Online retail giant eBay earned $US757 million during the final three months of 2012 – its best year yet – prompting an industry expert to issue some key tips to Australian eBay sellers.
In the final quarter of 2012, eBay earned $US757 million ($A719.07 million) or 57 cents per share, in what is believed to be the best year yet for the 18-year-old company.
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The quarter’s earnings were up by 17% from 2011, on an adjusted basis. Revenue climbed 18% from the previous year to nearly $US4 billion, in line with analysts’ forecasts.
eBay said its mobile applications have been downloaded onto more than 120 million devices, with chief executive John Donahoe saying mobile is “quickly becoming the new normal”.
Meanwhile, eBay-owned payment service PayPal added five million account holders in the fourth quarter – its biggest three-month gain in eight years – taking the total number of account holders to approximately 123 million.
Fourth quarter revenue from PayPal totalled $US1.54 billion – a 24% increase from the previous year.
eBay Inc spokesperson Adrian Christie told StartupSmart while there are no Australian figures available, Australian eBay sellers have been faring “particularly well”.
“The uptake rates of mobile have married or mirrored and exceeded some of the North American growth,” Christie says.
“We’ve also seen increasing exports from Australian sellers; selling to overseas markets from Australia.”
Christie identifies fashion, electronics, and home and garden as standout categories.
“They’re the main categories we’re seeing large growth in. Fashion has been the fastest growing category for the last couple of years in Australia,” he says.
“Home improvement [has also been performing well because] more and more consumers are looking to do do-it-yourself renovations.
“Tools and homewares are captured in there – that category is quite broad.”
According to Christie, businesses are becoming increasingly savvy with regard to how they utilise their staff.
“They can use their staff… throughout the day to do their supply chain – packaging and shipping off products, rather than just cleaning the physical store,” he says.
He has several suggestions for sellers relating to mobile, shipping and online marketing.
“A key recommendation is to innovate for mobile first – tablets and mobile phones. Consider them the first platform you should be creating products for,” he says.
“Also, if you have an online store and you have a shipping supplier who can ship products in seven days, perhaps consider a supplier who can do it in two to three days.
“Customers are prepared to pay a premium for this.”
Christie says while there is a temptation for small businesses to simply “create a destination and hope people will come”, this isn’t wise.
“Use as many traffic drivers as you can. Look at [online] marketplaces… or listing referrals such as Getprice or Shopping.com,” he says.
“Make sure you’re social and connect with consumers… If you are providing a service or product, try to get out there in the community as an expert. Post additional advice on forums.”
“Consumers will pay a premium when it’s coming from a reliable seller.”