Q: "I sell merchandise on eBay and via my own site, and have much better sales on eBay. How can I convert those eBay buyers to purchase on my website?" — Tiffany Spearman, owner and CEO, FashionChix.com
A: The short answer: You DON'T!
You want consumers to complete the initial purchase where they're most comfortable. It's like a blind date. If someone else that you know, like and trust introduces you to someone they know, you're more likely to agree to the blind date. The same principle applies with eBay. These buyers know, like and trust eBay. When a seller attempts to go around that, they often lose the trust factor and, possibly, the initial sale.
Still using the blind date analogy, if you go on the date and like the person, you don't need your friend to set up the second date, do you? The same goes with selling on eBay. Put a coupon and even a personal thank-you message with a strong call to action in the product package, enticing them for a second order from your website. Make the offer compelling and direct them to your site. This is how you transfer that good will you got from eBay directly to the relationship with the new customer.
You need to know what a customer's lifetime value (LTV) is. For example, a customer who purchases from you four times a year and spends, on average, $25 each time has a LTV of $100 (4 purchases x $25 each visit = $100 LTV). Now let's say you pay an average of 10 percent in fees to eBay on the value of the item sold. If the first purchase was for $25, your eBay fee would be $2.50. However, that customer's LTV is $100. How many times would you pay me $2.50 if every time you did it you got back $100? As many times as possible, right? Of course you would.
View eBay as your customer acquisition marketplace, not your adversary. Concentrate on how to get that customer to purchase from you a second time on your site and build a lifetime customer base. That's the value of using eBay for your website customer acquisition strategy.
John Lawson is the author of "Kick-Ass Social Commerce for E-Preneurs," as well as the founder of ColderIce Media, an e-commerce education, training and consulting agency, and 3rd Power Outlet. John can be reached at email@example.com.