Starting out as an eBay seller

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Selling on eBay is something that I had thought about doing for a long time and finally I decided to have a go. I had some goods that I had brought back with me from my last trip to see my family in China. Of course merchandise is very cheap in China and I had the advantage of being able to carry some back with me. You could start just as well though by selling items from around your home. The important thing is to make a start and learn by experience. There is certainly much to learn.

As soon as I got 5 positive ratings I opened an eBay shop. My best seller initially was some embroidered tissue box covers that I had brought back from China. Within a couple of weeks it was apparent that I needed a much broader range of items and a Chinese friend told me about a wholesaler where I was able to purchase merchandise at a price where I could make a profit but still offer an attractive price to my customers. Wholesalers will generally sell to eBay sellers. They have recognised this new retail model. If you have an eBay shop you have a business that will enable you to sign up with a wholesaler. There are a number of web sites that you can register with to gain access to wholesaler lists. The trick is to find a wholesaler with quality goods and reasonable prices.

Selling on eBay, and I guess this goes for retail in general involves striking a balance. Purchase price, starting price, price markup, effort put in against profit per item, minimising the work involved in item listing, handling customer enquiries, understanding postal charges, recognising what will sell, presenting the item in the right way etc. etc. etc. Selling on eBay is as challenging as any game that you might play on your PC but so much more rewarding as the money that you make, bit by bit, is real.

Two months in and I have a good but single source of items to sell. My sales are at a fairly constant level, about three a day. The challenge now is to make the breakthrough by identifying additional suppliers, marketing my shop, increasing my customer base and my reputation as a reliable seller of quality items.

The items that were selling two months ago are no longer selling. The eBay market like any other changes very quickly and in particular you need to be aware of seasonal trends. I've yet to experience my first Christmas as an eBay seller, it's May now and I know that I need to start searching for stock for Christmas.

If you want to make a go of eBay selling, be prepared to put in time and effort. Constantly review what you are selling and the way that you are marketing it. It can be addictive, its a thrill when you get a sale or a positive feedback. My ambition is to become a PowerSeller. Realistically I expect that it may take me a year to build to that level. In the meantime I am making some profit and I'm finding the whole experience fascinating.

I hope that you have found this useful. If you want to see how I'm progressing, visit my eBay shop, 'Yanping's Gifts from China' 

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