Whether to have an eBay store is a question that passes through the mind of every seller on eBay. Some get bogged down looking at the costs while others look at it as an investment. Some dispute that while one type of store is good, the others are not (eBay has three types of stores: basic, featured and anchor).

These are the factors that underlie the eBay store concept and could turn into advantages or disadvantages, depending on your transactions:

Decreased Costs:

1. The first and foremost argument that any eBay store supporter will put in front of you is that it saves you costs. You just have to pay a rental and then you do not have to pay listing charges. For instance, if you were to sell 1000 items, it would cost you the same. On the other hand, if you were paying to conduct 1000 auctions, the costs would be at least 10 times more.

2. Some people consider it a disadvantage. This mostly includes the smaller sellers who cannot generate enough volume to spread the costs and as a result end up paying more. However, there is even an argument that by default when a person takes an eBay store, they begin to list more and drop the prices. This makes their listings more attractive to the consumers as compared to the other listings. So the mere knowledge of the fact that the fees have a ceiling, sellers have an incentive to sell more at lower prices driving up volumes. This point of view emphasizes that volumes are a result of an eBay store and not the cause for considering one.

3. An eBay store is a volume game and is meant to entice the pros and the bulk sellers. So if your volumes aren’t as large, or you don’t see them becoming large in the foreseeable future, it is better not to create an eBay store, until you find the other benefits attractive and worth the price.

Professionalism:

1. An eBay store definitely increases your appeal to the buyers on eBay. Since it is the most trusted e-commerce site in the world, being trustworthy there does make a lot of difference. Given the same price and the same product, an average buyer will have an inclination towards the eBay store, as he/she will perceive it as being more credible.

2. At the same time, there are others who think that it is better to spend the same amount each month by building your own website. No point for paying eBay to build the brand when you still have to drive the traffic to the store yourself. What’s more, stores will normally not show up in the search results. So it is identical to marketing your own website and if you have to market, then why build eBay’s brand name, when you could build your own.

3. In this case, choice of the eBay store depends on how you have defined your target market. If you are planning to entice buyers on eBay, the store makes you look credible. If you plan to entice buyers off eBay, there are better options available. But don’t forget that to build trust like eBay is not easy. You can set up your own website, people may even like the merchandise and the prices, but if they don’t trust you enough to buy from you, they won’t.

Unique URL:

• EBay provides a unique URL to each eBay store. So it is basically a mini website within the eBay sub-domain and you can even personalize it. The important point is that you can run your own search engine optimization programs and ensure higher sales.

• The flipside is that eBay provides no impetus in doing this. You still have to spend out of your own pocket, and some people think eBay benefits in an unfair manner because you are paying for optimizing eBay. Consider the fact that a customer is more likely to click on an eBay URL rather than an unknown URL. So even if you optimize for eBay, you get the benefits. The concentration should be whether you benefit or not, rather than whether eBay benefits.

• Once again the choice is simple, whether you want eBay’s brand name and trust, or you want to fend out on your own to build it will give you the answer whether you should go for an eBay store or not.

Link From Auctions:

• Another special feature eBay provides is the ability to link to your store from the auctions. While others do not get this facility, you do. So what good is it? It can be put to great use. You could price one item low deliberately to drive traffic, and once they come, place the link strategically so that they click on the same and view your other items as well. This has increased the sale of many satisfied “eBay store” owners.

• Critics argue that people will come and buy the cheap item and not the fairly priced one in the store. They will look for some other store owner, throwing a bargain at the other one. In the end, sellers thwart each other’s interest and the consumer benefits.

• Check whether there are any other stores that sell the products you intend to. Take into account the number and fierceness of competitors and is largely a matter of personal judgment.

Newsletters:

• EBay allows you to build mailing lists of buyers on its website. You could also send newsletters about the latest happenings in the store to these customers. Many store owners say that it drives sales upwards as the other competitors cannot promote in the same way as the store owners can. The field is tilted in favor of the store owners.

• Some suggest that this is not the case. You still have to build your own mailing list. The only thing you can do is place links and drive traffic so that users subscribe to your newsletter and you can promote your goods. But eBay does have huge traffic, and if you can utilize it to drive traffic to your store, it can bring you a great return on your investment.

• It depends on how effective you think a newsletter and a mailing list would be to pursue your sales objectives and the dollar benefits you are likely to derive.

Tracking:

• EBay allows you to track the number of visitors to your store and auctions. You will know how many people visited at what time and for how long. This basically helps you to develop a pattern and map the purchase behavior. With this information, you can make sure that you let your auctions end when the traffic is at its peak. This will ensure higher bids and better sales.

• While eBay allows you to track the number of people, it does not tell you who. So you still can’t say who is interested or take any measures to further entice them into making the purchase. Some say that it is better to use other features such as eBay wish list, which is available to common users than pay for this privilege.

• If the number and timing of visitors is enough information for you to build your strategy around it, then this is in your favor. If you need to know exactly who visited, then you may not find a store all that valuable.

Tools:

1. EBay provides a whole range of tools to run your business. There is accounting software, auction management software, mailing list software and many like it. These features sometimes add a lot of value to your activities. They also save time and improve efficiency.

2. Some believe that there are many third-party providers who provide the same tools and help you integrate your business at a lower cost.

3. Look at the tools available on eBay and compare their costs and benefits with how you intend to use them in your business.

Making The Final Decision:

Now that you have the factors and the parameters on which to grade each factor, here is what you need to do:

• Have a look at each factor and have a look at whether it is in your favor or against you.

• If it is in your favor, try and analyze how much advantage in monetary terms you expect to derive from this feature. Compare and check what the price of each feature outside eBay is.