So you started your own business, and you can’t think of a better place to sell your products than on a popular online marketplace like eBay, Etsy and Amazon. You’ve set up your page and product listings, but a couple of weeks go by and you aren’t seeing many orders.
Don’t let this discourage you. Learning how to sell on eBay, Etsy or Amazon is not a walk in the park – it often takes trial and error. Nevertheless, we’d like to help you bypass some of the most common mistakes folks make so you can see the fruits of your labor sooner.
Below, six successful online businesses have shared with us some of the common mistakes they made when they started selling on eBay, Etsy or Amazon, and their lessons learned.
Common Mistakes When Selling on eBay:
Featuring a Generic Photo for All Listings
“CCS-Digital.com sells ink and toner cartridges. A lesson we learned from selling on eBay is that no one reads these days. The photo shown on your listing must match the item offered, even if the title is clear. We had several mismatched cartridges from different printers to sell on eBay, so we took one photo and posted it for several auctions. Each post had a unique title, such as ‘Magenta T069 cartridge,’ yet some of the winners thought they were bidding on all of them, and as you can imagine it caused some issues with customers. Needless to say, I learned my lesson. Now I make sure the photo we post is of the exact item being offered.”
– Izzy Goodman, CCS-Digital.com
Neglecting to Promote Your Own Site
“I sell vintage clothing on eBay, and for many years I made the mistake of putting all my eggs in one basket by having my inventory only loaded on eBay. I realized I was passing up a secondary revenue stream on my own ecommerce website. So for each eBay purchase, I started to include in the package an introduction to my own website and a discount code of 25 percent, encouraging future transactions to be made via my website. The results were great! In the last year, about 15 percent of purchases on our website used the code given in these packages.”
Common Mistakes When Selling on Amazon:
Leaving Product Listings Active When You Go Away
“When I first started selling on Amazon the biggest mistake I made was going out of town for a few days and not taking the product offline. Here is the deal – what Amazon cares about the most is how you treat their customers and if you are quick! They give you about 2-3 days to get the item shipped out. If you are out of town and can’t ship the item, your account will be seriously dinged! I learned this the hard way. Now, as soon as I ship the item, I enter the tracking number into my account. This informs the buyer and Amazon that the item has shipped.”
– Anita Fowler, author of “Living a Rich Life as a Stay-at-Home Mom”
Not Including Relevant Keywords in Your Product Listings
“My company LiftHeavies makes fabric wrist wraps for CrossFit and weightlifting athletes in the USA. When we first started selling on Amazon, it took more than 3 months to get our first sale. I didn’t know that I had to optimize the title and description of my listings with the right keywords, so my products were pretty much ‘invisible’ to Amazon customers during that time. Now, I use Google Keyword Planner to find the right keywords. I also started using Amazon’s Sponsored Products service and I saw an increase in sale with just ten dollars per day.”
– Kadir Suleymanoglu, LiftHeavies
Common Mistakes When Selling on Etsy:
Not Having a Cohesive Brand From The Beginning
“I design handmade jewelry and have been selling on Etsy since 2013. My main mistake was not having a coherent brand from the start. I lacked cohesive photography and changed my logo a few times, which made the shop look messy and the jewelry did not stand out as much as I wanted it to. A good macro lens and a consistent backdrop makes a world of difference. I also started collaborating with stylists and photographers. By lending them my jewelry and giving away a few samples, I get amazing photos of professional models wearing my jewelry basically for Free.”
– Meri Geraldine, Gardens of the Sun
Writing Generic Product Descriptions
“I own Honest Earth Candles and we sell healing wax massage candles on Etsy. The biggest mistakes I made include creating product listings that did not maximize the total number of words allowed in a product’s title, and not improving on the existing wording that I was using. It is important to use more rudimentary descriptive words as opposed to just a few distinct words in your product’s title. When I corrected my errors, I instantly saw a huge difference in traffic to my website. When in the past I would go a number of days at a time with no visitors to my store, I now have visitors every single day.”
– Kiki Rupert, Honest Earth Candles