Your Business Online | Professional Jeweler

August 1, 2001
Sales Bonanza
Jewelry shoppers love eBay, and you should too

It's not new, but it's improved and where 30,000 people go each day on the Internet. While other dot-com retail sites fail, this site flourishes. A diamond ring sells every six minutes. No, it's not an Internet dream. It's a real online shopping destination, and you've probably even visited it. It's eBay's Jewelry, Gems and Watches category.

In May, eBay launched a redesigned jewelry, gems and watches section. It has traditional retail jewelry categories – a change from the original destiniation, which was designed more for collectors and antique jewelry buyers. The new section has 15 major categories and more than 120 subcategories to help buyers find merchandise quickly. To improve educational content and gemstone certification, eBay has partnered with the Gemological Institute of America and the International Gemological Institute.

If you have excess inventory and you haven't tried selling it on eBay, you should, says Shira Levine, the jewelry category manager. To sell items on eBay, you need is a computer with Internet access, an e-mail address and a credit card. The learning curve is steep, says Levine, but it's short and eBay will help buyers and sellers learn to use the site. She suggests having someone who has used eBay show you how or learn at your own pace by taking advantage of eBay's education section ( eBay provides learning tools including online seminars and recorded events, how-to tours, interactive tutorials, community chat workshops and eBay University – classes are held in different cities on weekends. Plus, there are pages and pages of frequently asked questions and help content.

The site isn't just for people who want to sell unappreciated gifts or for liquidators who sell inventory cheaply anyway – eBay is for everyone. Even retail jewelry stores can cash in on eBay's success. Incidents of fraud are low on eBay, and it doesn't cost much to start selling a few items. If you do sell items on eBay, seasoned jewelry sellers say extra features, such as a gallery listing or bold and highlighted auction listings, will get your auctions noticed. Also, some sellers have found success by starting all their auctions at $1 with no reserve, the lowest price the item can be sold for. According to Levine, this grabs buyers' attention and these sellers have 100% sell-through. Items auctioned this way tend to sell at higher prices than similar items with a higher starting bid and a reserve.

There are other auction sites on the Internet, even some specifically for jewelry. However, eBay is one of the most visited sites on the Web and has over 30 million registered users. No jewelry site comes close to those numbers. Keep that in mind next time your store has extra inventory or last season's merchandise to clear out. You will reach more potential buyers by auctioning that inventory on eBay, and you can even link to your eBay auctions from your own Web site.

- by Julia M. Duncan