This post is by James Beach, founder of eBay and Amazon cross-posting tool KickSync. James has been trading on eBay and Amazon for eight years, mainly selling refurbished electronics, but also developing private label products and dropshipping from Amazon to eBay.
After selling on eBay for a few years ourselves, we started looking more closely at store subscriptions. Initially, it was simply the insertion fee savings that helped us make the decision to up our game and sign up for an eBay store.
As we learned more and more, we realized that eBay has built a fantastic ecommerce kit to help you establish and market a brand. There’s a comprehensive set of tools to thrive in online selling and gain valuable experience with everything from email marketing to SEO.
Getting the most visibility for your items can be the make-or-break difference in online selling, so we’ve put together some tips for optimizing your eBay presence. Now is a great time to optimize your account, learn more about its marketing features, and help get your items moving.
- eBay Store Settings
- eBay Store SEO and marketing
- eBay Store promotion with paid ads
- Summing up
eBay Store Settings
Your eBay store settings are the core of your brand identity. They are the basic tools you’ll need to help your customers understand not only your products, but the business behind them. Having a strong brand gives your buyers confidence that you know and support the products you sell. Even as you grow your visibility off eBay, these first marketing choices will help you to develop your brand and better understand your customers.
1. Configure display settings
Display settings are how you customize the way your store presents itself to the world. Here you can define a color scheme, layout, the name of your store, and its description.
Decide what theme matches your tastes and your style of business, but don’t forget to think about your customer as well. Try and put yourself in the shoes of the buyer who visits your store. Think about their age, their gender, and what calls to them. This won’t be something that you’ll change frequently, so take some time in deciding.
Having a professional-looking store will have a huge effect on sales and customer confidence. In display settings, you can also add your store logo. If you don’t have one yet, 99designs and GraphicRiver are great places to get a fresh take on your brand image and load up on ideas. eBay offers store owners a coupon for 99designs on the subscriber discounts page.
2. Set up store categories
Aside from eBay’s own product categories, your store allows you to define your own set of in-house store categories. These can help a customer browse your catalog, and find other items to buy.
If you offer combined shipping discounts, then store segmentation is essential to making it easy to locate add-on items like accessories. Don’t forget to tune them up every once in a while to account for changes in your product range.
3. Create custom eBay Store pages
Your eBay store offers you multiple custom pages. These are the bread and butter structure of your store. In addition to providing a homepage for your business, custom site pages can be used to highlight single items, a full line of products, or an “about me” page. These were the first pages we ever used to develop our sales copy and images, and that really became the foundation of our brand identity.
If you use your eBay Store pages wisely, you can boost search ranking, sales, and reach. Just be sure to add search engine keywords to each of the pages to help focus the traffic.
4. Use eBay Store promotion boxes
Promotion boxes are used in your eBay shop, including store category pages and custom pages. Think of them as your stock banner ads. They can be used to grow your email marketing list or to advertise any feature or product in your eBay store.
Promotion boxes are the best way to get your customers to engage more deeply with your brand. Once they’ve either followed you as a seller or signed up to receive your marketing emails, you’ll have many more opportunities for repeat buyers. eBay offers a guided tool to help you build promotion boxes.
5. Free shipping and Top Rated Seller
We bring this one up nearly every time we talk about increasing traffic to listings. While not directly connected to your eBay store, free shipping and the Top Rater Seller program are the single biggest deciding factors for where eBay places your items in search.
Any strategy to boost your items (and store) visibility should start by addressing both of these. It’s worth noting too that recent changes to the Top Rated program have made it much easier to earn and maintain Top Rated status.
eBay Store SEO and marketing
Now that your refined your brand identity and the most visible parts of your store, it’s time to start getting the word out.
eBay offers a few different tools to help store owners get their items found not just on eBay, but on Google as well. With 28% of US buyers starting their product search on Google, it can be a big source of traffic for your items. Combined with some free marketing strategies, this helps push traffic to your store.
6. Turn on the eBay RSS feed
The eBay RSS feed allows search engines, eBay buyers, and subscribers to receive automatic updates for your product listings.
Turn on the eBay RSS feed in your marketing tools area, then you will see an RSS tag in your store’s footer at the bottom of the screen. RSS feeds drive traffic by distributing your fixed price listings, and will even send updated prices for your more spontaneous deals.
7. Register your store domain
Once you’ve established your custom store pages and defined a home page, purchase a domain matching your brand name or eBay user ID. Next, redirect it to your eBay store homepage.
A short web address allows your customers an easy and direct way to find your store again, and helps you to start building some Google search rank for your brand and items. More than anything else, a simple redirect to our store increased our visibility in Google’s product search (the product ads Google displays to searchers). Once our items started ranking in Google, we saw a significant uptick in sales.
It also just feels great to start establishing your own little corner of the internet through your new domain.
8. Use eBay Store email marketing
Built right into your eBay store is an excellent suite of email marketing features. It may be one of the most underused eBay seller tools. Email marketing helps build brand awareness and connects you to your customers. It keeps them interested in your product offerings long after their first purchase and, if you aspire to build a brand beyond eBay, is your best option to raise your profile.
The “Create Email” button, under the email marketing tab, will display some pre-built email templates to get you going in the right direction. We use a combination of narrative marketing, just telling our customers what we’re up to, with displaying current and new offerings.
Readers are more inclined to check out your wares if you can humanize your brand a little, so don’t be afraid to tell them a story. Blanketing them with ads won’t be enough and makes for a boring read. Just share what you’re up to!
9. Inserts, stickers and packing slips
Now that you’ve started to build your store’s following be sure to reinforce your brand by including your domain on all your packing slips, package inserts, and follow-up emails.
You can also try your hand at some custom stickers. For a few cents each, it can be an inexpensive way to help your brand stand out from “just another eBay seller”. Printed inserts reinforce who you are and help your customer find you again, when they are ready for another purchase.
It also shows them that you are proud of your store and take your business seriously. Increasing buyer confidence can lower your return rate and make customer interactions easier, as you’ve already built some trust into the transaction.
10. Write guides, blogs, and reviews
Spreading the word about your store can be as easy as just sharing your knowledge. The more you know about the products you sell, the more you can define yourself as an expert.
Dedicate a portion of your work week to helping others get the most out of your products, and engaging with them where they gather. While you shouldn’t directly push for sales through these channels, you can establish the tone of your brand and be a source of information that will attract buyers to you.
Be sure to include a link in your forum signature or author bio, wherever possible. Search engines will reward your store with an SEO boost just by seeing your URL around the internet engaging with fresh content.
eBay Store promotion with paid ads
eBay has placed a strong focus this year on showcasing some newer promotional tools for sellers. Working alongside your eBay store settings, paid placements and repricing tools can move your items straight to the top of the page. While there are fees to factor in, the benefits are too good to be dismissed out of hand. Here are a few of the programs available.
11. Use Promoted Listings
eBay Promoted Listings allows sellers to boost their items’ visibility in search. The program averages about a 5% bid to push the listing to the top of the page, but that can be offset by a matching price increase. It may seem counterintuitive to pay more to list, but when dealing in bulk quantity items the increased sales can be dramatic.
Top Rated Sellers and Anchor Store subscribers both receive a quarterly credit towards the program. That’s an awesome way to get your feet wet while learning how the ads work!
12. Sign up to the eBay affiliate program
If you have access to an extensive social network or a blogging platform, then you can get paid to drive traffic into eBay. After clicking a special link to eBay, if your readers purchase your products, or even another seller’s items, you will earn a commission. That is an excellent way to offset your final value fees or earn some extra passive income.
Through the eBay Partner Network, it’s simple to get some product ads displayed on your blog and start earning commissions. We found that building a few affiliate sites, while we were planning our eBay Store, really set us up well to enter the market with our own branded store. It gave us valuable experience at content marketing and directing traffic – two things you will need should you later decide to strike out on your own.
13. Markdown Manager
Everyone loves a sale! One final tool we’ll mention is the Markdown Manager, a great tool eBay provides for running sales. It allows you to quickly add small discounts or incentives to a set of items.
A markdown will motivate customers to buy quickly before missing out, and eBay offers another boost in search rankings for discounted items. Before you run away in fear of losing valuable profits, it’s a straightforward operation to increase your original price for a while, then discount it through the Markdown Manager to get the benefits while not losing out on the margin.
Whether you’ve just signed up or are a seasoned store professional, it’s easy to overlook some of the great ecommerce tools eBay provides to all of us sellers.
I know how easy it is to get busy “listing and shipping”, but within the eBay store settings there is a great kit for learning brand-building strategies and marketing for online selling. Along with the day-to-day grind, take a minute to think about where you want your business to be in a year. Within the store settings pages are some easy strategies to help you on your way to that stronger business.
A couple of final thoughts: do stay on top of seller updates. Each quarter brings new offerings and adjustments to store subscription benefits. Also, don’t forget to take advantage of the free discounts and coupons eBay gives you with your account.
I wish you all the best in your eBay business and your continued selling success!
KickSync is a tool for cross-posting inventory between eBay and Amazon, for both small businesses and enterprise-level sellers. It’s free to synchronize up to three products, and higher volume paid plans are available.