File this entry under eBay marketing.
Many of the people that are pursuing eBay businesses think of eBay itself as something magical. They consider it a “get rich” short cut of sorts. That perception has been fueled by numerous press stories about people who stumbled into million dollar incomes by selling on eBay in the early days. I´m talking about 1999 to 2003 or thereabouts.
These stories are compelling, motivating and dazzling. They´ve served to get everyone from Aunt Mae to the town dentist talking about eBay. And they´re true! I´ve talked to and interviewed dozens of eBay sellers that are making a killing.
However, I like to warn new eBay entrants about getting jazzed too early and thinking that big profits are somehow automatically connected to eBay. I like to strip away all the glamour and hype and remind people that eBay is just another sales channel. If you already have an ecommerce site, eBay is another sales channel you can add. If you´re a brick and mortar retailer, eBay offers you a channel to larger audiences. If you´re working at a company that´s considering off-loading overstock, eBay is something to consider. If you have an idea for a product that you think would sell well (existing or one you plan to create), eBay is a great place to test it.
The bottom line is this: those who do well on eBay are good business people. If they opened up a retail shop, they´d probably do pretty well. eBay allows them to access bigger audiences than a retail shop can, but essentially these people are smart, hard-working and creative"?¦ Plus they have the patience and technical confidence to deal with the eBay system.
If you think of eBay as a sales channel and treat it as such, you´ll be in good shape. There are different rules for presentation and merchandising on eBay, but at the heart it´s a shopping and selling system. Top sellers complement this system with offline advertising, customer communications systems (like newsletters), Google AdWords campaigns and press exposure. All these fall under the category of marketing.
We´ll check out all these different marketing activities as this blog unfolds.
Meanwhile, keep the sales channel idea in mind and remember that it´s a two-way street. You promote products and customers find you via keyword searches. One of the most critical exercises an eBay seller conducts is a Q&A brainstorming session that answers the question: How are my customers finding me? Think about it"?¦ until the next post.
Also — thanks for all the kind comments and welcome. I appreciate it and am looking forward to future comments.