8 Tips for Making a Consistent Income on eBay
By Lisa Suttora
n eBay, it is very common to have good sales days with a particular product and then see sales drop off for a couple of days. After a while you will notice patterns in your customer’s buying habits – weekends may be busier than certain weekdays for example.
The problem with sales fluctuations is that they can wreak havoc with establishing a regular income.
However, there are sellers who are able to maintain consistent sales day in and day out and are able to minimize the impact of normal sales fluctuations to their bottom line.
What are they doing differently than other eBay sellers?
In order to hedge against the normal dips in sales due to the season, the day or general buying trends, these sellers have diversified their product lines.
8 Tips for Diversifying Your Product Lines
1. Sell complimentary products in addition to your “product line staples”. If you primarily sell tools, some complimentary products would be tool gift sets, tool boxes, safety goggles, gloves, how-to books, measuring tapes, levels, replacement saw blades etc.
2. Sell information related to your “product line staples”. Do you sell small kitchen appliances (toasters, food processors etc.)? Are you a fabulous cook who uses these products or do you know someone who is? Create some quick and easy recipe books, burn them to a DVD, and sell them as add-ons to your products. Information products like these are quick and easy to create, cost next to nothing to make and are great cross-sells to your primary products.
3. Sell merchandise at a variety of price points. Whether you sell merchandise that is very expensive or moderately priced, it is important to have items up for sale at a variety of different prices. You need both lower priced products and higher priced products in your stores and auctions in order to pull in the broadest range of buyers. With products on both ends of the pricing scales you will attract more buyers.
Even though the smaller purchase won’t net you as much profit, you will garner sales that you otherwise would have missed had you not had those offerings. Additionally, once a buyer has purchased even a small item from you and been very satisfied with their purchase, they are more likely to come back on a regular basis for more!
4. Carry “out of season” products. If you are a seller based in the US, chances are you stock your auctions with products based on the current US seasons. You sell bathing suits in the summer and ski jackets in the winter. If you only follow the US seasons you are missing out on a huge world market.
In other parts of the world where it is their summer and our winter, you have many buyers looking for bathing suits. In January, when American’s thoughts turn to that February trip to Hawaii, you will find people on eBay looking for bathing suits, sunglasses and the like. Carrying out of season products offers another advantage as well. You can find rock bottom deals on inventory at the end of the season or out of season.
5. Carry related items in addition to complimentary items. In tip #1 we talked about carrying complimentary items to your primary product line. Related items are a bit different. Let’s use the example of the eBay tool seller.
Related items are things that people shopping in your store might be interested in as well that aren’t directly complimentary to your “product line staples”. For example, in the case of the tool seller, think about who is going to be shopping for your tools? Men, men who are dads, women buying for their husbands, fathers, sons, women buying for themselves….. What other types of products would these people be interested in? Would the men who buy tools be interested in the latest gadget for their car? Would the dads be interested in buying that adorable little kids tool bench for their children? What about your women buyers? Are their some hot home accessories that might be a good seller to a woman who is browsing your store? Would a mom looking to buy some tools for a Father’s Day present also be able to find a new kitchen utensil or home organization unit that appeals to her.
Hardware stores are doing a great job of this now! Everyone from our local True-Value Hardware to Home Depot and Lowes are branching out into selling related items to their product line staples. Some of Lowe’s biggest growth has come from the addition of appliances, kitchen utensils, home organization products and the like. If a husband and wife go shopping at Lowe’s – he might go off looking for the skill saw while she shops for the new refrigerator. (Or visa versa!) Use this business model to diversify the products in your eBay store.
6. Introduce new products at least once a month. Most every successful eBay seller always has at least 10 new product ideas in the pipeline. As soon as you get one product line up, running and selling, move right on to developing the idea for the next product.
There are two important reasons for this. Sometimes a product line staple can experience an unexpected lull in sales or even worse – a fast unexplained drop in demand. If that happens you are left with not much to sell. Adding new products at least once a month allows you to inject some fresh energy into your auctions as well as bring a new breed of bidders to your eBay store.
A new product or product line can be short term or long term. There are things that you might by a small Lot of that you never plan to sell again. They may be good for 60 – 90 days worth of sales and then they have run their course. Other new products you might add can spun off into a niche or a product line staple.
Think about this – when you go to your favorite “brick and mortar” store, aren’t you always excited to see what new merchandise they are carrying? Your eBay buyers feel the same way. New merchandise gives you as a seller a huge psychological boost as well.
7. Carry completely unrelated merchandise to your “product line staples”. If you own a store in your local neighborhood, chances are everyone knows pretty much what merchandise you carry and what kind of store you are. This in and of itself can be the determining factor as to whether or not someone enters your store. If I am walking by the local hobby train shop, I would not expect to walk in and find cosmetics. And if they did carry a great brand of cosmetics that I might want to buy, I would never know it unless they advertised.
The great thing about eBay is that the majority of buyers will find your listings by searching with keywords. If someone is searching for video games, their search could take them to your listings, even if your primary product line is tools (and you just happen to be selling the hot video game of the season.)
In fact, I’ve seen diet books and 5-lb boxes of chocolate being sold out of the same eBay store. Both items were selling like hotcakes!
You can see how diversifying your product line is a big advantage.
8. Sell seasonal or trendy merchandise. A great way to make a profit on eBay is to get in early on the upswing of a top seasonal seller and ride the sales wave to the top. While “timing the market” does take some work, research and experience you can make a fortune on eBay in a short time if you get in on a hot product before everyone else does and get out before everyone else gets in.
This technique is not for the faint of heart – it takes really knowing what the trend is before it becomes mainstream and having the courage to make your inventory purchase BEFORE the evidence of the sales are in. But, if you are able to spot those trends, you can make more money off of one trend in a few months than you might make with all your product line staples the rest of the year!
Most importantly, think out of the box when adding products to your existing lineup.
When sourcing inventory, do it with a fresh eye and test market new products.
By using these eight tips for diversifying your product line, you’ll keep your business fresh and your sales humming. Get 15 more ways to make money on today’s eBay including some business models that don’t require you to purchase your own inventory!
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Lisa_Suttora/97121
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