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eBay as a Business – Three Different Ways of Approaching It

There are so many different ways that a business can be approached from, however I believe in keeping things simple where-ever possible and here are three top tips for when approaching eBay as a business.

#1 Think Like a Buyer

eBay buyers are a special breed, you need to at least try and understand them and thier whims, desires and fears when dealing with them.

After answering so many questions from buyers, I have come to the conclusion that they are:

  1. Scared of being ripped off
  2. Scared of being ripped off
  3. Scared of being ripped off
  4. Scared of being ripped off
  5. Scared of being ripped off
  6. Scared of being ripped off
  7. Scared of being ripped off
  8. Scared of being ripped off
  9. Scared of being ripped off
  10. Just like any other buyer

9/10 for being “Scared of being ripped off” is a bit harsh, but that is my personal conclusion. If you look at buyers emails, with this in mind, those mindless questions make sense. Why else would a buyer be asking a question, if it is not to test the seller to see if they are real (ignoring their thousands of feedback) and if they respond quickly, then they know if something goes wrong, they feel half assured that something will be done about it.

I never saw myself as a sales person ever on eBay, I saw myself as a provider of quality information, wrapped up in great customer service. Nothing else.

So its your job to ensure that the customer feels safe, by providing:

  • Good product images (although I am now certain that these need to be “exceptional” to make a real difference)
  • Accurate product specific information
  • An accurate description
  • Easy to read postage
  • A clear layout of the information provided
  • Quality branding of your business

The last one has almost become an absolute requirement. With the focus on customers, if you’re presented with something that looks like its been made by a blind monkey in a dog shed, to that of a professional, I’m pretty sure you know whom you’d buy from.

#2 Time Really is Money

eBay can be a very time intensive environment when compared to other marketplaces. There is a steep learning curve and the customer service requirements are high, its very easy to fall into a self centred trap, focusing on just plodding along, without focusing upon expanding and maintaining profit.

eBay can become very personal and its your job to ensure that it does not, a simple tool such as a time sheet can help you work out how many hours each week you are spending on each task.

Taking the time to make a sales projection can also be a good goal setting exercise, this does not have to be power point charts or excel sheets, literally by grabbing a peice of paper and writing “sales projection” at the top of it, will put you in front of 90% of the competition, because you are now working ON your business not IN your bussiness.

Shed Working

Ever considered working from a Shed?

Back to the sales projection, if you can use excel, that would be handy, using your previously recorded sales, use these to map out expected sales and what growth you would like to see. You do not need to worry about being accurate, that will loosely come with time and even the best strategies in hindsight, turn out to be a lot of luck in the right order.

Its also likely that you are working from a home office, if you are struggling with excessive hours, then why not take a serviced office, for what is peanuts a month and actually make the step of “going to work”. Most amusing, you could join the millions that work from a shed, see

#3 Know that eBay is Going to Change & Embrace it

I was looking at the community boards and those on a few American sites and they are littered with people going nuts about the pending updates on, there are some hefty changes going on in the eBay May 2011 update that I documented a few weeks back.

Fact. eBay always changes, it always has done and always will do.

My point is simple, let everyone else bitch about the changes, you should be smart and work out how they affect you and then plan to change with them.


Those who know me well, know that I commonly preach and personally aspire to the following statement:

What you focus upon, expands.

I sincerely hope I’ve given you a slightly different outlook on eBay and how to approach it. Not only as a buyer with their ‘concerns’, but as a business, with a simple timesheet and sales projection and finally that eBay always changes and its much easier to work with it, as with anything, than against it.

4 replies
  1. Andrew
    Andrew says:

    Hi Matthew, Well said…………………… eBay will always change, just like other leading businesses around the world. Change may be hard to except, but change is always good.

    Just imagine if eBay stayed the same. ……………. No PayPal……………….No proper invoicing, that was on a different platform……………… could only sell on………………… and the list goes on and on.

    In life we always have to choices, to except change or not. eBay is a great platform to sell on, it is proven and trusted the world over, and it is still the best place to learn how to sell.

    And as Matthew says embrace the change, learn how to bring the changes into your business so you sell more and earn more. And just think about all those people on the boards and forums moaning about change, some spend hours aday doing it. Those hours could be spent listing and selling.

    Have fun and stay positive


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