eBay is the original online marketplace for product sellers, but it’s come a long way from its inception. More than just a place to hock your old clothes and accessories, eBay gives you access to buyers all over the world who are looking for that special item. Tune into this episode where I talk to Kristi Diemoz, the Sr. Manager of Seller Marketing at eBay where she shares what sets eBay apart from other marketplaces, who it’s for, and all the things you need to know to decide whether or not it’s the place for your eCommerce business
We’re doing things a little bit differently today and talking to Kristi Diemoz, the Sr. Manager of Seller Marketing at eBay.
By day, she leads a fantastic team of Marketing Managers that are responsible for marketing strategy and execution for seller programs in North America. She’s been at eBay for 19 years and has been focused on helping eBay sellers succeed on the platform.
A lot of us forget just how powerful of a marketplace eBay can be and most of us are unaware of how they have evolved over the years, myself included. In this episode, we’re going to get into the nitty-gritty of who shops on eBay, what type of seller works best on the platform, and how you can use it for your business.
There’s a lot of misconception in the eCommerce space about eBay, who it’s good for, and who can be successful there. Most of us assume it’s people selling their own used items like collectibles and luxury goods, but for the right business, it can really serve as another sales channel and another audience for eCommerce business owners.
Prefer to listen to this episode? Click here
Who is the eBay consumer?
The consumer you’re reaching on eBay is often someone who is looking for that “perfect” thing. They are more unique, they’re not looking for the commodity that everyone wants. They might want that very specific sneaker or that very unique watch. They might also be looking for some sort of deal.
A lot of our consumers are looking for second-hand items or refurbished items. We hit all the different spectrums of buyers, from the young Gen Z folks to boomers and beyond.
We resonate well with Gen Z because they seem to care so much about social issues like reuse and recycle. They’re also able to get their vintage-themed clothes and products, or their old sneakers.
People aren’t coming to us to buy their groceries or their toilet paper or any of those quick turnaround commodity items, they’re coming to us for unique, special, different items. Then they end up discovering other categories, like great deals on iPhones and they realize that we actually have great prices and great sellers.
What products do best on eBay?
We’ve really been leaning into sneakers over the past couple of years. eBay was the original go to sneaker place because of that unique, vintage factor.
Fashion can be tricky. We’re not the place to go for tons of the same item, but again, that something special and unique quality comes into place. A lot of savvy thrifters go to consignment stores or goodwill and find things like Gucci bags and then they flip those on eBay. Companies like Coach or Michael Kors sell their dead stock inventory and shift some of their prior season’s clothes on the platform.
We do really great in electronics. As mentioned, refurbishing is a huge big deal. We see such great deals for buyers and great ways for sellers to clear out inventory. It’s a win-win across the board. We see lots of robot vacuums all the way to iPhone cords in electronics.
Home and Garden is also a popular category with anything you can imagine—from literal fish for your pond to dog food.
eBay is one of the top sites for vehicle parts and accessories, which is because there are regular moms and dads who need to fix a broken headlight and want to quickly order something and get it delivered. Then there are people out there restoring old Chevy’s and need that one specific part they can’t find anywhere. We solve both needs.
There’s honestly hardly a category we don’t touch.
How can an eCommerce business get started on eBay?
How do they successfully list their products? As we know, on a marketplace, it is all about that product listing.
There is very little risk to getting started. There are ways for you to get started, whether you’re a small business owner, a mom selling her kid’s old clothes, to a large-scale eCommerce business that is integrated with a third party.
Small scale sellers
Smaller individual folks who might not be integrated with a third party automatically get 250 free listings, which means you don’t have to pay anything unless the item sells.
The only real overhead is the time you have to put into getting those listings up and making sure that you’re pricing things to give yourself a margin.
Third party integration and eBay
If you’re the type of seller who’s integrated with a third party, usually eBay is a channel that you can activate. You get way more than 250 free listings if you decide to invest in a monthly store.
The eBay app
If you are smaller scale, the app is a great place to start since you can take photos and add details right from the app.
What information should you include in your eBay listing?
A great title is so important. Describe your item without going overboard.
- Clear, detailed photos are everything in the mobile app world. So many people are buying things based on photos alone.
- eBay item specifics, which are the specific details about what you’re selling. Think, the size and the material. When buyers are searching for items on eBay, or even searching for items at Google or other places, those item specifics can pull in eBay listings to wherever they’re searching, resulting in good traction and good visibility.
- Price matters. You won’t move too far if your listing is the highest price, unless you’re differentiating in some other way. Be price competitive.
- Be clear about defects. If you’re selling your closeout items, or your damages or your samples, be really clear as well about any like defects with close-up pictures.
We have a ton of tools to help sellers on price, such as Terapeak, which is an internal tool within the sellers' platform that allows you to research the best price, what is selling, whether the margins work, and ultimately whether you’ll be able to make money. It can tell you, somebody, just bought the exact same item for $160 and that particular item is in way worse shape than yours, so you can sell it for more.
eBay Buyer Protection
Buyer Protection kind of has a bad reputation with sellers. But as mentioned earlier, if your products have defects or anything to call out, for sellers it’s not a bad thing. It doesn’t mean that customers won’t buy either. It’s just about being transparent.
When it can go wrong is when the customer thinks they’re getting one thing and that’s not what they’re getting. Our intent is to just make it a trusted, fair marketplace, not to side with buyers or sellers. Invest the time to declare any issues or defects and then that will hopefully eliminate problems after the fact.
How eBay uses SEO and Google Shopping to promote your products
eBay is really invested in getting the site as a whole right out there. We’re working on the SEO stuff, we’re making sure listings on the website show up in Google Shopping so that when people are looking for specific items, eBay items from sellers are coming up.
The most important thing to know is that eBay doesn’t compete with its sellers. We consider the success of our sellers to be our success period.
eBay doesn’t do a lot of commercials because we spend a lot of our marketing dollars and ad dollars on-site where their shoppers are hanging out. 70% of purchases come from search because those are the most qualified leads. They’re ready to buy, not just watching a show and waiting to see an advertisement.
What platforms is eBay integrated with?
You would be hard-pressed to find a platform that doesn’t have a way or a channel to integrate with eBay. Most sellers don’t have to change anything and can just use the platforms they’re already using to integrate. It’s literally just a few clicks of a button.
We’re also trying to bring more tools and resources in the long term. We hope to integrate with some financial services, which will allow sellers to easily do taxes.
Tools and resources to get repeat buyers through eBay
There are tools within eBay to help you drive sales. So, for example, if there’s 50 people watching your waffle maker, you can send them all a discount with 5% off or $5 off or 20% off. They then receive a message letting them know the seller is offering a special deal. The conversion rates through that are fantastic and our sellers that are using it love it.
In addition to that, there are things like fillers, coupons and ways to do different sales and markdowns.
Taking your products worldwide with eBay
With 159 million buyers globally, eBay has great programs to help you go global if you’re not currently shipping worldwide.
The two different programs that make it easy for sellers to increase their reach by going global:
Global Shipping, which basically allows buyers from around the globe to shop your items, and then you ship them to a hub in the United States. From there, eBay gets them to the buyer.
eBay International Standard Delivery, which allows you to print an eBay shipping label directly on eBay, like you would a first-class label, take it to USPS, and then we handle the shipping.
Why doesn’t eBay have a “fulfilled by eBay” option?
Instead of fulfillment, eBay adds value to their buyers and sellers in other ways, such as international selling, tools and resources to help sellers market their products, and ways to reach buyers through Google Shopping, which are all included in your fees.
We also don’t see any reason to compete with our competitors, whose bread and butter is fulfillment.
Check out Episode 20, where Jessica Principe of All Girl Shave Club talks about why she chose not to go up against the big players in her field and instead carve out her own niche.
eBay is constantly innovating. Is there anything we should keep an eye out for?
We try not to bring too much change as we go into Q4 because we don’t want to disrupt sellers and their business during Holiday. It’s a crazy time.
We have a few ways you can keep up to date with changes coming to the platform. We have eBay for Business Facebook Page, where we often post about news and information and fun sweepstakes and awards and things like that.
We also have our own community boards, which millions of people visit every day. Sellers can come to chat with other sellers about what’s working, what’s not. Then we have our own little podcast, the eBay for Business Podcast, which was another way to learn what’s new at eBay.
What are some things you tried to do for sellers that just didn’t really work out?
We often update our category structure and our taxonomy to make sure buyers can find items. Earlier this year, we did that and it kind of messed up seller’s listings a little bit and we felt terrible. We did our best to fix it.
It was one of those things where we had the best intention to help their items get found. But then, of course, sometimes there are some downstream implications that we didn’t anticipate. So yes, mistakes like that even happen to big businesses. We were able to fix that for most of the sellers.
What are common mistakes sellers make?
My biggest “probably don’t do that” would be throwing up just one image and a title and call it good. Because that’s not going to really tell your customers what they’re getting.
Invest the time to make sure your listings are showing up in the way you want them to the buyers. Do it right from the start, and then you’ll really know if it’s a great platform for you and if it’s going to add additional value to your business.
If you half-assed something, and then it doesn’t work, you can’t say it doesn’t work for you. You don’t have enough data to determine that. You really do have to put in that time, energy, and effort.
Is there a feature on eBay that the seller really benefits from?
Terapeak has been getting such great feedback from sellers. It helps inform their purchasing decisions, which, of course, can reduce risk. The best part is that it’s included with your store, it’s not an additional cost.
Offers to buyers is a unique feature that I haven’t seen in other marketplaces. Other marketplaces don’t have a way for you to say that there are 30 other buyers interested in the product and prompt them to make a purchase that way. It has a great conversion rate, and you get to clear out inventory.
Recently we had a lot of sellers that kind of sell custom and unique items reaching out wanting to get that information in a better and clearer way from their buyers. They’re selling custom wine glasses with names on them, for example, and now sellers and buyers can exchange that information in the listing, similar to the other marketplaces. This makes it a lot faster and easier for everyone involved.
Should you try eBay?
The main takeaway is, why not try eBay? There’s such little risk. We’re so easily integrated with third-party apps, so if you’re already on Shopify, it’s such a simple integration.
Don’t half-ass it because then you don’t really know if it’s for you or not. There’s very little risk in trying and it will pleasantly surprise a lot of the sellers how much it can help their business and their growth.