Home – New Forums Starting your journey Testing the waters on ebay prior to setting up a website. Good idea?

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  • #988271
    Vivienne
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    • Total posts: 34
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    HI Everyone.

    I’m new here and have been reading many of the very informative posts for the last few days.

    I’m in the brainstorming stage of starting an online business selling a couple of products.
    I do have a question. Although I think I already know the answer.
    Before spending a lot of money setting up a website and all the other things that go with an online business, would it be a good idea to test the waters first on ebay?
    Just to get a feel for things?

    Does the ebay platform kind of cheapen a product as it’s not on a proper website?

    Sorry if this question has been asked many times already!

    Would love to hear you opinions,

    Thanks!

    #1166436
    Dave Gillen – Former FS Concierge
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    Hi Vivienne,

    Welcome to Flying Solo!

    I think it’s a great idea for testing that there’s a basic demand for your product that will underpin your business. It’ll also get you “operational” which will force you to source your products, work out postage, etc etc and give you a feel for whether the business is something you enjoy and could see yourself doing long term.

    The ebay fees (a common gripe with sellers) aren’t such a problem for you since you’re there to test the demand and give your business a trial run (rather than make an instant profit). The low up-front cost and exposure to shoppers are the key benefits you want to take advantage of here.

    Good luck, and we’re glad to have you on board. :)

    Dave

    #1166437
    MissSassy
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    Ebay is good but what type of shoppers are you targeting as a lot of people on Ebay are looking for a bargain!

    #1166438
    Vivienne
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    Thanks guys!

    One of my concerns was that people are perhaps looking for cheap bargains on eBay so I wasn’t sure if the results (or lack of) on eBay are a true indication of what could happen if I had a website.

    Thanks again!

    #1166439
    LucasArthur
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    MissSassy, post: 192734 wrote:
    Ebay is good but what type of shoppers are you targeting as a lot of people on Ebay are looking for a bargain!

    Hi Vivienne

    Well, Kelly has hit the nail on the head.. The experience you will receive on ebay as a seller is quite unique.. almost ALL customers/buyers on ebay are BARGAIN shoppers and will expect everything for next to nothing…

    This is amplified if you are in a saturated industry, there are not enough words in the English dictionary to explain the entire reasoning behind this although it does come from the fundamental process of ebay being AUCTIONS AND BEST OFFERS as well as the fact that you are competing with factories in China (depending on product offering) that are actually selling directly as well and ALSO offer free or hugely discounted postage rates (in fact cheaper than sending within OZ to be honest)…

    Not trying to scare you, as ebay has been crucial in my past businesses although i tend to only offer certain products, do not try and compete on price all the time, try to sell off ebay (oops maybe not), maintain lists of past clients, use it as a ‘clearance’ site, or as purely advertising and auction some items to draw attention to MOI and then work on things from there…

    One other point about ebay is that most buyers, being the bargain shopper they are, are looking at PRICE and are not comparing like for like.. If its ‘similar’ it is deemed the same to a bargain shopper.. Remember this, as it will haunt you and you will need to know how to reply to these queries based on price… EG: lets say you are selling a hair straightener, and legitimate product offering under license from an Australian Importer with a brand name… guess what, there will be grey market ones out there for much less and worse still there will be ‘perfect looking copies’ also brand named (although may not work as well) selling for significantly less and out of china with free postage… how will you deal with that (have that answer prepared as you will reply to it often)….

    Anyways, lots of ebay gurus on here.. i am just a novice so i will follow this thread with interest…

    Let us know how you go..

    Jason

    ps.. setting up a web site doesnt have to be expensive, but how will you get customers?? this is where your idea of starting on ebay is good, and running both is also an EXCELLENT idea… ;)

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: [email protected]   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1166440
    Vivienne
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    Jason I agree with what you’ve said. This is why I’m asking the question.

    There’s a cheap and chintzy element to eBay that turns me off. It’s been a great place to sell household stuff that I don’t need but that’s it!

    I’ll see how I go anyway as it’s just a trial and certainly not hugely expensive either.

    #1166441
    Vivienne
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    Something else that I wanted to add is that as a shopper myself, I never look for the cheapest item as I’m not interested in a cheap piece of something that more than likely won’t last.

    I’m hoping there are other people like that too!

    #1166442
    LucasArthur
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    Vivienne, post: 192752 wrote:
    Something else that I wanted to add is that as a shopper myself, I never look for the cheapest item as I’m not interested in a cheap piece of something that more than likely won’t last.

    I’m hoping there are other people like that too!

    Unfortunately, this is not the norm for ebay shoppers! However, this type of shopper is the one that you should easily be able to convert to an off ebay sale as they appreciate you educating them before the sale.

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: [email protected]   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1166443
    bb1
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    We have recently being testing products on Ebay, and have found it quite good to get a feel for what people are after. By no means are we selling cheap, in fact similiar pricing to what we have found similiar products (giftware), in gift shops for, so it can work. yes there is the cheap element, but if you select your market I think it is a good way to start.

    Also once you get a website going you can cross promote from Ebay, I know a lot of seller I buy from do this, and you end up going direct to their own site.

    So dont rule it out

    #1166444
    TrishF
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    Hi Vivienne

    There are other ways to see if a product is going to sell well. Ebay doesn’t suit every product and if there are other products like yours on Ebay – then just take a look at how they are doing to get an idea if it’s a good seller or not.

    A client of mine had an Ebay store with very good quality products on it – he ended up having to cut the price dramatically to sell it all – he was testing the ebay system not a product. I’m not sure that ebay is an accurate platform for testing – it really depends on what the product is. Can you give us any clues?

    Cheers
    Trish Fehon

    #1166445
    Vivienne
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    Thanks Trish,

    The product isn’t anything too exciting!
    I’m a registered nurse and through experience I have noticed that many people don’t have some basics at home just for basic health care.
    I’m only starting with one product slowly to see how it goes. It’s a staple thing but a different one that would probably appeal to parents.

    Eventfully I’d like to build on that and offer other things and on a website that as a nurse I can see would appeal to people. I’m not talking about bandages or bandaids either!

    While I type this I keep thinking “what the hell am I doing”?!!!

    #1166446
    Daniel Mitchell
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    Hi Vivienne

    I think your last message highlighted a key difference you can offer that the bargain basement eBay sellers don’t have – knowledge and experience in your area. Competing on price is a major component to most retail purchases and if you don’t want to be the cheapest, then you need to offer something that adds value to your customers. Highlight the safety/health benefits of your products and reinforce it with your credibility and professional expertise. If you’re selling to parents then being able to make them feel that they can trust you and need your product will definitely help sales. Plenty of ways to use this to your advantage but will need some good strategising.

    The point that others have highlighted about eBay is important – it is a very price focused market and you will struggle to use your expertise to stand apart from the competition. If you’re happy to discount every bit of profit out of it then good luck. Use it as a funnel to get leads and if you can direct them to your site then even better – I don’t know too much about their policies but you may need to be careful with this. I wouldn’t rely on eBay to test the viability of your business because if you really want to make it work then you can do so much better than an eBay listing.

    Good luck.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    #1166447
    GlensWebDesign
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    I tried my hand at this sort of business many many years ago (eBay selling that is). I sold DVDs. Worst idea ever.

    Why? Well, eBay is good for buying goods, new or second hand at great prices, and thats the problem for a business owner. An auction environment is designed to drive the price down.

    Plenty of people will bid at the last minute, but you’ll never be guaranteed of breaking even, on the other hand, if you list an item as “buy” not “bid” and theres no guarantee that someone is going to buy it (most will be going for the bids not the buys)

    And theres always a listing fee each time you relist that item after 30 odd days or so.

    It also depends on the product or business in question. If I was shopping for action figures (nerdy hobby for transformer 80s cartoon reliving), id go eBay. If I was buying a suit however, I’d go to a reputable online or bricks and mortar store that looked the part.

    My advice to you is to avoid eBay at all costs. Its not going to be a good indicator to show if your business idea will work or not. Plus you will be very disheartened if it never works on eBay and give up there.

    You can however soft launch if you ARE planning on selling online on your own site and telling a few potential customers about it before you go in with both feet (web sites are great like that)

    As for my DVD selling biz in my younger years on eBay. Never again. Ugh. Ah well, live and learn.

    #1166448
    Vivienne
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    Thanks guys,

    I’ve been chatting to someone who suggested and ebay store with no auctions, just buy it now. So I get some experience with an online store.

    I still don’t think eBay is the way to go as it does seem like a bargain hunter’s playground. I might still give it a try but I certainly won’t be devastated if I don’t sell anything!

    #1166449
    GlensWebDesign
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    Let us know how you go, id be interested to see how it fares for you. Given my own line of industry and interest, passion etc id be curious to see how you do.

    :)

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