Using eBay for small businesses

Using eBay to generate leads and revenue

I’ve been thinking about using eBay for small businesses.   I’ve been doing this for years but it’s dawned on me that not everyone may be using these really simple tricks to drive more revenue to their business.

eBay is still a great way to reach a global audience if you are selling physical products.   Buyers from around the World check eBay for deals and even though a lot of people complain about the platform, you can still use it to your advantage.

Let’s say that you sell new and used restaurant equipment.  You have some Vollrath frying pans that have been festering on your shelves for months, or even years.

So lets do this.  Let’s get them packaged and figure out the cost of packaging.   We’ll pretend that it’s $5/ea frying pan for boxing / packaging.  Now lets’ get shipping costs to each coast and Florida and Alaska.  Let’s say that the max price is $20.   So now you know that the shipping costs will be $25 max.   Also keep in mind that ebay and paypal is going to charge you a 15% fee for selling this item.

Next step, take count of all your other stagnant stock and put it on a flyer at low / reasonable prices.   You are going to include that flyer in the package when you send the frying pan out.   This will make the buyer call or email you to purchase other items and see what else you have.

Take some good photos, make sure that you have a ebay account already setup and list them.   Now here is where the magic happens.   You know that no-one was buying them at retail.  So you will need to list them at cost or even a bit under.  But add the $25 shipping fee to that cost and sell them with shipping included.

IF or WHEN the frying pan sells, you will be getting the complete buyers contact name including their email.   Now when you goto ship this item, be sure to include that flyer.  Do not forget it.   Also, put that buyers email and address into a CRM and contact them by email to see if it’s okay to send them upcoming deals.   If you use something like Constant Contact or MailChimp, they will require that include the option to unsubscribe or opt out of mailings so that covers your butt on that.

Now there are a couple of things that you will want to do with that eBay listing.  Be sure to brand the hell out of it.  When you take pictures of the item for sale, make sure that you have your company name and logo and address in the pictures.  Put a business card in the frying pan when taking the pictures if that’s all you can do.  If your buyers deal with this kind of gear all the time, they will save you as a favorite seller and keep coming back to see what you have.

You will need a good shipper or make sure that you know what you are doing.  The secret to a good eBay seller rating is to ship it for free from the site and quickly.  I try to ship same day myself, or at least early the next day.

If you sell used equipment like we stated above, eBay is a great venue for that kind of gear but Craigslist or Kijiji may be better if the item is large.  A 6 burner range is a pain to ship across the country.

Once you get the ball rolling and you have 10, 20, 50 sales under your belt, you can start sending out deals directly to the buyers using their addresses that eBay  / Paypal gave you for FREE.  Talk about cheap customer acquisition.   Or assign it to a sales rep to keep on top of these guys.  One frying pan order might lead to a 1000 piece smallware order or a new two door cooler.

The important takeaway here is that you got the customer information for the cost of a frying pan.

If you use eBay for business, let me know.  I’d love to hear how you use it for your small business.

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