Spring has sprung and so have online sales!  We’ll be hearing about the March ecommerce sales figures in the coming weeks, but early indicators reveal that an early Easter and the arrival of spring weather will bring a boost of online retail sales in the neighborhood of 8-10% over 2009.

For eBay sellers, spring also brought with it some major changes to the way business is transacted on eBay. With the end of the Store Inventory Listing Format, millions of items formerly nestled away in eBay stores, saw the dawn of a new day in eBay’s core search.

For many eBay sellers, the inclusion of “store in core” has been a boon for sales.  Many people are finding that inventory they’ve had sitting on their virtual store shelves for two years is now selling.

Other sellers who had enjoyed a  sole position in core, while their competitors left their listings in store, have seen their categories explode with many competing products alongside theirs where none were before.

But there’s no doubt about it.  No matter what changes you’ve seen in your sales on eBay over the past week or so, with the eBay changes and the arrival of spring, it’s time to refresh your strategy!

Today we’re going to look at 4 ways to get started doing just that!

4 Surefire Ways to Make More Money on eBay This Spring

Put Your Spring and Summer Merchandise Front and Center. Walk into any brick and mortar retailer these days and you’ll see the signs of spring.  Brightly colored signs, spring products in the hot new colors and a fresh array of merchandise to choose from. Spring is a time or renewal and rebirth, and people are wired for that.  They’re also very ready to make new purchases for spring and summer. And the eBay seller who actively markets their spring and summer products is the one who increases their sales!  Unfortunately, I see many eBay stores and listings that are not doing any spring marketing at all. Even worse, holiday messages and graphics remain. Fall and winter categories are featured in stores and spring merchandise is buried in sea of fall and winter products.

Mariya, is the owner of eBay Store Color Me Happy Boutique and also runs a  website under the same brand. Mariya’s business depends on keeping her inventory fresh and staying one step ahead of the seasons.  When you take a look at Mariya’s store, you’ll see that she even features a bright, colorful graphic reminder her customers that “Summer Starts in 75 days.”  Mariya is a community member in the WhatDoISell Business Growth Center and she always puts her best merchandise front and center!

Take a look at your store and listings.  Will customers be excited by what they see when they land on your eBay pages?

“Top Up” Your Store Categories. If visitors to your eBay store can’t find your new merchandise, they won’t become buyers.  And part of putting your new spring merchandise front and center is rearranging your eBay store categories so that the new in-season categories are featured at the top. Many people list their categories in alphabetical order, but by doing that, you relegate your Spring and Summer merchandise to the bottom of your category list where no one will find it!

Keep in mind that a shopper’s focus is going to be “above the fold” which means you have to engage them with what’s on their screen BEFORE you can get them to scroll down to see what else you are offering. Always put your most popular 5 or so eBay store categories and in-season categories at the top of your store category list.  If you have a lot of categories, once you feature your top 5-7 categories you can continue your category list alphabetically.

Use Subtitles for Marketing not Product Details. eBay subtitles are the best marketing deal on the web IF you use them for the right purpose.  eBay listing subtitles should be used for one thing only – MARKETING.   Think of eBay listing subtitles as the banner you hang outside your store or the sign you place on a product that tells people what makes that product different, unique or special than everything else the customer is being offered.

The other day I was looking some forum posts on the eBay stores and noticed a thread where people were discussing a plan to remove ALL their listing subtitles since they were now using Item Specifics to further describe their products.

Two important things that every eBay seller must know.  eBay listing subtitle keywords are not included in core search, this means that if you are putting item specific keyword data into your subtitle in the hopes that it will help people find your products, it does not contribute at all to that purpose.

Item Specifics however, does exactly that.  So for search purposes, you always want to accurately complete the Item Specifics portion of your listing.

For marketing purposes you want to craft what we call in marketing a USP (Unique Selling Position) or a “headline”  – that will make people do ONE thing… and that is CLICK on your listing and go to your listing description page.

A listing subtitle has ONE purpose – to get a prospective buyer to CLICK on your listing and go to your listing description page where you then display the product information that will convert that browser into a buyer!

So what should go in your listing subtitle? Anything that showcases what’s different about your product or service.  The thing that sets you apart from every other seller.  Maybe, you’re selling a “Limited Edition Platinum Retro 60 Series”. Maybe your product is an “Exclusive Set.  Only Available on eBay”. Maybe you are fortunate to carry an item that is “In Stock with Same Day Shipping. Sold Out In Stores”.  Maybe your item is “Eligible for Bing Cashback”. Or the product your carry is “Winner of the Top 10 Toy Awards”.  In many categories these days “We Ship Worldwide” is a USP – there are a lot of eBay sellers who no longer ship worldwide. (Which is the subject for another blog post.) 🙂  Or your item is “100% Made in the USA”.

Whatever your USP is, don’t hide it in your listing description! Feature it in your sub-title and watch your click-throughs increase and your sales go up!

And speaking of click-through rates, you always want to test and track the strategies you use online…

Use eBay’s Search Visibility Analysis Tool to test and track your strategies. The most important key to success when running a business on eBay or anywhere else is to know what works for your business. Each business has so many variables to it, that you have to apply the strategies and then test them and track them to make sure that they are right for you.  eBay’s Search Visibility Analysis Tool will help you test and track changes you make to your listings as well as view the impact they have on your ranking in eBay’s Best Match.  For example, the tool will show you how many times your listing has been displayed to buyers and the number of times a buyer has clicked-through to view your listing description.  This information is critical to determining why your listings are or are not selling. If shoppers aren’t clicking on your listing, they definitely aren’t buying. With the Search Visibility Analysis Tool, you can pinpoint where the problem in the process is and make changes accordingly.

We’ll we’ve just covered four solid business strategies to increase your sales this spring.  There’s only one thing left to do now… apply what you’ve learned and implement!

If you liked these eBay tips and strategies, don’t miss my brand new e-series starting April 15th, “15 Ways to Make Money on eBay”.  Most people only know 2 or 3 ways to make money on eBay.  Starting April 15th, I’ll show you  15 ways to make money on today’s eBay!  Register here for this free ecourse.

-Lisa Suttora