You’ve set your business up on eBay, and things are going well. You’ve done the hard work, you’re increasing your sales every week, and business is booming.
And then a global recession hits.
Suddenly, it all goes sour. Sales fall off a cliff, and through no fault of your own, your business starts to crumble. With the economy in freefall, you have some worrying months ahead.
This is a nightmare scenario, but it’s not inevitable. Recessions will happen, and there’s not a lot you can do about them. But you can certainly protect your eBay business by making it recession-proof.
- Recessions are inevitable, but your eBay business does not have to suffer.
- By taking steps to recession-proof your business, you can make the best of bad times.
- Use techniques like pricing your products competitively with repricing software, investing more in marketing, and improving your customer service.
- These will help your eBay business stay strong even in the worst of times.
How a Recession Can Impact Your Business
Many people talk about getting a recession-proof job, but what about running a recession-proof business?
Recessions affect eBay sales in many ways. Consumers will spend less due to having less disposable income, and increased uncertainty means they’re more cautious about parting with their money.
As a result, small businesses make fewer sales, profits fall, and you may struggle to attract more customers.
It all sounds like bad news, and in many ways, it is. But there are steps you can take to make your eBay business more recession-proof to help you get through the bad times.
Make Your Products Competitively Priced
No matter what happens with the economy, you can react to it. You can’t control whether the economy enters recession, but you can control how you sell your products and the prices you set.
This is where repricing software becomes so useful.
Repricing on eBay involves changing the prices of the products you sell, often multiple times a day, so you can win the eBay Buy It Now Box and make your listings more appealing and competitive.
If you’ve been selling on eBay for a while or other platforms like Amazon or Facebook Marketplace, you’ll know that competition can be tough.
By changing your prices automatically, you can make your products more appealing and competitive to get more sales.
Most sellers use automated repricing software instead of changing the prices manually, and this is far easier. It also gives your products the edge much faster. So when someone is looking for the product you’re selling on eBay, they’re more likely to pick yours.
It’s a smarter way to stay ahead of the competition at all times, especially when the economy is going through a rough patch.
Focus on Marketing Your Business
One of the first things to get hit in an economic recession is the marketing budget. It’s often seen as less important because you need to focus on getting more sales, not marketing.
But marketing is essential, and even more so when times are tough. As such, you should focus on marketing your eBay business at all times. Then, when a recession hits, instead of slashing your marketing budget, you should increase it.
It’s during the bad times that you need to work even harder to find your target audience and direct customers to your listings.
One way to do this is to invest in eBay Ads. By using Promoted Listings to get your products listed at the top of the results, you can make your listings more appealing and direct more targeted traffic and boost sales.
But don’t stick to ads. Grow your social media presence, get active on YouTube, promote your products in other places, build your email list, and send promotions—there are lots of things you can do.
One of the advantages of this is that other competitors will be cutting back on their marketing during the recession. This could help to generate better results for your business without spending as much as you normally would.
Before the recession hits, work on your reviews, build your social presence, and improve your own eCommerce website, and other areas. The benefits of this additional marketing activity will be felt not only during the recession but for months and years to come.
We’ve already looked at repricing software, which is a popular form of automation. It takes the guesswork out of the process and speeds up your repricing activity, allowing you to focus on other tasks that are essential to the running of your business.
But there are other ways to automate your business for the same purpose—to spend more time on activities that you can’t automate or outsource.
Marketing automation tools, inventory management, and eBay listing software are just a few of the options available to your business.
These will all help you to save precious time and maximize your results, and they often do a far better and faster job than you could do yourself.
In the case of repricing software, there’s no comparison. It’s impossible to reprice your products manually and keep up with all the competitive price changes in the same way that software can.
Hire a Virtual Assistant
Where you can’t automate, consider hiring an eCommerce virtual assistant. The idea of spending more money may seem wrong in a recession, but for many small businesses on eBay, it can often be a good idea.
A VA can take on all those repetitive, easy, but essential tasks, so you can work on the areas of your business that need your direct input.
That way, you can grow your business, work smarter, and boost profits even while spending more money.
You can find eBay VAs on platforms like Upwork and Freelancer. Search for specialists in eBay, or at least VAs with eCommerce experience, perhaps on platforms like Amazon.
You can often hire specialists for fairly low hourly rates, but make sure you hire someone who really knows what they’re doing.
Offer More Incentives
Recessions are times to get creative and innovate to boost your sales. There are still customers out there who you can tempt to buy your products, and not everyone will be facing economic difficulties.
But there may be fewer customers, so you have to reach them. And while other people may be less inclined to part with their cash until the economy improves, they could still be tempted by incentives.
Many people will be spending less, and they want to get more bang for their buck. By getting added value from their purchases, they may be more likely to make the purchase in the first place.
Incentives on eBay can include discounts and promotional pricing for a day or even hours. You could even create new bundles combining products that are often bought together for a discounted price.
If you sell via your own website as well, you could provide special offers like buy one, get one free, a rewards program, bonuses after purchasing, and more.
Make sure you can afford any discounts, and don’t just sell more for the sake of it. Look carefully at where you can make discounts and for how long to keep your profits healthy.
Provide Exceptional Customer Service
One way that you can really make a difference in your business during a recession is to put more effort into your customer service, both before the recession and during it.
By offering excellent customer services, you can improve customer loyalty and lead to repeat sales to not only survive but thrive during a recession.
Attracting new customers is usually more expensive, while keeping current customers is cheaper. It just makes more sense.
By consistently providing exceptional customer service, you’ll build your customer base while times are good. And when times are bad, and it’s harder to find more new customers, your loyal customers will keep buying your items.
Answer customer questions quickly and politely, say thank you for choosing your products, and make sure your products are delivered quickly and in good condition.
Then customers won’t just return to buy more: they will also recommend you to others and give you better reviews, which are an excellent form of social proof.
Let them know that you’re a seller they can trust, and this will help you when the economy is suffering, and customers are naturally more cautious about how they spend their money.
Reduce Overhead Costs
Before you find yourself trying to sell products on eBay during a recession, take a close look at your overheads.
Where are you wasting money? If you have high overhead costs, you’re more likely to suffer when an economic downturn arrives. If the money you’re spending is not leading to more sales, then you may need to cut it back.
Which operations are not worth your while? Which processes take up many hours of your day that you could automate or outsource?
Try to focus on what’s essential for your business rather than spending money unnecessarily. If you try new things, like a new marketing strategy, and they do not bear fruit, don’t be afraid to get rid of them. Constantly look for ways to be more agile.
Perhaps the most important thing of all when you want to recession-proof your eBay business is to be adaptable.
Look at every area of your business and plan in advance for how you would react should a recession hit. Have a plan of action in place, and don’t get stuck in your ways. If your business is old enough, how did you fare in the last recession, and how could you avoid being hit hard this time around?
Constantly gather ideas from other sellers and see what your competitors are doing. Be prepared to shake things up, and you stand a better chance of doing well when a recession hits.
Recessions are hard for businesses, and while your eBay business may be doing well now, that could all change if the economy takes a turn for the worse.
Don’t let all your hard work go to waste.
Now is the time to plan for a potential recession. It may be in the near future, or it may be many years away. But you want to prepare in advance.
Things might be great when there’s an economic boom, but you want your business to be ready for a recession when it hits.
Follow the strategies outlined above to help your eBay business not only survive but thrive.
By recession-proofing your business, you may find that you have less competition when hard times come because other businesses go under. So if you prepare for the worst, you might come through the recession stronger than ever.