Diving into online retail for the first time can be daunting, which is why some stores choose to use eBay as a nursery. Some stores, like Werner Liu’s Ozplaza, become so successful they never leave.
Power Retail interviewed Liu recently to find out more about his journey to entrepreneurial success in online retail.
How was your business conceived and how did you get the ball rolling?
Ozplaza, started on eBay in 2005 with a small office of three people and a small warehouse based in Ringwood Victoria. We realised the increasing trends in the demand for online shopping over the years. The expertise of our team actually provided a good mix to start the business, such as a good relationship with various product suppliers, knowledge in computer systems, and the fact that we had been watching the ebay market for years. All of the above were the major initiatives to start the business.
What sort of process is involved to get the business set up and converting on eBay?
The first step is to register an eBay and Paypal account of course. Next, work out a good marketing mix which involves the retail basics of Product, Place, Price and Promotion.
For Place, it is pretty obvious if you want to start up your business on eBay but you will also need to estimate the type of warehouse you will need. For deciding the type of products, selling price and promotion, I’d suggest to start off with products you have knowledge about in order to provide quality customer service and product care, as customer feedbacks are crucial to eBay success.
Then, do a bit of research via Terapeak. This is a marketing analytics tool, which shows you the current trends of your selected product/category on eBay. Even though a new shop can only start up with 10 products, it is still worth doing the homework. It’s always easy to start but difficult to maintain, so planning ahead will actually give you an advantage. Your strategies should also involve how you would like to position your eBay store and how to handle strong competition as time goes by.
What’s the secret to your business’s success on eBay? Can it work for everyone?
It’s about how you put together time and available resources to make it work. The success of the Ozplaza business comes from the diversified expertise that the team holds. The relationship with our suppliers, marketing our products, exploring business opportunities, inventory control and warehouse maintenance are essentials to make it work well. Whether it works for anyone really depends on the ability of putting the above together in a good balance.
Many online retailers that start out on eBay also consider a separate e-commerce site at some point. Why do you only trade on eBay?
We are quite satisfied with the level of protection and the easy flow of transactions that we get from eBay, whereas other platforms do not seem to provide this kind of support.
There seems to be less fraud on eBay, although copying images and description is still a major issue, eBay actually has an extensive policy for protecting both sellers and buyers. Only if the circumstances were to become worse over time would we consider setting up our own shopping website.
Ok, so if you were to boil it down for me, what are the key attributes for a successful eBay retailer?
Being able to maintain steady inventory levels, paying attention to online trends, solid product marketing, maintaining a good feedback history (which involves ratings on items as described), communication, postage time, as well as good postage and handling charges. All these factors would assist anyone to become a successful eBay seller.
Seeking more information on how to get an online retail venture off to a flying start? See our complete A-Z guide, Power Up: The Online Retail Entrepreneur’s Guide.