I think I’ve waited long enough!

Following on from a previous blog post in which I talked about eBid, I received an email earlier this week from one of my eletter subscribers on the subject.  This is what Steve told me:

“I read with interest your article regarding eBid and I, like you, opened a Seller+ Account about 5 years ago. After limited success I never gave eBid another thought despite spending £49.99 on a Lifetime Subscription! I decided about 3 weeks ago to explore eBid furthur and Friday night, started listing some products which are also live on eBay. Less than 12 hours later I had my first sale of 2 items! Okay, a sale of £3.98 isn’t going to keep the wolf from the door, however, I was surprised at just how much interest my items have shown on the site!”

Well, I say that two extra sales are better than none! And that’s two more sales alongside any eBay and Amazon sales Steve has also made, simply by utilizing a venue that he had already paid to use previously! In some small way, this backs up my theory that, as I suggested last week, eBid may definitely be a venue to consider again, even if it’s just ticking away in the background whilst the majority of your sales take place on eBay and Amazon and/or your own website. You can read my previous blog post  here

Ok, so what have I got for you this week? Well, I think I’ve held off for long enough – yes it’s time to mention Christmas! Members of The Source Report  have already been treated to a brand new hot product report detailing a great Christmassy seasonal hot seller very recently and you, my loyal readers, aren’t going to get away without being subjected to ‘Christmas in October’ either!

Look, I know exactly what you’re thinking – Christmas seems to arrive earlier and earlier every single year! And yes this is true. Wandering around my local supermarket this week I couldn’t avoid the stacks of Christmas cards and tins of sweets piled high and almost tripping me up as I entered the store! And my friend Sophie was sure her ears were playing tricks on her last week when she reported back to me that she was certain she had heard Christmas carols being played when she herself went to the supermarket.

But, here’s the thing. You can actually take a tip from all this seemingly premature foisting of seasonal stuff upon us.

It isn’t just the high street that should be paying heed to the Christmas season in advance of December the 25th, as you can also expect toInterior of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuelel II 1865-1877 Milan, Italy see your online sales profits start to soar as people seriously consider that now is the time to start Christmas shopping – and start looking for that perfect present.

You should be prepared right now!

For most online sellers, it is inevitable to expect to see increased revenue around Christmas time, and so I thought that now would be a good time to help you get ready for the Christmas rush. I’m going to offer some tips that have worked for me and that could be the difference between a minor increase in your profits and a significantly noticeable income boost to you.

When does Christmas start?

This might sound like a silly question, but you need to know certain bits of information in order to run your business efficiently and successfully. Just when do your prospective buyers go from being annoyed (like me!) at seeing references to Christmas far too early, to being open to ideas for gifts for their loved ones? Understanding ‘how soon is too soon’ is fundamental to your success during the festive period. Now of course, this isn’t an exact science, as each individual person visiting your listings will have their own opinion as to when they should be doing their Christmas shopping, be it in August (we all know someone who does that don’t we?) or on Christmas Eve (me).

In my experience as an online seller, I would say that the noticeable eBay rush begins approximately six to seven weeks before Christmas and lasts literally until the last day for special delivery guaranteed before the big day itself (which this year is Monday 23rd December), even after that I’ve sometimes received emails from buyers asking if I can guarantee delivery even though they are wanting to buy on the night before Christmas! Royal Mail have already issued their final posting dates for guaranteed Christmas delivery which you can view here:

http://mail.canonburypublishing.net/c/12eDmiwgC9ytL14E2rtSnc1ASo, it is likely to be around six weeks before Christmas when you start to see your sales pick up, but that’s not when your work begins. After all, you will need to have your products in your hands and your listings prepared for this point. You want to capitalize on the Christmas rush as soon as it starts!

Be Christmas-Friendly!

I just mentioned that you need to have your product listings prepared – but don’t worry, this needn’t mean huge effort and weeks of work. Spending a few hours on your listings could certainly help you to see some enhanced success, but only when those hours are dedicated to the right activities!

If you have a manageable number of listings running, one such activity is simply to amend your listings that are relevant to the gifts market (but would not necessarily be considered as a gift initially) and ensure they contain references to Christmas. This is simple but can be effective. Considering that almost any item can be given to someone as a present this will help you if your niche market doesn’t fall into the traditionally successful categories of DVDs, toys, clothing or perfumes for example.

But what do I mean by amending your listings? Let’s take the example of a daughter desperately searching for the perfect gift for her father. She knows that he has an interest in cooking and creating new dishes but isn’t really sure how to find a present that will fit the bill. So, perhaps this young lady heads online and searches for the phrase ‘cooking gifts’ on ebay. She is likely to be greeted by hundreds of results but imagine if you were advertising a product within this niche – lets say it’s a hand carved oak chopping board for example and your listing title reads something like: “Unique Hand Carved Hand Crafted Chopping Board Kitchen Cooking Ideal Christmas Gift”

I’m not saying that those are the perfect keywords because I’ve just made that example up off the top of my head, but you get the idea….need I say more?

But what if you can’t fit ‘Christmas’ into the title itself without sacrificing one of your all important keywords or without ending your listing and starting all over again? That’s not necessarily a problem as you can certainly still mention the festive season within your listing description or you can pay extra for a ‘subtitle’ just for the Christmas period – sometimes it’s worth it. A simple mention could be all that a prospective buyer needs to convince him or herself that your product is suitable for their nearest and dearest (or themselves of course!).

This run up to Christmas is the perfect time to make sure that all of your descriptions, titles and images for long-running product listings are completely up to date and packed full of informative information. As always, you should remember that a buyer won’t be seeing your product before they purchase as they would on the high street, so make sure you tell them everything they need to know.

Seal the deal!

So you’ve listed early with appropriate keywords, you’ve packed your descriptions full of useful information and let the world know that your items are brand new and make the perfect gift. Now how do you seal the deal and ensure that Christmas shoppers’ will make the purchase from you?

From experience, I know that it can come down to the guarantee – especially at Christmas. You must be able to reassure your buyers that whatever they order will arrive in time for Christmas and – here’s the best part – make sure your money back guarantee is clearly stated so that if the unfortunate happens and a present is duplicated or is not suitable, the buyer knows that they can return it for a refund (or exchange). Don’t be frightened of doing this. It’s very rare that you’ll get more returns just because it’s Christmas, but what it does do, is give the buyer peace of mind and ups the likelihood of them purchasing from you in the first place.

Keep in mind exactly when you can reach the post office for the last time to ensure that your goods will arrive on time, (don’t forget weekends and bank holidays). You will also need to keep your own schedule to ensure that you can fit in additional trips to the post office around the festive period.

Armed with the knowledge as to the last moment that you can receive an order and still get it to the Post Office to arrive on time, your listings can now be amended to include, in bold and obvious lettering:

  • Information containing facts about this being the ideal Christmas gift (or similar)
  • The last date on which your buyers can order to receive your items.
  • A special delivery service for those who want to get their items quickly
  • The offer of a gift wrap service if you wish

So, to increase your profits in the coming months, make sure you amend your listings now, ready for the buying season, which is about to arrive!

As always I wish you the very best of success,