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Selling for Business on eBay - The Ten Point Guide

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Selling for business on eBay. The Ten point guide.

Many people first “try” selling on eBay because they want to clear out the attic or instead because they just fancy giving it a go. Very few start out to sell on eBay professionally from day one.

Before we actually start with the selling process, firstly let me ask, what do you intend to sell? I would strongly suggest that you sell something that you are passionate about. Your passion, or feelings come through in your listing. A plain white T shirt to one person could be a “classic white T goes with everything, a must have for your wardrobe.” Which would you buy? Plain white T shirt or classic white T?

Before you start selling there are a number of things to consider.

1, Do Your Research.
Do you want to be stuffing jiffy bags with CD’s/DVD’s or sell furniture? Each have their own practical aspects. How to wrap, how to ship, after sales service. You will need to consider the space that you have, a spare bedroom/garage for example, you would be surprised just how quickly you can fill that space. Do you want to start small and grow your business, or are you going to start big and go for it?

2, Your User ID
Will your user name reflect what you sell? Or would you rather a catchy sounding name, or a boring User12345? It is entirely your choice, well just as long as no one has already taken the name you want.

3, Build Up Your Feedback
I would recommend and absolute minimum of 25 positive feedback’s, but ideally at least 100, a good compromise would be 50. The reason you want feedback before you sell is that virtually no one will bid on a seller with zero feedback and if they do, they wont be bidding a large value. Feedback gives bidders a confidence that you are a genuine person. So buy a number of things first. This will also give you a good idea of how other sellers perform and you can get an idea of what a buyer is looking for. Then when you have some idea about what the buyer expects, list a small number of cheaper items to gain some feedback as a seller, and to give you an idea what to expect as a seller. This learning exercise should give you sufficient feedback to start as a “proper” seller.

4, Image & Brand
Look at other peoples listings they have to see what style, image or “brand” that you want. Image is to some, everything! Don’t copy! But develop your own style, image, brand that will make you stand out from the rest.

5, Know Your Fees
Know the fee structure. One penny, can make a significant difference in the fees charged by eBay to list your auctions. This difference can add up to hundreds of pounds when you start listing large amount of auctions.

6, Know Your Suppliers
Get to know your suppliers, know their competitors, and BUY RIGHT. Anyone can buy stock wholesale. But you really don’t want to be buying shorts to sell in January do you? You don’t want to be buying at a price that others are already selling cheaper on eBay. This goes back to the initial, do your research!!

7, Packing Supplies
Consider what packing supplies you will need for what you are selling. There is a very good Power Seller or three selling quality jiffy bags already on eBay, but if you are selling low value items or you want to reduce costs, there are certain suppliers of economy padded/bubble envelopes which you can buy in bulk a fair bit cheaper than quality jiffy bags that will work just as well.

8, Stock Control & Stock Management.
If you intend to start selling volume then you will require a certain level of stock to get started. If you are considering selling CD’s for example and sell them on a regular basis, then you will need a number of them. You will need to devise your own way of keep track of what you have to sell and what you need to order up to sell. Keep track!

9, Selling Tools
Will you be using eBay selling tools? The standard Sell Your Item (SYI) form is great for one off’s, but if you are selling in bulk, say at least twenty five listings a week then it would be a good idea to consider the tools available. Turbo Lister is great for prepping your auctions early and uploading in one go for just one example. Check the eBay website for other tools. If you are going to sell over a hundred items a week check out some of the 3rd party providers like Marketworks and Channel Advisor, you can look both up on the Internet. There are a number of tools, my advice would be stick to ones which eBay sanction as you are less likely to have problems with them.

10, Time Management
You need to have time off. You can’t work twenty four hours in a day. If you go full time eBay, don’t forget to have a day off! You need time to re-charge your batteries. Additionally, when you are working, look at the way you work. The way you have your desk organized, where the printer is can save time processing each and every sale. When you are doing hundreds of auctions, this can add up to a serious amount of time saved, or the difference between coping with the workload and not coping.

So, are you ready? Are you sure?

Will you be using auction templates?  What format, auction or Buy it Now?  Will you use standard email responses, templates? Or hand write each one? Will you be including bounce back/compliment/ contact slips with each parcel/packet sent out?

When you start listing you are likely to get questions, if you get the same question every time you list something, then perhaps you need to include that information in your listing. You will also get asked some pretty silly questions. Be careful not to leave sarcastic or insulting responses. The silly questions could just be the interested party checking that there is a human being at the other end of the computer screen and a sarcastic response has just lost you a sale.

Non Paying Buyers. You will get some of these. Depending on the category that you sell in, there are more or less than the average. Don’t let them get to you. They are pretty much everywhere on eBay. Know the UPI Un-Paid Item process and how to re-claim your Final Value Fee's.

Negative feedback, get used to this fact of eBay life. We all like to have the ever-elusive 100% positive feedback. But it is a fact of life there are some people that it doesn’t matter what you do, you will never please them. There will always be one person who will leave a negative for real reason one day. There are also those bidders who look for sellers with 100% feedback to see if they can threaten them with a negative unless they get say free postage for example, this is called “Feedback Extortion” be aware of it and know how to defend against it.
All importantly, don’t take it personally! Don’t let it get to you!

Communications is the key to success. Communicate with your bidders from the moment the auction starts, not just at the paying bit! Right from the Ask a Seller a Question, through to the final email saying payment received and goods shipped, let your bidder know where they are. When the auction ends, when they email you for payment details, when you ship/post their item, let them know! Remember to be polite and courteous at all times, no matter how “numptie” the emails are.

Finally. What’s the point of working for yourself selling on eBay if you don’t enjoy it? Have time for yourself and or family.

The most critical thing to your success is simple, it is to enjoy yourself!

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