Anything you can think of, you can find on ebay.
When eBay first launched, it was actually called AuctionWeb. It was every bit the example of its core value — an online marketplace where customers could buy and sell their wares. The first item ever sold on eBay was listed as “broken laser pointer” and sold at $14.83. When eBay’s founder, Pierre Omidyar, contacted the person who purchased it to make sure he knew it was broken, the customer replied, “I collect broken laser pointers.” From that point forward, eBay’s vision was simple: don’t argue with the customer.
It’s often described as a “perfect market,” and if you’ve ever bid on a rare baseball card with seconds to go or successfully snagged a vintage leather jacket, you already know why. eBay’s entrepreneurial revolution is in full swing, and now is the time for you to usher in the next chapter of your business.
“Build a platform – prepare for the unexpected…
you’ll know you’re successful when the platform you’ve built serves you in unexpected ways.”Pierre Omidyar, CEO & President of eBay
1. Create Your Own Checks and Balances
eBay’s “customer feedback model” is a sophisticated system. Auction-winners can comment and rate their experience with sellers, providing a better way for future customers to determine who they should purchase from. When it comes to your business, make sure that you’re creating a “checks and balances” system of your own. You can do this by highlighting and promoting your testimonials page and encouraging future customers to provide feedback the moment they purchase your product. Have customers create videos, do Facebook shout-outs – whatever you can to make sure that future customers feel safe going with your product.
I encourage my customers to like, comment, and share anything I sell. I want the word to get out. I’m also sure to reply quickly, so they know I hear them. This is another great way to get feedback and improve my business. My customers know they will get a quick response and that I really listen to their concerns, so they keep coming back for more.
2. Create a Culture Around Your Product
A recent eBay commercial promoted the competitive fun that bidding on an item can have. The advertisement took customers away from their computer desks and out into the world, racing like they were horse jockeys jostling for the same vintage knick-knack. This marketing angle is spot on for several reasons, but most importantly, it promotes the playful culture that has caused eBay to rise through the ranks over the years.
When it comes to my products, I want to establish the same kind that eBay has established with their customers. I try to highlight the fun side of my product; I promote the culture they’ll enter into once they purchase from me. I want my customers to feel like we’re going to rock it out when we work together. It’s not all work and no play around these parts, so I make sure they feel encouraged to party every time they work with me.
“It is not really work if you are having fun.”Pierre Omidyar, CEO & President of eBay
3. Teach Your Customer How to Fish
If you’ve considered becoming a seller on eBay, they’ve got you covered – from detailed guides to infographics, forums where you can discuss the process with other sellers, and virtually anything else you may need to know to get started is at the ready, just waiting for you to jump on board.
I have learned that it’s not enough to hand over a product owner’s manual and say “have at it.” It’s important for me to teach my customers “how to fish” by providing them with every bit of information they may need to use my products and maximize their benefits. To do this, I set up forums, arrange question and answer sessions, and create VIP memberships that connect customers with a direct line to me or core members of my team. All these bonuses promote peace of mind in choosing my product, but it also creates a community atmosphere that generates more customers as my business expands.
4. Give Customers Plenty of Options
Searching for an item on eBay provides plenty of options, so you can find exactly what you’re looking for. Filters, advanced search options, even a catalog of expired auctions are available for your viewing pleasure, so you can see what items have gone for in the past and ensure you’re getting the best deals around. Use the same concept when it comes to providing your customers with plenty of options.
If you only have one product to sell, focus on providing plenty of reasons why your customer needs it, focusing on where and why it would benefit their life. Offer a variety of ways they can “customize” their customer experience through interchangeable features, colors, beta versions, advanced or premium versions — whatever you can dream of.
“I’ve got a passion for solving a problem that I think I can solve in a new way. And that maybe it helps that nobody has done it before as well.”Pierre Omidyar, CEO & President of eBay
5. Expand, Troubleshoot, Reflect
Over the years, eBay has acquired other properties, StubHub, Skype, and Craigslist — just to name a few. But none have been more successful than PayPal. PayPal has allowed eBay customers to rest easy from fears of identity theft when they purchase items on eBay. Since the acquisition, PayPal has become the most dominant form of online payment around — not just on eBay, but in most online marketplaces. Of course, not every acquisition eBay has made over the years has panned out as well as PayPal – Skype was later purchased by Microsoft, for example, but such is the case when you expand and take risks.
When it comes to my businesses, I have learned not to be afraid to roll the dice when it comes to a chance at a bigger, brighter tomorrow. Even if it doesn’t work out, it’s a chance to take a step back and troubleshoot, so my next move or acquisition can be a bigger success. I take both success and failure as a chance to reflect on my processes and what they have taught me, and I gain confidence knowing I can do it again.
- Implement Checks and Balances. You can do this by highlighting and promoting your testimonials page and encouraging customers to provide feedback the moment they purchase your product. Whatever you do, make sure future customers feel safe choosing your product.
- Create a Culture. Promote the fun your product can bring and show off the culture they’re entering into when they become a customer. Make sure they feel encouraged to come back to you over and over again.
- Teach Your Customer How to Fish. Provide plenty of bonuses that will promote peace of mind and create a sense of community. This will generate more customers as it expands.
- Offer Plenty of Options. If you only have one product to sell, make sure you’ve got more than one or two reasons why your customer needs it and how it will benefit their life. Allow ways for them to “customize” their experience through interchangeable features, colors, beta versions, advanced versions, or whatever else you can dream up.
- Expand, Troubleshoot, Reflect. Don’t be afraid to roll the dice on a bigger, brighter tomorrow. Even if it doesn’t pan out, that’s your chance to take a step back and troubleshoot so that the next move plays in your favor. Reflect on what this process has taught you, and gain confidence in knowing you can do it all over again.
Help your business show off to the highest bidders.
eBay has created an auction site empire because of tactics like those listed above. Creating reviews for businesses gave customers peace of mind knowing that who they were dealing with was a quality seller and that they could trust their services. Let’s not forget the rush of winning that item with a buzzer beater bid; I’m sure you will tell that tale to your grandkids. Give options that can expand to fit the customer’s needs, and don’t forget to take some risks. eBay did — and look at where it got them! You’ve got this. Take these tips from eBay and track down the highest bidders for your business.