4 Ways to Increase eBay Sales

Increase eBay sales
Optimize for SEO, mobile, and tweak customer policies. GettyImages

The number one question asked by eBay sellers is, "How can I improve my sales?" Selling on eBay is more than just throwing up a few photos and writing a short description. There are many details that involve improving SEO (search engine optimization), customer policies, and online retailing. And with millions of items listed each day, sellers must go the extra mile to outperform the competition. Here are a few ways to tweak your eBay listings and account to help rise to the top of search so that buyers can find your items, and close the sale once buyers find your items.

Improve SEO on eBay

SEO means search engine optimization. eBay has it's own search engine called Cassini, which has a specific algorithm. Some aspects of a listing place listings higher in search, some push listings down. eBay rewards a 30-day return policy by placing those listings higher in search. Anything less than 30 days or no return policy at all, and the listing is pushed down in search. Another SEO standard is 200 words in the description area. eBay specifically states:

Listing Description: Include at least 200 words of visible copy in your listing description, with the most important keyword phrases mentioned at the beginning and end. Remember to employ other content best practices, such as the frequent use of keywords where relevant and formatting (e.g., bolding, using font size on important titles and keywords).

Read eBay's SEO policy.

Optimize for Mobile

EBay estimates 40% of all sales take place on mobile devices.

That includes mobile phones, iPads, and tablets. Mobile devices display information differently than a desktop or laptop computer. One of the easiest ways to increase eBay sales on mobile is to optimize photos. Crop photos in tightly so that the product takes up most of the space, edge to edge, in the photo.

When listing lots, select the best photo of one item in the lot as the gallery photo. Buyers may have difficulty viewing a photo of 30 articles of children's clothing. Grab the buyer's attention with a clean uncluttered photo for the gallery, then include more photos in the listing. eBay offers 12 free photos so there is no reason not to use all 12 when listing lots.

Make sure you use font size of 12 or larger and arrange text in short phrases or bullet points rather than paragraph format. Phrases and bullets are easier to read on mobile. White space between text is easier on the eye (web designers will agree) and less overwhelming to read. Look at how major retailers format text on their mobile sites. Companies like LL Bean, Nordstrom, and Walmart have million dollar advertising and IT budgets - they know what they are doing. Follow their example for formatting listings. Read all of eBay's tips for optimizing mobile listings here.

Create Customer Friendly Policies

You have done all the work to get a buyer to your listing. Make sure you don't lose them by barking out return policies like a drill sergeant. Write all policies with a friendly accommodating attitude. Remember the competition is only a click away.

Your job is to keep the buyer's attention, gain their trust, and close the sale. For example, instead of saying,

"We only ship once a week."

It is better to say,

"Due to our full time job schedule, we ship once a week. If you need the item sooner, please contact us and we will make our best effort to accommodate your request."

Attitude is everything, especially when all that is between you and the buyer is a computer screen. Don't give the buyer a reason to click away because they don't like your attitude. Again, see what large retailers do and how they word their policies.

Describe and Explain

Internet shopping is different than in-person retail shopping. The buyer can't see, touch, or examine the item in person. Use photos and words to describe the item in detail and accurately. Take photos like there is no description, and describe as if there are no photos.

Always include measurements and show all sides of three dimensional items. Explain textures of items and include materials that the item is made from. Anticipate what the buyer may ask and include that information in the listing.

EBay is cyclical and sometimes sales are just slow, the same as in retail. Keep listing and the buyers will come. And once the buyers reach your listing, treat them like gold.

Updated by Suzanne A. Wells on August 2, 2016