- Source your product on eBay. Some categories of products on eBay—most commonly low-value consumables or electronics—are much cheaper online and in bulk than they are from traditional wholesalers or suppliers. Check eBay wholesale auctions to see if you can source some of your product categories at a lower price point.
- Liquidate seasonal goods or overstock on eBay. When seasons end or fashions change, consider liquidating on eBay instead of, or in addition to, traditional forms of liquidation (i.e. in-store fire sales that return pennies on the dollar). eBay not only gives you a larger (and international) market, it also reduces your exposure to timing ebbs and flows (remember, it's always snowing somewhere, and it's always balmy and sunny somewhere, even when it's not in your neck of the woods).
- Use eBay to advertise your location. If you have a specialty, high-profile, or tourist-friendly business or you are located in an area with a large customer base and a large amount of foot traffic, eBay can be an excellent way to advertise. Simply include a prominent section in your item descriptions telling your buyers about your store: "Like what you see here? Come and visit our world-famous historic store. We've been in a converted townhouse at the corner of Anytown Road since 1812, and you'll find items like this and much, much more when you drop by. 10% in-store discount if you mention you found us on eBay!"
- Decorate your business with eBay. If your business model depends at least in part on presentation, decor, and ambiance, as is the case with many clubs and restaurants, be sure to search eBay for unusual decorative items and furniture from around the world and from all periods of history. eBay is a great place to find one-of-a-kind decorative items and conversation pieces that can't be bought in any catalog or retail establishment.
- Buy needed equipment and furniture on eBay. Whether you're an office in need of file servers and smartphones or a restaurant in need of pizza ovens and industrial mixers, check eBay to see if you can save a bundle, often by buying overstock or refurbished goods from the very same manufacturers you were planning to use all along.
Have a story about the unique way you've used eBay in your own business model? Drop me a line and tell me about it and it may appear in future articles on this topic.