New to eBay… Small inventory… Should you wait before opening an eBay shop… or jump straight in? You may remember that a few weeks ago, the topic of my blog post was all about the complications I went through whilst trying to ensure my eBay shop name was changed correctly for search engine purposes. (If you missed the post or would like to re-read it go here) Changing the name of my eBay shop was just one of the steps I needed to take to move forward with a big project I’m currently working on which involves a totally new niche for me, with a whole new range of products. In fact, this new venture has nothing to do with any products I’ve previously sold online, on eBay or Amazon or from any of my web stores, so I’m treating it very much as a complete start up from scratch. The advantage of this is that I am able to look at different, more efficient ways of setting up shop and listing products and I can uncover brand new strategies – that I will eventually of course, pass on to people like you!     As you can imagine, there’s plenty to consider, and this whole process has actually forced me to revisit, in great detail, the setting up of a brand new business from scratch – and right now, my new eBay shop is at the core of this – which got me thinking about a question I often get asked… Is having an eBay shop essential when you are just getting started? Well, first of all let me tell you that I believe that if you are serious about creating a proper, successful eBay business, then yes, you absolutely do need an eBay shop from the get go. Don’t wait. Subscribe! A sweeping statement I know. And yes it will cost you £19.99 a month for a basic store, but it’s worth it as there are tons of advantages. Advantage 1 – A logo, template and a matching colour scheme will look professional and instill buyer confidence in your business. First up, serious sellers are looking to establish a serious business. This means looking professional, and nothing looks more professional than a fabulous logo depicting your brand or products. With an eBay shop you can upload your logo to your profile and your store giving uniformity and a recognizable name. You don’t have to create a logo yourself, there are numerous options online to get one created for you. Secondly, you can then set your colour scheme within your shop to match your logo colours – the uniformity continues! You can also get a template designed specifically for your own use on eBay so that all your listings and your shop front have exactly the same theme. Again, there are many options available online for creation of templates – both free and paid for. Advantage 2 – Access to Good Till Cancelled Listings (GTC) will allow you to build your sales history and search ranking This is extremely important! If you want to ensure your listings rank highly (i.e. on page 1) in eBay’s search results you absolutely should always use the GTC listing format because without this, you won’t be able to compete with other sellers who have built up their sales history month on month. The idea is to create a rolling sales history using GTC as the more sales history you have (as well as other factors) the higher your ranking. Advantage 3 – Free insertion fees will (slightly) soften the cost of your eBay shop subscription! When you subscribe to an eBay shop you will receive a certain amount of free listings per month. This varies depending on the type of shop you open, however, for most, a basic shop at £19.99 per month is enough to start with. So, generally as a ‘Basic Shop’ owner you’ll receive 200 free ‘fixed price’ (Buy It Now) listings per month. The usual insertion fee per fixed price listing is 26p. So for 200 listings at 26p each, you would be spending £52.00. An eBay shop subscription at £19.99 is obviously considerably cheaper – if you’re using the full 200 listings! But even if you only use a quarter of your free listings – i.e. 50 – which would equate to a usual cost of £13.00, you’re only £7.00 down due to the extra cost of your shop subscription. And split across 30 days you’re looking at a cost of 23p per day which quite honestly won’t break the bank. Personally I feel that it’s more important to have an eBay shop from the start than worrying about a small loss. Advantage 4 – The ability to organize your items, making it easy for buyers to navigate your store and purchase multiple products giving you increased order value With an eBay shop you can organize your products into categories and sub-categories. And I strongly advise that you do. This makes it easy for visitors to find what they want and most importantly browse around your categories and view your other items whilst they are there, giving you the opportunity to make extra sales. The ‘Add to Cart’ function on your listings makes it even easier for buyers to purchase more than one item from you simultaneously. Advantage 5 – The link to your eBay shop, once set, remains the same making it easy to promote from social media sites With standard non-shop listings, the item numbers and links to your products will change each time you restart a listing, so it’s difficult to promote your products using social media, as you’re restricted to the time frame of your listings. But, by having an eBay shop, you’ve always got a static link – your eBay shop name – to direct people to from whichever social media platform you choose. You can utilize Facebook and Twitter marketing to create extra traffic to your shop rather than relying purely on eBay. Advantage 6 – The use of promotional tools – banners and newsletters – will increase your chances of repeat sales By subscribing to an eBay shop you’ll be able to add ‘banners’ to your shop home page and use those banners to promote sales, special offers, limited editions, popular items – whatever you fancy really. What this does is increase awareness, entice viewers to buy and up your chances of selling multiple products to one customer. A newsletter allows you to keep in touch with people, send special offers and promotions out and generally keep your brand in front of them. This is a great opportunity for achieving repeat sales. And that’s just a taster of advantages! I recommend opening an eBay shop even if you currently only have a small inventory of products – not least because you have that access to use GTC listings and the chance to get your brand out there. Finally, before I sign off, I must also point out that following my sweeping statement earlier advising you to open an eBay shop – common sense does dictate that there may of course be one or two exceptions which depend entirely on the nature of your business. For example, if you sell only one off products that are rare, bespoke or unique such as collectibles or art then generally you won’t need GTC listings and your buyers will be looking to purchase something very specific without add-ons so you don’t need to maximize up sell and cross sell opportunities. My new venture involves the use of an eBay shop right from the off because I believe it will help my products and brand gain momentum quickly, leading to a successful start-up. So, if you have been unsure whether to take the plunge I would say consider trying it for yourself.