I think I’ve only touched the TV remote control twice in the past six months (three other people in my household each seem to think it belongs solely to them) but this week’s eletter is ALL about TV!

That’s partly because eBay have released their Christmas telly ad, entitled ‘Survive the Disco’… and it is quite clearly aimed at the ‘younger generation’ this year.

In my opinion, it’s definitely not on a par with those for John Lewis, Marks & Spencer (my winner this year!), Waitrose or even Aldi’s ‘Kevin The Carrot’ festive commercials… but nevertheless, it gets the message across!

If you haven’t seen it yet, click on the video player below.


Then there was the excitement on Sunday of I’m A Celebrity returning to our screens… without a reality TV star in sight, thank goodness…

And to top it all, my absolute favourite – MasterChef: The Professionals – has returned too. Talk about being spoiled for choice!

Understandably, after the preceding sentences, you might presume I’m a telly addict… but actually, I’m not normally one for watching much television.

But I do enjoy MasterChef, as I said, because I’m interested in food. Plus, it is always fascinating to watch as the contestants’ dishes change over time as they learn new skills and begin to take on board the comments from Marcus Wareing and Monica Galetti.

These contestants are already professional chefs and so I’m often surprised by just how clumsy the presentation is from some of them! This is often reflected in the feedback from Marcus and Monica as the word “refined” seems to pop up quite frequently.

For example: “Beautiful flavours but the presentation needs to be much more refined.”

Basically, the rule to remember in the world of professional cooking is portions should generally amount to a small (but elegant!) blob in the middle of a plate. This is refined!

According to Marcus and Monica, food should not be piled high – it should look elegant. And here’s the important thing… it should leave you wanting more.

But what’s this got to do with selling online?

Well, this simple mantra “less is more”!

This is true not only with the presentation on MasterChef, but also in many areas of business.

Nearly everything these days seems to be super-sized or padded out with extras. But when it comes to selling online, less can equal more for you.

In fact, by selling less you could actually make significantly more profits.

This does not however, mean only creating a few product listings each month! I’m not giving you the go ahead to chill out for a bit.

What I’m actually talking about here is targeting your time, your products and your listings carefully, thereby maximising your profit for every sale you make.

So, essentially there are two important ways this principle can relate to you and your online business… and the first one is pretty obvious.

1) Sell products with a decent profit margin and you won’t need to make as many sales…

Before I talk about bigger profit margins, I must tell you there is absolutely nothing wrong with selling for lower profits and in higher volumes.

In fact lots of ‘would be’ sellers never get started because they dismiss products with profit margins of £1 or £2 because they think it’s just not worth the hassle. But this is simply not true.

You must remember that £1 or £2 profit from one product selling in quantities of 20 a day of course equals £20 or £40 in total.

So, while I am going to talk about higher profit margins now, please don’t think this means I am dismissing low profit, high volume products. I’m not. In fact a mixture of the two works very well.

Having said that, I often see products being sold online for probable profits of just £1 and £2 each when actually they could make three times that amount.

This is because the closest competitor is selling at a much higher price, leaving room for manoeuvre – and still making comparative sales! So why sell so cheap when you don’t have to?

Don’t be scared about pricing your products at a higher price. Cheapest isn’t always best and by selling at a higher profit you will of course need to sell less.

Stop creating all those time-consuming listings for low profit single items and re-think your strategy

If you have concentrated all of your time up to this point on creating as many listings as you possibly can, not really caring how much profit you make as long as it is something however small, then now is the time to consider a change.

When I’m looking for a new product to sell online I actually spend more time researching than I do in creating the listing itself.

That’s not to say that creating a decent description isn’t worth doing, because obviously a great description, fantastic images and a keyword-relevant title will make a significant difference to your profits.

However, without first spending time researching your items so you know how much profit they will make you, you might find your wonderful descriptions are actually working against you simply because of the time they take to create.

So research is the key then?

Yes! And the good news is once you have a successful product or inventory of products, and a number of reliable and affordable suppliers, you will find yourself with a lot more free time and a very successful business.

Although research for your online business should never stop! You will always need to keep an eye on the market, your competition and prospective new products to sell.

Now on to my second point with regard to “less is more”…

2. Supply and demand – capitalise on the desire to ‘win’

This is my second method of generating a great income from less stock and deals with the ‘wanting more’ theory.

There’s no denying it is human nature to want to win, although this instinct is certainly more ingrained in some than in others. But you can take advantage of this when it comes to creating your own listings by choosing to list fewer of a certain product than you might actually have available…

How does this help you? Well by listing a small amount of goods, and making reference to this within your listing, you can create a significant demand for what appears to be a ‘limited supply’.

For example, if you have 50 of a particular product, only list 20 of them and state “limited stock” within your description (or as keywords in a subtitle if you wish).

This gives potential customers the idea you only have 20 of this item (even though you have another 30 stashed away).

This can prompt people to purchase the product immediately if they are really interested, as they may feel they could miss out if they don’t take action straightaway.

Once you have sold the majority, you can repeat the same process.

Also, you can top up a ‘Buy It Now’ listing when you only have one or two items left on your listing. And what’s more, this idea can work as both auction and ‘Buy It Now’ settings on eBay (and Amazon on ‘Fixed Price’).

With an auction, your prospective buyers are likely to feel the need to outbid each other in order to win one of your ‘limited’ items. Meanwhile, on a ‘Buy It Now’ listing, impulse buyers will feel the necessity to get their hands on what you are offering before it vanishes from your shop forever.

You just need to be a little bit creative!

So, like MasterChef, remember to be refined.

Don’t pile your plate high because less can certainly be more and you may be able to increase your prices to meet the artificial demand that you have generated.