How to start an eBay or Amazon shop

By Leanne Thompson

With selling platforms such as eBay and Amazon, you can set up an online business in the space of an evening. Rather than going through all of the hassle of making your own website, everything you need to sell products is already incorporated into these selling platforms. All you need to do is put your products online. No messing around with arranging payment methods. No tricky web design or marketing. You even get to take advantage of their high Google ranking and reputation to bring customers to your site.

But not every shop on eBay or Amazon makes it big. So what do you need to do to ensure the success of your online shop?

Read, read, read

While selling platforms can help you to reach your target market, they will not help you with all of the other aspects of running a business. For instance, especially if you are running your eBay business alongside another job, it can be easy to forget that any money made through self-employment has to be declared to the tax man. Getting clued up on running your own business can help you to make sure that you are running your shop legally but can also help you to grow your online shop into a business. Sites such as informi or general government websites are great places to start.

[amazon_link asins=’B01JWWYSVI’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’ec0fd188-9bdc-11e8-875b-3594e4642882′]Good quality images

When customers are browsing or looking for a specific product online, images are the primary way they evaluate the quality of the product and their expectations for the shop’s service. Attractive, high quality and professional looking images entice new visitors to your store and encourage them to purchase.

Importantly, however, make sure that you either have the rights to use an image or that you produce it yourself. If you are in any doubt about whether you have the rights – don’t use it. Using an image without the owner’s permission isn’t worth the fines that will come your way, when it’s simple enough to create them yourself. Invest in a good camera and learn a little about creating good lighting to create the images that will make your shop.

[amazon_link asins=’1517362644′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f71e0459-9bdc-11e8-9be9-b9e3ec8fca77′]Building a good reputation

Both eBay and Amazon produce metrics to allow customers to evaluate the quality of service they should expect to receive from a particular shop. For new businesses, this can be difficult to build if you cannot use reputation to attract new customers to purchase from your store. Some experienced sellers suggest to start out selling a few test products to build some good feedback before creating a ‘store.’ But this too is still a slow process. There simply is no quick way to build a good reputation. Your reputation will be built from how quickly (and kindly) you respond to messages, how fast items were handled and shipped and how accurately your description matches the product the customer receives. Do all of these well and your reputation will build naturally.

Check similar shops

The best way to learn about how you should be running your shop is by regularly checking your competitors. If there are two shops a customer can go to to buy an external hard drive and one offers free shipping and the other doesn’t, which do you think the customer will turn to? Likewise, if one offers free gifts or promotions. To remain competitive, you need to keep your finger on the pulse of what your competitors are doing. You want to be able to offer the same or better deals to your target market to avoid losing customers or consider altering your shop to offer something that your competitors do not.

Key word usage

On both eBay and Amazon, products are most frequently found using the search bar and automatically listed according to how relevant the products are to the search term. Unfortunately, the search terms that can be used to find a product can vary greatly from person to person. Thus, when creating a title for the product you are selling be mindful about the words you use. Avoid using words that are obscure or descriptive words. These are less likely to be used by customers when they search and can confuse the algorithms that calculate how relevant your product is.


Leanne Thompson is a freelance writer with a passion for business and creating informative articles. Her interests include travelling and when she’s at home you’ll find her head in a good book.

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