Sunday, October 02, 2005

10 Sure-fire Ways to Kill Your eBay Business.

It’s surprisingly easy to kill your eBay business, if you’re not careful – sure, you can start over from scratch without it costing you anything, but do you really want to? Still, if you want your business to end up dead in the water, here are some simple ways to do it.

Lie about an item: Say it works fine when it sometimes doesn’t work. Say it’s in perfect condition when it has a scratch. Your customers will hate you!

Post whenever you feel like it: Make sure to leave your customers hanging around, wondering when their item is going to turn up. This makes sure they buy from someone else next time.

Let items end anytime: Few people will be around to care about your auction if it ends in the middle of the night. Why go to the trouble of working out whether auctions will end at a good time?

Don’t bother with email: Customers are just timewasters anyway. eBay businesses are supposed to run themselves! Never give informed responses to questions about your item.

Sell rubbish: Really, it’s just eBay. You can just sell any old tat from the market for a 200% profit. Let quality be someone else’s concern – I mean, really, what do they expect for that price?

Refuse to give discounts: You know what your items cost, you know what your profit margin is going to be, and you’re not going to negotiate. Remember that giving customers special deals might make them feel good and come back to you again.

Make your listings ugly: As many colours, flashing lights and animations as possible will really give those customers a headache. Write as much in CAPITALS!!!! as you can. Preferably big, red capitals. Be sure to use the fonts Impact and Comic Sans. For an extra special touch, see if you can figure out a way to add some music.

Don’t take photos: It’s such trouble, after all. If buyers are picky enough to actually want to see items before they bid on them, then screw ‘em, that’s what I say.

Write short descriptions: Be as brief as possible, and use lots of mysterious abbreviations. This obviously makes you look very cool. You can even just write the title again in the description box. Think of the effort you’ll save!

Use reserve auctions: Now, this is a fairly controversial final choice, but it really is one of the best ways to scare away your customers. They’ll see ‘reserve not yet met’, and click that ‘back’ button before you know it. Luckily, they can always bid in a normal auction for the item somewhere else.

Now that you know the ten ways to kill your eBay business, how about we explore what to do if you want to do the opposite, and make a success of it? The next email will give you ten steps to successful selling on eBay.

10 Steps to Successful Selling on eBay.

So you want to be a successful seller with your own eBay business, do you? Here’s a simple, ten-step path to eBay enlightenment.

Step 1: Identify your market. Take a while to sit and watch for what sells and what doesn’t out of the items you’re interested in. Any market research data you can collect will be very useful to you later on. You’ll probably see the ‘sweet spots’ quite quickly – those one or two items that always seem to sell for a good price.

Step 2: Watch the competition. Before you invest any money, see what the other sellers in your category are up to, and what their strategies are. Pay special attention to any flaws their auctions might have, because this is where you can move in and beat them at their own game.

Step 3: Find a product: Get hold of a supplier for whatever it is you want to sell, and see what the best rates you can get are – don’t be afraid to ring round quite a few to get the best deal. If the eBay prices you’ve seen are higher than the supplier’s, then you’re set.

Step 4: Start small: Don’t throw thousands at your idea straight away – get started slowly, see what works and what doesn’t, and learn as you go. Remember that it’s very cheap to try out even the craziest ideas on eBay, and who knows, they might just work!

Step 5: Test and repeat. Keep trying different strategies until you find something that works, and then don’t be ashamed to keep doing it, again and again. The chances are that you’ve just found a good niche.

Step 6: Work out a business plan: A business plan doesn’t need to be anything formal, just a few pages that outline the market opportunity you’ve spotted, your strategy, strengths and weaknesses of the plan and a brief budget. This is more for you than it is for anyone else.

Step 7: Invest and expand: This is the time to throw money at the problem. Buy inventory, and start spending more time on your business. Set a goal number of sales each week, increasing it each time.

Step 8: Make it official: Once you’ve made a few thousand dollars worth of sales, you should really register yourself as a business. Don’t worry, it’s not expensive or hard to do – a lawyer is the best person to help you through the process.

Step 9: Automate: You’ll probably find that you’re writing the same things again and again in emails or item descriptions. This is the time to give up on the manual method and turn to automated software that can create listings for you, and respond to completed auctions and payments with whatever message you provide.

Step 10: Never give up: Even when it looks like it’s all going wrong, don’t stop trying until you succeed. If you keep working at it then you’ll almost always find that you make a real breakthrough just when things are starting to look desperate.

Once you get into the swing of things, you might start thinking that you should quit your job and take up eBay selling part time. But it’s not always as easy as that – there are all sorts of factors that you need to consider. The next email will weigh up the case for and against taking up eBay full-time.

10 Great Ways to Source Low Cost Products for eBay.

So you’re having trouble finding stock cheaply enough to sell it for a good profit? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Garage sales. The chances are you’ve gone most of your life seeing ads for these and ignoring them. Start going to as many as you can. You won’t find good things at every one, but when you find one person with good stuff, make them an offer for the lot – they’ll be so happy about it that you can get a real bargain.

Markets. If your area has a market, then go there and look around for anything good. You could buy it there if it’s cheap enough, or try to make friends with the market traders and find out who their suppliers are.

Pawn shops. Pawn shops don’t usually know what to do with the junk they accumulate (unless it’s jewellery, of course). Generally, they put their stock out on the shelves haphazardly, hoping that someday someone with a little money will just happen to come in, search around and buy wildly obscure things. Get them to offer you a discount for bulk.

Real auctions. Go to a real auction, as the chances are that you can resell things for more than they will sell them. After all, they only have a few hundred people in that room – you have a few million to sell to!

Local newspapers. Place an ad in the local paper that reads “I pay cash for [your item type]”, with your phone number. If you can afford it, make it a big display ad, so it’ll be noticed.

Ad boards. Get one of those little ads in the grocery store.

Friends. Ask your friends if they have anything they’d like to sell you, and ask them to spread the word to their friends.

Become known. Give out business cards, mention to people what you do. The chances are that you’ll come across someone who’ll say “Oh, really? I’ve got a load of [item] I don’t want”.

Shops. This might be a little surprising, but some real shops even sell things more cheaply than they sell on eBay. Take a look around your local deep discounter, and pay special attention to any shop that takes trade-ins from customers. The chances are they take a loss on trade-ins as a promotion, and are dying to get rid of that stock.

And finally: eBay! When you’re looking at the completed items view, you’ll notice the massive range of prices that items can sell for on eBay. Try taking the highest-priced item and searching for it on its own, then sort by lowest price first: I can almost guarantee that you’ll see an auction for the same item where it sold for almost nothing. The trick is to find these flawed auctions before they close, win them using a bid sniping service, and then turn around and resell the item.

After all that trouble, though, when do sell the item you might find that a buyer leaves you a feedback rating you just don’t think is fair. The next email will show you what to do about it.

5 Simple Steps to Posting Your First eBay Auction.

It’s surprisingly simple to get started posting your very first auction on eBay. Here’s what you need to do.

Step 1: Open an eBay seller’s account.

If you’ve bought things on eBay, then you already have an account – just log in with it and click ‘Sell’ in the toolbar at the top of the page, then click ‘Create a seller’s account’. If you’ve never used eBay before, then you’ll need to open an account first using the ‘register’ link underneath the toolbar, and then click ‘Sell’ and ‘Create a seller’s account’. The eBay site will then guide you through the process. For security, this may involve giving card details and bank information.

Step 2: Decide what to sell.

For your first little experiment with eBay, it doesn’t really matter what you sell. Take a look around the room you’re in – I’m sure there’s something in there that you’re not all that attached to and could put in the post. Small books and CDs are ideal first items.

Step 3: Submit your item.

Click ‘Sell’, and you’re on your way to listing your item.

The first thing you need to do is choose a category – it’s best to just type in what the item is and let eBay choose for you. Next, write a title and description. Include key words you think people will search for in the title box, and all the information you have about the item in the description box.

Now set a starting price. $0.01 is the best starting price, as it draws people in to bid who otherwise wouldn’t, and items will almost never finish at such a low price. The next thing to set is the duration of the auction: 3, 5, 7 or 10 days. This is up to you: longer sales will usually get more bids, but will also seem to drag on forever. If you’ve taken a picture, add it now – items with pictures always sell for more. Finally, tick the payment methods you will accept (just PayPal is best for now), and where you will post to (limit yourself to your own country to begin with). Submit and you’re done!

Step 4: Wait for it to sell.

This is just a matter of sitting back and letting eBay do its thing – buyers will find your item and leave bids on it. Some bidders might email you with questions about the item, and you should do your best to answer these questions as quickly as you can.

Remember that if your item doesn’t sell then you can list it again for free.

Step 5: Collect payment and post it.

eBay will sent your buyer emails guiding them through the process of sending you payment for the item. Make sure you have the money before you send anything.

Once you’ve got the payment, all you need to do is pack the item for posting (make sure to use some bubble wrap), take the buyer’s address from the confirmation email eBay sent you, and write it on the parcel. Put some stamps on, post it, and you’re done!

I hope you enjoyed selling your first item. Now that you’re starting to get into it, the next email will give you a checklist of things you need to do to be a successful seller.

Master Selling On Ebay With Our Information!

I will be posting a series of tips on how to make the most out of your eBay selling experience plus any other wacky thing I find about eBay.