In my previous post, I went through most of the basic functions an eBay seller should be familiar with. In this post, I am going to show some essential tools you can subscribe to your eBay account to improve the efficiency of selling products. Even though most of them are paid tools with monthly charges, I highly recommend you to at least give them a try (you can always cancel them at any time. You might have to pay for one month though), because the time and energy they end up saving you is invaluable.
Why open an eBay store and pay a monthly charge?
Image the difference between selling random things on a website such as Craiglist and selling several categories of different product lines on an official online retail store, it’s not hard to tell which one will present more professionalism. There are lots of benefits to have an eBay store.
Most importantly, to generate steady monthly income, you want to build up your brand on eBay, which is the best way to retain earnings from your loyal customers to a well-organized store after providing first class customer services.
In addition, with a fixed monthly charge, insertion fee for listing each individual product in a store is significantly lower than the fee without a store. E.g. Insertion Fee for 1 Fixed Price listing without a store is $0.50; it only costs $0.20 to list the same product in a basic store; for veteran sellers with subscription of the most comprehensive store (Anchor Store), the same listing only costs $0.02. It’s not hard to figure out how much it can save you when you have hundreds or thousands of listings.
Efficiency is always an important thing I personally care the most. No matter how much money I can make per month, if my time is used up, (e.g. I need to work for 12 hours a day on average) my future growth will become nearly impossible – if I have no time to explore new opportunities, I rather stop what I am doing even though it’s making good money. Therefore to manage my eBay business efficiently is what I enjoy the most from eBay store subscription.
How to subscribe (open) an eBay store?
On “My eBay” page, under the tab “Account”, by clicking on “Subscription”, you will be brought to “Subscription” page as showing below
As you can see, there are total 5 subscriptions to choose from. In my post, I will only focus on “eBay Stores” and “eBay Selling Manager” (later in this post). Please feel free to try other subscriptions yourself and if you have any great experience from them, please come back and share it to everyone.
eBay Store has 3 different levels, basic store, premium store and anchor store. For a complete comparison among them for price, listing charges and features, please check out this eBay page. If you are a new seller account, with the current requirement from eBay, you can only start with the basic store, but as your sales go, as soon as you hit more than 10 feed backs with a good standing, you will be granted the option to subscribe a different store. The following table has complete recommendations and requirement for each store.
If you like numbers, there is another tool provided by eBay. It can show you how much it will cost you very month based on volume of listings and sales in your store – which is my favorite part. Based on the analysis, my pick right now is Premium Store package.
Handy eBay Store Functions
I am not going through each function of eBay stores in details as I assume if you are serious enough on your eBay business, you will spend some time to look into them. Here I just want to share my experiences of using some functions of Premium Store (the one in my subscription) which I found very handy while managing listings and sales.
– Custom Page & Custom Store Header: With a store subscription(any store), you have the ability to use customized pages to build up your brand. You can add your own logo and links to the store header to help customers easily recognize your brand and navigate in your store.
– Promotion box: If you have any featured item or anything on sales, this function can highlight them to cause more attentions from your customers.
– Store Categories: Up to the capacity of 300 categories (including sub categories). If you are not good at HTML or do not feel confident enough to make some Custom Page, this function can help you organize your listings and your customers will definitely appreciate the easy navigation.
– FREE sales management tools: I am going into more details in the next section
– Markdown manager: Want to boost sales when holiday season is approaching? This function can easily add a dollar amount or a percentage discount to your existing listings. To put something on sales, you can have them done in as quickly as 5 minutes.
– Vacation Hold: Once switch on, the system will send an auto message to customers when they have any inquiry while you are away. I traveled to China 3 times last year and I can’t tell you enough how much I like this handy function.
– Off eBay Email Marketing: After buyers subscribe your store newsletter, guess how many opportunities will be opened up to you when dealing with your loyal customers.
I highly recommend you to play around with the functions of eBay Store, I am sure you will be surprised by how much the store features can help for your business. Want to be a store owner now?
Selling Manager Pro
I went through functions of “My eBay” in my last post. It’s a very basic selling tool to handle individual listings and sales. Now to go on a step further as you want to prepare yourself before volume is picking up, I will introduce a new tool – Selling Manager Pro. To review the difference between different selling tools on eBay, you can take a look at simple comparison among 3 selling tools on eBay. In this section, I will highlight the benefits of using Selling Manager Pro.
Easy to Start
Selling Manger Pro is a paid tool costing $15.95 per month, but eBay is nice enough to provide a 30-day trail to get you try it before you commit – so you have nothing to loss, yeah! One thing I want you to keep in mind is, if you subscribe “Premium Store” or “Anchor Store”, this tool is free to use, so by taking this combination into consideration, Premium Store is not really too much more expensive than Basic Store – which is one of the main reasons I picked Premium store.
Please note that Selling Manager Pro is subscribed per each eBay site, so I highly recommend you to subscribe it to the site you use to list all the products. In my case, I use ebay.com, so I subscribe it to my account at ebay.com. If you want to subscribe it to more than one eBay site, you will need to pay the monthly charge for each site – don’t pay more than you need to.
Easy to Use
You can find Selling Manager Pro at your selling section because it’s an upgrade of that section. Now let’s look at the regular selling section from My “eBay” and Selling Manager Pro side by side,
As you can see, Selling Manager Pro has more functions while managing listings and sales. Similar to last section, I am only going through the functions I used the most. Please feel free to have your own investigation done as well.
Selling Manager Pro provides the ability to edit same section of multiple listings at the same time. The sections I advise a lot includes:
– Handling time
– Payment information
– Price, Quantity and Best Offer
– Return Policy
For example, if you want to revise your return policy, you can simply choose all the listing that you want to revise and enter the new return policy once. You should not go through each individual listing for the same stuff, so now you do not have to.
By setting up automation rules, you can relist or stop the listings under certain circumstances. This is very useful when controlling inventory. If your listing is stopped as soon as you run out of inventory, you will never run into the situation that you have to apologize to your buyers about the item is not in stock after they bought the item – trust me, this is a big time saver.Furthermore, if you list your items for a duration of 10 days or 30 days and you want it to be automatically relisted after they end, with this function, you do not need to log into your account to manually relist them every 10 or 30 days.
If you mind being polite to leave feedback to your buyers or want to be notified when things went wrong with listings, this is a perfect place to handle them by the system without spending extra time. Another big time saver with no doubt.
Want to increase your sales volume, marketing is an essential. eBay add this new section to help start some marketing strategies by implementing Email marketing, Promotional flyer and RSS Feeds.
With Selling Manager, I only need to work average 2-3 hours per week mainly on answering questions from customers and process the order (collecting money, nice!). To automatically manage the sales and listing revisions on over 500 listings, the benefit of using Selling Manager Pro makes me sell like a pro!
“Applications” section is added by eBay not too long ago, but there are lots of great tools in the section help making a revolution change to experience of selling on eBay. As it’s very new, I personally do not have too much experience with it yet, but I will talk about some basic stuffs here and leave the rest of the venture to be explored by you, my readers.
How does it work?
If you have any experience with smart phone apps, this works in a very similar way. Thinking of eBay account as the operating system of the smart phone and the applications are like apps you can download to your phone as plug–ins to add more functions to your phone. Or it’s just like software you can install to your computer empowering it to work for you on different tasks.
Two Applications I personally use
– eBay Listing Analytics: It gives great insights of your products and provides the detailed data of the sales from listings in your store. If you enjoy statistics like me, this is a very effective way to improve your sales by studying the previous record. Plus all the data is downloadable, so you can have your work down even when you are offline.
– Outright: This is a tool to help record total sales, profits and expenses. The simple charts make your sales report and accounting report easily. I used to manually record each listing into my own excel sheet by plugging in mathematical functions to calculate eBay and PayPal fees, but since I found this tool, it saves all my hassles on report making. How much time this tool saves me per week? At least 2.
The future potentials
What makes Apple iPhone a better smart phone than the phones made by its competitors such as Samsung, Nokia and Blackberry? Better display or easy-to-use system, cooler design or better battery – maybe a little bit. The most powerful Apple iTune App Store gives the best user experiences ever. Thousands of new Apps are developed every day and total iTunes app download is over 10 billion times after 6 years since it first appears onto the market. This huge influence in the world is absolutely amazing!
eBay adopted the same idea by laughing “Applications” section in eBay seller account . Millions of eBay users will be definitely benefited by more handy “applications” in the future, so I truly believe this is going to be the future of eBay selling.
Alright, I know you have been reading a lot and about to complain…I apologize for the super long post, but hope you enjoy the reading some far. I have covered lots of things in the post and if you have any questions, please leave your comments and I will help with clarifications and detail explanations. Thank you!
Have a great one, everybody!