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Part 2: Leveraging more than one eBay ID

If you’ve not read the first part, you can catch up on from this link How To: Selling on eBay with more than one eBay ID. I strongly suggest this before continuing.

Swear-Box

Response

The response I received yesterday was hilarious to the previous article, here are two quotes from my email:

“What the ***** are you doing Matt? You can’t give this **** away for free. What you doing man?”

“Mr Ogborne[This was him being sarcastic, I think], we’ve known each other a long time now, I’m not sure what you are trying to achieve on your blog, the information you have passed on, in the multiple Ebay accounts document, is fundamental to our business, you cannot go around giving this away”

I’ve added several * to replace two words, I am sure you know what they are. I also received two phone calls and quite a funny text message. I’m sure I’ll get more, hence this article.

As I have said individually to these ‘what-were’ concerned parties, it really does not matter. It is in the application of the concept where the true skill is required and its in exactly this skill, the reason why it doesn’t matter if I let ideas like this into the wilds.

No-one is you and no-one else is me. Soundly in the knowledge of this, no-one can be me or you. We have out own DNA sets and out methods of thinking cannot be duplicated (unless you’re a sheep called Erma or something, but even then that’s not enough to duplicate thought processes). My point is we’re all unique. People can copy, but they cannot be you.

This is the reason why this site even exists, if it was not as kick up the rear by a good friend, I would not be sharing this information and storing it up, like I have done for years now.

Its in the Application of Ideas & Concepts

Exactly, it doesn’t matter that I have let loose an software salesman’s wet dream in to the wilds or what a collection of small, medium and large companies do to drive more sales. Once you run into existing application of this idea with your eyes wide open, it is then glaring apparent.

Its in knowing that you can leverage such an idea and then applying it to your own business. Its in the application of the concept where the skill of a person such as myself, really matters.

I read recently in an article (bloody good read, see it here) about Zara, here is an extract from it relating to the non-on-line world:

Zara has opened, on average, a store a day for the last few years. Each store brings new footfall and new customers.
The strategy may be hard to execute but is simple to conceive. Footfall – a given of the physical world where rent equalsguaranteed visitors – needs to be sought and bought online. Retailers with offline brands clearly get a base level of traffic “for free” but if they don’t play in the online marketing world, they are simply leaving prospective customers for their competitors.

Can you see the logic behind this? Spelt out simply as an equation:

More Stores = More Sales

Now if you business model, franchise, whatever works, then all you are left with is scalability. Lets take some other examples McDonalds are everywhere, Coca-Cola is known world wide (and deploys product locally), Pizza Hut and so on… Get the point?

So why would it not work on-line too? See its simple. You have proven your business model works, so why not duplicate it over and over?

Going back to my earlier concept breaker:

For the vast majority of manufactured goods, you are not the only company selling them, thus every single day, customers choose your competitors over you. There are an infinite number of reasons for this, timing, colour scheme, layout, description, title are a few factors.

Which again leads on to this pivotal statement:

So if you’re selling widgets, there are lots of other widget sellers for customers to choose from, so why not be one of the other widget sellers?

I feel its important to add here that straight business copies on eBay especially are blatantly obvious and add no value to either party. This is where the requirement for someone like myself steps in and provides the fresh thinking and the guidance on the deployment of them.

Some Words of Caution

Now this is where it would be irresponsible for me not to tell you the following points.

Amazon

The first has to be Amazon. Let me spell this out, as simply as I can:

Do not mess around with Amazon. Ever

Please , I beg you soak this in, here it is again:

Do not mess around with Amazon. Ever

Are we clear?

Amazon UK

You really do not want to be pissing off Amazon, I mentioned in an earlier article, these people are not eBay. eBay is a lapse in numerous areas and can be bent to ones own needs with the right influence. Yes, Amazon can be bent too with the right know how (sorry not giving this away publicly). But its a risk not worth taking.

You can, with Amazon’s say-so have more than one Amazon account, this is only allowed if you have two separate business identities, running in two different product groups, for example an outdoor furniture company and DVD & media business. But everything else, no.

As I have tried to hammer-home above, don’t even try it. Trying to get back on Amazon is a nightmare, I’ve seen sellers booted numerous times, in almost 10 years, I’v seen maybe three get back on again, you need a golden contact list and a bloody good reason.

Software Tools

If you try and do this manually using ‘turd lister’ (thats ‘turbo lister’ to everyone else) you will quickly exhaust yourselves. I saw an elaborate system using excel once, it was pretty food too, but yep that failed as well.

You really need the use of a software product, I’m not mentioning names here (for once), but the tool has to be scalable, just like the concept I have been describing.

Recently I have come to the conclusion that one tool is not enough, when you start to factor in all the different aspects that a business requires. I have plans to elaborate on this in the future, so stopping line of thought here.

eBay Policy

eBay UK LogoI did indicate above that eBay is more lapse, they have been tightening up on the poorer deployments of this concept with policy changes to drive down the number of duplicates. Quite rightly so I hasten to add, some have been shockingly bad with no ‘unique selling angles what-so-ever’.

The USA got slapped pretty hard in the October update, see this article eBay: Doing ‘Whatever is Needed’ to Keep the Seller Entertained, while the UK got off quite lightly and at a far better time of the year.

Its because of the intrinsic flaw of the way eBay was/is designed, which allows this concept to be deployed at all. Each seller is allowed to design their own mini-page per product, so every listing is different.

Note: Yes I know about GPS etc… blah blah blah

Final Words

With the right implementation of the concept, you can tackle your niche from at least two more angles, depending on the business, it can go a lot further than just two more times.

This is really where the skill of a person like myself comes in and why clients like the ones that emailed me should not be concerned (and no longer are I hasten to add). Its the combination of your business, unique skills, a fresh, independent look on the business, my skills & experience that can readily expand the areas the business can grow into, without any new knowledge and leveraging existing information and processes.

To understand a little more why this blog even exists and where this knowledge comes from, see ‘Project Matthew Ogborne‘.

How To: Selling on eBay with more than one eBay ID

This is another article where its contents I would have kept to myself, but inline with Project Matthew Ogborne, I am going to use one word a lot in this article, its called ‘leverage’. Lets dive in and find out why you need more than one eBay ID for your business.

Underlying Principles

Before we continue, you need to understand the following basic fact of eBay and selling on-line or anywhere for that matter, which forms the base of this concept:

For the vast majority of manufactured goods, you are not the only company selling them, thus every single day, customers choose your competitors over you. There are an infinite number of reasons for this, timing, colour scheme, layout, description, title are a few factors.

Which leads on to this pivotal statement:

So if you’re selling widgets, there are lots of other widget sellers for customers to choose from, so why not be one of the other widget sellers?

Soak that up for a moment, instead of bitching about your competitors, why not be your own competitor and drive more sales to you and drive your so-called competitors nuts instead?

In a Perfect World

Say there are three sellers of a widget, working on averages alone and assuming the playing field is fair, you have a 1 in 3 chance of selling to a customer.

Now lets add a new seller identity, so there are now four sellers, but this new seller is you. That means that you have a 2 in 4 chance or a 50% chance of selling to a customer.

I like 50% odds much more than 33% odds. I am sure you do too.

Who is leveraging this?

Here is something for you to chew on. I have been doing this since I was a seller over 9 years ago, but don’t think this idea is unique one by any means, there are a lot of reasons for doing this, I’ll cover some of these shortly, but for now, here are some did-you knows:

brand-littlewoods

Did you know that LittleWoods is known also by these names?

  1. Very
  2. Marshal Ward
  3. Woolworths
  4. Additions
  5. Kays
  6. Great Universal
  7. Empire Stores
  8. Choice

brands-barratts

Did you know that Barrats Shoes are also known as these names?

  1. Love Your Shoes
  2. Discount Shoe Store
  3. Big Shoe Boutique
  4. Petit Feet
  5. Priceless Shoes

I am sure there are more identities for both companies mentioned, but these two I can rattle off the top of my head, there are more companies that leverage this idea too, there is not enough virtual ink to cover them all!

I’m not going to mention any specific eBay’s sellers in this article, I do not feel its appropriate that I do so, but let me word it this way:

While working for eSellerPro, it was not uncommon for companies to have more than one eBay ID and more than 10 eBay ID’s is not unknown off and I know of at least two companies that leverage this to amazing effect.

Stop thinking small and start thinking big.
Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. T. Harv Eker

Other Reasons for Multiple eBay IDs

Not sold on the idea? Here are some more reasons why you need more than one eBay ID

Risk

This for me is the #1 reason besides market share. By having more than one eBay ID you are diluting your risks, the maths for me are simple:

(Risk / Number of eBay ID’s)
* Static Risk Modifer
= Overall Risk

Any number greater than one for eBay ID’s is a way to lower the risk in the business. Imagine if you sole eBay ID was trashed by a scurry of hundreds of negatives. You’d cry, I know I would.

Note: I added the ‘Static Risk Modifier’ to indicate that there is always risk of a certain level, its a factor of being in business.

Multiple Price Points

Instead of starting your second eBay ID on a cheaper price point, make it more expensive. Why? You’ve got yourself into the mindset that you are the best seller of widgets, BS, sorry to break it to you, you are not (neither am I!!!).

You need to break your mould and realise that there are niches within niches and if you are starting with your first additional eBay ID, the rule of thumb is that you go up in price. As you grow, then you can leverage the now multiple selling ID’s to try differing price points for the same products.

Matt’ s Tip:
In Excel you can use this formula to make random prices:

RANDBETWEEN(1,100)/100)

It makes a number between 1 and 100, you could do (1,49) and it would make…

Unique Selling Points

With multiple eBay ID’s you can try out different selling angles of the same products. Using Barratts above, you’ll notice two very interesting names, ‘Petit Feet’ and ‘Big Shoe Boutique’. Oversized or undersized footwear is a problem for buyers with flippers or stumps, this way Barratts, can leverage two different customer groups, rather than trying to marketing them broadly within their normal confines.

See what they’re doing? Instead of trying to be one-for-all they are helping the buyer find the product group they are looking for, as I said, niches in niches, they exist everywhere and virtually limitless.

Designs & Layouts

Ever wondered what effect a full blown creative deisgn would have on a business? Ever wondered if you wound things back to and made what I consider a ‘crap id’?

Matt what is a ‘crap id’?
That’s a great question madam, let me define this as:

An eBay ID that purposefully looks shockingly bad, you know the ones, just like your very first listing you made with colourful H1 and H2 fonts (if its bigger they’ll read it right? *cries with laughter*), but employs killer conversion tools.

With multiple eBay ID’s you can and you can very easily, leading me on to the next key point.

Time to Create Inventory is a Fraction of the Original

Think about it, you exerted a lot of effort to make the first inventory item, to prepare it for another eBay ID is only altering the elements that need to be changed to make it different. If you’re using software tools such as eSellerPro, Channel Advisor** or similar, then this is childs play.

This process as an equation would look something like this:

Original Time To Create the Record
+ (Original Time To Create the Record / Number of eBay ID’s + Time to make edits)
= Overall time to create inventory

The biggest exertion was to document the first record, all the rest are simple edits and in the right circumstances can be done in an external tool such as Excel to manipulate the data in a organised fashion.

**Channel Advisor: They solved this in a update about a year ago. Before you had to have two or more sets of inventory for the same inventory item to sell using two or more eBay ID’s. It was a joke and rendered this tool virtually un-usable for use with Multiple seller IDs. But that’s resolved now I hasten to add (Thanks for the clarification James)

Summary

There is more to be covered on this topic and I will add further articles to expand on what are concepts covered in this first section.

I hope I have opened your eyes to the fact that this is commonplace, especially in well known brands. It makes perfect sense to do this, when you consider that adding a new second, third, forth etc… business to your first business as it only requires a fraction of the original effort and as a bonus, the more you add, the smaller this fraction.

Maybe I didn’t the term ‘Leverage’ that much in this article as I expected, lets close this article with final statement.

When adding a second, third etc… eBay ID to your existing business you are leveraging existing processes and the same platform in your favour.

Now, go get busy!