AKRON, Ohio – An Akron-based maker of tiny electronic devices reports a big upside to participating in a 12-month pilot program in which eBay offers training in the use of eBay’s online sales platform.
TinyCircuits owner Ken Burns said he envisions his startup company someday listing 10,000 products on eBay, including items the company buys just to resell on the platform.
“We buy a lot of this stuff anyway, so why not start importing things and reselling them,” Burns said in an interview with cleveland.com. “We see that as a huge, almost side business from our existing business and it’s a huge growth area we want to focus on,” Burns said.
Canal Place-based TinyCircuits is one of 120 companies that eBay selected from the Akron and Warren areas to participate in the eBay Retail Revival program, which began in March.
The companies receive training and support from eBay as well as a complementary subscription and a dedicated eBay “concierge” to help them learn best practices for selling on the platform.
Burns’ customers typically are hobbyists and companies that incorporate the devices made by TinyCircuits into their own product prototypes. The company’s main product, TinyDuino, is a miniature open-source electronics platform.
But Burns decided to go in a different direction with his eBay store in an effort to appeal to a wider audience.
“On eBay, people aren’t out there searching for a tiny piano or something like that, so we’re selling more componentry,” Burns said.
TinyCircuits now has about 100 products listed on eBay – a variety of small motors, pumps and batteries, some of which the company modifies – and Burns is pleased with how quickly the products are selling.
One employee devotes half their hours to the eBay sales, and Burns hopes TinyCircuits will be part of a program eBay is rolling out to fund an intern position through the University of Akron.
Burns said the education he has received through the program and the insights he gained talking with other eBay sellers at events helped him learn about opportunities he wasn’t aware of previously.
“We did sell on eBay before, but we didn’t really market it or pay attention to it,” he said. “When eBay came to town and we learned about the program and the marketing push they are putting behind it, we really saw a big opportunity there to greatly expand our sales through a platform like eBay.”
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