The 2018 listing changes on eBay make life as an independent eBay drop shipping seller almost impossible. Under the new inventory optimization rules, your products will be displayed alongside ten other companies offering the exact same products. It becomes a race to the bottom.
What’s Changed on eBay?
EBay has changed its listing procedure so you need to find your product in eBay’s catalog to complete the process. That is simple enough, but it is the consequence of this change that is the potential deal-breaker.
Starting May 2018, drop shippers who offer a product with an identical SKU/UPC (product codes) from eBay’s catalog – will have to compete with other drop shippers who also sell that product, this “price party” will happen in one product listing. Amazon already works like this, with many sellers competing over buy boxes on product listings to get more sales. Gone are the halcyon days of having your own listing without other sellers underpricing you.
The order in which the sellers are listed will depend on many factors including; stock availability, reviews, prices and delivery options. You might promote your eBay product listing and find you don’t even appear on the page eBay serves to customers.
This change may have been brought in to counter EBay’s drop in profits in 2017, but reinforces the idea that eBay’s chief priority is its customers, and that sellers must provide value.
Your Own E-commerce Site
It sounds like hard work, but using an e-commerce platform such as Shopify allows you to set up a site, with all products uploaded in a few days. Forget the “How to Set up a Shopify Site in 15 Minutes” posts you will find on blogs. The idea you can do it that quickly is an insult to the intelligence.
Setting up your e-commerce store on your custom domain is only one-tenth of the battle for customers. Driving people to your domain takes work. There are many excellent sources of free information on Shopify.
Life with a Shopify site is different from life as an eBay drop shipper. The dropshipping element is similar, but owning your site comes at a price: You have to take more responsibility.
Designing Your Dropshipping Site
Every e-commerce platform gives you plenty of choice in creating your website.
The Shopify screenshot above shows just a few of the available themes. Many themes are free, but even if you choose a premium one, it won’t break your bank account with most available for less than $185.
Choose a theme, set color options: design is done.
Building Your Reputation
Your e-commerce platform will include a blog. Use it.
Blogging takes time, but is the best way to build your credibility as an expert in your niche; something you must do to set yourself apart from competitors. If you are perceived as *the* person to come to if you have a problem, then you will be able to sell at a premium.
You don’t want to rip anyone off, but neither do you want to be caught up in a price war. Competing on price isn’t a viable long-term business plan.
Promoting Your Site
The traffic your website gets will decide in whether your dropshipping operation stands or falls.
But the traffic you send to your sales pages needs to be targeted.
Random visitors don’t open their wallets. Your visitors must know what they are getting into; they must be pre-motivated to buy and already aware of your reputation as a trustworthy supplier.
Getting more dropshipping sales depends on you owning your niche, so you know where your likely customers hang out. Go there. Be helpful and avoid being promotional.
Everyone hates a big mouth. You need to be seen as someone who is always there to help and provide advice will bring you, customers, because people only buy from people they like.
Use your social media channels in the same way: 90% helpful and about the other person, and 10% about you and your dropshipping business.
Long Story Short
These changes mean that small sellers who are not prepared to compete on price need to look at alternative e-commerce platforms.
If you have your own e-commerce dropshipping site, you can never be put out of business by changes that third-party sites impose, but you do have a lot more responsibility in attracting customers.