fees – Ebay takes a commission for helping you make each sale. Ebay fees vary depending on the type of item you are selling. Typically higher priced items incur higher fees. When you list an item you’ll have to accept the fees you’ll incur before your item is listed.

* PayPal Fees –¬†Unfortunately,¬†Ebay fees aren’t the only fees you’ll incur. Most business owners who trade on Ebay choose to get paid via PayPal, as it’s a safe and reliable way to get paid. Fortunately PayPal fees are normally low, approximately 3% of the total amount.

* Shipping and handling – It’s important to calculate how much it will cost you to package and send your products. Thankfully you can choose how much to customers for shipping and packaging. Obviously how much you’ll charge customers will depend on their location and shipping internationally will cost more than shipping domestically.

Also remember that it’s wise to cover shipping costs with the amount you charge customers for shipping, but if you try to make a significant profit from shipping costs you may lose potential customers to other Ebay shops. For pricier items perhaps consider offering free domestic shipping as customers are always swayed by getting something for free, even if it’s just shipping.

5. Add Photographs and Descriptions

If you take a variety of clear professional photographs, from various angles you’ll be far more likely to shift products. If you don’t have a high quality camera it’s definitely worth investing in one. When taking photographs also make sure to take at least one close up, as customers want to ensure that the item they purchase is in good condition before committing to a sale.

It’s also extremely important to craft a great description of your product. When writing a description imagine you are a customer interested in the product and then answer all the questions you’d have as a customer. Examples of information you should include are the physical dimensions of the product and its unique features. As an example, if you’re selling a digital camera, make sure to include its technical specifications in your description.

Just Do It

Learning how to start an ebay business is the best place to begin your online selling empire and there’s no better time than the present. And this step by step guide and you’ll be on your way to success in no time. Just remember that the time you invest in properly setting up your business will pay dividends in the future.

About Simple Dad

Steve is the founding editor of The Simple Dad. He has 3 crazy kids: 12 and 9 year old daughters and a 14 year old son. Married to his beautiful wife of 17 years, Alexandra.