This is a guest post by Marco Alvarez at InkFrog.
These days, lots of sellers are operating on both major marketplaces—Amazon and eBay.
Often, however, this can feel difficult to pull off. After all, there are only so many hours in the day. You’d like to keep selling on eBay, but can you do it in a profitable way, without working yourself to exhaustion?
Here are eight steps that you can take to reduce the amount of time you spend on eBay listing and sales, and to help you to better evaluate, at the end of the day, which products you should list on eBay—and whether staying on eBay makes sense for you at all.
1. Make better use of listing templates.
Though eBay has had listing template functionality for years, a surprising number of sellers don’t regularly use it.
Take a look at each of your listings and identify groups of similar listings and what’s common between them. Then, create a handful of eBay templates covering things that don’t change from listing to listing—text, bullets, formats, durations, etc.
Each time you create a listing, start with a template, then tweak as necessary. Working with a small library of well-crafted templates can cut your listing time to a fraction of what it has been.
Create and use listing templates to help you list much more quickly.
2. Get your business policies in order.
eBay enables you to create business policies to quickly configure payment, return, or shipping details for any listing.
If you haven’t done this before, take an hour or two, sit down with your eBay business policies, and hammer out a small handful of payment, return, and shipping policies to use with all of your eBay listings. Then, stick to them.
Avoid bespoke policies that apply to only one product. Instead, give yourself a well-constructed, manageable small library of policies that you can select as you list with a click.
3. Save everything you create and reuse it.
Use a rapidly searchable organizing tool like Evernote to store any text or other materials that you can’t store in eBay templates or business policies.
Any time you create new text or other materials for a listing, save a copy in your tool. Down the road, rather than having to recreate these.
4. Streamline your image workflow.
Put an end to editing and resizing any needed additional images for eBay by configuring your camera to match the size and quality level at which you’ll upload.
Find a space where you can take photos that are just right from the start. Invest in good lighting or an inexpensive light box—there are many available for sale on eBay and Amazon for the price of an afternoon meal, some with lighting built-in. (Light tents work well also)
You’ll be able to simply click, save, and upload—no need to edit or prepare images any longer.
5. Start keeping better books.
Figure out which of your products sell well on eBay and generate a return on your investment of time and energy.
Make these calculations regularly, whether this means learning more about Seller Hub, being more meticulous with your Excel sheets, or some other technique.
Don’t wonder about which products to list—gather real information. Decisions made without numbers are going to leave you feeling uncomfortable.
Keep good data and use Seller Hub to understand which things to continue to sell.
6. Stop listing everything and cut the dead weight.
With better sales data in hand from the previous step, pull from eBay any product that isn’t making you money, that’s difficult to fulfill, that results in an elevated number of returns, or that results in an unusual amount of communication.
If your focus is Amazon, leave easy-to-sell, profitable products on eBay and nothing else—whether this means 80 percent of your inventory or ten percent of your inventory—so that the time and resources you spend on eBay feel well-spent.
7. Hire an eBay assistant.
Your neighborhood is likely full of teenagers and others looking for part-time, entry-level work that doesn’t involve flipping burgers—so there’s no need to do everything yourself.
eBay selling is hands-on, yes, but it’s also more user-friendly and easier to train for than the more professionalized selling platforms like Amazon, Shopify, or BigCommerce.
If your eBay sales are high enough to justify a part-time, entry-level assistant while still returning a useful net profit, consider hiring just such an assistant. Train them to follow behind what you do on Amazon or elsewhere and simply run the eBay part of your business.
8. Invest in tools to help you.
If this all sounds like more than you’d like to tackle, consider investing in simple tools to help you. There are many eBay selling tools on the market that centralize tasks like these into one application. Most of them are affordable.
For example, inkFrog—probably the most popular of these at the moment—has features that track with or automate each of the items above, can help you to quickly list your Amazon products on eBay, and can synchronize your inventory levels across marketplaces.
Pricing for inkFrog and other, similar tools tends to be low—a few sales a month will pay for them. They exist for a reason, so if you’re looking to save time on eBay, they’re a sensible investment.
Subscribe to a tool to help with all of these steps quickly, in one place.
Just Be Practical
Underneath all of these suggestions is a simple rule: be practical.
Don’t know which products to invest your time on? Find out. Not sure you have enough time to invest? Streamline, then compare your new time requirements against what eBay earns for you. If the numbers don’t work out for a product, drop it from your eBay lineup.
In the end, have the discipline to do the things that make sense. Keep better books. Do more efficient, less repetitive work, and use the right tools for the job.
Your pocketbook and your calendar will thank you for it.