Opening an eBay Store

Save Time By

1 Knowing what you need to get started

1 Understanding the fees involved

1 Setting up your eBay Store

Opening an eBay Store can expand your business. The more that savvy buyers learn about eBay Stores, the more popular they become. The more popular they become, the more people buy from them. Simple. An eBay Store provides you with your own little corner of eBay in which you can leverage your good relationships with your customers to promote your auctions and to sell directly to them. But eBay Stores are not a total solution, and having an eBay Store isn't a oneway ticket to easy street.

I get emails all the time from people who open an eBay Store and are not successful in moving merchandise. Why? Because running an eBay Store takes an extra level of effort. The more energy you invest in your eBay business, the more work you have to do. Simple. No matter how many "money-back guarantees" you receive from online spammers promising magical success on eBay, the only magic is putting your nose (and shoulder) to the grindstone and exerting the effort necessary to bring customers to your store.

eBay wants you to succeed as well. Although I'm sure they like getting the monthly fee for the store, they'd much rather see your sales grow. After all, the more you sell, the more eBay earns in Final Value Fees.

If you're just beginning on eBay, the best advice I can give is to hold off on opening an eBay Store until your feedback rating is over 100. Participating in transactions on eBay is a natural teacher because you'll see mistakes that sellers make when they sell to you. You'll get emails from sellers that are plain unfriendly, and you'll have a true understanding of how quality customer service will help you build your business. You'll also learn from your own mistakes and be able to provide better service to your customers.

The purpose of expanding your eBay business is to make more money, not to start losing money. Big businesses expand in order to make more money, even though their costs may increase. There's always a risk involved in any business venture, but with experience on the site and what you learn in this book, hopefully you can minimize the risk.

246 Technique 41: Opening an eBay Store

Making the "Store" Decision

So you think it's time to open a store, eh? If you feel it in your gut and you're ready to take the leap, here's what you need to know. eBay has very few requirements when it comes to opening an eBay Store:

The items listed as store inventory will not come up in an eBay search. The only ways new buyers can find your store inventory is by clicking the search Stores tab in eBay search by searching items on the store hub page, or by clicking from one of your auction pages to see what else you have on sale.

i Registered User: You need to be a Registered User on the eBay site.

i Feedback rating: You must have a feedback rating of 20 or more or be ID verified.

It doesn't get much easier than that! Personally, I like to add these additional prerequisites to back you up for success:

i PayPal Account: You need to have a Business or Premier (personal) PayPal account to accept credit cards. Accepting credit cards is a necessity for building sales, and PayPal is integrated directly into the site, as well as being widely accepted by buyers.

Be sure you understand how a PayPal account works so you can decide on the types of payments you will accept — and from which countries you intend to do business. (See Part V for in-depth discussions on PayPal.)

Choosing between store types

Different real estate has different costs. Just like opening a store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills is going to cost more than a store in Dipstick, North Dakota; opening an eBay Store has different start up costs. But the best part is, that the old real estate adage "location, location, location" counts only in real estate — when you're on eBay, you have an excellent chance to get new customers.

All eBay Stores are on a level playing field. You can be right up there with the big guys and compete. The only cost differential is the type of store you wish to open. They're all equally searchable for the eBay Stores hub page, as pictured in Figure 41-1.

• Figure 41-1: The eBay Stores landing page.

^ Sales Experience: Having selling (and buying) experience over and above the 20 transactions required by eBay is a big plus. The best teacher (aside from this book) is the school of hard knocks.

^ Merchandise: Opening an eBay Store with ten items that you only have one each of isn't a good idea. You need to have enough merchandise to support consistent sales in your store.

^ Devotion: You need to have the time to check into your eBay business at least once a day, and the time to handle shipping the purchased merchandise in a prompt manner.

• Figure 41-1: The eBay Stores landing page.

Making the "Store" Decision

All eBay stores share these features:

tt Listings: All of your eBay listings, whether auction, fixed price or store inventory, will appear in your eBay Store.

tt Custom URL: Your eBay Store will have its own Internet address that you can use in links in promotional material — even to promote your store on the Internet (see Part IX).

tt Store Search: When customers visit your eBay Store, they will be able to search within your listings for their desired item — with your own personal search engine.

tt Cross-Promotions: You have the ability to insert thumbnail promotions for your store items within each of your items for sale on the regular eBay site.

tt Seller Reports: You'll receive monthly reports on your store sales via e-mail.

Although you will need to pay a small fee for each listing, eBay Store rental is available on three levels:

tt Basic Store: For $9.95 a month, you get your own eBay Store with all the benefits.

t Featured Store: You get all the benefits of a Basic Store, plus there will be a link to your store from the store category page and randomly on the eBay Stores hub page (refer to Figure 41-1). You also get more advanced sales reports. This type of store will set you back $49.95 per month.

tt Anchor Store: This is a top-of-the-line store on eBay. For $499.95 a month, your store logo rotates with others on the home hub page of eBay stores. Your logo also randomly appears on eBay's home page. When prospective buyers are browsing eBay Store categories, your logo will show up at the top of the pages.

There is no limit to the number of items you put up for sale in the Basic Store. An Anchor Store can have as few or as many items as the Basic Store.

For the independent seller, a Basic Store will do the trick. Many high-level PowerSellers find that the basic eBay Store fulfills their needs.

Knowing the fee structure

There are other fees involved (are you surprised?). There are listing fees, options fees, and Final Value Fees, as shown in Tables 41-1, 41-2, and 41-3.

Table 41-1: Store Inventory Listing Fees

Time Period

Listing

Surcharge

Total

30 days

$.02

$.00

$.02

60 days

$.02

$.02

$.04

90 days

$.02

$.04

$.06

120 days

$.02

$.06

$.08

Good 'Til

$.02 per

N/A

$.02 per

Cancelled

30 days

30 days

® Listing your items for a looong time may be a tempting way to automate your listings — and it's a good strategy. Remember, though, that once someone makes a purchase from an item listing, you can no longer make massive changes — you can only update inventory. If you have a new picture or new ideas for a title or description, you must close that listing and relist the item with the new information. But heck, it's only 2c!

Table 41-2: Store Inventory Listing Upgrades

Upgrade Cost per 30 Days of Listing Duration

Table 41-2: Store Inventory Listing Upgrades

Upgrade Cost per 30 Days of Listing Duration

Gallery

$.01

Item Subtitle

$.02

Listing Designer

$.10 (same as

auctions)

Bold

$1.00 (same as auctions)

Highlight

$5.00 (same as auctions)

Featured in Search

$19.95 (same

as auctions)

Table 41-3: Store Final Value Fees

Final Item Price Final Value Fee

$.01 to $25.00 5.25 percent of the selling price

$25.01 to $1,000.00 5.25 percent on the first $25, plus 2.75 percent on selling prices of $25.01 to $1,000

$1,000 and up 5.25 percent on the first $25, plus

2.75 percent on selling prices of $25.01 to $1,000, plus another 1.5 percent on selling prices over $1,000

Store Final Value Fees are the same as the Final Value Fees for eBay auctions. For a more detailed description on how to calculate fees and set profitable price points, see Part II.

When someone visits your eBay Store, there's no way they will know whether you're a Basic, Featured, or Anchor Store. The design of your store is up to you - you can make it as fancy as you wish.

This code can also be used in promotional e-mail that you send out. The only bad thing is that buyers have to purchase the item during the same browser session as when they enter your store.

Definitely worth a try! Check out the figure below to see a part of one of my eBay invoices; it shows how the savings can stack up!

Jan-li-M 5S<l8Cil000C( 1111:16 Final i-ihie Ees

Jan-ll-M

66430:0)10 114116 Stare Referral Credit PST

2JM 3? 2864 Finil price £232.99 'Store)

Setting Up Your Store

If you're up to the task of opening a store, read on to find out about the things you need to have ready before you open your eBay Store.

It's best to sit down during some uninterrupted quiet time to plan your store. Opening a store properly involves adding additional store information (such as the name and description of your store), and writing it out first really helps you to gather your thoughts.

To open a store, go to the eBay home page and click the link in the upper-left corner (under Specialty Sites, as shown in Figure 41-2) for eBay Stores. You can also go there directly by typing the URL

http://stores.ebay.com

Although eBay may change the step-by-step procedure for opening a store, you'll still need to have all the information in the Setting Up your Store Content area.

How to save 50 percent on your Store Final Value Fees

Yes! The honchos at eBay are really smart. By promoting your eBay Store on your Web site and linking to your eBay Store, you can save 50 percent of your Final Value Fees on the items you sell though the referral link. It's a win-win situation. You draw people to your eBay Store, where you can have a more robust layout and features and save on fees — and eBay gets more visitors coming to the site!

In order to get the referral bonus, you must set up a special link. The link consists of your eBay Store URL, and some code. Here's my referral link with the referral code in bold face text:

http://stores.ebay.com/marshacolliers fabulousfinds?refid=store

3M43S28M j^f

1 Figure 41-2: Click the eBay Stores link from the eBay home page.

► Address: Enter the address to which you want payments sent.

► Phone number (optional): If you want buyers to be able to see your phone number when checking out after a purchase.

► Store description: This is important. The text you type in here will appear in the header box of all your store pages. It should be short, but full of descriptive keywords. You have only 250 characters for your Store Description.

Keywords work for you in the Store Description in two ways. First, people searching only store names and descriptions from an eBay Store search with keywords will find your item easily. It will also work to bring buyers from the Internet as Web Search engine spiders may pick up your keywords.

Setting up your store content

To set up your store, you have to go through several steps. The first is the basic store content.

1. Click the Open Store Now bar (and you also get the first 30 days free) to begin.

► Store Specialties: Here you have 200 characters to list your store's specialties. You can modify this description at any time.

Enter your initial Store Content. This entails:

► The name of your eBay Store. I hope you've thought of something catchy, and perhaps something that's a bit general. If you name your store Patti's Video Shop and someday choose to also sell clothing, your store name won't properly reflect your merchandise. You can always change your store name, but the Internet address for your store includes the store name — any links you've sent out with the old URL won't work to bring repeat buyers back to your store.

► Your payment information: Your payment information includes the name to which you'd like your payments addressed.

Counting characters the easy way

If you want to type out this information in advance (a good idea), use Microsoft Word. To count the characters in text for areas where a segment of text allows a limited character count:

i Type out your idea of the text you'd like to use.

ii Highlight the text.

i Click ToolsOWord Count.

i Your total count will be found in the line Characters (with spaces).

As long as you're in Word, use the spell checker before copying your text onto the Store Content page.

► Categories: Giving the items in your store custom categories are a great idea. They will be displayed on the left side of your store home page and will help buyers find their way to the specific types of items they're looking for. You may add up to 20 different categories. They will only show up in your store directory if you list an item in them.

3. Indicate your Store subscription level.

This is where you decide (by putting a check mark in the check box) which type of store you wish to open.

4. Add About Your Store information.

This information will show up on your Store Policies Page, as shown in Figure 41-3.

Description of Bus!us

Terms and Conditions

Payment and shipment lerrns may vary on individual ilems.

Additional Store Information

I'm the author of 'eBay for Dummies" and 'Starting an eBay Business for Dummies," Here's where I sell to all my eBay friends, You'll find ilems to hefp you sell on eBay, as well as fun and absolvely fabulous gifts!

Payment methods

PayPal Bbbiii

Money Order/Cashiers Ctitck

Ail credit Card payments are graciously accepted through PayPal only.

Payment methods

PayPal Bbbiii

Money Order/Cashiers Ctitck

Ail credit Card payments are graciously accepted through PayPal only.

Stot6-5hfp40

Ihe United Stales only

locations

Piease email if you'd like an iiem shipped

oui of the US I will iry to accomodate

your needs. For United Stales

shipments, we use Priority Mail. THANK

YOUl

Shipping Ä

Buyer Pays Shipping

Handling

Sales Tax

3.25% if shipped to CA.

Pesale numbers accepted please email

after auction

CustomAJ items are guaranteed to be exactly as eervke & return stated rn trie- auction description, policy

CustomAJ items are guaranteed to be exactly as eervke & return stated rn trie- auction description, policy

Aside from rnaey iun items, I liy to sell ilertrs for eBay sellers he-rns that will help them run their business more efficiently

1 Figure 41-3: Store Policies page from my eBay Store.

► Payment Methods: You need to indicate which payment methods you'll accept in your store.

► Store Ship-To Locations and Shipping & Handling: Designate which countries you will ship to if you ship internationally. If you ship only to the United States, you must specify that here.

There is also a 200-character area where you may optionally input additional shipping information.

► Sales Tax: Input your state here and the sales tax as a percentage. eBay will automatically calculate sales tax when items are shipped within your home state.

There is also a 200-character text box to input additional tax information. If you accept a resale number from buyers within your own state that are buying to resell, you might indicate that here. If you've nothing extra to say, just pass the text box by.

► Customer Service & Return Policy: If you have a return policy or additional information, you have a 90-character space to spell it out here.

► Additional Store Information: If you've just got oodles more to say about your store, you can say it here (okay, oodles means 200 more characters in this case).

Designing your store's "look"

Now comes the fun part. Here's where you can customize the look of your eBay Store. The choices you make here will design the way your store looks — it's your opportunity to make your store stand out.

1 Select a color scheme.

Since not everyone is an HTML color expert, eBay graciously has quite a few pretested color combinations that you can use for your store. Click the drop-down box to select a color combination by name. If you want to view the colors prior to selecting them (an excellent idea), click the link on this page that says Preview Colors Below.

You also have the option of selecting your own Hexadecimal colors. Huh? Yes, that's what I said. Click the little color box next to the text boxes here, and get a teeny color chart. If you roll your mouse over the teeny boxes, you'll see the HTML hexadecimal numbers for that color as in Figure 41-4.

If the teeny boxes don't give you enough of a taste of the colors, you can go to my Web site www.coolebaytools.com and find a link in the Tips area to a very large sampling of hundreds of colors and their hexadecimal numbers.

1 Figure 41-4: Selecting your Store Appearance colors.

2. Choose your store graphic.

eBay has a bunch of clean looking banners available here for your store's home page. You can use one of those if you want your store looking like everyone else's.

_ ^ To get a reasonably priced custom graphic for your eBay Store, search eBay for eBay Lv,JJ (banner, banners). I just did and found 86 buy-it-now listings for people who are willing to design a custom banner for under $20. Be sure you like the samples of the seller's designs and are comfortable with their terms before you buy.

Do yourself a favor and get a custom-designed banner just for your store. You can always change it if you want, but it will go a long way to add professionalism to your store.

3. Add additional store header information.

Here you can input even more information about your store. eBay gives you an HTML generator to accomplish this here. If you have time to do this, fine. If not, don't make yourself crazy — just put up good items and sell them.

4. Choose the item default display.

Select the way you'd like your items to appear. They can appear as a list, just like regular eBay listings, or you can select the Gallery View, as shown in Figure 41-5.

Figure 41-5: My store with Gallery view layout.

5. Choose the item display order.

You can select the order in which your items will appear in your store:

► Highest prices first

► Lowest prices first

► Ending soonest first

► Ending latest first

Designing a custom store home page

If you want your eBay Store to be totally customized and you're comfortable with writing HTML, you can design a custom home page for your store in this area.

If you don't want a custom home page, just check the box that says No, do not include a custom home page.

Don't feel bad if you don't want to devote the time and effort into designing a custom page. I opted not to. I would rather err on the side of caution — my HTML talent really isn't up to snuff. I'll let my items do the talking!

When you finish with these steps, press the button that says Save Changes and Publish. Your new store should be ready for action within the hour.

echni

Save Time By l Identifying what eBay PowerSeller status entails

I Knowing the qualifications

I Understanding the benefits

Building Your Reputation by Becoming a PoWerSetter

When you browse through the items on eBay, you're bound to notice a PowerSeller icon next to another member's user ID. To the uninitiated, this may look like an award given to a used car salesman for bullying hundreds of people into expensive car leases — but it's not. The eBay PowerSeller status is given only to those sellers who uphold the highest levels of professionalism on the site.

eBay refers to them as "pillars of the community." I say they're smart businesspeople. PowerSellers have to maintain certain monthly levels of Gross Merchandise Sales (total dollar amount of eBay sales — GMS in eBayspeak), and they get there by providing good items for sale and excellent customer service.

You may notice that many sellers on the site with feedback ratings in the tens of thousands do not have the PowerSeller embellishment on their auctions. That's not because they're not good people, it's just that some of their transactions may have gone awry. In this case, be sure to check the seller's feedback and thoughtfully evaluate it. Many times buyers do not read the seller's policies before they buy and then give negative feedback (as in the case of buyers not reading the seller's warnings when buying liquidation merchandise).

To become a PowerSeller on eBay, you must fulfill the following requirements:

I Be an active seller for at least 90 days l Sell a minimum of 4 items on the site per month for the past 3 months l Have a minimum of a 100 feedback rating l Maintain a feedback percentage of at least 98 percent l Keep your eBay account current l Comply with all eBay listing policies l Run your business by upholding eBay's community values (see sidebar)

l Sell a minimum average of $1,000 a month in GMS

Technique 42: Building Your Reputation by Becoming a PowerSeller

PowerSeller Tiers

Being a PowerSeller provides membership in an exclusive club, and there are five different levels of membership. Members of the different tiers must sell to a certain level every month.

Each PowerSeller tier gives the Seller more privileges from eBay. One of the most valuable benefits is that when an issue needs to be addressed with eBay, the PowerSellers can access priority customer service support (see Table 42-1).

Table 42-1: PowerSeller Levels and Support Benefits

Tier

Monthly Average GMS

E-mail Support

Toll-free Phone

Manager Support

Bronze

$1,000

I

Silver

$3,000

I

i

Gold

$10,000

I

i

i

Platinum

$25,000

I

i

i

Titanium

$150,000

I

i

i

Benefiting from the Program

In addition to receiving premium support, eBay PowerSellers also have other benefits.

1 VIP status at eBay events: They get invitations to special eBay events including eBay University and eBay Live.

1 Co-op advertising: eBay will also contribute to off-eBay print or media advertising. (For full details, see Technique 58.)

1 Health care: PowerSellers and their immediate family have the opportunity to purchase exclusive health insurance.

1 Approved use of PowerSeller logo: eBay supplies PowerSellers with business card and stationery templates so they may print custom stationery and business cards that include the official PowerSeller logo.

1 Discounts: eBay partners offer special discounts off services to eBay PowerSellers.

Becoming an eBay PowerSeller is an important step to eBay professionalism. It's something worth aspiring to!

eBay community values

The set of eBay community values aren't taken lightly by the eBay community and eBay employees. The values were set out early on by the company's founder, Pierre Omidyar.

1 We believe people are basically good.

1 We believe everyone has something to contribute.

1 We believe that an honest, open environment can bring out the best in people.

1 We recognize and respect everyone as a unique individual.

1 We encourage you to treat others the way that you want to be treated.

All eBay sellers are expected to uphold these tenets in all their dealings on the site.

Okay, no snickering from the peanut gallery, we all know that there are quite a few sellers who don't follow these precepts. But then, they're not PowerSellers, are they?

Search Engine Optimization Overview

Search Engine Optimization Overview

This is the 2nd volume of a 9 volume series called the Webmasters Toolbox package. Search engines are the number one way that internet users find websites. In most cases, a listing in a search engine is free. So, it's no surprise that Search Engine Optimization SEO is often the first priority when marketing a website.

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