eBay: It 's Not Just for Beanie Babies; Buying and Selling Manufacturing Products on eBay Business

Business & Industrial segment produced $1.9 billion in gross merchandise volume in the first quarter.

     In September 1995, eBay started as a global online marketplace where practically anyone could trade practically anything. It quickly grew to enjoy a global presence in 33 markets, and now has 193 million registered users worldwide searching more than 50,000 categories.

     But collectibles, toys and cars weren't the only items users were interested in buying and selling, and when business products became a popular category, eBay introduced eBay Business (www.ebaybusiness.com) in 2001.

EBay for business and industry

     In the first quarter of 2006, the Business & Industrial site of eBay Business delivered $1.9 billion in worldwide annualized Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV), the total value of all successfully closed items on eBay's trading platforms. At any given time, there are more than 245,000 Business & Industrial items available on eBay.com in the U.S. market.

     EBay's business marketplace features 19 categories including Shipping & Packing Supplies; Industrial Electrical & Test; Industrial Supply, MRO; and Manufacturing & Metalworking. In the first quarter of 2006, these were some of the items sold daily in the Business & Industrial category: 2,236 metalworking tools and supplies; 940 industrial automation and control items; 702 industrial safety and security items; and 1,625 electronic components.

     The Manufacturing & Metalworking category contains 10 subcategories such as Material Handling & Processing, Drilling & Tapping Machine, Lathes & Mills, Process Mixers, and Welding Equipment & Supplies. These subcategories offer hundreds of items for sale to the highest bidder. There are also many products available at a fixed price. Within the Manufacturing & Metalworking category, these were some of the items sold daily: 862 cutting tools and consumables; 411 toolholding and workholding items; 156 end mills; 121 welders; and 91 inspection gauges.

What's for sale

     As an example of what is offered, on the day I checked the site, the Material Handling & Processing subcategory had 39 items up for bid. These items included a BOSCH TSplus belt conveyor drive listed at $495.00; a NAMCO electric forklift at $3,000 (with a $1,500 bid); a 41-in. linear shaft with linear bearings at $36.00; and a 55-gal., stainless steel, closed-head drum at $234 (with a $225 bid).

     Each item has a photo or several views of the product; all specifications; bidding information; "Meet the Seller" and seller feedback details; and all shipping and payment instructions easily accessible. And making buying and selling an easy process is a prime goal of eBay Business.

     "EBay provides a safe marketplace for manufacturing buyers and sellers," said Ben Hanna, senior manager of eBay Business "especially for cost-conscious small- and medium-sized businesses." Before eBay, buyers and sellers of industrial equipment were mostly limited to local sale venues such as auctions, newspaper or magazine advertising, or classifieds.

     "EBay provides a global marketplace for business and industrial equipment. The business site has grown from $1 billion in 2002 to $4.7 billion in 2005," noted Hanna. "It's an ideal marketplace for manufacturers to sell equipment they are not using or have in overstock."

Ebay is easy

     If you are not certain just how to get started as a buyer or seller, eBay has several learning tools that can help the first-time user. EBay's online Business Consultant site teaches selling strategies and offers the ability to customize lesson plans. Potential buyers and sellers can learn how eBay works, how to buy and sell on eBay, and how to use credit cards for purchases.

     A Shipping Information link takes you to a Shipping Calculator that will determine how much it will cost to ship an item. On this site you can also print shipping labels, track items that have been shipped, and get information on international shipping.

     "By just entering a few details, such as the weight and size of the item to be sold, shipping service, and package and handling fees, the shipping rate is automatically calculated," said Hanna. "This makes it easy for the buyer and the seller to know just what their costs are, and the Shipping Calculator will even determine insurance costs and add that to the final figure, too."

     And business equipment buyers need not worry about protecting their purchase. EBay's Business Equipment Purchase Protection program protects the buyer against fraud and material misrepresentation, should that occur. Capital equipment purchases are protected for up to $20,000 or the purchase price of the equipment, whichever is lower.

     "EBay has a strict set of trading rules and fair deal practices that protect the buyer, so business equipment buyers can feel safe when purchasing any item from eBay," commented Hanna.

     For buyers and sellers of manufacturing and industrial equipment, eBayBusiness.com is the perfect meeting place.

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