In almost 20 years of trading, eBay has become an international household name. Companies – and successful ones at that – who have been well established for many more decades than this would probably give their right arm to have had the rapid growth that eBay have experienced since the mid 1990’s. A simple business concept saw the company evolve and it resulted in a real success story from the dot com bubble. It took just 4 years for the founder to become a billionaire!
Selling on eBay has most definitely become an unbelievable phenomenon. The first thought that most people now have when they think about renovating or selling furniture from their home isn’t who they can give it to but if they can sell it on eBay?!
eBay has changed the market for so many businesses as well. Years ago if you had an old piece of furniture or antique, then the only way to sell it was to go directly through an auction house. But now dealers have had to keep up with the change in the business climate and technology otherwise they were in danger of being left behind.
I thoroughly enjoy reading about how eBay was established. For those that don’t know, it was founded in 1995 and one of the first items sold was a broken laser pointer. The story goes that Pierre Omidyar, founder and chairman of eBay, emailed the winner to check that they had realised that this item was broken and received the following response, ‘I’m a collector of broken laser pointers’. And so this dot-com company went from strength to strength. And the rest as they say is history.
Before starting my business, one of the very first items that I sold on eBay was a broken shower pump. The new pump was hugely expensive and just as the plumber was about to take it away I thought that it would make sense to try and sell it on eBay. Now what I know about plumbing can be written on the back of a postage stamp but I was extremely honest and sold it as ‘not working’. I soon realised that if I could sell this then I could probably sell anything. And so this is how www.AuctionGirl.co.uk was established.
If you think about the eBay business model it is so simple and it works. Yet no-one really competes in the same league. From time to time we have thought about selling through other sites like Amazon and Etsy. Yet having looked into it on several occasions we often revert back to the fact that if it isn’t broken then why fix it?
Over the course of 5 years of trading there have been a number of occasions where we have been disappointed with how eBay have dealt with a situation. Yet it comes back to the fact that they have the largest market share and actually it ties in extremely well with the way we like to sell. I think that if you are an on-line trader of new or surplus stock then there are other sites out there to trade off. However I am a firm believer that the best way to sell second hand goods is by placing them on auction and no other site has the visibility and catchment that eBay provides. Locally there are sites such as Gumtree that serve their purpose but I still think that you achieve better prices through eBay selling.
At AuctionGirl we offer a high level service selling on behalf of our clients on eBay. I often tell people that what we do isn’t rocket science and there is nothing to stop someone selling for themselves. However, we strongly believe that the more research that is done then the better the prices. Not only do we have software to assist us in pricing items but we spend hours trawling the internet to get as much information as possible and thinking about the best possible title that a listing can have to ensure that it comes up in searches. And not forgetting about the time it takes to photograph items, take down measurements (both metric and imperial) and then creating great copy. And then of course there is the postage that has to be done – the unglamorous side of the job – but if you can post an item then you will achieve more money for it.
I think about how the market will change over the next 20 years and wonder if eBay will be able to adapt to this. I hope they do in the immediate future as my own business, like many other sellers on eBay, relies on their success as well!!