Insights / Multichannel

Using eBay as a Source of New Customers

eBay

Many still consider eBay to be solely a C2C marketplace, not realising how much has changed in recent years. Even if you have a thriving online retail operation, eBay may be a lucrative channel to consider expanding into.

According to eBay, nearly 7 million Australians visit the virtual marketplace each month, making it Australia’s largest ecommerce site.

“That’s a substantial marketplace with considerable potential for sourcing new customers,” says Ryan Murtagh, Director of Neto E-commerce Solutions.

Recent fee changes for business sellers has made eBay a more attractive option for online retailers. Businesses are now able to calculate their expected return on investment upfront and factor this into their pricing policy prior to listing.

Murtagh has a few tips on how retailers can convert eBay shoppers into new customers:

Get your products featured on eBay’s Big Deal platform and watch the new customers come to you.  eBay advertises your product deals to their subscriber database for you. To be featured on Big Deal you need to offer a really great deal – discounted price, free shipping. This is just like using a traditional loss leader strategy to attract new customers to your retail store.

Treat eBay like a search engine. Make sure your product listings feature key SEO words. Use information from terapeak.com to know what key words customers are using to find products. Terapeak can help you identify gaps in the market, confirm pricing strategies, outwit your competitors and attract new customers.

Other strategies to attract new customers include:

  • Add a Subscriber Form on all eBay listings. It’s essential you capture information about your new customers and grow your database.
  • Take advantage of the fact that you can have links to your website and information about your “off eBay” offering on your eBay About Me page.
  • Include a flyer containing information about your website and a unique coupon code with every eBay order you ship.
  • Include links to your Facebook and Twitter pages in your eBay listings.

eBay is often disregarded by online retailers, but with the right strategy the potential for securing new customers from this marketplace is significant.

Campbell Phillips

Article by

Campbell currently serves as Editor for Power Retail. He has a background in science communication and a long history in retail. Campbell has a keen interest in emerging technologies and their impact in the world of media and online retail. Campbell is an indoor sports junkie, to the point of playing in a local dodgeball competition once a week, “just for kicks”. Follow Campbell on Twitter, Google+ or connect with him on LinkedIn.

5 Comments

  • The issue I have with Ebay is that most people see it as aplace to get a bargain so they don’t compare quality of listings just prices. So you either have to reduce your quality to compete at very low prices or steer clear of Ebay and sell quality items at a higher price.

    Reply
    • Cal
    • 14th June

    Last time I checked (tried!), eBay did not allow you to “have links to your website and information about your “off eBay” offering on your eBay About Me page”. And they were very strict on this. Has this changed?

    Reply
    • Hello Cal and thank you for picking this up.

      Currently, it appears eBay may have made some recent changes. You were able to have these off-site links on the ‘About The Seller’ page, however a recent update may have changed all this. I am currently in contact with an eBay representative, who should be able to provide more information shortly.

      Reply
      • Ryan is correct. Sellers are permitted to list their off-eBay website and include links to their social media accounts on their “About the Seller” page only in accordance with eBay’s external links policy. Sellers are not permitted to include statements anywhere in their eBay store or listings which appear to entice eBay members to buy from an off-eBay website.

        Just to clarify on some of Ryan’s tips in this article, sellers are not allowed to include social media links in listings, but they can include them on their “About the Seller” page.

        The ‘subscriber form’ Ryan refers to is the Store Newsletter function which allows buyers to opt-in to receive newsletters from you via eBay. Sellers are not permitted to add other eBay member details to their own databases as it is a violation of the Spam Act and the eBay User Agreement.

        Finally, including a flyer with deliveries is a great marketing idea. However as you are dealing with eBay customers subject to the User Agreement, sellers are not allowed to solicit sales away from eBay through discount offers etc.

        Reply
        • Thanks for clarifying this Tim.

          Re the comment made by Rich: “The issue I have with Ebay is that most people see it as a place to get a bargain so they don’t compare quality of listings just prices. So you either have to reduce your quality to compete at very low prices or steer clear of Ebay and sell quality items at a higher price.”

          I think this perception is quickly changing on eBay. Buyers are becoming more educated and are now seeking out quality products and merchants. The introduction of some well known, high end brands (especially in the fashion categories) is also helping to change this perception. We have a number of successful customers that sell on eBay but are by no means the cheapest in their vertical. These sellers tend to focus heavily on providing an excellent customer experience both pre and post purchase and benefit from this approach. Simple things like well photographed products, detailed descriptions and readily accessible customer support can provide a point of difference other than price that is often more sought after by the consumer.

          Reply

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