Friday, September 30, 2005

Still more on ebay

Okay, we are covering every aspect of ebay. I have decided over the past week that the most important thing in making money on ebay is to have a large volume. I am trying to get up to where I will have at least 100 listings at any given time. How to do that? Shop and sell! The hard part is to spend more time listing and selling and less time shopping.
You have to go out and find the bargains. As a sales manager I always told people not to put themselves in someone elses pocket meaning that just because we were selling something they themselves couldn't afford don't assume that the customer can't afford it. This applies to ebay but in a different way, don't assume that just because you have found something you wouldn't want that there isn't a customer out there that would want it. Look at ebay, you can find ANYTHING. Someone is selling those items.
Next you have to list your bargains and Im not sure if I covered this already but you can't start out with a high price. If you have an item that you absolutely must get a certain amount from just set a reserve price. If you have an item that is worth $20 and you set the starting bid at $19.99 you won't get many bids but if you put a reserve of $20 and start the bidding at 1.99 you will be sure to get people bidding and probably end up with more than the $20 you wanted. Now it is true there are some people who don't like to bid if they have to guess what the reserve is but you have to do what you have to do.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

More on ebay

Something else I was thinking about that you should know. You will need to decide what kinds of payment you will accept. During my auctions this past week I elected to accept paypal, money orders, cashiers checks and personal checks. By the time the auctions ended I was re-thinking my decision to accept personal checks. Now ebay is based on the concept that people in general are good and I believe this to be true but we also know there are bad people out there. What if I got one of those bad people? What if their check bounced and it cost me money? My bank charges $20 if deposit a check and it bounces! Luckily everyone paid with paypal and I didn't have to worry about it but this weeks auctions are only accepting paypal, cashiers checks and money orders :)
Now with paypal you have options to think about too. You can have a paypal acct and receive payments for free but your customers will not be able to use their credit cards. This means you limit the number of people who can bid on your item but I see a lot of people doing it this way. If you have upgrade to a premier/business acct you will be able to accept credit card payments. The advantages of paypal are that you get your money right away. The disadvantage is that with a premier or business acct you will be charged a fee, generally around 2.9% of the transaction. So I use paypal for everything and after I upgraded one of my larger payments came in from my business and it ended up costing me over $10 for the transaction. I want to keep the ability to accept credit cards but I don't want to lose a lot of money. So for that particular company I am now requesting my money be sent in a check and I can still use paypal for my smaller ebay transactions without it costing me an arm and a leg. If you also have large payments coming in through your paypal acct you might want to switch those over before upgrading.

Monday, September 26, 2005

An adventure on Ebay

Recently I quit my part time job which meant I needed to find another way to make some extra money working at home. I thought "well I've always wanted to try Ebay but what on earth would I sell?". Now for some odd reason I am the owner of a few thousand golf balls, so I thought "hmm why not?", so I did. Start selling golf balls I mean.
Ebay isn't exactly hard but it does have some quirks and I was lucky enough to find a great mentor who has been patiently answering all my weird questions and working with ebay does mean you will have weird questions.
It seems like a fairly easy concept, list an item, get payment, ship it out and call it good. That isn't exactly what happens though.
First you need to make sure that your listing title includes the keywords people will search for. I didn't realize this one until last week when I listed a particular golf ball and couldn't figure out why it wasn't showing up on the particular page that I thought it should. After an hour of research I finally figured out this simple idea and had to go back and spend an hour changing ALL of my listings.
Second you need a good description. Your description should include everything good and bad about your item. You should also include any disclaimers about anything you might have missed.
Third you have to figure out how much you expect and want for your item. If you paid $100 for an item and are trying to sell it, are you really willing to let it go for 99 cents? You can put a reserve on your item but that means some people might not bid because they don't want to have to guess at what that reserve is. You can put a starting price on it but if it is too high you won't get many bidders, and if you put it too low you will not be happy. You have to decide for yourself which way is going to work best for you.
Fourth, you have to figure out your shipping costs. I have mostly been using flat rate boxes for items and that makes it pretty easy for me to know what to charge for shipping. If you aren't using the flat rate mailers though and you estimate that something will cost you $3 to ship and get to the post office and find out it costs $5 you are cutting into your profit. A scale works good for this my mentor has said but I don't have one yet so I am still using the flat rate boxes for the heavy shipments of golf balls and so far it is working out.
Fifth, you need to get your items to the post office and send them out and in a timely manner. Some people set aside a couple days a week for shipping. I end all my auctions on the weekend and ship on Monday. However this week I have been thinking of listing a LOT of items, I want to get up to 50 a week. Then I got to thinking: How on earth would I get twenty boxes into the post office? This question has been bugging me for days and then last night "List and ship throughout the week! Duh.." so that is what I am trying this week. Now there are probably some of you with experience reading this and saying, "yeah right, just you wait!" :)
Sixth, leave feedback. Whenever you buy or sell something, leave feedback so others know what to expect.
Seventh, start all over!
I am sure that I haven't figured it all out yet and as I learn more I will write about it. Right now though, I need to go package, address and get ready for shipping day!