Increase Sales On eBay: 11 Top Tips for 2021

eBay has come a long way since its origins as an auction website. The marketplace has had roughly 160 million active buyers in Q1 of 2021. While this may pale in comparison to Amazon’s figures, eBay is its closest competitor and it makes sense to have a strong presence there too.

With less sellers and more opportunities to get your products seen, eBay is less competitive than Amazon. eBay’s fees are generally lower too. However, to increase sales on eBay, it’s important to understand that it has unique features and a distinct search engine algorithm. This means you need to create a platform-specific strategy.

To help, here are 11 ways to maximize your eBay sales.

1) Keep Cassini happy

Cassini is eBay’s internal search engine and decides which listings appear where in the search results. Cassini wants to deliver products to buyers at the best price, from the seller who can provide the best service.

If you meet the right criteria, you can top the search results which guarantees increased sales on eBay. Some key requirements to consider when creating your brand presence on the site are

1. Relevant content

It’s important to write accurate product descriptions. If they don’t match your products, this will annoy both customers and Cassini. Then, your rankings are likely to plummet. (Our guide to optimize eBay listings provides step-by-step advice to help you write them.)

2. Value for buyers

Consumers are always looking for value, so a key consideration for the Cassini search engine is pricing.

3. Top-rated to above standard seller ratings

To keep customers coming back, eBay prioritises listings from sellers that have a history of consistently providing excellent service.

4. High quality images

Cassini prefers listings with lots of photos. Sellers can include up to 12 images in each listing for free.

2) Fill in every detail

eBay no longer requires sellers to link their listings with products in its catalog. However, this means it’s more important than ever to include every product detail. If your listing is incomplete, it’s less likely to show up in search results.

As you create each listing, you’ll notice some checkboxes which highlight how many sections you have left to fill out. Sometimes it’s tempting to skip over sections like style or colour – especially if these details are already in the product description. But it’s important to fill them all out in order to please Cassini. If your product has a notable trait that doesn’t fit neatly into eBay’s listing form, make sure to add it manually too.

Because Cassini favours new content, it’s also essential to regularly list new items or refresh your product listings. Use eBay’s scheduling feature to spread out the publication of new products. Alternatively, you can reset your RSS feed or tweak older listings.

Use eBay’s bulk editing tool to update lots of products at once. It’s also a good idea to edit individual listings based on customer feedback. This can reduce returns and your products will also become more visible among shoppers that use the ‘Newly Listed’ filter when searching eBay.

3) Provide great customer service

Another factor Cassini considers is the standard of the seller. To stand out as a reliable seller and build repeat custom, it’s important to provide great customer service. Here are 3 ways you can do so on eBay

  • Let buyers know when their purchase will arrive: Keeping buyers informed about the status of their shipment is one of the most important aspects of their online shopping experience.
  • Offer a clear returns policy: Shoppers are more likely to buy when they’re confident they can return an item if need be. Furthermore, eBay now offers more exposure to brands that offer free 30-day returns.
  • Use eBay’s Resolution Center: This is the easiest and most secure way to communicate and resolve any problems with a transaction.

4) Make your brand shine

According to many sellers, their brand stands out more on eBay than it can do on Amazon. This is because eBay enables you to market your brand almost exactly as you would on your own online store. Here are 5 ways eBay allows for this:

  • Store logo: eBay provides a special area for brands to display their logo so it can be recognised by consumers.
  • Store description: Just like the “About Us” section on your website, your eBay store description lets you use keywords to write a detailed description of what your store sells.
  • Categories: These are the ‘aisles’ or ‘shelves’ of your eBay store. Use up to 300 custom categories to organise and display your items.
  • Sign up for newsletter: Got a mailing list? Use this eBay function to grow it.
  • Social sharing buttons: eBay lets you promote your social media channels, so be sure to connect them to it.

5) Keep pricing competitive

Simply put, having the best price on eBay will help convert buyers and increase sales. If you can do so (without sacrificing your margins), try offering some of your most popular products for auction. You can also use eBay’s Promotions Manager to run sales. This can win over customers, generate positive feedback and improve your Cassini rankings – all at the same time.

To advertise your sale, you can even send alerts to your eBay subscribers or add a billboard to your eBay shop. By slashing prices, you could even land a prominent spot on eBay’s home page or deals page. Running promotions is one of the best ways to increase visibility and sales on eBay.

6) Get serious about shipping

Getting your items delivered quickly, safely, and cost-effectively is essential to providing a great buyer experience. However, unlike Amazon, who offer services that take care of logistics for sellers, eBay sellers are in charge of their own shipping, so make sure your logistics are on point with the likes of estimated delivery times, tracking information and free shipping on domestic orders.

7) Drive external traffic to your listings

To help increase buyer engagement on your listings, use your social media channels, your email list, and PPC to drive targeted traffic to them. This will give the listings more views (and hopefully purchases), which will help push your listing up in search.

8) Actively seek buyer feedback

One of the first things consumers look for when browsing for a product is whether the seller has good ratings and reviews. It’s also one of the core ranking factors Cassini uses. So, the more positive feedback, the better your search ranking will be. Focusing on your feedback will, in turn, help you to increase eBay sales.

Here’s some ways of maximising your positive feedback on eBay:

  • Give feedback on your buyers: Leaving feedback before the buyer opens a dialogue and paves the way for them to return the favour.
  • Don’t ignore negative feedback: Ignoring negative comments can damage your reputation. However, when you respond, be sure to act empathetic and professional. Don’t get defensive – even if the buyer is abusive or unreasonable – and keep your replies as brief as possible.
  • Send a personalised message: As soon as a buyer makes a purchase, use automation to send them a short, personalised message thanking them and letting them know its status.
  • Ask for it: One of the best ways to get feedback is to ask for it, but not in a pushy way. For example, after a purchase send a request like: “Feedback’s really important to us, so we’d appreciate if you left us a review please.

It’s also worth noting that if you address the cause of a negative review or rating, shoppers can add follow-up comments. You can also send them a Feedback Revision Request which allows them to edit their feedback. However, you should contact customers before doing this as you can only issue five revision requests for every 1,000 comments you receive! However, if a comment violates eBay’s feedback policy, you can contact the marketplace directly to request its removal.

9) Use eBay’s Promoted Listings

Utilizing eBay’s Promoted Listings is a great way to increase your eBay sales. They allow you to reach consumers as they shop, which is a highly effective time to advertise. The success of retail media over the last few years demonstrates how effective advertising on retailer and marketplace sites can be.

eBay’s promoted listings are easy to set up and they significantly boost conversions. In this case study, TekReplay increased sales by 179% and attained a 43:1 return on ad spend. These eBay ads appear on the homepage, product pages and at the top of search results. You can even opt to place them on external platforms like Google and Bing. Best of all, you only pay a fee when your ad results in a sale.

eBay’s promoted listings are particularly useful for new products, because you can build up sales quickly. And Cassini prefers to rank listings with a proven track record.

However, eBay’s Promoted Listings aren’t available to everyone. You need to be an Above Standard or Top Rated Seller to take advantage of them.

10) Achieve top rated seller status

eBay rewards sellers that provide top-class customer service with increased visibility in its search results. For this reason, these ‘Top Rated Sellers’ can expect more sales on the marketplace.

To obtain Top Rated Seller status, you need to successfully resolve nearly every incoming customer issue. You also need to minimise late shipments, defective products and provide tracking information for 95% of your orders.

Once you meet these criteria, eBay will automatically update your account status. Take a look at your Seller Hub dashboard to check your current status and see how close you are to meeting eBay’s requirements.

Sellers that reach Top Rated Seller status also receive $30 of ad credit every three months and discounts on eBay shipping labels. Because you’re providing such great service, you’re also likely to receive more positive reviews and repeat purchases.

11) Provide free returns

Dealing with returns can be a hassle. But it’s necessary if you want to increase sales on eBay.

First of all, 79% of shoppers expect free return shipping. While 78% say they buy more when free returns are available. Secondly, as already mentioned, eBay boosts the visibility of listings that have a 30-day free return policy. If you offer a shorter return window or no return policy at all, you can expect to see your rankings and sales dip.

So offering free returns is a no-brainer for your marketplace strategy. As well as pleasing customers and boosting sales, a 30-day free returns period can also elevate you to the status of a ‘Top Rated Plus’ seller. This comes with additional perks that can benefit your bottom line. For example, eBay will provide shipping label credits when a shopper returns a product under false pretenses.

Final thoughts

In order to adapt to the modern consumer journey, brands need to have a presence across multiple sales channels. As well as D2C stores, they need to make their products available across their audience’s favourite platforms – and eBay is likely to be one of them.

eBay provides access to a large market and, by crafting strategies to suit its unique characteristics, brands can significantly increase their online sales.