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Like all eBay sellers I wanted to sell all of my items at a profit and what I found was that when I was getting to the end of line items that I was ending up selling them at cost, even though the items were finally selling at a profit price, because I was having to factor in the eBay relisting fees etc.
So I took a moment and sat down and thought how I could deal with these items and still make money. What I ended up doing was thinking outside the eBay sellers box and coming up with selling them at cost to make a fortune.
What I mean by this was that I was going to sell the items at no loss to me on eBay but then use the opportunity to build a relationship with the buyer that could be used to build long term profit for me. Think of it as :
A loss leader without the Loss!
Let me use a couple of examples :
Item sells on eBay for £20 profit, buyer buys the item and pays and thats the end of it. Your total profit is £20.
Items sells at cost, zero profit but you use the sale as an opportunity to build a relationship with the buyer and lock them into your business. The buyer then buys one item a month (maybe more!) for a year giving you a profit of £240 (minimum). If these are from your website not eBay your profit will be greater as you will have no fees. Over the lifetime value of a customer this could mean thousands of pounds profit...
It is common knowledge that when a customer is locked into your business or product then they are more likely to repeat purchase, which is where the fortune part of the equation comes in. The principle can also be used when you sell at full price but as you are selling at a bargain price the customer is more likely to be interested in your offer as they will put your product and value into the same sentance.
What I am asking you to do is to take a critical look at what the true worth of eBay actually is, is is not just in instant terms but the long term possibilities far outway the short term profits.
The question is now, 'How do you build this relationship?
There are a number of ways but by far the most successful that I use is by using a simple email!!! No harder than that this building a relationship idea...
Once the customer has bought my eBay item I send a simple receipt via email thanking them for thier purchase and making them aware of my website and offering them the opportunity to join my mailing list so that I can contact them with furthur offers they may be interested in.
I make it very clear that I have no intention of flooding them with spam and give them the choice of the number of times they will be contacted in a month. This has two effects, they gain trust in your professionalism as you are seen not to be just harvesting emails and it also makes them feel in control as they set the frequency of contact.
It does mean that I have to operate a number of mailing lists but this is a small price to pay to lock customers into my products.
The majority of my customers (approx. 90%) join the '1-4 times a month list which is great as this means that I can contact them once a week with offers if I needed. This is a frequency that I feel is adequate to maintain the relationship between me and my customers as I am not seen to be spamming them but still seen to be offering products of interest to them.
It is also important to note that I do not always send out one mailing a week as it is dependent on the product you sell as to whether the customer would want to purchase once a week. i believe greatly in the relationship that I have with my customers and can see the long term benefits of maintaining this and therefore I refuse to jepordise it for a quick profit.
A point to remember, if they choose not to take the opportunity to join your list then do not keep emailing them. this is SPAM and will do no more than tarnish your company, website and products image in the eye of the buyer.
What I am saying is Think outside of the eBay box, eBay offers a massive opportunity in terms of potential customers and long term profits as opposed to short term profits.
How much would it cost to get the number of page views, that eBay listings get, on your website using your own traffic generating methods, use eBay and use it good.
Mike - Webmaster and eBay Power Seller
Online Auction Trader - an eBay sellers bible.