eBay is well-known for being a place to sell off old clutter and buying things on the cheap. Yes, all that is true, but did you know that you can use eBay to test your product to the market? And it can be very cost effective, too.
Granted, a lot of people start off selling unwanted items and things that are taking up necessary space? in the home, that someone else can make use of. But eBay can be used in a business, too. If you want to see if there is a market for your products, but aren’t quite ready to shell out on a website, eBay is a great place to test out your business idea. And the potential audience is huge.
By taking a photo or two of your item, writing a short blurb about it, then taking a few minutes to fill out the online form, you?ll have listed your item on the site and will be on the road to making some money. If things go well and you want to go that step further, you can even set up an eBay store. Costing from just a few pounds a month (the cost go up depending on the type of store you have and products you sell), an eBay store package will get you a customisable shop front where you can add your own logo.
Mum-of-two Glenda Anderson started up as a business on eBay three years ago, after looking for a Bourgeois lipstick that had been discontinued. She eventually found a wholesaler that was selling them in packs of 48.
She was working full-time at the Inland Revenue in the tax credits department before this, which she found very distressing and regularly suffered stress-induced migraines as a result of the job. While she was at the Inland Revenue, she started selling up to 100 items on eBay.co.uk at the weekend.
While she had been at the Inland Revenue, she had been trying for a baby, with no luck. Once she had given up her job, she conceived straight away and was given the option to have six months unpaid leave. At this point she decided to focus on eBay as her primary income and see what happened!
Around the same time, her second husband, Richard accepted a redundancy package and he is now working for Glenda with her eBay business.
They moved house to accommodate all the stock and now have a double garage which they are converting into an office space. They are also looking to recruit some people into the business to help with things like packaging.
Glenda’s sales in September were £5,000.
Ebay: top tips for beginners
1. To start off with, take some time to browse the site and look at the different categories. Find out what’s out there and how items are listed before you start buying.
2. Buy some small items to not only build up your feedback but also so you can get used to the whole buying process on the site.
3. Remember to check the seller’s feedback too to see what other users have said about the seller?s reliability, product quality and level of service.
4. Check the ‘completed items’ search as this will give you an idea of the market price and how much you should pay for the item.
5. Look for misspelled items – there are specialist websites that do this for you and it’s a great way of finding some great bargains that no one else has found!
6. Once you’ve found the item you have to have, enter the maximum amount you’re prepared to pay and eBay will bid only the amount needed for you to stay the highest bidder. For the highest bid, steer away from the more obvious prices, such as £5.50 or £5.99. Try something a bit more obscure, like £5.51 or £5.32 – so you’ll hopefully pip someone to the post by a few pence.
7. Look for items ending at strange times of the day. Lots of sellers list so their item ends on a Sunday night but you might find a bargain at an odd time of the day when other people are less likely to be looking.
8. Buy off season – you’re more likely to get a bargain bikini in winter than in summer.
9. Wait until near the end of the auction to bid as almost a third of all bidders wait until the last five minutes to bid. Put it in your diary to remind you to do it.
10. Look in different eBay Shops – some shops have extra stock that isn?t listed in the auction-style format so you might find a hidden treasure somewhere.
11. If you find something you love but aren’t sure it will fit, remember you can always sell it on if it’s not right for you.
12. And stick to the price to have in mind ? try not to get carried away with the thrill of the auction!
Read about one mum’s experience of using eBay – Natalie McCarthy, eBay mumpreneur
ALTERNATIVES TO EBAY