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It’s a dog-eat-dog world in the online auction business. eBay, the world’s largest auction site, has been attracting entrepreneurial sellers for a couple of decades now. Learn some pro tips for how to beat your competition on eBay and still maintain profitability for your e-commerce business.
1. Maintain eBay’s high customer service standards
eBay’s customer service and shipping standards are strictly enforced. Your aim should be to achieve and maintain Top Rated Seller status, which bestows you with goodies like higher search rankings and confidence-inspiring badges from eBay.
Source: eBay Seller Policy
The penalties for not meeting these expectations include putting limits on your seller activity and lowering your ranking in search results. Severe violations could result in account suspension. Conversely, you can maintain the coveted Top Rated status to beat your competition with a performance defect level of .03% or less. And don’t neglect your seller score. Ask for reviews of both you as a seller and of the items you sell, which will boost your seller score.
2. Offer free shipping where possible, and flexible shipping upgrade options.
Since eBay shows the shipping costs in its search results and that compelling “Free Shipping” label is the most tantalizing, a buyer might scroll right past offers that don’t have the label. Offer free shipping whenever you can safely build it into the price. Users of eBay’s Labels program get discounted rates and free shipping insurance up to $100.
If your items are high-value, you can still offer free shipping. But it’s also a good practice to offer some upgrade options for higher insured amounts, return receipts, or faster delivery times.
For a more thorough breakdown of the pros and cons of free shipping, see this article.
3. Beat your competition on ebay by lowering prices by a few pennies.
As an auction site, eBay is where you’ll find bargain-motivated buyers. While some may think it’s more honest, or easier on accounting, to offer prices in even dollar amounts, those aren’t the primary concerns when it comes to pricing for search engines. The opening search results page on eBay offers a quick filtering option allowing shoppers to prioritize “Price + Shipping lowest first”. The bargain hunters of eBay take maximum advantage of that feature. If your competition is making the same offer at only a few cents more than yours, your offering will show up first in the filtered list.
If you sell a lot of products and want to use this strategy, a third-party repricing tool will automatically adjust your prices throughout the day to undercut real-time competitor offerings. You can set stop-loss limits to protect your profit margins to an acceptable level. See this list of popular repricing tools for both Amazon and eBay.
4. Take full advantage of eBay’s pro seller tools to beat your competition on eBay.
eBay offers plenty of advanced resources for professional sellers on the platform, starting with eBay Stores which provides you with your own storefront to feature all of your bestselling products on a single page. There are also tools such as Seller Hub for managing your listings and insights into your sales vs. the competition. eBay’s Labels program offers discounts and convenient access features such as QR codes for printing shipping labels at the carrier’s location when you drop off your items.
5. Optimize your product listings and descriptions for maximum visibility
There are many tools on eBay to help you specifically sort and categorize an item. You can also optimize your listings on eBay by filling out their Item Specifics section on the product detail page. But there are other enhancements that can make a big difference.
Say you’re selling a dress. What sizes and colors does it come in? What about the shape of the neckline, or the length, or the sleeves? Make sure you’re as specific as possible in your listing. Even then, though, there may be descriptive terms that a buyer uses that don’t even occur to you. That’s where Shoppingfeed’s genius ProductGraph technology comes in.
Our machine learning-based ProductGraph technology is designed to match your product listing attributes to the many different ways that human buyers think. It’s been designed to meet the growing trend in voice-assisted shopping, where queries are often phrased as questions or full sentences, with less specific terminology.
Only users of Shoppingfeed are able to outsmart the competition on eBay with an app that gives maximum visibility to your products in shopping searches. Plus, with a Shoppingfeed subscription you can expand at no additional cost to other shopping channels and marketplaces. You get an optimized, custom product feed for every channel.
Of course, beating your competition on eBay also requires diligence and a steady hand on the tiller. But knowing and using these competitive advantages will give you the edge you need to win the sale.
My mission at Shoppingfeed is explaining how to leverage e-commerce platforms and SaaS technology to e-merchants who just want to run their business and make more money.
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