Comfortable complacency won’t help your business grow. Here’s a surprising option for you to consider which might help!
Earlier this week I received an email from an eletter subscriber of mine which contained some information that really got me thinking!
No matter how long you have been a seller for, and for me personally, that’s over 8 years now, you will find that there are times when it can be rather an unpredictable business and to be honest, that’s the nature of business wherever you are selling – online – on ebay, Amazon or your own niche website and offline too.
The thing is, you can also get very ‘comfortable’ with your business – and when things are tripping along nicely you tend to forget that you should in fact continually be researching, sourcing, looking for new resources in order to expand your business and generally working to become bigger and better all the time.
Even I am guilty of what I would call ‘coasting’. With me, it’s not so much to do with the research and sourcing aspects as I do this on a daily basis as part of running my membership site The Source Report, but most definitely in the ‘resources’ department. And it was that email I received earlier this week that gave me a bit of a jolt.
You see when most people think about selling online, we think about ebay and Amazon and perhaps having our own niche website. But there are other smaller venues too that should be considered. And this is why I decided I needed a good slap for ‘coasting’ in this area!
The email I received was a very enthusiastic one on the subject of eBid. Now if you haven’t heard of eBid it doesn’t really surprise me as it’s pretty much always been seen as ebay’s ‘poorer relation’. I did have a brief foray onto the site and do in fact have lifetime membership which I paid for years ago, however for me, it never really took off in the sales department and apart from the odd order here and there it never featured that highly in my list of ‘I must advertise my products here’ sites.
So this week I decided to revisit eBid, catch up, see what’s new and evaluate whether it’s worth another shot – more on that in a moment.
The point is that ideally you should be adhering to that age-old adage (and much used cliché!) ‘Never put all your eggs in one basket’ and you should be diversifying across lots of different venues to advertise your products and thus creating many different income streams – not only to protect your income but also to increase your profits by reaching a variety of potential customers. And it’s great if you are listing on ebay and Amazon, or if you list on ebay and have your own website as well. But sometimes it’s worth keeping on top of the smaller venues too – as you never know when they might just come good. And hands-up – I am guilty of not following my own advice with eBid!
Many online sellers currently stick to selling on one venue only and as I’ve said, the most popular are ebay and Amazon – and I wholeheartedly understand why this happens. When you become successful using one site or another it’s very. very simple to get comfortable, become complacent and let things run as they are…because it’s so easy!
So, let’s look at eBid and see what’s what. You can access the site here
In my opinion, there is one really big advantage to selling on eBid and one which can actually offer you some good value and this is simply that once you sign up for a Seller+ lifetime membership at £49.99 you won’t need to pay any further fees for listing your products or pay any final value fees when you sell your items. One payment and that’s it.
The second rather exciting advantage is that eBid is now an official Google Marketplace Partner. What this means is that eBid will upload your products to Google Shopping which is here
They do this as soon as you list your items. And this means that your products will then be seen by people searching for products online enabling comparisons between different sellers.
Now, ebay also send feeds to Google Shopping BUT only if you have an ebay shop, but with eBid you don’t have to have a shop for your products to be sent to Google Shopping! However, there are some rules. Some simple, some not!
First up, your eBid auction must be set to run for at least 3 days and have a Buy Now price available. It can also be an auction with On First Bid plus a Buy Now available?or it can be a Fixed Price listing, again as long as it has at least 3 days to run. Fixed price with Run Until Sold is also ok. To cut a long story short, if you list your product as auction (bids) only, it won’t get on to Google Shopping. This is all fairly straight-forward as are the following two rules:
- You have to use at least one photo (and surely no one would list without a photo so this one’s easy!)
- Your Buy Now price must be at least £1.00 (again, not difficult).
However, some of eBid’s rules are a little more strict:
- They won’t submit media items (books, CD’s, DVD’s, Video Games etc) to Google Shopping that don’t have an ISBN or a Bar Code.
- They also won’t submit clothing listings that don’t have a brand name.
So basically what eBid are saying is that the product should adhere to the basics needed if it were to be scanned in a normal shop for example – i.e. a brand and a bar code!
Now if you are listing completely generic unbranded items, potentially the way around this would be to simply add your own brand name (although I am not entirely sure yet whether Google Shopping’s Unique Product Identifiers will accept this) – however you will most definitely need to ensure that your products have an EAN (barcode) unless they are custom-made, one of a kind, collectables or comics in which case they are exempt from requiring a barcode.
Getting a bar code is not a huge problem as you can purchase a licence to use EAN’s that will be generated specifically for your products from a company called GS1UK. I’m not going to go into this today as that’s another newsletter in itself, however those of you who are members of The Source Report you can find information on EAN’s over on the site.
So, thus far we have one reasonable advantage – no listing or final value fees, and one smaller advantage if your products adhere to the rules – the potential display of your products on Google Shopping (even without a shop) and therefore the reach to a wider audience.
But what’s the point of having no ongoing fees and a wide audience if buyers aren’t interested in purchasing from eBid simply because of it’s perceived lack of sellers (and buyers) and the fact that it’s not the first place that might pop into most people’s heads when they search for a product online?
Well, eBid currently state that they have over 3 million auctions running on their site (which compared to ebay is small I know) and they also state that their ‘latest sell through rates are the best ever’ – although they don’t actually state the figures which skews things slightly – but I can tell you that the number of sellers has definitely improved since my last venture on to the site. But is this enough for you to warrant an attempt at selling on the site yourself?
I believe that the key to selling on eBid is to get Google right. In other words get your titles perfect and relevant, make sure you’ve got barcodes and completely abide by their rules to ensure you reach that bigger audience via Google Shopping. Your success will also depend on the category you sell within and of course the products you sell, as demand will almost certainly differ from that on Amazon and ebay.
One final point is that with fewer listings, there is undoubtedly less competition on eBid, so again, depending on your products, you may find your products rising up the rankings fairly quickly giving your items really good exposure.
It’s certainly an option to think about, but above all, don’t forget that it’s always good to test something new and with every alternative venue you advertise your goods on, the more potential customers you will reach through a variety of different ways. So if you are looking to diversify even further from eBay and Amazon then in my opinion it may be worth experimenting with eBid.