Huge online traffic generated by eBay caught the eye of Henry’s decision makers back in 2000.

“We taught it would be a great channel for our hard-to-sell items and potentially an additional revenue stream,” according to Max Payne, director of marketing at Henry’s. 

Nestor Arellano

The company never expected the move would become so big that it would open the 100-year-old Canadian photo supply store to a whole new group of American customers.

Payne wouldn’t specify how much its auction store on eBay brings, or what percentage of the company’s total revenues it accounts for.

“It’s substantial enough for us to keep the store open for 10 years,” he said.

But before Henry’s developed a strong eBay clientele, the company did experience some growth pains, according to Payne. (For more on this story read: Henry’s snaps picture perfect profits with eBay presence )

For example, it failed to anticipate the resource drain that would result from running an extra online store.

Henry’s began by posting 50 to 100 items on eBay. However, the task of cataloguing, taking pictures and writing descriptions for these items soon became a burden.

Here are key lessons that Henry’s learned as it grew its eBay store:

1. Get a definite idea of what you’re getting into. Investigate the market. Study how other retailers executed their campaign. Determine how operating an eBay store will affect existing operations and resources.

2. Allocate adequate resources and staff for the project. Add staff if the volume demands it, and cut back when traffic is slow.

3. As much as possible take advantage of existing backend facilities and IT resources. For instance, Henry’s eBay store “piggybacked” on its warehouse as well as CRM, and payment engines. “Resist the temptation to reinvent the wheel,” said Payne.

4. Focus on long term growth rather than short term profit. It took Henry’s eBay store more than 18 months to become self sustaining. “Sometimes it could be a long haul, you have to keep your eyes on the prize,” said Payne.

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  • Philip Cohen

    How’s Henry’s going on eBay at the moment? Along with very many others, not too well I suspect.

    eBay/PayPal/Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

    And for anyone interested in eBay’s deviousness generally, and in particular eBay’s demonstrable and deliberate criminal facilitation of the rampant shill bidding fraud being perpetrated by many unscrupulous professional sellers on buyers, particularly on nominal-start auctions, an introduction thereto (along with some PayPal horror stories thrown in for good measure) can be found at

  • It helps if you are selling the same product over and over again, rather than writing a unique description for 1000’s of different items.

  • i actually made thousands of bucks from selling some stuffs on Ebay, that is why i always thank Ebay a lot~**

  • Abandon all hope of normal customer/ service provider treatment with ebay. eBay & subsidiary Paypal scoff at the Bettter Business Bureau, the consumer protection laws, even the Constitution. They’ve decided that ‘sellers’ are completely dispensible, and think nothing of confiscating funds from their Paypal account, based on claims by buyers such as a failure to deliver lots by mail perhaps thousands of miles away, a few days after they’ve paid, refusing to pay for postal registration/ insurance, like 95% of buyers do, wherein they are almost automatically given their money back and keep the goods.

    Lately ebay has taken to deleting lot descriptions at the instant sellers hit the enter key to list an item, with a panic error message generated by some flakey algorithm, that ‘There is an error, you have omitted a valid value, go back & re-enter my description’ a masterpiece of deceit, lack of clarity and just plain bullying.

  • you can always get some bargain stuffs on Ebay that is why i really love ebay .

  • I have been selling things on ebay since the site started. It is definitely a great way to make some extra income.

  • Ebay is all but dead now. Amazon is the premier marketplace on the net and they even offer an affiliate program so you can make money selling other people’s products. Just like myspace, ebay has not evolved with the rest of the internet.

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  • With their current fees & regulations making money on ebay has become a major headache. Little bit more of their insane fees & it will be useless.