Testing the Waters
If you’ve ever dreamed of quitting your job and going into business for yourself, you may have considered online retail. But opening your own website is quite an undertaking—you’ll need to get a URL for your website, acquire a shopping cart, have someone design your web pages, get listed with the major search engines. And you’re going to have to pay for all those services up front, which means you’ll need to have some capital set aside. So before you tell your boss what you really think of his toupee, you may want to consider trying a less-drastic route first—the eBay store.
eBay stores are a great way to get a feel for whether or not selling online suits you. It’s a very simple entry point that lets you test the waters without committing a lot of your money or time. The cost is only $16.95 a month and the first thirty days are free—a pretty safe investment.
5 Benefits to Choosing eBay
eBay takes care of much of the busywork associated with running an eBiz . There are numerous advantages to starting an eBay store before attempting to create your own website:
• eBay hosts your site, provides you with a URL, a shopping cart, and an easy-to-use tool that lets you quickly design an attractive storefront.
• eBay takes care of search engine optimization for you—making sure you will be listed with the major search engines.
• When you start an eBay store, you have an immediate presence online—from day one, you have 170 million customers.
• eBay has an 800 number with live support.
• eBay provides workshops, at no extra cost, on how to implement the various tools they offer.
3 eBay Tools You Should Be Using
eBay offers built in channels for growing your business. What amazes Janelle Elms, successful e-business author and lead instructor for eBay University, is how many sellers are “not taking advantage of all the amazing tools that eBay gives you for that $16 every month.” Three of eBay’s biggest untapped resources:
• An opt-in newsletter to keep your eBay store in front of your customers. A series of clicks and pull down menus, and your newsletter is ready to go in a matter of minutes. A simple source to keep your customers coming back, but many people don’t even realize that option is available to them.
• RSS Feed (Really Simple Syndication). Once you turn this button on, all your buyers have to do is click on it, and every time you put new products in your store or up for auction, they’ll get an update telling them what you’ve added. Elms refers to RSS Feed as “a legal version of a pop-up ad.”
• Printable brochures of your eBay store to send out with every package to show your customers what else you offer and to remind them to shop with you again.
eBay stores are user-friendly: anyone can run an one. In addition to being a great proving ground for your online retail skill, you may find it to be a very profitable enterprise in and of itself.