eBay likes and supports small business owners. Are you exhausted by your job search in this relentless economy? As a weary job hunter is it time to look for a new career? Take a close look at eBay, which has an impressive business model for entrepreneurs.
Established in 1995, eBay is celebrating its 15-year anniversary. Originally an auction website, it has evolved into an international on-line commerce business site, offering both auction and fixed price items for sale.
No longer just a website for unloading unused items and collectibles, eBay has mastered the art of on-line selling. With 25 million active sellers globally and 90 million active users, eBay is doing BIG business by offering start-up businesses an opportunity to set up shop for a minimal cost.
Anyone with a credit card and a legitimate product can set up a seller account. eBay does the rest by listing the product, offering the use of Paypal for transactions and a pre-arranged fee with Fed-Ex and UPS with a shipping label. The cost barrier is so low and no store on the site is needed, but can be established for a monthly fee.
An account can be set up in as little as eight minutes by creating a user ID, password and placing a credit card on file. The seller creates an item description and can add photos of the product. eBay determines what category the item will be listed. The seller can list the item for auction or a fixed price.
This past weekend eBay executives were in
I asked Dinesh what his advice was for a new seller on eBay and he said, "Have a unique product, price it attractively, and deliver great service to the customer." He further explained, "A potential seller needs to ask himself what he wants to get out of his business."
The current popular trends for sellers now are refurbished electronics like I-Phones and I-Pads (eBay loves Apple). Also fashion sites are HUGE, offering discounted designer merchandise from around the world. (fashion.ebay.com)
I compare eBay with the
Like any successful website, it's a crowed "highway" with much of the same product being sold from multiple sellers on the same site. I asked Dinesh what they do to help businesses deal with the crowded space. He said that each of their sellers is evaluated by the customer ratings and the higher the customer rating the better the placement they will have on the site. So instead of being on page 40 in a product search, they'd be on page 1.
eBay is a great model for an entrepreneur that has a unique product and not a lot of money to promote it. But, Dinesh maintains that new sellers need to make sure they can fill the orders efficiently or they may do more harm than good in their business. Reputation and good customer approval ratings are the key to success on eBay.
Even though eBay knows that have a winning business model they still have concerns about what the federal government is going to do with the mandate for internet commerce taxes that they contend could put small on-line firms out of business. They also worry about net neutrality which allows phone carriers to charge customers higher rates for increased business traffic; they want in on the money.
A big fan of eBay as a buyer and a fan of start-up businesses, I was all set to sign up as a seller on eBay by the time I was finished with my interview with Dinesh. Unfortunately, I don't have a unique or compelling product that I can sell in mass, but I am thinking about it. It appears to be a great way to make money with minimum risk, something that is virtually impossible these days.
Check out my blog for interviews with some of the sellers who have been successful in creating a business on eBay. They did exactly what I tell my clients, they found something they could to use their skills to make money and still have fun along the way! eBay, I'm sold!