How are you adjusting to eBay's changes? Not too bad, right? They appear to be pretty straightforward, but there are a lot of intricacies within those changes.
Recently we spent three hours with OSI Rock Stars and Web Sellers' Circle members going over the details of these changes and more importantly how they could profit from them. We released these step-by-step videos into the OSI Success Library. You can view them at www.2010FeeChanges.com.
But today I want to spend some time on one of the more powerful changes that occurred during this announcement: the changes within eBay Stores. eBay Stores have always been the most powerful tool that an eBay seller could utilize, and they are also one of the most powerful tools in an e-commerce business plan. Yet I'm continually baffled why so many people still don't realize this or take full advantage of this opportunity.
Based on the recent eBay fee and site changes, some "eBay experts" have recommended closing an eBay Store if you sell less than 50 items a month because it will be cheaper for you to just pay for the individual listings. Even eBay is pushing its Fee Illustrator calculator to determine if you should have an eBay Store based upon the inherent financial costs.
I'm the first in line to try to save money in my business, but with your eBay Store, it isn't black and white. More than a decade after Stores were introduced, it is quite surprising how many people still treat this tool so lightly, instead of as the powerhouse tool it could be in your e-commerce business, if fully utilized. An eBay Store has built-in branding, marketing, SEO and promotional tools that aren't reflected in the "With 50 listings you should have a Basic Store" philosophy.
We teach about all these profitable areas of an eBay Store at the One Percent Coach, and I have written about many of them right here on Auctiva EDU. But in this article I want to focus on two main areas: what promotions you currently have as an eBay Store owner, and the reasons you may want to consider bumping up to a Premium Store (and they have nothing to do with fees).
As an eBay Store owner, you'll pay a reduced amount for fixed-price listings, based upon your subscription level
Current promotions for eBay Store owners
- You have until March 29 to open an eBay Store or upgrade your Basic or Premium Store to the next level. You will pay no additionally monthly Store subscription fees until April.
- From now until March 30, eBay Store owners can list in fixed-priced format for just 10 cents a listing.
What changes on March 30
- Store Inventory will be moved into fixed-priced listing format. This means all of your inventory will be pushed out to eBay's core search for full exposure to customers who come to eBay and search for items. Finally!
- As an eBay Store owner, you won't pay full-price for fixed-priced listings. Instead, you'll pay a reduced amount, based upon the level of your eBay Store: Basic: 20 cents a listing; Premium: 5 cents a listing; Anchor: 3 cents a listing.
Why would you bump up to a Premium Store from a Basic Store?
If we were to just look at the surface of an eBay Store, like so many others are doing (or use the Fee Illustrator), the choice would be based mainly on how many listings you have. In this case, if you list around 50 items a month then there is a general recommendation that you should have a Basic Store.
Yet, I know many successful online entrepreneurs who have less than 50 items in their Premium Stores and are doing amazingly well—but that is because they're utilizing the tools that are provided within a Premium Store to capitalize on marketing, branding and SEO. Here are just a few of those additional features that you get in a Premium Store:
Custom pages: You now have 10 custom pages available to you, instead of just five. (The sad thing is that 99 percent of eBay Store owners don't even use the first five). These pages are like additional pages in a Web site. Filled with the right keywords and content, they can help considerably in getting your business found in Web searches. Do I only want to be found on eBay's search engine or also on Google, Bing and other search engines?
Newsletters: You have an additional 2,500 newsletters you can send out each month to prospective buyers. The newsletter feature alone is one of the most under-utilized tools in eBay Stores. Any online e-commerce guru worth their weight will tell you that their newsletter is worth gold to them. It allows the opportunity for multiple permission-based contacts, and, if used correctly, helps convert lookers into buyers.
Premium reports allow you to fine-tune your marketing with specific information on the keywords your buyers are using to find you
Premium reports. Your eBay Store reports, provided by Omniture, are also elevated from Basic Reports to Premium Reports. This additional information allows you to fine-tune your marketing with specific information on the keywords your buyers are using to find you, and the exact searches that are coming up on Google and other search engines that point to your Store.
These reports also provide the "profit path" that buyers take through your Store. This allows you to literally follow your customers as they navigate throughout your Store and find out how to engage them to stay longer, what pages are enticing them to spend time and money, and also which pages are causing them to abruptly exit your business.
Selling Manager Pro. You are bumped from Selling Manager to Selling Manager Pro with a Premium subscription. One of my favorite features of SMPro is the ability to customize and brand some of the e-mails your customers see. This allows you to promote other products, outside Web sites or even a newsletter sign-up. Selling Manager no longer allows you that unique ability.
eBay header: This appears to be a small benefit for most sellers, but in the world of e-commerce it is huge: With a Premium Store you have the ability to reduce the size of the eBay header by more than 75 percent. This means you can have more real estate "above the fold" to promote your business, instead of eBay's.
24/7 customer service. Need I say more?
Markdown manager: Your markdown manager opportunities jump from 250 listings a day to 2,500! This is a great way to clear out some of the dead weight that's been sitting in your inventory for the past 12-plus months.
What to do now
Here are some steps you should consider taking within your eBay Store before April:
- Optimize your listings for Best Match.
- Remove subtitles (unless you want to pay the $1.50 renewal fee).
- Adjust your inventory through bundling, sales or donations.
- Fully utilize the tools that are already available in your Store subscription.
Don't base your success on surface information. To turn your dreams into reality, take the time to really focus on where you are going and how you are going to get there.