How to Successfully Run an eBay Business

An eBay business provides certain advantages over the more traditional brick-and-mortar business. You can work from home, set your own hours and be your own boss. This business model also provides its own challenges, though, as you must contend with competition across the entire world. To run your business successfully, take action to set yourself one step ahead of your online competition.


1 - Do your market research. Many online sources, including Market Watch, Trend Hunter and Grubb & Ellis, provide up-to-date information about current market trends, giving you an idea of the type of merchandise consumers demand. In addition, you can find out how well your items are selling with other sellers by clicking the "Advanced" link beside the eBay search field, entering the name of the item and checking the box that reads "Completed Listings."


2 - Find the lowest cost merchandise that you can sell for the greatest profit. For instance, if you buy products from online sources that advertise "wholesale" or "liquidation," you may in fact be paying close to retail price. For the best deals on new merchandise, always try to find the official factory wholesale providers. To do this, contact the manufacturer of the product you want to sell, ask to speak with the sales department (if applicable) and inquire about contact information for the company's official wholesalers.


3 - Maintain ongoing communication with your buyers and ship your items immediately upon receiving payment. Congratulate customers personally for their auction wins via email, and then notify them when you ship your item. This encourages buyers to give you a positive rating, which reflects well on you as a seller and can contribute to your becoming an eBay Power Seller.


4 - Automate your auction listings. If you list every single item individually using the seller form, the listing process will consume much of your time and limit your ability to produce high-volume sales. By using an automated listing service, like Auctiva, AuctionSplash or Listomax, you can save listings and information, select professional page templates and upload multiple listings with the click of a button.


5 - Adhere to your state laws for small business and retail sales. Failing to do so may result in severe fines or other penalties. To sell retail merchandise, you must acquire a seller's permit (in some states a retail license or wholesale ID) from your state revenue department, so that you can collect sales and use taxes and file quarterly taxes.

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