The surest way to succeed on eBay is to offer highly unique products which are not available elsewhere. Products with which you are intimately familiar and might eventually become an expert in. As an example, we are the web’s preeminent supplier of water soluble swimsuits. In addition to our bargain test equipment, "kiss your ass goodbye" nuclear memorabilia, unusual sensors, and other truly bizarre items.
Your second success rule is to always be scrupulously honest. Misrepresenting or not delivering items is a certain route to failure. You should be prompt and professional in all of your eBay dealings. Most eBay sellers end up paying themselves less than prison wages. If you cannot continuously generate around £50 per day from eBay sales, your efforts are probably best spent elsewhere. A minimum of 51 items continuously listed at any time is recommended. Assuming seven of these hit per day for an average net-net profit of £10 each, you can barely meet this minimum income goal.
It takes bunches of time and effort to do this job right. Especially those tasks you do not like or are not good at. Be willing to commit yourself to the needed work. It is best to offer a companion web site. One that can generate linking traffic, resell related items, handle secure transactions, and provide tutorials and other resources for potential buyers. Given the proper linking and promotion, these two should complement each other icely. Because it is not a good idea to relist an item before an older one is sold and closed, use threads instead. A thread is a group of related products. Say you stock four different NDT eddy current probes. Run them in the same thread. Try to chose some "intellectual but vaguely mystical and subtle" eBay user name. Avoid tainted auction categories and items that other buyers or sellers have trashed. Bogus collectibles, software or concert copies, and "too good to be true" laptop pricing come to mind as obvious examples. Never sell something you feel bad about. Unless you do so at a rock bottom price and clearly spell out exactly why the vibes are bad.
Because many eBay selling prices are often well under wholesale or distributor costs, there is usually no way you can profit on eBay by buying wholesale and selling online.
And while a very few people can sometimes do fairly well gambling on "truckload liquidations", most of these end up as outright scams. My rule for eBay success is to always seek out a 30:1 or higher return ratio between the product cost and its average eBay selling price. Such returns quickly erode to barely living wages after you allow for any unsellables, all operating expenses, repair costs, travel, storage, and all of the usual nickel and dime gotchas.
Almost always, it pays to lead off with your personal value added. This should contribute the lion’s share to the buyer’s perceived value. Achieving acceptable eBay margins demands buying in huge quantities of deeply distressed, wildly assorted, and grossly underappreciated merchandise. Preferably in need of slight cleaning and minor repair. Obvious but largely penny ante first choices are junk in your Aunt’s attic and unpopular yard or estate sales.
For me, the sources that have worked out the best are both traditional or newly privatized military surplus sales, remote community college auctions, and dot.com or other tech bankruptcies. Useful links to these and other sites are found at www.tinaja.com/auct01.asp. Your best ploy is to consistently seek economically inefficient markets. If more than five percent of your offers are accepted, you are paying too much. Naturally, you make up for a 5% success rate by bidding on twenty times as much stuff as you could possibly use.
I try to keep most of my offers at one sixth of a penny per dollar of original costs. I’ll sometimes go up as high as a quarter cent if it is something I really want. If someone bids against me, I walk away. One tip: Some sealed bid sales require even full dollar bid increments. Be sure to bid as early as possible on these offerings. Note that this is the exact opposite of effective eBay bidding strategy. Two things to avoid at all costs are drop shipping and consignment sales. If your drop ship source fails to deliver, you’ll take all the flak and all the losses. And selling for a friend is a near certain way to lose that friend. If you must do consignment sales, quote a minimum 50% commission over and above a £45 per item Lacement guarantee. But both these bad scenes are best avoided.
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