Ebay is where I decided to get serious about building an online business. But, I didn’t start out there, which would have been the easy way. No, I took the long way around and started my own ecommerce storefront and toiled away at that for a period of time before I realized there’s a much easier way to do this, and it involves eBay.
So Why Did You Choose EBay
As I mentioned in my “I’m baaack” post, one of the things I got involved in that pulled me away from this blog last year was an ecommerce business that I tried to build. My ecommerce store was based on the dropshipping business model.
For those who don’t know what dropshipping is, it’s where you as the business owner sell items and have them shipped directly to your customer from your supplier’s warehouse. You as the business owner never have to touch the product. Even better, you don’t have to pay for anything until you actually sell it which lowers your up front investment to get started.
But, there’s a downside to dropshipping too. It can be difficult to find suppliers that are willing to deal with retailers in this business model. There are a ton of suppliers out there, but most of them charge very close to retail price all the while claiming it’s a wholesale price, which leaves very little margins for the end retailer.
Unless you’re Walmart or some other huge retail outlet, it’s extremely difficult to run a profitable business when you’re stuck dealing with profit margins under ten percent. Luckily, I didn’t deal with any of these “sketchy” suppliers. I actually went out and found multiple suppliers in my chosen niche to work with. But supply isn’t the only problem.
To launch an ecommerce site, there’s a ton of work that has to be done prior to the website ever being seen by the public. First, I had to design the website. I didn’t have to do any major coding, luckily, as this would have involved a major expense. But, I still had to decide on the company to host the site. I chose to use Big Commerce, which is one of the all-inclusive ecommerce providers that exist.
I then had to choose a store template and customize it to what I wanted my store to look like. I worked with a law firm to have an LLC formed to limit my personal liability should something down the road not go as planned. Next I had to set up a business bank account and a merchant account with a payment gateway, which is what allows you to accept credit card transactions from your website.
I also had to load all of the products I intended to sell into my virtual storefront. That tedious process involved uploading high quality product pictures, product descriptions, titles, keyword descriptions and other SEO pieces, organizing the categories and subcategories, and pricing all of the products. By the time I opened up my store, I had hours listing products and had over 80 available, but needed to get several hundred more up. Like I said, this was a time-consuming task.
But the work didn’t stop there. Once the store was open to the public, I had to continue to load up additional products so as to be competitive with other online retailers. I also had to start building back links to my storefront in order to help draw attention from the various search engines. It’s not as easy to build links from a web store as it is to build them for a blog like this.
To help with traffic generation, I started a blog discussing topics from the industry I jumped into, which was interesting because I didn’t know the first thing about it when I started building my store. To add even more to the mix, right after opening my store, I was faced with a major schedule change in my full-time career which drastically changed for the worse the amount of time I had available to dedicate to my online store.
Needless to say, with all of the work involved in running an ecommerce store, I didn’t have the time to fully devote to it in order for it to properly grow and thrive. The store never built any legitimate traffic and the tons of sales that I originally envisioned never materialized. Even worse, the one, yes one, sale that I did make ended up in me losing a couple of hundred dollars because I misunderstood my supplier pricing and had charged too little for the item. Talk about a tough lesson. Ultimately, the store never took off and I ended up closing it down recently as I was tired of spending money every month for the hosting and other merchant costs associated with it.
So Where Does EBay Come In
I chose to start building a business on eBay for several reasons. There are a lot of advantages to selling on eBay versus running your own web store, and I’ll go further into them in another blog post. For starters, though, eBay already has millions of visitors every day, and these visitors already have their wallet out. Uploading items for sale on eBay is significantly easier and can be done in much less time than it took me to do with the web store. It’s also significantly cheaper to run an eBay business than it is an individual web store, even though my store front was very inexpensive compared to brick and mortar store fronts. Finally, I can take advantage of all of the benefits of dropshipping just like I could with my own store.
In a later post I’ll dig deeper into the advantages of utilizing eBay to build my business. In the meantime, click here if you want to learn more about the system that I used to get started on eBay (pssst….that’s an affiliate link). The system is pretty simple as all you have to do is copy and paste with a computer to list items for sale, but I don’t want to get in to it too much right now. That’s a topic for another discussion. Go check out the video if you want to know more.
What About You
Have you ever tried to build an online business, especially an ecommerce business? How did it go for you? Have you ever tried to sell anything on eBay before? Let me know your thoughts and experiences. I’d really love to hear from you! While you’re at it, take a second and share this post via the social media buttons on the left. I could really use your help. We’ll talk again soon.
Until next time…