If you’ve been selling on eBay for a while, you already appreciate the problems associated with stock storage. For those just launching their online retail business, an awareness of the pitfalls and how to avoid them will give you a head start.
All sellers want good feedback (your eBay reputation and success depends on it), and the fastest way to great feedback is by rapidly shipping the correct items, in great condition, at a fantastic price. To do all those things, secure, controlled, easily accessible and flexible storage that’s also economical, is vital.
Efficient Stock Storage
Home storage is attractive for a number of reasons, with low cost and convenience topping the list. If you’re selling just a few items, home storage may be a viable option, but if you’re serious about building a viable business through eBay the sooner you take a professional attitude to professional storage the faster your business will return a profit.
Storage options away from home range between warehousing and self storage units. Depending on your level of business and what you’re selling, both have advantages. For the average eBay seller, self storage is probably the better option. Here’s why:
Short Term Rental Contracts
Whether you’re looking for a permanent storage facility or somewhere temporary to get you over a busy spell, self storage offers you the flexibility to respond quickly to business fluctuations.
Short notice periods make it possible to rent additional space, allowing you to take advantage of sale offers or special deals. Similarly, giving up unwanted space is equally quick and easy. You’re never paying for space you’re not using.
If you opt for warehouse space to store stock you’ll need to find money for utilities, business rates and service charges. Add those expenses to eBay shop fees, listing and final value fees, not to mention Paypal fees, and your overheads can quickly outstrip your profits. If you really need the large storage areas offered by warehousing, that’s one thing. But if you’re looking for relatively small storage solutions that will reduce costs and have built in flexibility, self storage is likely more suitable for your needs.
Creating a Distribution Hub
Having ploughed several hundred, if not thousands, of pounds into stock, security takes on a higher priority. If you’re storing at home, fitting alarm systems and beefing up locks is mandatory for your peace of mind.
So too is ease of access, both for getting stock delivered and for locating, retrieving and packing when it is sold. Having efficient systems in place that are not only safe but convenient for the particular activities of the standard eBay seller is vital. Buyers expect rapid delivery. Whilst they may be happy to wait up to 21 days for delivery from anywhere else, when they buy on eBay they expect a much quicker turnaround.
Ideally, you’ll pack and store in the same area. It may seem wasteful to have a larger storage space than you need, but if you can incorporate packing areas along with space to store all your packing materials, you’ll save time and money on journeys to and from your storage facility. Self storage centres are used to small business owners taking care of packing operations within their storage rooms. Many will also happily sign for deliveries in your absence, making you yet another saving in travelling time.
Take Advantage of Cloud Storage for Documents
Virtual storage is commonplace these days, but are you maximising the opportunities it offers to eBay sellers? Likely in some areas you are: Paypal, for instance, keeps records of all transactions, but you can further safeguard yourself against lost records by duplicating statements and storing copies online. Research free providers such as Dropbox and Google Drive.
One big advantage of cloud storage is that your documents are available from any location or device. You’re freed from the need to take care of paperwork solely from the office since you can access customer information or stored transaction details from any wifi point or your own mobile data allowance.
Making storage work efficiently is key to eBay success. Linking virtual document storage and retrieval systems alongside customised self storage facilities creates a streamlined customer service and packing/dispatching operation. Get those two right, and your eBay buyers will award five star ratings across the board, propelling you towards power seller status.