This week, we joined eBay at their Reading Roadshow, one of 12 events being held up and down the country this year. With five events still to take place (Southend 8th September, Plymouth 13th October, Cardiff 17th November, Bristol, 12th January, and Belfast 2nd February), we’re sharing our impressions of the day and why you should attend an eBay Roadshow.
First off, these events are proving enormously popular, sellers I spoke to at the Reading event travelled from right across the South East to attend – from Brighton and Southampton, to Oxford, London and even the Midlands. There’s a reason sellers are travelling so far to attend an eBay Roadshow and the agenda soon made this clear.
But, before we get to the agenda, it’s worth mentioning the 121 Marketplace Advisor Clinics. Looking like they were fully booked throughout the day, this is your chance to sit down with eBay experts flown in from eBay’s Dublin support centre. Got a problem with your eBay account, want to learn how to optimise your listings, eBay shop, shipping, handle advertising or eBay Promotions – these are some of eBay’s top advisors and they’re available to help you for free.
The day started with eBay General Manager Murray Lambell welcoming attendees and from a rough count there were well over 250 at the roadshow. Certainly it was standing room only with every single one of the ~250 seats taken. Then it was time to introduce Small Business United, eBay’s second season of gifting their English Football League stadium advertising to local small businesses. Real sellers were there who had just found out which Football club they’ve been paired with.
Then it was on to the real business of the day and it wasn’t all eBay speakers trying to flog you on the marketplace. First up was Michelle Ovens of Small Business Britain talking about the challenges of starting and running your own enterprise (Small Business Britain is free to join).
Then eBay’s Sarah Bryant took to the stage to discuss listing optimisation and strategy. This is a session not to miss as Sarah pointed out a ton of really silly, but not always obvious mistakes sellers make in listings and promotions. For instance offering a buy one get on half price promotion on 12 foot swimming pools is unlikely to be successful, and neither is floor tiles with discounts for buying 2, 3, 4, or 5. These are traps sellers can fall into by applying promotions in bulk to their listings and the tile seller saw a massive uplift in sales when they tweaked their promotion to give discounts on 100, 200, or 500 – After all as Sarah pointed out, unless you have the smallest bathroom ever, no one is ever going to think a discount for buying a fifth tile will close the deal!
A quick hop through eBay retail standards and growing cross border trade and it was time to look at how to build a sustainable business with Ciaran Armstrong, Sustainable Pathways and Adam Bastock, Small99. Then it was time to look at eBay Promoted Listings and when and how to use the three different flavours available.
Possibly the most important session of the day came next with Michelle Ovens returning to the stage, she opened with promise of free money that got everyone’s attention. After interviewing a panel of small businesses, along with Murray Lambell and and Jane Gratton from the British Chambers of Commerce, the audience were practically begged to apply for grants to help them boost their business. Grants range from £1,000 to £5,000 and to apply you need to attend an eBay Roadshow to get an application.
After the final break of the day, it was time to look at how Working Capital can help you grow your business followed by scaling on eBay with eBay Fulfilment (did you know you can now forward deploy inventory into Germany and Australia with the US coming soon?).
The final session of the day was one of the best, as Katherine George from Oh So Social discussed how small businesses can make their voice heard on social media and grow their reach online on a budget. With an amazing grasp of all the social platforms out there, Katherine shared tips on how to post, what to post, when to post, which platforms to post on and how to make sure your message cuts through the noise and has an impact that makes potential customers remember you.
And… after a full day, the bar was open and it was time for a quick drink before hitting the train home.
If you want to attend an eBay Roadshow, plan your day and decide what you want to get out of the day.
If you’re an experienced eBay seller you’ll want to attend sessions such as Oh So Social and the eBay Optimisation session, but make absolutely certain you get your 121 Marketplace Advisor Clinics booked early in the day as this will be invaluable for your business. Pick a time that doesn’t clash with your must-attend-presentations.
If you’re new to eBay (or perhaps not even selling on eBay yet), you’re going to be exposed to a whole new world of possibilities when you attend an eBay Roadshow. You’ll get an amazing amount of knowledge to give your eBay business a head start, but you’ll also gain a ton of understanding and practical insights that will help you boost your business off eBay as well.
Keep an eye out for the next eBay Roadshows, ticket sales (tickets are free!) open about a month before each event takes place.