As the online auction model of business continues to evolve toward a more commoditized, corporate marketplace, it is time for online auction sellers to seize control of their business, before it's too late.
In this article we will highlight some effective steps you can take to shift control back to your own business.
Why is it so important to seize control?
There are three Mega-trends that have the potential to hurt online auction sellers:Increased expenses across all services that cater to online auction sellers. eBay recently increased their fees, Yahoo Auctions recently began charging fees for listing auctions with them. The U.S. Postal Service recently raised their postage rates. Auction Management services are increasing their fees. Free photo-hosting services now charge fees to host photos on their sites. Payment processing services have also increased their fees. It is a post dot-com-bust reality that most services that used to be free, aren't anymore. Everywhere you look, expenses are going up. Taken cumulatively, they can eat away profits that used to be there. This fact alone is reason enough to consider developing your own online presence - apart from the online auctions.Restrictive policies by eBay. The online auction community is in an uproar over eBay's recent strengthening of their linking policies. These rules essentially eliminate a seller's ability to advertise their site and / or develop clickthrough traffic from eBay. The links rules were only a precursor to the new "eBay Stores", eBay's way of providing idealistic havens of e-commerce for their community. The new eBay Stores allow eBay sellers to set up online storefronts, which of course, have their own fee schedule! These storefronts have opened to mixed reviews. There really is no comparison between having an eBay Store and having your own online storefront. An eBay Store is like having a shop open inside of a gated community. The only traffic you're likely to get is from other eBay members. Having your own website with an online store is like opening up shop on Main Street. You have all the traffic you are able to create and more important, you have freedom to decide exactly how you run your business. You see, in the gated community there are a lot of rules, rules designed to benefit the community at large.Corporate and institutional involvement in online auctions. This is a growing trend. Many large corporations are taking advantage of the eBay auction concept to liquidate unwanted or overrun merchandise to the masses. Even the U.S. Postal Service is involved in eBay auctions! They use eBay to liquidate items that were undeliverable or lost in the mail. Police departments are selling off seized goods on eBay. Corporations are getting on the eBay bandwagon and creating a hyper-competitive environment for some of the "smaller sellers". Basic economics dictates that the greater the supply of goods, the lower the price of those goods.
This triple whammy of higher expenses, a restrictive selling environment and increased competition will have the effect of squeezing sellers out, unless they take action to prevent their demise.
What are some steps you can take to avoid being an Online auction casualty?Begin today to "think outside the auction box". That is, develop an attitude that the online auction goldmine might end tomorrow, so you are going to take the right steps TODAY to secure your future. This is especially important for those sellers who depend 100% on their online auction income!Begin today to make plans for developing your online presence, away from the online auctions. Developing your own website is only the first step towards online success. Getting traffic to your site is really the key that many people ignore, to their dismay. Developing traffic takes time and knowledge.Build, manage and maintain a customer list. Every marketing expert worth his or her salt will tell you that your customer list is EVERYTHING. Maintaining your customer list and staying in contact with your customers is one way to explode your sales. (even if you are selling items not related to what your customer initially purchased!) So much of selling has to do with breaking down that trust barrier. Once you've established a successful relationship with a customer, most of your battle is won. The worst thing to do would be to drop the ball and not re-contact that customer in careful, but constant ways, always affirming the original purchase and informing them of new opportunities.Find the tools necessary to take your business to the next level. This step will take some research, but it will be well worth it. Today, you can find software that will dramatically simplify your life, from autoresponders (automated e-mail response) to bulk e-mail programs (that help you do a mass e-mail to your customer list) to search engine submission programs. (that help you increase your positioning on the search engines) If you are in any type of business that requires continuous education of your customers, a Newsletter program (which not only mails out your Newsletter, but handles unsubscribes automatically) would be a great benefit. Having a Newsletter is one of the best ways to stay in constant contact with your customers and keep them informed about new trends in your industry and new products that have debuted.Learn. learn and learn some more! When I first got online a few years ago, I was intimidated by everything Internet. I knew I wanted to bring my collectible toys business to eBay and I had some theoretical knowledge about it, but had never done it before. As I threw myself into books and websites related to what I needed to know, I came to a very profound discovery. It's all there! Everything you could ever want to know about making your business successful on the Internet is available all over the Internet! Some of the information was free, some of the information cost money and some of it was downright expensive! But one thing was always true - it was all there. Even more important, I found out that there are all kinds of people that are willing to help you with any type of problem or roadblock you may face, you'll find them in the appropriate Message Boards. Everything you need to know to become successful is there, waiting to be discovered!
You will only lose at your online business if you fail to take the steps oflearningtestingimplementing andimproving
As the three Mega-trends of increasing costs, restrictive policies and corporate involvement in online auctions continue to invade the once-safe world of the online auction seller, the people that take the steps outlined above will be the winners in the online business world.
About The Author
David Espino is the author of "Beyond eBay - How to build a Home Based Internet business and make more money, working from home"
To receive a FREE sample from this breakthrough book, click here: www.HomeBasedBusinessowner.com