5 Common Mistakes Online Sellers Make

Selling “stuff” online isn’t exactly rocket science. Buy low, sell high — rinse and repeat. It can be an excellent way to make a part-time or even full-time income and for the most part, nothing beats working for yourself. It’s not without challenges, however, and there are certain mistakes that many sellers seem to make. Here are a few you’ll want to avoid:

1. Not watching fees. It’s always a great feeling when your month-end statement shows a steady stream of cash going into your bank account. At first glance, you may think you made a hefty profit, but — is it really profit? If you’re not paying attention to marketplace and service fees, you could be breaking even or worse, losing money. It can be tedious, but take the time to calculate what you’re paying out in fees each month. Consider not only hosting and insertion fees, but shipping fees and PayPal (or checking) fees, and fees you pay to other 3rd party providers to get a better handle on your actual profits.


2. Resting on laurels. Although it’s an antiquated phrase, it still applies today. Many sellers get items listed and then when the sales start coming in, they “take a break”. They decide that since it’s too hot, cold, sunny, rainy or nice out that they’ll do something other than look for more inventory to sell. Remember that your online business is all about supply and demand, and no supply… no demand.


3. Skimping on the important stuff. When you first start selling items online, it is natural to want to skimp on some of the operating costs. You might choose to run auctions instead of investing in an eBay store (even though the eBay store would save you money in the long run), or perhaps ship items yourself instead of using Amazon FBA and letting Amazon do it. As you become more established, you should ask whether you’re skimping on things that could help you get ahead. For example, Terapeak provides invaluable information on eBay and Amazon selling trends when you are looking for new inventory or need to research an item. Although this tool comes with a monthly cost, it will save you from wasting valuable time performing your own research (instead of actually getting items listed).


4. Not communicating with buyers. Since selling the items you have listed determines your success as a seller, it’s imperative not to ignore emails from buyers and respond quickly when someone has a question about an item you’re selling. Every question about an item is a potential sale – so if someone has questions before they purchase something, do your best to make sure they get an answer. This will not only increase your chances of selling the item, but it will help avoid a return or refund.


5. Not having a plan. One of the biggest things sellers struggle with is creating a “business plan.” When you first start out, it’s hard to know how to project what you’re going to make, so a lot of sellers don’t bother putting anything on paper. Although you may not be able to project your business in dollar amounts, you can set goals and project how much you plan to increase you listing volume (and sales) each month. Instead of using a dollar amount, your business plan can be as simple as how many listings you plan to launch each day/week/month, and how many days a week you’ll devote to looking for new inventory. Setting a realistic goal for each month will help you build inventory and get items listed on time (and as a result, increase sales!)

This guest post was contributed by Kat Simpson. Kat is a trusted eCommerce author, speaker, educator, and entrepreneur. Kat Simpson has been a successful eCommerce merchant for over 10 years; is an eBay Education Specialist and Gold Level PowerSeller, as well as a successful Amazon merchant. Currently Kat is the hosts the popular weekly eCommerce Podcast That Kat Radio and an active Facebook Group ThatKat.

Comments are closed.