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EBay Business: A Beginners Guide

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 10 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
Ebay Online Business Business Internet

For many small businesses their first foray into Internet commerce is setting up an online business with ebay. With thousands of micro businesses now trading successfully online, many larger businesses now have a presence on ebay as well. Most online businesses use ebay either as their sole online enterprise, or as an additional Internet selling channel.

What is unique about ebay businesses is that you can set-up a small store and test the market for your goods without having to develop a full E-commerce enabled website. You have complete control over how many products you sell and if you hold an auction or have fixed price items. The branding of your online business can also be maintained as you have control over the look and feel of your ebay storefront.

Ebay Storefronts

The format of your ebay store will depend largely on how much sophistication you need to sell your goods. Ebay offers a Basic, Featured and Anchor storefront that should suit your needs. Each one costs a monthly subscription, with the Basic store being the cheapest. The ebay business centre has detailed overviews of each of the store types so you can choose the right one for your online business.

Auction or Buy it Now

When you open your ebay store you have a choice of the format you can use to sell the goods your online business has in its catalogue. Ebay was built on the auction principle where people bid for items they want to buy. However, ebay realised that some people just wanted to buy an item for a fixed price, and that some business users also wanted to sell items outside of the usual auctions. The Buy It Now feature has been a mainstay of ebay for several years. It gives your online business the ability to charge a fixed price for the goods your enterprise is selling.

Promoting your Ebay Store

When you have set-up your ebay store, you now need to think about promotion. If your ebay storefront is in addition to your existing online business, providing links from your website pages to your ebay store is the first thing you should do. Ebay itself also provides a number of tools you can use to promote your new ebay storefront. These include starting a blog, using cross-promotions, email marketing and ensuring your ebay store can be seen by search engines. Use these tools as they are generally free as part of your store subscription.

Payment Systems

One of the great strengths of ebay is the close integration it now has with the PayPal online payment system. Anyone that shops on ebay is likely to have a PayPal account. For your online business this means that once you have a PayPal account, millions of potential customers can pay you with just a few clicks of their computer’s mouse. Recently the low cost online payment provider Protx has entered into a deal with PayPal. This means that Protx’s 17,000 online merchants can now use PayPal’s Express Checkout system, offering your online business even more potential customers.

Ebay Store Management

Your online business could of course manually handle each of the pages within your ebay store. There are however, some useful tools that you might want to investigate. Tracking the sales through your ebay store is vitally important. Shop traffic reports are available that give you an insight into how your ebay store is doing.

To help with listings Turbo Lister and Selling Manager can be a great help to make the day-to-day chores of managing your ebay store much more efficient. There is also Picture Manager as each of your goods must have a photo to ensure it attracts the most potential buyers. You can also take complete control of your ebay store with ebay Desktop. This is a program - compatible with Mac and Windows - that enables you to manage your ebay store without having to open an Internet browser.

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