Episode #8 of the course Guide to choosing an eCommerce platform by Adam Bastock
So far, this email course has focused on platforms that see the administrators have full ownership over their stores. Now we’ll look at two of the most successful selling marketplaces—eBay and Etsy.
eBay needs little introduction and is the world’s largest auction site. It has moved beyond this to provide significant opportunities for businesses to list their products.
Ease of Setup and Use
Selling small quantities of items is very easy—most items can be listed from a single selling page, with categories, images, and titles easily selected. Insertion fees are listed when you go to confirm the listing, making it easy to manage and see what it is costing you.
If you’re selling large volumes of items, then things get slightly more complex, as the man hours needed to list items individually would be far too time-consuming. eBay offers several solutions and automated tools for high-volume sellers.
Their Sales Manager (free or pro) replaces the traditional “Sell” listings page for your account and provides a summary dashboard of all activity and listings for easy management.
There are other tools too, such as File Exchange, which allows for bulk listing creation via a spreadsheet. While it may take some time to adjust to eBay’s management systems, there are tools that make it relatively straightforward.
The biggest drawback to eBay is the costs. You’re paying for access to a large audience that has trust in the platform and is looking to buy something.
For businesses, eBay offers four pricing structures based on monthly listings. The lowest level has no subscription costs and charges $0.35 per fixed-price listing, increasing to $289.28 per month with free listing fees. Regardless of this, when an item sells, there is a final-value fee of between 8% and 11% based on category. There are further additional listing upgrades and fees for things like Buy It Now prices or scheduled listings.
Due to the variety of fees and upgrades available, it is not easy to calculate your business fees. It is therefore important that you calculate margins on products for eBay accordingly.
If you are using a well-supported platform like Magento or Shopify, then there’s likely integration to list your products directly on eBay relatively easily without having to manually put everything there yourself.
If you’re uncertain about starting a product range or store and want to avoid investing in a new website, then selling on eBay provides a safe and easy space to test the waters and gain feedback from customers.
While the fees are high, it is a trusted marketplace with a positive reputation and a wide audience, and it can give you time to hone product information before listing/starting your own store.
Additionally, if you have an existing store and wish to duplicate listings onto eBay, it may be a relatively easy way to expand your audience.
However, there are some drawbacks. High costs are the main day-to-day issue, but it’s important to also take into account that you’re at the whim of policy changes and have no control over design.
“The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future” by Steve Case
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