Since 1995, eBay has been the auctioneer’s dream, buying and selling any amount of items for cheaper than retail. Millions of buyers flock to eBay looking for bargains. Millions of sellers keep their eBay stores stocked with a wide variety of merchandise. But just like any retail store, sellers have to keep track of their inventory.
Inventory management is just as important online as in a physical warehouse. If you don’t keep track of your inventory properly, it can interfere with your cash flow. EBay provides the means for sellers to manage their inventory. There are also other companies that offer software to make it easier or they even do it for you.
The items in an EBay store are usually priced higher than items listed for auction. These prices are fixed, meaning there are no bids. Fixed price items are listed with no ending times. As long as the items are in stock, you can buy them at any time.
Inventory information can easily be changed or edited. You can change individual items or entire groups. When listing items, you can select which category to place them in such as the auction listings or fixed price listings.
Inventory can be managed using one of two programs: Selling Manager and Selling Manager Pro. These programs allow you to pull auction items and add them to your store inventory. If an auction ends and an item has not sold, it does not automatically return to a seller’s eBay store. You have to manually relist it using one of these programs. You can go in after the auction has ended and click for an unsold item to be relisted in inventory. However, sellers who use the Selling Manager Pro can go into their settings to have items automatically sent to inventory.
Altogether, eBay’s inventory management programs can help sellers manage their listings and help sellers decide where and how to list their products. You can attract new customers and increase profits from inventory sales. Using eBay’s program can also help a seller save time. EBay even offers marketing solutions to assists sellers in determining a competitive price, duration for auction, and which listing formats to use.
Third Party eBay Inventory Managers (Dropshippers)
Some sellers use third parties to manage their inventories. These companies are called dropshippers. These inventory management companies act as a distributor between the customer and the eBay seller. The seller does not physically keep products on their own premises. The seller normally posts the items, manages the sale, and collects the money. The dropshipper keeps the items in inventory and ships them out after they have been sold.
While this may not be as advantageous for sellers with small inventories of only a few items, it may be beneficial for eBay’s Power Sellers who have large quantities in stock. You have to pay management companies a fee for their services but if you have huge inventories and not enough time to manage them, it may be worth it.
Here are some advantages to using dropshippers:
- Keeps track of seller’s inventory levels
- Able to add the same product to multiple eBay sites
- Can set your eBay listings in different languages
- Automatically fills out eBay templates for all items
- Can set barcodes for all your products to keep track of large quantities
- Can archive all of your listings and photos for later use
- Manage all photos
- Provides shipping labels for all products
- Sets up defaults that automatically apply to all shipping, refunds, and policies
- Maintains eBay security such as passwords
While using dropship companies may seem like a good idea, there are some disadvantages to using them. Here are some of the more common:
- Additional fees for their services such as registration fees, processing fees, and maintenance.
- Sellers not being able to physically oversee the storage, handling, and shipping of the sold item.
- Sellers unable to verify that the orders have been filled correctly
- Some dropship companies are actually pyramid schemes that only want to get new members.
- There are too many of the same items on eBay that are supplied by the same drop ship companies, causing the site to be oversaturated.
- Returned items could cost you money as you still have to pay dropship fees
- As a general rule, seller’s who use dropshippers have lower profits than those that do their own inventory.