Sagar Shah is the Founder & CEO of Nature’s Guru, a global tea company focused on innovative gourmet foods using superfood ingredients.
Whether you’re a new direct-to-consumer brand looking to make your mark or an established e-commerce business with robust sales, today’s competitive climate requires companies to look outside the box to new channels to drive revenue and attract new customers. With the current pandemic taking hold and effectively crippling retail brick-and-mortar distribution, the need to develop an online, multichannel strategy has never been more important.
One channel that some companies might start to include in their go-to-market plan is eBay. Personally, I have sold on eBay in the past and have instructed other sellers to supply as well. Through this experience, I’ve seen that while not as popular as Amazon, there can be a variety of advantages of selling on eBay, including a large international customer base and access to customer information for retargeting and upselling opportunities.
There are a few best practices to consider, however, in order to maximize your opportunities on eBay.
1. Sell entry-level products that aren’t competing with your traditional product mix.
Listing your products on eBay can be an opportunity to introduce your brand to a large number of new customers. Start by identifying SKUs that you think might perform better on eBay than your own website. Since, in my experience, the eBay customer tends to be more price-conscious, including more affordable products from your product mix is a good strategy to introduce your brand to a mass audience.
When shipping the item, include a promotional offer redirecting the customer to your own website for a broader selection of products. This will allow you to take full control of the relationship with the customer moving forward. Just remember to only offer a select number of your products on eBay so you aren’t cannibalizing your own sales.
2. Consider creating an eBay shop to generate branding awareness.
By creating an eBay shop, you’ll be able to showcase your products in one place and add a touch of personalization. Seamless integration with Shopify will also allow you to sync inventory information from Shopify to eBay in real-time, which is a nice perk for customers of that shopping platform.
An eBay shop can also give you an opportunity to develop a close relationship with your customers through an email marketing strategy. As an eBay shop owner, you have the power to customize and automate email flows. For instance, a post-purchase flow helps send an email after every purchase. You’ll also be able to send them alerts anytime you have a new sale and keep them in the loop with future updates through a customer newsletter.
3. Use feedback to your advantage.
Detailed Seller Feedback, also known as DSRs, is the feedback system eBay implements to allow buyers to rate sellers. The feedback system covers aspects such as communication, shipping time and other pertinent metrics.
It’s important to maintain as close to a 100% feedback rating as possible, as this helps build more trust with potential customers, as well as help build your brand story. When you can say that your product has helped impact the lives of 25,000 people — and you’re able to back that up with data — it’s a compelling story for new products and opportunities.
4. Prepare for potential challenges along the way.
While leveraging eBay as an additional sales channel can be lucrative, it’s certainly not without its challenges. It’s widely known that eBay is a buyer-friendly market. From my perspective, this can, in turn, put anyone selling products on eBay at a disadvantage, as there’s a lot of competition.
And, as with every sales channel, you’ll likely have to navigate your way through a few problem customers. While it’s important to take into consideration the negative feedback you receive, I have seen that some customers might leave negative feedback that isn’t valid. Receiving poor seller ratings can quickly sink your business, which is why it’s important to take steps to remedy negative reviews.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that eBay is typically known as a place to find deals at large discounts. If you are selling a more premium-priced product, this might cause some people to misinterpret the value of your product. Make sure to do your due diligence to see what similar products on eBay are selling for to see how your brand might be perceived on the platform.
Adding eBay To Your Multichannel Strategy
The pandemic has forced a lot of businesses to diversify their operations, and building a multichannel online strategy for retailers is one important way to help address today’s turbulent market conditions. You can consider eBay if you’re looking to drive brand awareness, incremental revenue and customer loyalty.
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