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Transition away from selling products on eBay

by electrotek on Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:48 am

Hi,

I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on how to move selling electronic products off of eBay and into some type of successful web store. I sell between 1- 6 "widgets" a week. I would like to stop paying 13 % of my profits to eBay on each sale. I would like to start selling some kits as well, but i hate giving away that much money. My main concern is that if I remove my listings from eBay, my product will not be found and interest will drop off. My product is in the top 3 of Google searches but only because of eBay. I don't have a lot of money for banned and stuff like that. I have a simple 1 page website and a page at an electronics blog. I believe my customers are finding me via Google, but are familiar with and feel safe with eBay. Any insight someone might have would be appreciated. BTW, I have purposely omitted what my product is because it could be easily copied, and that is the last thing I want to deal with.

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Re: Transition away from selling products on eBay

by adafruit on Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:58 am

hiya,

phil here. i suggest making a site *and* selling on ebay, build your site and keep selling on ebay until you're indexed well in the search engines and your sales from your own site meet of exceed your ebay sales. since you're said you're only selling 1 to 6 things per week it's manageable for now to have it for sale in two places.

as far as your product being copied, you have more to worry about that with other ebay sellers / dealextreme, etc. if it's so easily copied the goal should be to provide more value than just the physical thing for your customers - service, support, tutorials, there are lots of ways to do this *and* if you make a site, all these things will help you make the site the one place your customers know and trust.

just my personal opinions.

cheers,
pt
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Re: Transition away from selling products on eBay

by electrotek on Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:22 am

Phil,

Thanks for the quick reply. I actually have done what you have suggested. The only problem is/was no one was getting to my website, even though i lowered the price below what i was selling on ebay for. My hosting was costing me 17 a month, so just to break even i would have to sell at least 2 "widgets" a month. the site just never seemed to cement into google. The ebay search results blew it away i think. I had more in depth installation tutorials on my site and other products. What i am selling is something anyone could sell, and if they knew the source of my supply it would be easy to undercut me. i'm not worried about someone "making " the same product, i worried about people finding out where i get my product from. This is my bread and butter product, which i am using to fund my other potential products.

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Re: Transition away from selling products on eBay

by Technobly on Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:12 pm

Hmm, I think I see your dilemma. The customers that buy your "widget" do so through ebay, and even though the price is lower at your website... they are not seeing it. I'm guessing you use PayPal, so I would think if they are comfortable with ebay (paypal) then they should feel equally comfortable at your website (paypal). So they MUST just not be going to your website. I forget exactly what ebay's rules are for linking to websites, but if you link back to a tutorial page... or something REALLY HELPFUL to the customer, maybe it will drive them to your site... maybe this info is ONLY available on your site... once there perhaps they can "find" the cheaper price in a non-direct way. Even if they go to your site AFTER the sale and share your lower price with a friend, not sure if that works... based on what the product is.

Here's maybe another approach... just start selling your kits and generating traffic to your site based on those alone. Use all maker resources that are at your disposal like Make, Adafruit, Hackaday and Instructables to bring people in. Then maybe these kits and your ebay product will appeal to the same customers and you can ditch ebay... if not, maybe you just need ebay because it's a different kind of product.

Just don't get stuck with a one-product hit on ebay. Move on to the next project and keep the momentum going ;-)
Best Regards,
Brett W.
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Re: Transition away from selling products on eBay

by bigmessowires on Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:39 pm

adafruit wrote:i suggest making a site *and* selling on ebay


I was going to suggest the same thing-- no reason to make it an either/or proposition. If your web site isn't generating many sales yet, then give it some time. In my experience, brand new web sites often don't see very good search rankings, but things pick up after a while as other people start to link to your site (hopefully).

If your product has a unique name like USB Mega Fire Widget, then people searching for it will find their way to your site. But if you're selling generic semiconductors using the manufacturer's name for them, your site will have to be pretty awesome to rank high in Google search results.

If after 6-12 months, you're still seeing far more sales from eBay than from your web site, then I'd conclude the 13% you're paying eBay is a fair cost for the extra sales it brings in.
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Re: Transition away from selling products on eBay

by cstratton on Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:03 pm

Do you get any repeat or got-it-cause-their-friend-did customers?

If so, you can at least try to move the "home" of the product for people who purchase it to your website, via materials enclosed with the item when it ships.

Can you not find a cheaper hosting solution? If you are using a payment service and have few products anyway, it seems like you wouldn't need a substantial e-commerce suite.
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Re: Transition away from selling products on eBay

by electrotek on Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:48 pm

Hi,

As far as how long the site has been up: in it's original form(hosted with vista print) it was up for over 9 months. I only got 3 sales on the site, basically because i promoted it on eBay. They changed their rules so you cannot have anything linking away from their site. I have also included business cards with all my sales with links to my website. I have repeatedly asked people how they got to my auction, but no one has ever cared to reply to those questions. It's very frustrating not knowing the vector of my eBay sales. recently i got rid of vistprint hosting( it was expensive) and opted to go to the instapage for free at go-daddy. it is provided with my account. i had considered upgrading the options to get more than 1 page but i really don't want to be disappointed with a lack of Google search results. I know i need to do something, but i don't want to spend a fortune trying to get people to buy my product. I appreciate the input from everyone..Please keep it coming.

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Re: Transition away from selling products on eBay

by cstratton on Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:41 pm

Perhaps you need to establish an online presence where the (potential) users of your product are to be found. Granted, this will work a lot better if it's for people who are "into something" - (R/C cars for example) than if your target audience is members of the general public who only briefly have anything to do with your subject matter.
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Re: Transition away from selling products on eBay

by electrotek on Thu Nov 10, 2011 5:44 pm

I wish i could, but this one product is usually not bought more than once. I rely on selling them to a lot of different people once. I guess there is no "magic bullet" to solve my particular problem.

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Re: Transition away from selling products on eBay

by adafruit on Thu Nov 10, 2011 5:51 pm

there never is a magic bullet, only hard work :)

cheers,
pt
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Re: Transition away from selling products on eBay

by electrotek on Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:00 pm

I understand that, i have been putting in plenty. I was just thinking out loud as far as other people having a similar problem. I don't expect anything to be handed to me. It's just a problem i have been trying to solve for a while. For instance, i just sold 4 items today alone, and my bill is growing.

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Re: Transition away from selling products on eBay

by Technobly on Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:02 pm

Actually, there is a magic bullet but I agree hard work is probably the best approach.

Work on your next project! Put it on your website, and get the word out.
Best Regards,
Brett W.
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Re: Transition away from selling products on eBay

by Ufoguy on Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:12 pm

Fightcube said everything. I understand why you want to transist. Ebay prices are very high and it is also called Feebay(by sellers). However it gives you attention. Have a website and continue selling on ebay. Design yourself a cool logo with Sothink logo maker which has a 30 day free trail or if you can afford it get a professional designer(I recommend the free way). Send stickers or other cool stuff with your website's logo on them to your ebay customers. Give people a reason to visit your site for eg. more info on the product like videos. Be creative with your logo. Hope you find atleast some of this helpful.
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Re: Transition away from selling products on eBay

by electrotek on Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:23 pm

Thanks. I set up a new site with a great logo...hopefully i will get some exposure and i can transition away from there. once my site starts ranking i might try and stop selling on ebay.
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