5 Steps to a Professional eBay Business
Setting your eBay business up as described in this article will give you a professional presence on eBay that will instill confidence in your potential customers making them more inclined to do business with you than your less professional competition …
1. Open an eBay Business Account
If you already have a personal eBay account which you use to buy and sell personal stuff, I recommend opening a separate BUSINESS account. Remember potential customers can view your other auctions and can also see what you have bought by clicking on the links in your feedback. If you are buying and selling personal stuff using the same account as you use to run your business, you will look less professional and less credible which may affect potential buyers’ confidence in buying from you.
You will appear more professional and credible to your customers if your business account only has business related transactions. There are other advantages to having a business account:
When selling on eBay, “Business Seller” will be displayed in the Seller Information Box of your listing, identifying you as a professional.
As a business seller, you can register with your business name on eBay which enhances your credibility (“AntiqueBookStore” is a much more professional ID than “JohnSmith267”)
Your business name will be displayed in all communications with the buyer, such as invoices, which again enhances your professional image and credibility.
As a business seller you can register for VAT and provide eBay with your VAT identification number and receive invoices net of VAT on your eBay fees.
To set up a separate business eBay account in addition to your personal eBay account you will need to choose a separate ID and have a separate email address.
If you don’t already have a separate email address that you can use for your eBay business, don’t let this hold you up. Get your business started using your personal eBay account but change your ID to your business name.
But I recommend that you sort out a separate business account as soon as possible so you can have separate personal and business eBay accounts. In the meantime you can upgrade your personal eBay account to a business account.
2. How To Choose An eBay User ID
As far as your eBay customers are concerned, your eBay User ID is your business name. You should choose your eBay business User ID carefully to ensure that it appears professional which will give customers more confidence to transact business with you. Your User ID needs to be memorable so customers can easily find you if they want to come back to you to do repeat business with you.
Ideally your eBay business User ID should be linked to your product line. So if you sell ebooks, your User ID could be ebooksgalore or ebookseller. You can also use your User ID to advertise your offline business if you have one. Obviously eBay doesn’t want to encourage anyone to do business with you not through eBay, as they won’t earn their fees. So you can’t blatantly advertise your non-eBay business by using a URL (such as ebooksgalore.com) as your User ID. But you could use ebooksgalore as your User ID and it would be very easy for someone on eBay to find your non-eBay website if they wanted to (by guessing that it is ebooksgalore.com).
3. Get A Business Email Address
You should also have a separate business email address because johnsmith @ WidgetsRUs, or info @ WidgetsRUs or support @ WidgetsRUs are much more professional and will instil more confidence in prospective customers than johnsmith @ hotmail.
Also, you can put your email address in your eBay listing which can drive traffic from your listing to your non eBay website if you have one. If you add “For further information, send me an email at info @ WidgetsRUs” to your listing, visitors to your listing will realise that you have a website at WidgetsRUs .com and might visit your site.
If you already have a commercial website, you probably already have a business email. If you don’t, you first need to get a domain name and then use that as your email address. Again, if this seems daunting, don’t let it hold you up. Get started using your existing email but I recommend you get a business email address as soon as possible.
4. Get A Business ‘Phone Number
Ideally you should have a separate business telephone number rather than using the same number that you use socially. This ensures that your business calls are always answered professionally in the name of your business. This is particularly important if your existing number gets answered by other people that you live with. You can have a separate line to your home but this will incur installation and line rental charges. You can use a separate mobile just for business calls but having a mobile number as your only business number will not instil confidence in your customers who will not see you as a proper business.
Alternatively you can use a call answering service. This will enable you to advertise your business with a proper telephone number that is answered professionally in your business name 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This will enhance your business image.
The way it works is the call answering service provider allocates a ‘phone number that is unique to your business. When someone dials your number, the operator’s computer knows the caller is trying to contact your business and the computer screen tells the operator what company name they need to answer the call with and how they should answer the call, depending on your instructions. The operator will then explain to the caller that you are unavailable to take the call, take a message and email it to you so that you can respond as and when you like.
If you set up your business properly, you shouldn’t get too many ‘phone calls so this service can be set up on a pay as you go basis so that you only pay for each call received. If you do receive a large number of calls, you can switch to a monthly tariff that is likely to be cheaper.
Again, I recommend that you have a separate business ‘phone number but if you don’t want to set this up just yet, do not let this delay the start of your eBay business.
5. Open A Business PayPal Account
Most people want to pay by credit card online. If you don’t accept credit card payments, your business will not seem professional and you WILL lose sales. In the past, to accept credit card payments, you had to have a merchant account. These could be costly and difficult to get. PayPal enables you to accept credit card payments without having a merchant account.
PayPal is a service that allows buyers to send payments SECURELY online to sellers WITHOUT having to disclose their bank account or credit card details. The small percentage that you have to pay PayPal per transaction is a business expense that is well worth paying. PayPal is owned by eBay and it is now compulsory for you to have a PayPal account to sell on eBay.
When paying by PayPal, buyers can pay from their PayPal account balance, direct from their bank account or via credit cards – whichever suits them. So a PayPal account enables you to accept credit card payments WITHOUT having to open a merchant account which can be difficult and expensive. PayPal also enables you to get paid INSTANTLY without having to wait for a cheque to arrive and clear.
When buyers pay you by PayPal, their payment goes into your PayPal account. You can leave it there to use when you buy things on the internet via PayPal or transfer the money in your PayPal account into your bank account.
Again, ideally you should have a business PayPal account that is SEPARATE from your personal PayPal account so that business transactions are done in your business name, not your personal name. PayPal allows you to have separate business and personal accounts as long as each account is linked to a different email address, bank account and credit card.
Having a PayPal account also entitles you to PayPal’s Seller Protection policy.
Setting your eBay business up as described above will give you a professional presence on eBay that will instil confidence in your potential customers making them more inclined to do business with you than your less professional competition.
Martyn Boaden is the Author of “The Lazy Way To Wealth On eBay” and Founder of The Online Auction Resource Centre. You will find all the resources that you will ever need to set up and run your SUCCESSFUL and PROFITABLE eBay business, including his very popular FREE eBay Business Box, at =>
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