Yes, they cost money. But you might save some time and increase your listing potential and profits with eBay automation software and tools.
by Skip McGrath
Time really is money when you are selling on eBay. One mistake I see new sellers make is refusing to invest in their business. They don’t want to pay PayPal fees, so they lose sales because they don’t accept PayPal. They refuse to pay for auction software, or an auction management service, so they spend a lot of time performing routine functions that could be automated for a small cost. The most productive use of an eBay seller’s time is spent sourcing products, performing research, communicating with customers and and launching auctions. Time spent doing anything else counts as a "overhead costs".
Once your eBay business starts to grow and you are launching fifty or more auctions a week (large power sellers routinely launch hundreds of auctions a week), you are going to need some automation and a good system for record keeping, launching auctions quickly, organizing and sending emails, posting feedback, keeping track of payments and inventory.
There are two basic choices: You can purchase auction management software. Although the up-front investment may be high, this is probably the lowest cost way to go in the long run. The other option, and the one I use, is a web-based auction management service.
Each has its advantages. Auction software is typically a one-time purchase, although there are some that charge a monthly fee. You may have to pay for occasional upgrades and you will still need some web space to host your photos unless you host them on eBay which can get very expensive.
I prefer an online or web-based auction management services The top services are Channel, MarketWorks, Vendio and EzLister.
You should compare all of the products and services to see which one is right for you and your business. Also, check out the various message boards on eBay to review comments by other users — or post a question such as: "I am thinking of signing up with Vendio. Does any one have any experience with it?" You will get replies from other sellers who have actually used the software or service.
I am often asked to write an article comparing all of the software companies and auction management services. But rather than reinvent the wheel, I will refer you to David Steiner at AuctionBytes. David maintains a chart of all the various auction management services on his web site at. His chart also compares the fees and has a link to each site. Click here to see the chart.
Skip McGrath has been an eBay power Seller since 1999 and he is currently at the Gold Power Seller level (someone that sells between $10,000 and $25,000 month). He is a registered eBay Trading Assistant, and has lectured at eBay’s annual convention and training event, eBay Live.