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Sun Feb 12 2017 13:01:19

Positive Tips for Growing Sales on eBay: Follow-up

By: Reader
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On November 21, we published this Letter to the Editor. The seller, Chris, followed up with the following letter.

Dear Ina,
Well, as I suspected, my call to submit positive tips for growing your eBay sales received mixed responses (although I did appreciate the "Thank you card in the package" tip). So I thought I would share a few tips of how I reached $1,000,000 in sales, mostly selling on my own.

1) Know your market. Before I go through the trouble of listing anything on eBay that I haven't sold before, I research the market for that item. This has saved me countless hours of frustration and time wasted on selling low value / low demand items. If the item doesn't have a recent sell through rate of at least 50% and/or isn't selling for a minimum of $25 or more, then I don't bother with it.

2) Begin with the end in mind. 95% of what I list on eBay is sold on consignment (which is another conversation entirely,...). Before I accept an item, I mentally ask myself "Is this worth my time to sell this on eBay?" For example, selling a pair of vintage speakers for $100, that will take me 20 minutes to test, another 20 minutes to photograph and list, and 40-60 minutes to pack and ship. This is NOT worth selling on eBay.  They're heavy, labor intensive, and don't sell for a high-enough price to be worth the effort.

Likewise, when someone mentions that they have a nice pen collection to sell, I am more than happy to deal with it, as they're small, easy to process, and take little effort to pack. Over time, you should cultivate a list of what you're willing to sell / not sell with minimum values attached to genres that require extensive evaluation or packing effort.

3) To make more, compete less. One of the reasons I greatly prefer to sell older items over newer items is that is there is a much smaller supply of older items, which can sometimes result in much higher demand. For example, if I were to try to sell the newest Holiday Barbie, I would first have to find a reasonably priced source, then sell my product less than everyone else in order to move a significant amount of volume of the product. My profit margin would be squeezed due to all of the competition that is selling the same item (not to mention that it is seasonal).

However, if I were to source vintage Barbies in good condition, I would probably have a harder time finding them, but my efforts would be rewarded with higher prices realizes and less competition. Plus, there is good demand for the item year round.

4) Learn to sell at auction. One of the most prominent features that eBay has over other selling platforms lack is that it allows sellers to sell items at auction in addition to fixed price. Auctions allow sellers to sell a high quantity of items in a short amount of time, due to the limited purchase window they present to the buyers. Additionally, if you have an assortment of similar items to sell and you structure your sale right, then there's a good chance that buyers will make multiple purchases if they can save on shipping costs.

Auctioning doesn't work well for everything (it's better for hard-to-find items instead of everyday purchases), so be sure to study the market for your item beforehand to determine if it's a sales strategy to incorporate.

5) Don't take it personally.  Stuff happens and people are annoying. That's part of selling online and/or running any business. As frustrating as it is to have things lost by the post office or dealing with difficult buyers, it's simply the cost of doing business. Work to resolve the issue as quickly as possible for your own mental health and make a note of what you would do differently in the future to minimize having the problem again.

Chris
Reading EcommerceBytes Letters Blog: Positive Tips for Growing Sales on eBay: Follow-up
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Readers Comments

Positive Tips for Growing Sales on eBay: Follow-up   Positive Tips for Growing Sales on eBay: Follow-up
by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.
       
Sun Feb 12 17:00:41 2017
Unless you want to be a babysitter for the buyers on ebay one needs to go elsewhere.

Ebay has made it so buyers are condiitioned to be feed and burped at the slightest problem.

We don't bother with most questions asked as usually the answer is in the description. You know the questions like " What color is the red sweater"

And yes we are almost 20 years selling on Ebay with five stores making over a 1/2 million a year.

Most of the sellers with problems are the hobby sellers. They haven't gotten the harden skin that it takes to stomach a lot of the things that happen on Ebay. Drama queens.

You are correct on not taking things personally and as for auctions. We haven't don't any auction since we opened our stores. Why lower you price for the bottom feeders and hope someone really wants it. Better to set you price and forget it. Eventually it sells.
Positive Tips for Growing Sales on eBay: Follow-up   Positive Tips for Growing Sales on eBay: Follow-up
by: comet This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Feb 13 01:00:01 2017
Even  on  things  that ARE "worth  the time  and  effort"  some  thing  that  SHOULD  sell--don't.  You  can  have a great  scarce  item  that HAS  sold  thru;  price  it  well--and STILL  have  it  sit.  Ask  me  how  I  know  this!

And  some  things  you  just  toss  on  there--sells  almost  instantly.  And  some  things  sell  all over  one part of the world--with  no real  REASON  why--well;  I  have MY  theories!--but==no  rhyme  or  reason.  
Positive Tips for Growing Sales on eBay: Follow-up   Positive Tips for Growing Sales on eBay: Follow-up
by: pfft!! This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Feb 13 01:33:26 2017
Re: auctions.  We've been selling on ebay since '04 (back when auctions WERE something to marvel at).  I can count on ONE HAND the number of times (since about '08) I've made MORE money listing something via auction over BIN.
If you know your market AND you know what you're selling you'll make MORE money simply listing it at BIN and waiting for the right buyer to come along and pay your price.  The chances of a good old fashioned bidding war like we USED to get on ebay WAY BACK in the day are LONG gone.  
I see people putting stuff in auction ALL THE TIME that goes for pennies on the dollar.  I RARELY see anything go in auction for MORE than I could get listing it at BIN.  
The only exception would be something extremely rare.  And even then I wouldn't chance it.
Positive Tips for Growing Sales on eBay: Follow-up   Positive Tips for Growing Sales on eBay: Follow-up
by: trader_chris This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Mon Feb 13 02:06:12 2017
Maybe if you're seeing a decline in sales, but you're never willing to change your sales strategy or refresh your inventory, eBay is not really to blame... I have fresh inventory weekly and strictly adhere to researching items before I decide to sell them, which has resulted in consistent sales for years. If I can't sell it in 2-4 weeks, I usually don't want to mess with it, which is why my inventory is lean and I have a weekly turnover rate of 75-85%. For all of you Debbie Downers out there, would it really hurt to try out a different eBay strategy if you think that things are currently so bad for you?
Positive Tips for Growing Sales on eBay: Follow-up   Positive Tips for Growing Sales on eBay: Follow-up
by: Randy This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Feb 13 08:42:02 2017
Excellent tips!  
Positive Tips for Growing Sales on eBay: Follow-up   Positive Tips for Growing Sales on eBay: Follow-up
by: ib30667 This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Feb 13 09:06:05 2017
40-60 minutes to package and ship a pair of sneakers? Wow. (I must be spoiled, I live 7 minutes from the CMF in my area) But these are really good tips. Thanks for sharing!
Positive Tips for Growing Sales on eBay: Follow-up   Positive Tips for Growing Sales on eBay: Follow-up
by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Feb 13 09:13:18 2017
1) Know your market. DONT sell iphones, iPads, Galaxys or any other high priced magnet for theft (returns fraud) on eBay. eBay is a scammers paradise and the Boss JD demands his take. Your iPhone provides the Boss with said take AND a new buyer/customer. DONT be a pigeon - dont sell things you cant afford to loose on eBay - eBay ISNT your friend.

2) Begin with the end in mind. Protect yourself. Signature requirements, correct, neat, clean packaging, not selling to buyers who are problematic, and parcel insurance - all of these/some of these go along way to making selling on eBay as stressless as possible.


3) Take it personally. Its YOUR money. eBay wont fight for it or for you. If you dont fight eBay and its bad buyers - they WILL run you over (and over again). A penny saved is a penny earned - its YOUR money - dont let b@$tards steal from you.


Lastly, friends dont let friends sell on eBay.
Positive Tips for Growing Sales on eBay: Follow-up   Positive Tips for Growing Sales on eBay: Follow-up
This user has validated their user name. by: Extra_Mile
       
Mon Feb 13 11:03:22 2017
I agree with ''pace306''

Know your market! That is the number one thing in any list.

You have to know what things sell for and that they really sell. Not just listed at that nice price.

Many items listed on eBay have a nice price and all, so you think you can sell it for that price, but you need to make sure they are selling at that price and not just sitting there.

Completed listings give you so much info, it's a must for me and I would recommend it to any seller who wants to really know their products. How many are Really selling???
Positive Tips for Growing Sales on eBay: Follow-up   Positive Tips for Growing Sales on eBay: Follow-up
by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Feb 13 11:19:21 2017

if you can not afford to lose it, don't list it on fleabay.

the most corrupt place to sell. scammers paradise. and no seller protection.
Positive Tips for Growing Sales on eBay: Follow-up   Positive Tips for Growing Sales on eBay: Follow-up
by: trader_chris This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Mon Feb 13 11:25:24 2017
@ib30667 - Speakers can take 40-60 minutes to pack, not sneakers....

With regards to paying for extra shipping add-ons (insurance, signature confirmation, etc.) I am super cheap. You are only required by eBay/Paypal to have signature confirmation on purchases valued at $750 or above. So, if they live in an area where their packages are stolen frequently, you should not be on the hook for it without signature confirmation if its marked delivered by USPS unless the package it valued at $750 or above (it's an extra $2.25 per package that you can save or pocket from the buyer). If you pack carefully and primarily use free insurance provided by USPS Priority Mail and FEDEX Home/Ground (big discounts on both via eBay), then you shouldn't need to buy insurance often. I found out after getting denied a particularly large claim ($1500... ouch!) from Shipsurance that I was paying several thousand dollars per year for package insurance they were only paying out a small percentage of that per year in claims to me. So I got fed up paying for nothing and decided to self insure most of my packages. I take advantage of the $100 of included insurance for Priority Mail and FEDEX Ground/Home packaging and only buy insurance for domestic items valued at $1000 or more or international shipments valued at $500 or more (or sometimes when I'm sending items to China or other countries, where the integrity of the service is questionable). Although I periodically have to pay out of pocket above the $100 insurance limit, I still pocket a lot of the savings to use elsewhere in my business. You can always set-up a spare checking account for escrow purposes, deposit 1% of the value of your items sold for self-insurance purposes (that's about what it costs to insure most items), and then pay yourself a bonus of 1/2 of the balance at the end of the year from the account for doing a good job with your shipping. WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER!
Positive Tips for Growing Sales on eBay: Follow-up   Positive Tips for Growing Sales on eBay: Follow-up
This user has validated their user name. by: Extra_Mile
       
Mon Feb 13 12:33:07 2017
These are REALLY Great points, I have been selling for years, but always try to do better and better.

Sometimes I fail, because I buy things that I don't research enough first, just to save time. Then I find out, it was a wast of money and time.

I'm trying to do better with your points 1 and 2.

I just needed to hear it again to remind myself to stop doing that, your post was just what I needed, Today I start doing better again, Thanks


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