Saturday, July 26, 2008

So some hints about making more money on ebay

Ok, this is supposed to be about making money on ebay (I've given up on the hope of FUN on ebay for the moment...)

So, first what are my credentials?

a) Silver level power seller (for the last 3 years straight and at times during the 8 years and 3 mos before that)

b) Been on ebay 11 years - primarily as a seller

c) Been making a living for the last 3 years on eBay - not a great one but paying the bills


SO on to some tips

#1 TIP of all time - List More Sell MORE

On ebay - volume counts - the more auction listings the more traffic I get. The more store listings, the more traffic I get. As part of that, let me remark that I have an ebay store...and every time I "cross" a hundred mark, my sell-through goes up a bit more. My sales increase.

When I got over 100 items in the store it went up.
When I got up to 200 items it went up.
The day I got the 500th item in there it jumped amazingly.

So list more - sell more


#2 Tip of all time:

YOU CAN'T SELL WHAT AIN'T LISTED!

Your mother is going "DUH, I told you that".

Seriously - put the Christmas stuff in the store now. Put the Halloween stuff in the store now.

Put the woolen sweaters in the store now. (You know it is winter in Australia right? So THEY are buying woolen sweaters when WE are just sweating. )

At Halloween you can put the stuff in auction or run a special. The week after Halloween have a "clearance sale" like the real stores do. BUT LIST IT. AND....Leave it listed. It costs a crummy 3 cents to keep it going for a month.

#3 - USE a spell checker and speak English (assuming of course you are listing on the US /UK/CA or AU sites and are reaching an English speaking market. )

Nothing ruins that initial impression as fast as bad spelling, bad grammar and not proofreading your material (and I'm guilty of all three on this blog sometimes so it proves my point. )

#4 - find, make, steal or buy an inventory system. Keep track of where things are so you can ship fast. I swear sometimes that people look at my listings and deliberately buy anything that doesn't have an inventory number. (those are the older listings pre-system and are very hard to find. LOL)

5. Put all your terms in your listing but say it gracefully. This crap with people saying IF YOU DON"T PLAN TO PAY DON"T BID..?? do you think people bid with the intention of not paying or maybe they bid, find out they are over extended and then are embarrassed by your nasty terms?

6. Have a return policy (this will soon be required) even if it says SORRY! No returns on this item

7. Take Paypal (I'd say take googlecheckout too if ebay would let us) because? BECAUSE, Silly, people pay faster, they don't have to give you their credit card info and they don't really trust us so they feel safer with ebay. (I know not everyone does but 80% of the buyers on ebay do)

And as a footnote - in 11 years 4 mos on ebay? I have NEVER had a bounched check. So if someone wants to send you a money order or a check? Say ok, THANKS!

8. Don't ship without insurance - I use a third party insurer for lower value items. it's so easy to report shipments to them. And for breakables, I buy insurance from the PO or the carrier. I do require it on my auctions (all of them...what if the stinkin' thng gets lost in the mail -not broke cause it's not fragile..just LOST - gone disappeared, never existed??)

Use my referral code please! http://www.dsiinsurance.com/transfer.asp?refId=130
and ask for a quote. Try them, you'll like them. VERY easy and pleasant to deal with.

9. List regularly - better to do 10 a day than 90 on one day and nothing for a month.

10. You really make your profit when you buy your item. So buy low, sell a little higher. Do not list an item for 99 cents when you paid $10 for it. And then what? You cross fingers and toes and pray that it goes higher? THAT'S just plain stupid. List for Cost plus Expense (the ebay and paypal fees/FVF fees) plus Profit. I learned this from ROY on AOL's small business forum and it's serving me well. (Roy used to have a blog but there was some family problems and I can't find his blog right now. When I do I'll post HIS 13 tips. They were excellent.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Recent eBay changes/unchanges

So, do you really think eBay management actually has a written plan?

No, I don't (thanks for asking)!

First they are going to make us have a handling time - but their editing tool doesn't work. I have 1200 listings (I took down 200 because of the new links policy...we'll get to that in a minute).

Like I said, I have 1200 STORE listings. If you want me to put a handling time, a return policy etc INTO them, you'd think that management would have ordered one of their many fine programers to FIX the edit function. NOT! (nope tried it again today to change 62 auction listings cause I put in the wrong paypal account name....NOPE..didn't get ANY of them to work...SIGH!)

Next (well second on MY list) they want all extraneous links OUT! Including my 3rd party insurance company who offers better, less-expensive, easier to use coverage than the almost as crazy as ebay post office. They want my EMAIL link out (but they want to rate me on my customer service which they insist on funneling thru their glitchy message system. They want my website link out of my ME page (where it's resided peacefully and uselessly for 11 years, cause who the hell reads the ME pages?)

They want any possible links to 3rd party service (like Auction listing or Photoservers) OUT. But wait, they are the ones who told me to use them?????????

I have a newsbulletin - THERE IS NO PLAN! If JD or LN get up and are PMS'ing...we get hit with some new stupid idea.

I have asked for years, WHO is in charge of STUPID IDEAS?? I mean they have "disruptive innovation" right? they must have a Dept. of Stupid Ideas...or maybe a "stupid idea farm"? Where they grow them? Like corn?

I want to be Director of Stupid Ideas. I have as many as any of the management team (just ask my husband and son). The onlything is...I have too much sense to implement my stupid ideas. I usually just float them on the river past husband's head during a baseball game. It's kind of funny to watch him try and deal with that and not lose track of the score. LOL

Seriously, here are some of MY stuppid ebay ideas:

1. Allow buyers and sellers to EMAIL each other - freely - on and/or off ebay - like the adults they are supposed to be

2. Allow sellers to offer any payment method they want - cash, checks, money orders, Paypal, credit card processing, GOOGLE CHECKOUT, Bidpay, Revolution Cash. Money moves merchandise.

3. STOP PUSHING FREE SHIPPING - (nothing's free.) If I offer free shipping I have to raise the starting bid, pay ebay more fees, and eat the rest of the shipping costs. It's hypocritical to keep saying buyers expect free shipping. They don't get it from me on Amazon why should they get it from me on ebay?

4. Set a better example in Customer Service. If ebay management wants me to offer free shipping, they could offer:
a) Free listings
b) free photos - like more than 1?
c) free ebay stores (I could use another $16 in my pocket every month)
d) free design elements, like the "gift" tag, the border on the pictures, the picture slide show they stole when I wasn't looking last month.

So do you still think management has a plan??

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Exercise - It's so good for you!

Exercise

Inspired by my friend Deb’s new committment to Curves on regular basis, I went>to the state park with my 26 year old son today. He uses a fitness path they have there or just walks the trails around the park. He does about 3 mi.

So..I go. I’m fat, outofshape and have asthma so I start small on what I think is gonna be about a 1 mi trail. Supposed to take me 30 - 45 minutes. Of course, (I’m directionally challenged. I can read a map lke a wiz but I get lost in the sections of my hometown here – LOL). So I take off up hill and dale. Get to the middle of his fitness trail and realize that, to go back, it circles around. I look – that’s MORE uphill. The trail I just came along is uphill too for the first ½ mile to get back to where I started.

So I decided to keep going forward. I mean how far can it be? So I walk...(what you thought I had the sense to wear my watch or take my cell phone??? HA! I don’t>need no stinkin’ cell phone!). And I walk...and I rest (resting means standing still in one place til I can breathe again cause if I sit on the ground, I can't get back up...bad knees, bad back, BAD idea!) and I walk And I walk...and I rest and I walk And I walk...and I rest and I walk And I walk...and I rest and I walk.

And two hours later, I finally make it back to the stinkin’ car. (down hill the last 1 mile --- which by that time the old knee is achy...and downhill is bad for old achy knees...real bad). But here I am at the car? Where is my chauffeur???

Out with the ambulance and the rescue squad looking for me I guess. HE had water and he drank it all and left his hat on the seat so I know he’s been back and is done...WHERE is he?? Didn’t his mother teach him to stand in one place til she finds him??? I know her – I know she did (not that he listened back then either..).

20 min later he comes back>>>> He’s walked MY circuit (on top of his longer harder circuit) looking for my body in the gullies and under the logs, convinced I had had a heart attack and was laying in the leaves in the woods. Meanwhile if he’s gotten in the car, given up and gone home, he’d have passed me on the road 45 min earlier and we could have been done. LOL!

The good part of all this?? I lost 4 lbs water weight sweating up and> down all those stinking trails. Am I going back Friday ?? Yeah and this time I’ll use the city girl’s tried and true method...I’m printing out a stinking map of the trails. and I’m> taking my gd cell phone. (so I can call his father to come and get me.> LOL) Exercise – it’s so good for you!

What has this got to do with eBay, you ask? You have to be in shape to shop. You have to be in shape to walk in the godblessed HUGE venues they pick for eBAY Live. So I'm in training for 2010.

Monday, July 7, 2008

So what next?

This blog is titled Ebay - For Fun and Profit but...

Have you set up another venue yet?

I tried I-Offer. Then in May when they were nagging me about signing in more often did, I though " BALONEY " so I deleted all the store listings. Done . In 4 mos there I had one sale for a box of trading cards. Not enough to waste any energy on.

Amazon
I sell books there. Currently only have about 60 listed. THAT changed this week and will change again soon as I add in some. I haven't tried the Pro-Merchant yet but will this month (July 2008). I'm not sure if I'll keep my books on ABE or not after I put them on Amazon. I might. But that's up in the air, right now.

The main attraction from Amazon is the abilty to list my glass and china there. I'll let you know how that goes next month

ABEBOOKS
I had a bookstore on ABE back in 2005 and it didn't set fire to the world but it paid its own way. Then they changed software or platforms or some IT thing. And my sales crashed. After three months I gave up. Based on my friends' sales there, I reopened in April 2008. So far, it's paying it's way again.

There are two things I have to do. One is to synchronize the prices on EBAY in my store with the prices on ABE cause I missed a $74 sale today on ABE by having sold the book on eBay 6 wks ago for $19.95. THAT hurt. It's my own fault too cause I knew the files needed to be doublechecked and prices corrected. And I didn't do it. BUT I will be later today. (7-10-08 I have checked and correct them so everything is sort of inline with the other venues. NOW I have to get more books on Amazon)

ECRATER
I could never figure out how to upload a "file" to them. Gonna look at that again this week too.

And I've found a bunch of places that have shops/shopping carts etc. So I"ll be exploring those and reporting back (in case anyone every reads this)

So where do YOU sell and how do you like it? Comments are public so you'll get some free publicity and maybe even some sales. Post your url. !! Please!

Official eBay Search

Squidoo: My 2008 reading list