JCK Show: Jewelers eye the eBay success story

As it continues to evolve, eBay is providing more opportunities for jewelry retailers. And judging from the overflow crowd for Thursday’s “Internet Auctions: Using eBay to Turn Old Inventory Into Cash,” many jewelers are eager to profit from one of the great Internet success stories.

The e-commerce platform is expected to execute $400 million in sales for buyers and sellers of jewelry and watches, explained Tia Miller, eBay’s category director for jewelry, gems, and watches, during the seminar. On any given day, 360,000 jewelry items are on sale. “We know people are coming to eBay to buy jewelry,” Miller said.

The company, which was once a pure auction site, has expanded its services to include fixed-priced selling (eBay stores) and ways to better sell pre-season, year-end, and liquidation product. The company has also added to its auction service by providing a way to set a reserve price.

Placing a reserve price on an item allows the seller to hedge against selling the item for too low a price. But there is a drawback, Miller says. “A reserve price has a negative impact on conversion. But that’s okay, because if you have a reserve price you have a good reason.”

The eBay store is the best way for jewelers to gain a presence on the Web site. It allows store owners and manufacturers to sell as much of their product as they want under the store’s name. “It’s a seller’s showcase,” Miller explained. “It allows sellers to place all of their items in a single destination and brand it with their company name and logo.”

Retailers can also profit by placing their old merchandise in either the year-end or liquidation categories, Miller said. In most cases, retailers get far more money for the products on eBay than they would in the store.

And with nearly 50 million subscribers, all kinds of products sell. “People sell everything on eBay,” Miller said. “There are 46 million registered users. That’s the best reason to get involved with eBay.”