Make Money selling on ebay
Firstly i am sorry for people who already use ebay as a stock buying source, but as obvious as it may seem to you i know of many that would never even consider using ebay.
You may also be thinking why should i listen to you? Well i have been selling on ebay for 7 years and have many accounts. Yes we import Yes we get great discounts from our suppliers because of the volume we buy but let me tell you we did not start this way, everyone has to start somewhere and build there business up, we started in the attick of our then terraced house. We now have two ten thousand sq ft warehouses and have seen many so called Big sellers come and go.
Let me tell you a bit about my history. I started selling on ebay 7 years ago with stock bought in ebays wholesale section, you will be suprised at some of the stuff you can get and also at some of the prices they go for. I also used to look on ebay.com the US site and looked what was selling like hot cakes and contact the seller to see if they did wholesale and you would be suprised at how many did. An example of this was about 6 years ago i contacted a seller who sold microbrasion face cloths which he sold to me at £1 each I was the first Ebayer in the UK to bring this product over and sold thousands at £9.99 each, Obviously the sheep follow and several months later others started selling them at cheaper prices and before i knew it i was selling them for peanuts! But the point is i made my thousands out of them before anyone else and the sellers that came after just killed the Market and only made small margins. I used to find that what is selling hot on the US site would than sell like hotcakes 6 months later in the UK so why wait?
I have found one important rule in business over the years and that is there are two types of sellers on the internet, one type earn a living and the other type makes a KILLING! The ones that make the killing is only a very small number of sellers.
What are the types of sellers i hear you say, well to put it simple there are leaders and there are followers, the followers just seem to copy what other sellers are doing BIG MISTAKE! if you want to make real big money be a leader. a leader is the one that laughs at the followers, the leaders are the ones that bring in the stock first and make all the big profits while the followers watch and try to catch up, by which time the leader as made ten times more than the followers will ever make because for every one follower there are another thousand just like them. So they come in at the back end of selling a hot product when there is much more competition, so the price war begins the margins go down so they have to make do with the scraps. while the leaders are already on the next product.
This is another area were a lot of del boys go wrong for many reasons as i have already mentioned i have seen some big time charlies in my time and you can spot the mistakes they are making from day one! Yes they might be selling loads because some people realy think if they buy a product for a £1 and sell for £2 they actually make a £1 profit yes there are the obvious fees but let me tell you what you have to include in your margins and see if you get the picture.
Labour time spent doing your listings
Labour time spent packing
Labour time spent on customer service
Labour buying & sourcing
Labour time going to the post office
Labour product reserach = Now just on the labour side there is a lot of time and effort that someone wants paying for it, How much to do vaulue your time per hour at? I could mention many more just on time spent but the green eyed monster just see's the £1 profit (or think it's profit)
I know if your just getting started you may think the following costs are not much or i would pay that anyway, but thats not the case it does have to be paid for and you would not have to pay for it if you were not selling on line and working in the space you are.
PC cost and maintinance
Electric for rooms you work in
Heating for rooms you work in
Vat (if your turnover is enough)
Rent (if you rent your work place)
Software (for templates ect. Which is always a good idea for beginers to make the add look nice)
Here is a bigger than most never even factor but is one of the most obvious, the delivery cost per unit on your items purchased to sell.
Im going to stop this list now as i could honestly go on all day, but can you see the point im getting at? That £1 is not going a long way to help with your overheads never mind make you a good profit. Thats why in my time on ebay i have seen many sellers come on the site sell thousands of products and then go under. Let me put it another way if I bought product X for £2 I would rather sell ten of prouct X At £9.99 and make £80 profit before costs than sell 80 at £2.99 and make the same £80 but have many more overheads to come out of the profit. Which is where they make the mistake of thinking they can come along and undercut everybody and earn loads, honestly it very rarely happens. The above shows this, while they think ha ha we sold 80 and they only sold ten, we are the ones with more profit from our ten then there 80 sold. For one they dont not take in to account the costs and two online consumers are getting more concerned as to whom they buy from it's not just about the price it's about the service and the knowledge that they are getting what they pay for with a back up service if needed. How does the seller who makes a £1 of there product afford to offer any after sales or returns? they can't because they can't afford to, remeber they have 80 customers to look after with there £80 so called profit, we only have 10, and if you get a bad product and get a 10% return rate then we get 1 sent back while they get 8 sent back. BANG GOES ALL THERE PROFIT!! Theres also the fact that people are often warey of things that are to cheap as they feel it will be of a poor quality which can often happen when your cutting corners on small margins.
You can get like for like products off different sources and yes quality will vary from one wholesaler to another as they buy from diffrent factories, and some buy based on price only. This is another area that i have learnt from BIG time. I would rather pay a little more for a better quality product because you end up paying a lot more than the little savings you made on buying with the extra customer service you get form prodcts which are of less quality. there are loads of area's that this can effect, the higher return rate for one can see that saving vanish straight away, customer staisfaction goes down which leads to poor feedback which also leads to lost custom as many just want a refund and also your customer retention rate also goes down, would you want to buy from someone agian that just sold you a bad poor quality poduct?
The trouble with selling online these days is that there are to many del boys who think they can take the world of online sales by storm, believe me in my time i have seen many come and go and some of these were even very big players for a while but they all make the same mistakes. So big piece of advise is do not undervalue your product because if you undervalue it your customers will to!
Back to buying ebay: I have just had a look in the wholesale section on just a few items that i came across within the first few minutes and looked at items from 99p that were selling on ebay for £5+ its always a good place to start BUT and it's a big BUT make sure before you buy you do your research, it's no good looking at a product and diving straight in just to find that it's average price is selling for little more than you paid, please note i used the word average dont let sellers that are selling very cheap put you off, i could give many examples where we sell a product for twice as much as another seller but still get more sales. Online buyers are looking at everything from your feedback to the quality of your pictures and presentation so theres a lot more to selling than just trying to bang an item out at rock bottom prices. As an importer we also get prices on some products which no other seller could ever match but that does not stop them from selling there product for more, ebay is a very big place and a lot of sales do come from impulse buying. In other words if your listing is the first one they come across and the listing is rubish the picture is crap your feedback looks like a verbal abuse site then it's obvious they will look elsewhere, however if you provide them with plenty of information that is clear and comes across in a tidy manner with a good quality picture and as long as your product is not way over priced theres a very good chance they will buy from you.
DO NOT copy other peoples images or discriptions because this will end up with the closure of your account, there is no harm in looking at other sellers information to see what you can get to compile your own add but when we find any listings that use our pictures or discriptions we report them to ebay and have them taken off. we are not spending our time and money for someone to just come along and steal our work. I can even remember one time when a seller did this with a few of our products, we thought before we reported them we would teach them a lesson. They just copied and pasted our information and advert directly in to there own listing and the pictures were linking to our web site. So we put new pictures on our site and the piture files that were linked to there auction were changed so in about 20 of there listings there were big images were pictures should be, saying "do not buy from this seller they steal pictures". Nothing in life is free so don't expect other sellers to let there hard work time and money be abused by someone who wants to take a short cut.
So the main points
Look in ebays wholesale section write down all the products you think you can make a profit on then do a keyword search in the full wholesale section to see if they are the cheapest wholeseller of that product.
Never let sellers who sell to cheap force you to cut your prices as this is not the only factor buyers are interested in.
Try to be a leader. I think you tend to find people that follow what other sellers are doing to much, lose site of what there own aims are and have no direction, they also are always the ones that get the back end of a great selling product. You will ever make big money just by copying other people as by the time you have caught up with them they are already on there next big seller, Why should that not be you?
Just becuase an item is very poular it does not mean it will be your best earner, and example of this would be a product that we sold which was an air powered pogo stick, again we were one of the first major sellers of this type of pogo, You may not think that an air powered pogo stick is a masive market and your right but we sold thousands as at the time we were the only ones selling them. It may have a smaller market but a big part of a small market can often be bigger than a small part of a massive market, and thats why i would advise you if your just starting out to stay away from advanced electrical, branded or pc products as the competition is great.
Never let it put you off when you can see no one else selling the product you are thinking of buying to sell, this can in many cases can be a good thing, less competition and you could be the early bird that gets the worm or in is this case sack loads of money
Sometimes niche markets are better when starting out, If you have many products that are mixed they are less likely to sell, WHY? well put yourself in the buyers shoes, if they came across your listing and looked at say a lamp but you only have one lamp you will only ever get money from that person looking if they want that exact lamp. Now the same customer goes to joe blogs ebay listing for a lamp and sees that he has many different lamps then theres a good chance that joe will have one he likes, RESULT = SALE and a lot higher customer conversion rate.
Hope the above information is of use to some, if it is please vote for the guide and if it gets enough hit's i might come up with another one with some more tips and advice. I know times are hard for many at the moment but with the right person there is money to be earned, never think you know it all as im still learning now. The bigest mistake is to not even take on board someone elses advise as it's all part of the learning process even if the advise is wrong, take from it what you can. If it's wrong why is it wrong as the rights and wrongs can often be duplicated in many other area's ofbusiness practices.
On a final note and has i have just spent the last hour doing this i will mention a couple of products you may be interested that we are selling. Well come on! im also giving you extra marketing tips here were ever and whenever you have a chance to push your business or products do it, it might be to one of your future best customers.
Anyway i yes me persanally made a boob with a recent container order i doubled up on one of our best selling products so instead of having 3000 i had 6000 massage chairs now i am more than happy to hold on to an extra 2000 but i am now needing space for our xmas lines which have just started to arrive so i have 1000 to give away at less than cost, They should be listed at the top right hand side of this guide under seller information. We also have a new product to the UK which i am certain will be a big seller no doubt you have seen or heard of the mandolin slicer, We have just got in the New electric mandolin slicer i have searched the internet and as of yet can not see any other sellers who have got this product which means it normally takes at least 2-3 months before the sheep come along so now is your chance to get on this new to the UK product this should also be on this page top right hand side.
Wishing you all the best of sucess with your ebay selling watch this space for the next guide