Marketing Diversity: eBay and Your E-commerce Business
eBay Marketplace Statistics
Within its first year of launch, eBay has grown from hosting 250K auctions in 1996 to hosting more than 24 million auctions in 1997. Fast-forwarding to 2011, eBay grew exponentially, boasting 200 million users and paying out nearly $34 billion to its sellers. Regardless of user numbers and payout figures, eBay is most effective for your business if there is a market for your product(s). For your reference, here is a list of the top-selling categories on eBay:
- Clothing, Shoes, & Accessories
- Home & Garden
- Sports Memorabilia, Cards & Fan shop
- Jewelry & Watches
- Toys & Hobbies
- Computers & Networking
- Business & Industrial
If your products fit any of the top-selling categories listed above, consider at least a trial run marketing on eBay. Since eBay is considered the pioneer of the online auction, it’s expected to hold its position in the marketplace for years, even decades to come.
Optimizing eBay Listings
If you open an eBay Store, your work has just begun. Spend time optimizing your listings and if available, integrate your e-commerce website with your eBay Store. Since eBay disallows you to post direct links to your website (it would cost eBay transaction fees), it takes creativity to subtly drive traffic back to your store. This is possible by adding your website’s URL as your prouct image’s watermark which eBay sellers are allowed to include.
Software Integration Options
There are several companies that provide services for eBay product integration that will save you time and money rather than tackling the task of listing numerous products on eBay by hand. Since Magento is a leading e-commerce platform and is actually owned by eBay, it’s important to focus on its integration options. The following are the most useful options available:
- M2E Pro http://www.m2epro.com: They have a partnership with eBay that provides service free of charge. They also offer free support and updates as well. Very straightforward solution and widely used.
- ChannelAdvisor http://www.channeladvisor.com: Their software requires you to be more involved versus running on auto-pilot. As a result, your time is required to work with their team for proper setup. It’s a more robust solution that can deliver greater results for a serious e-commerce business owner. That being said, there have also been a few reports complaining of poor staff service and buggy software.
- ChannelUnity http://www.channelunity.com is a newer option that costs $79 per month per marketplace you integrate with. They are reported to provide excellent seller support and the software is considered very user-friendly.
- If you conclude that eBay is a good fit for your store’s products, due diligence is required in order to pair the right 3rd-party Magento integration. Diversifying your marketing presence through multiple online channels like Ebay helps develop brand awareness, while increasing your website’s reach. eBay’s 100 million customers use the site for one reason only: to buy.