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What are the basics for pro eBay sellers?

The basics of an eBay business aren't all that expensive or hard to assemble

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What are the basics for pro eBay sellers?

Before cutting the ribbon on your new eBay business, take a look at what others tend to find necessary and ask whether you have everything you need

Image: Serrnovik / Dreamstime

So you're looking to get a start as an eBay small business and/or professional seller. You've joined eBay, built a little bit of feedback, chosen a business model, learned about basics like listing formats, the larger feedback system, detailed seller ratings, eBay bidding, the seller dashboard and seller performance rating, and the basics of eBay rules and fees.

What's missing? A picture of what a typical eBay business looks like. What do "most sellers" have and/or how have the set up their eBay accounts? Sure, you could try to figure it all out for yourself, but it helps to have a model based on what others tend to do. Here's the model for what most sellers tend to have on eBay.

  • Regular sourcing relationships. It's not enough to know how the eBay selling business works and to know in the abstract about business models and types of sourcing. Successful sellers have regular sources or sourcing models that can continuously supply product so that business (and revenue) never grind to a halt simply because they ran out of stuff to sell. Whether this means finding a source out there using your feet and wits or creating a relationship with a sourcing provider like a drop shipping company or index, sourcing is job one in setting up an eBay business.
     
  • A Premium or Business PayPal account. The problems with basic PayPal accounts that have no connected bank account are, first, that there's no way to get your money out of them other than to spend it either on eBay or using a PayPal debit card, and second, that there's a monthly limit to how much money you can receive, and it's in the hundreds of dollars. If you're a seller, this just won't do. So any serious seller on eBay needs to add a bank account to their PayPal account, then upgrade either to Premium or Business to remove monthly payment limits.
     
  • A Selling Manager subscription. Trying to sell using the default My eBay area is like trying to box with one hand tied behind your back. It's excessively clicky, lacks basic features, and puts you at a tremendous informational and labor disadvantage. If you plan to sell, plan to subscribe to Selling Manager, either at the basic (free) level or at the Pro level.
     
  • An eBay Stores subscription. Any serious eBay seller can't afford to be without the fee discounts and brand identity offered by eBay Stores, not to mention the marketing features like Markdown Manager and bulk email management. Sellers without a stores subscription will struggle to control their fees, remain competitive, and build shopper loyalty.
     
  • A TeraPeak or Hammertap subscription. Market research tools like TeraPeak or Hammertap aren't optional; they're a basic necessity for any serious seller. Without them, you'll overprice or underprice or, more likely, struggle to understand the basic supply and demand realities at work on eBay in any given week, month, or season—even as other sellers (who do use market research tools like these) seem magically to always know what to sell, what the margins will be, and how to list items for best results.
     
  • A bulk listing solution. Sellers that have to list volumes of listings would not be making good use of their time if they piddled around with the standard eBay listing form or eBay mobile selling tools. Instead, serious sellers need tools that let them post and manage listings in groups, quickly and effectively. Turbo Lister is the eBay-provided solution for Windows; there are a couple of major choices for Macs. The point is to help yourself to list dozens of auctions in dozens, rather than hundreds, of minutes.

We're more than halfway there, but there are a few more things that most eBay sellers consider basic parts of a functioning eBay business. Read on to see what they are.

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