The art of selling on eBay is far more of a skill than many of us imagine. Although the large majority of people use the auction site to try and offload junk before a move, or to get rid of unwanted Christmas presents, for some people it has become an opportunity to radically change career paths and to make some serious money. How about Sophia Amoruso, who founded the Nasty Gal fashion brand? She started her business via eBay in 2006. Its now worth £60 million.
More than 200,000 businesses trade via eBay each year and the site has become a launching pad for start-ups without the capital to set up their own retailer outlets. It is one of the biggest brands in the world and a natural ‘go to’ for people looking for items such as electronics, crafts and vintage clothes. Being part of this enormous network provides retailers with an instant boost – once you’re searchable on eBay then you’re making your goods available to a market of more than 148 million.
Setting up a store on eBay is relatively simple and virtually anyone can do it. You can be light years away from being a computer whizz. However, as many people have found out, just setting up the store isn’t what makes a successful eBay business. In fact, the differentiating factors between those amateur ‘eBayers’ who occasionally sell a few items to make a little pocket money and those who successfully set up stores that generate income in five or six figures is often understanding great customer service. The customer is King (and Queen) and must be obeyed. Key to this is getting your deliveries right.
Using a good courier to arrange delivery of items from your eBay store really can make the difference between success and failure. Delivery is key to customers – we’ve all been a customer so we know how irritating it is to pay for something and then wait weeks to receive it. Or to receive it and find that it has been poorly packaged and been damaged. If you want to make sure that your customers always get their deliveries on time (and subsequently give you great feedback) then using a reliable courier is essential. As with any business, perhaps especially a smaller marketplace operation, margins are everything. If money was no object you could hire limos for everything you sold, personally chaperoned by a uniformed chauffeur, right to your customers’ door. The other end of the spectrum is the cheap and cheerful ‘man in a dodgy van’ lifestyle courier who leaves things half way down the road, or worse just chucked in your front yard. As Depeche Mode once famously said, ‘get the balance right’.
A courier can also overcome the geographic limitations of relying on a postal service – choose an international courier and you can ship anywhere in the world, there’s no limit to how far your brand can reach if you have international shipping at your fingertips. If you need to send items that are oddly shaped, fragile or awkward then using a courier is not only easier for you (the item can be collected from you at home, rather than you trying to take it to a drop off point) but better for your customers too as delivery is direct to their doorstep. You can save money with a courier, both on the shipping costs and also the potential costs of having to deal with refunds, complaints or issues that arise from items arriving late, damaged or being poorly handled. If you’re serious about your eBay store then a reliable, cost effective courier service simply has to be part of your platform. Don’t leave your eBay success behind the bin!