Ted I don't know how you do it everytime, your advice is always intelligent and practical to apply.
The figures given were a real story of ours. I'm sure most sellers unwilling to share these numbers as giving away the margin will draw more competitors, but these are the mindset of petit sellers. These topics (believe it or not) are quite common among business owners (thanks to eBay during its glory time, we manage to open a brick-and-mortar shop and consign our products at departmental stores), there's no secret when a neighbour-owner told us how he successfully made 10 fold of margins by rebranding his products, while how another drinks seller where the margin is near to 600% but closed its business due to wrong marketing strategies. Also there's another guy made his fortune by retailing all the items at less than $1 profit. Figures(margins) are just one side of the story, it is not a measurement of the success level of a business.
Ted I must say marketing on eBay is redundant. There's no play of business skills level on eBay, or very minimal involved. If marketing is important on eBay, the small players won't be able to survive on eBay (or we wouldn't had made our little income during the first few years).
All we now see is the middle-sized sellers being chased out by small players in different ways. Take a simple case, a bag's RRP at $149 at retail store. If a seller managed to source a bag at cost of $50 for a quantity of 500 pcs per order, there are other costs involved than a small player, rental, equipments, utilities, manpower, etc. The cost of a bag could easily jack up to $65 after factor in everything. While for a small player, he could easily source the bags for $60 at a quantity of 12 pcs, sell it for $75 (after deducting various fees by eBay) merely for easy pocket money. That doesn't include the fake goods suppliers at cost of $10-$15 per pc. There's not much space to survive for mid-sized sellers in the long run. Yes there could be a few customers willing to pay over $100 for that bag, but you are counting on luck for that to happen. After all, why not buy from the branded departmental stores when they give even more vouchers and warrants than an ebay seller?
Anyway I agree that people turn to eBay because of trust. However eBay is stupidly exploiting the only valuable thing they have. They're helping the fake good sellers (mainly from China) by promoting their items in front page of searches. Why? Because
1. they have more listings - they're listing over hundreds or even thousands of some repeated items at anytime (yes there's guideline of no more than 7 same listings at same time, but it' is easy to get passed by manipulating the title),
2. have more bids (starting at lower bids, did I mention these are fake items?)
3. more views (again, who doesn't like a $149 bag starting at $0.01?)
It's not worth spending time to compete with the fake goods sellers, if eBay wouldn't do something to protect the genuine sellers. We spent almost 3 years without profits (our net assets actually dropped compared to 2008), gave them enough time to make the rectification. It's time to leave. Sooner or later, most genuine sellers will leave eBay.
Enough my rants on eBay. I won't want to talk about it. Randy Smythe argued better than I do, though he left there much earlier.
Email list we have is compiled by a long list of all the customers who bought from us in the past. They didn't opt in (unless purchase is considered an action of opt-in). But it's sort of grey area. More importantly the list was NOT acquired from 3rd party. The contacts were given by eBay or other platforms to smoothen the communication process during a transaction.
We worry by sending out all 10k emails at once, we'll get labelled at spammer. How could we do it the legit way? Is using aweber or other paid service a better option?
We will now start looking at BigCommerce, Shopify and Volusion. These are the kind of advices we needed so much.