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The Simple Guide To Starting Your Own eBAY Business
 

The Simple Guide To Starting Your Own eBAY Business

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    The Simple Guide To Starting Your Own eBAY Business The Simple Guide To Starting Your Own eBAY Business Document Transcript

    • The Hart County Chamber of Commerce presents The Simple Guide To Starting Your Own eBAY Business _______________________________ Getting Started Selling On eBay In 9 Easy Steps Making The Most Of eBay's Seller Resources Your Auction Headline - The Most Important Part Of Your Auction Effective Auction Descriptions - How To Create Them 12 Tips For Taking Better Pictures For eBay Choosing The Right eBay Auction Category Getting Your Price On eBay While Keeping Your Fees Down Making Your eBay Auction Business Stand Out From The Crowd 12 Tips To Make Your eBay Business More Profitable 15 Tips To Make Your eBay Business More Successful Your eBay Business - 8 Ways To Insure It's Success ______________________________ This edition has been produced by Homeway Press especially for the Hart County Chamber of Commerce Copyright 2005-2006, Homeway Press, All rights reserved Homeway Press P.O. Box 187 Canmer, KY 42722 email: homeway@scrtc.com
    • Legal Notice While all attempts have been made to verify the information provided in this publication, neither the publisher nor sponsor of this publication assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of this information. This publication is not intended for use as a source of any advice such as legal, medical, accounting or psychiatric. The publisher also wishes to stress that the information contained herein may be subject to laws in the US and other jurisdictions. Get competent professional advice before undertaking any activity which is, or may be, regulated. The author does not assume any responsibility or liability whatsoever for what you choose to do with this information. Use your own judgment. Any perceived slight of specific people or organizations, and any resemblance to characters living, dead or otherwise, real or fictitious, is purely unintentional. While examples of past results are used occasionally throughout this work, they are intended to be for purposes of example only. No representation is made or implied that the reader will do as well from using the techniques. Your results from the use of this information will depend entirely on you, your skills and effort, and other factors which are inherently unpredictable. All business ventures carry the possibility of loss of capital and investment.
    • Getting Started Selling On eBay In 9 Easy Steps Selling on eBay is definitely one of the easiest and fastest ways to start making money on the Net. Follow these nine easy steps to get started selling on eBay today. Open an eBay Seller's Account Opening a Seller's account is free, easy and it takes less than 5 minutes. Decide what you are going to sell Everyone has things around the house that they no longer use or want. Start by selling these unwanted items. If you want to turn eBay into a part or full time business you'll have to find a steady source of inventory, but by beginning with these you will have the opportunity to hone your description writing and photography skills. Photograph your item Nowhere is the old saying "A picture is worth a thousand words" more true than on eBay. Without pictures it's unlikely your auction will receive any bids. Use a digital camera or scan pictures into your computer. You can include one photo at no charge in each of your auctions. If you want to include more than one photo you will have to pay eBay a small fee to "host" the additional photos. Write your headline and description Log into your seller's account and use the listing utility eBay provides. It's easy to do by simply following the instructions provided. If you make a mistake you can go back and edit your listing after you've submitted all the information. Your headline and description are the most important parts of your auction. Take your time and choose your words carefully. Research similar auctions and note what beginning price they started at. It's probably a good idea to start yours in the same price range. Shipping costs When you are writing your listing eBay has made it easy for you to include a shipping calculator in your auction. All a bidder has to do is enter their ZIP code into the calculator and it will give them a shipping price through the US Post Office. Or you can simply state a specific shipping cost in your auction description. Answer all questions from bidders Some potential bidders will have questions about your item. Answer all questions from bidders as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Remember, this is a potential buyer. They are probably going to buy an item similar to what you are selling. Treat them as if they were already one of your
    • customers. Accept Payment There are numerous ways you can receive payment for the items you sell. One of the most popular methods is by accepting credit cards through PayPal. Other options are money orders, personal checks, Western Union, and cashier's checks. Be sure you state in your auction listing what payment methods you will accept, how soon you expect payment to be made, and how long you wait for personal checks to clear before shipping the item. Pack it up and ship it out Package your items carefully so they won't be damaged in shipping. Be sure to include a return address inside the box or envelope along with a not requesting feedback for the transaction from the buyer. Leave feedback Leave appropriate feedback for each transaction in a timely manner. Making The Most Of eBay's Seller Resources EBay goes to great lengths to provide both educational material and tools to help sellers sell smarter. Here are some resources to help your eBay business become more efficient, successful, and profitable. Everyone selling on eBay should become familiar with Seller Central. There you will find links to eBay's most frequently used tools, services and forms. This should be your first stop when you are looking for a solution or have a question about selling on eBay. Seller Central also includes links to many of the other resources talked about below. The Learning Center provides you with pretty much everything you need to know to get started selling on eBay with both textual, audio, and video tutorials. However, it's not just for beginners. There's plenty of information even experienced Power Sellers can use to improve their business in it's Advanced Selling section. You can take beginner or advanced classes in person or in the comfort of your own home from eBay University where you can sign up for classes on just about every aspect of selling on eBay. The Hot List is updated monthly. This is a large list, broken down by sub-category, of items for which demand outpaces listings. Not really that useful because many of the items listed aren't things that the normal seller would have access to. Still, it can be useful for tracking trends. Picture Services provides several photo related features to help improve the pictures, and their presentation, in your auctions. With Enhanced Picture Services you can crop, rotate, brighten, change contrast, or let Picture Services optimize your picture automatically. The Item Specifics feature is relatively new and still isn't applicable to all eBay categories. However, if you regularly list items in one or more of the categories it's been implemented in, you need to learn about them and begin using them because eBay is encouraging buyers to conduct
    • searches using Product Finder. If you don't use Item Specifics in your listing, your item won't show up on searches done through Product Finder. EBay's Solutions Directory provides you with a list of eBay approved third party software applications and other services that will help manage your business on eBay and save you time. The Shipping Center provides lots of useful information about shipping your items. It also includes a free shipping calculator, a package tracking system, and offers you the option of printing out professional looking shipping labels for you packages. No matter what your question, you can probably find other sellers who can provide knowledgeable answers on one of eBay's many Discussion Boards. Every month eBay offers several interactive Workshops on a variety of subjects. You can also access the archives of all the workshops that have been held over the last two years. Your Auction Headline - The Most Important Part Of Your Auction The words you select to describe your item will have a tremendous impact on the final price it receives or if it receives any bids at all. This is because no matter how great the item is you have up at auction, if you use words that don't lead prospective buyers to it, no one will ever see it. You have a total of 45 spaces to use for your auction headline to get people to visit your auction, so it's extremely important that you use each space wisely. The vast majority of buyers search through eBay listings by entering the item they are looking for into eBay's search engine. The main auction search engine only searches for words listed in auction titles. If a person selects a word that isn't in your auction title, your auction won't come up as a result of their search. This means that by far the most important task you have when composing a title for your auction is to use words that are relevant and specific to the item you are listing. While this may seem obvious, a lot of sellers don't do it (in fact, searching for listings in which people have ineffective or misspelled titles can often get you some great items which you can resell for a profit). If you are going to spend any extra time on your auctions, thinking through the best key words for your title is where you should spend that time. With a limit of 45 spaces, writing everything you want in the title just isn't going to be possible. For example, say you have a complete set of four bobblehead giveaways, sponsored by Mountain Dew, that the Minnesota Twins gave away at select home games during the 2002 season. Although accurate, that description is way too long for the allowable number of spaces. The key is to think through an accurate description that includes everything and then taking the most important words out of that and using them. A simple title might read "Minnesota Twins Bobbleheads". However, that title would be ineffective because it isn't specific enough. While there are many buyers who are looking for Minnesota Twins memorabilia and bobblehead dolls, the categories are too large and your auction will be lost among all the listings. You will have a very limited number of people who will ever see your auction. A better title might be "2002 Complete Set Minnesota Twins Bobbleheads". This title uses every
    • available space and gives a specific description of what you are selling. It will also now appear in results for a narrower search. Another possible title might be 2002 Minnesota Twins Bobblehead Bobble Head". People searching for this item type bobblehead into the search engine, while others type bobble head. A search for one will not bring up any results for the other, so at times it's to your advantage to list two different spellings of the same word. Take a few minutes to think about who would want the item you are selling and, if they were searching for it, what words would they be most likely to type into the search engine. You will find many sellers using what some call Power Words. These are words such as RARE, LIMITED, VINTAGE, UNIQUE, WOW, GREAT, WONDERFUL and AWESOME. Many sellers seem to think that using words such as these will attract more bidders to their auctions. I''ll guarantee you right now, that no one types any of these words into eBay's search engine. The use of words such as these does nothing but take up valuable space that could be used for words buyers do search for. Avoid them like the plague. The same applies to the symbols so many sellers use in their headlines. They try to make their headline stand out by using symbols such as $,#, %, and @ in their auction titles. A particular favorite of many is L@@K!. Once again, all of these are a complete waste of valuable title space. The only symbols you should ever use are & or + when their use will save you valuable title space. Acronyms and abbreviations are another matter however. Collectors of certain items have developed their own abbreviations and acronyms for certain commonly used phrases within their specific collecting specialty. It is to your advantage to learn at least some of these. NR, for example, means "No Reserve." To a Star Wars collector ROTJ means "Return Of The Jedi." Becoming familiar with some of these that are common with the type of items you sell will allow you to get more key words into the limited space which will result in more people viewing your auction. Spend some time browsing the titles that others have created for their auctions. Look for both good and bad examples of titles. Just spending a few hours doing this and thinking about where the seller could have improved their title will help you enormously in writing titles for your own auctions. Never forget - the first step is getting buyers to your auctions because if they can't find them, they can't buy anything from you. Effective Auction Descriptions - How To Create Them Once you've created the best possible title for your item, you will move on to writing your auction description. Here, you have more space to give a detailed description of the item you are selling in the body of your auction. While the photo and title are what get a person interested in your auction and bringing them to your listing, it's your description that is going to have to induce them to actually bid on it.
    • The sole purpose of your description is to get people to place a bid by presenting them with an honest and factual description of what you are selling. It has been shown that the chances are high that if a person doesn't place a bid the first time they view your auction, they won't come back and place one later. Furthermore, if you can get someone to bid on your auction early, this in itself will attract more possible buyers to your auction. There is an inherent curiosity when searching listings to see why someone has bid on a particular item, so auctions that already have bids stand out from those that don't. This brings even more potential bidders to your auctions. When writing your auction description, you want to list every attribute that will make it sound as appealing as possible. However, you must also be careful to be as accurate as possible in your description. Details are extremely important. The more detailed you can be about what you are selling, the better. Potential bidders want to know as much as possible about something before placing a bid on it. Even things that may seem obvious should be included. Take a few minutes and ask yourself if you were considering buying the item you're listing, what details would you want to know about it? Your description should paint a picture of the item in the persons mind. Write your auction description as if your auction didn't have any photos attached to it. If there is an imperfection or a flaw with the item, be honest and upfront about it. Ask yourself if you were the buyer and the seller left out the imperfection in the description, how would you feel when you received the item? By making your description as accurate as possible, stressing the attributes, but also giving all the details about any imperfections, you will greatly reduce the chance of having problems when the sale is completed. Your honesty will also quickly gain you a reputation for describing your items accurately. Your descriptions are also another way of attracting buyers to your auctions. While the main way people search eBay is through the search engine that uses the item titles, they can also refine their search to include words or phrases found in auction descriptions. By writing a thorough longer description, you automatically create more words that in return increase the chances of your auction being included in someone's search criteria. If there is a story that goes along with the item, include it. The buyer just has your photos and descriptions to make an informed decision with. The more flavor, detail and warmth you put into your listing, the more likely the person looking at your auction will be to bid on it. Use adjectives freely and play on any unique attributes the item has. Take the time to create a description that will make the buyer feel completely comfortable with placing a bid if it is something that he or she is interested in. Also be sure that you include all your after auction information in your description. Don't leave potential bidders in the dark concerning the shipping cost. List all shipping options and the cost of each. List the types of payments you accept. Include a definite date by which payment must be received. The clearer your instructions, the more comfortable the bidder will be and the less likely you will run into problems at the end of the transaction. Naturally all the items you sell are going to be the same. However, there will be portions of your description that can remain the same for virtually every product you sell. Once you have created a description you like and seems to get people to bid, save it and make it your template for auctions. Then simply change words and add extra information where needed. This will not only guarantee that each of your auctions will have a quality description, it will also allow you to list more auctions since you won't have to write a completely new description for every auction you list.
    • 12 Tips For Taking Better Pictures For eBay When you decide to buy a new car eventually you end up at the dealers before making a final decision regarding what make and model you will buy. You sit in cars, look under their hoods, look in the trunk, check out the dashboard, kick the tires and eventually take it for a drive. Consumers are a touchy-feely group. We like to experience a product, hold it in our hands, before we make a final buying decision. When someone shops on eBay they aren't able to physically hold and inspect an item they are considering purchasing. The closest they can come to that touchy-feely experience, is viewing the pictures of the item that the seller has provided. Photos are the next best thing to actually holding or touching an item. That's why it's so important that you include plenty of photos in your eBay auction listing; and why you spend some time to insure your pictures allow a buyer to come as close as they can to actually holding your item in their hands. Your pictures should be close-up shots of the item in front of a plain background. Use proper lighting and take pictures from several angles so potential bidders can get a good idea of what they are bidding on. Here are some tips on how to go about achieving that: 1. Never use stock photos. Bidders can tell the difference between a photo of the actual item you are selling and a stock photo. If you use them, all you accomplish is to leave questions in a buyer's mind. 2. Use plain neutral backgrounds for your pictures. Your goal is to get bidders to focus their attention on the item you are selling., not on the background. If you use a background that's too busy, it becomes difficult for them to see the item clearly. The only exception to this rule may be if you are selling a large piece of furniture and want to show it in it's natural setting. 3. Center the item in the camera's viewfinder so it's framed with a small border surrounding it. 4. Use diffused lighting. Often lighting can cause an item to appear differently than it does in real life. It's important that you capture the real color, texture and condition of the item you are selling. 5. Don't use a flash unless you are a professional. All you'll end up doing is making your item appear washed out or causing glare. Use either natural light or room light whenever possible. 6. Use the highest resolution your camera offers. The last thing you want is to end up with grainy pictures. With today's photo compression software you can quickly and easily compress your high resolution photos so they will load quickly. 7. Get a tripod and use it. Handheld photos tend to be blurry - particularly close-ups. A tripod is essential if you want to take clear photos, particularly of small items. 8. Don't get too fancy. Always remember that you're selling the item in the photo and not the photo itself. Bidders need a clear sharp picture to make a decision. 9. Never alter or doctor your pictures. Most buyers will be able to tell that you have and assume you are misrepresenting your item. 10. Include as many pictures as necessary to show your item to its best advantage.
    • 11. Always include sharp close-ups of brand names and back stamps. 12. Always show close-ups of any damage to the item so buyers won't be surprised when they receive the item. When you are beginning it may cost some money to equip your mini photo studio with a good camera, lighting, tripod and backdrops, but it's a sound investment in your eBay business. The expenditures will pay for themselves in a short time from the increased sales you will have. Choosing The Right eBay Auction Category eBay is divided up into hundreds of categories and sub-categories and once you've decided on an item to list, you must decide what category you will list it in. For example, let's assume you have a Tonka truck that you had as a child. Do you place it under toys, collectibles, or automotive? And, once you've decided on one of those three, you still need to decide what sub-category you will list it under. Choosing the category and sub-category you list your item in is not a trivial decision. It can mean the difference between making a sale and no sale at all. It can mean the difference between multiple bidders and only one bidder. Here are some tips to help you select the best category and sub-category for your item: 1. Begin by checking all the categories that your item might fit into. This may take some time, but it's time well spent. And, as you become more experienced you won't need to spend as much time on this in the future. Look at each category and ask yourself: ? Are there other similar items for sale here? ? If there are, do they have bids? ? How do final prices in this category compare to those in other categories? 2. Look at completed auctions. Search completed auctions for Tonka trucks. In what category and sub-category have they sold well? 3. Don't make the mistake of thinking you should list your item in a category where there isn't much competition. The reason there aren't many similar items listed in that category is probably that there aren't many buyers there either. 4. Along the same lines, don't automatically list an item in a category just because it has lots of listings. You don't want to place your item in a dead category. Lots of listings are fine as long as most of them are resulting in sales. 5. Look at active auctions in the categories you're considering. Depending upon what the item you are selling is, if there are already a large number listed, at times it may be to your advantage to wait a week to list yours. One of the nice thing about eBay is that auctions don't last all that long. 6. Undecided between two categories? When you write your auction you have the option of listing your item in two different categories or sub-categories. There are times when this may be to your advantage. 7. If you have several of the same items, then try them one at a time in different categories so that
    • you can test how they do in each one. This way you can inexpensively test which category works best for your items. Getting Your Price On eBay While Keeping Your Fees Down When you have the right item - something that has wide appeal and is in high demand - you can usually safely save on your eBay listing fees by simply using a low starting bid and letting multiple bidders run the price up. As long as there are five or six bidders, or more, you will more than likely get a final price that you are happy with. Unfortunately, while this is the ideal scenario, for a large number of items in many categories, this just isn't always the case. Many items on eBay have less than intense demand or they appeal to a very narrow niche. When this is the case, different listing techniques are needed. In the past, many sellers used a reserve to protect items. But, over the years reserve fees have significantly increased and using a reserve has lost it's appeal to many sellers. This means you must find different techniques to get the same results without paying exorbitant fees. Here are three different approaches you can take to accomplish this. Use a high opening bid This may seem like an obvious technique to replace a reserve bid, but actually it's not that appealing. If you have an item you feel you need to get $50 for, you can protect it with a $49.99 opening bid, but eBay is still going to charge you $1.20 for that protection. High opening bids also have a way of discouraging bidding. The result will often be either the auction ends without any bids, or a bidder will snipe the auction in the last seconds and buy your item for it's starting bid. Neither of these is a desirable outcome. Listing in two categories with a low opening bid True, listing in two categories will double your listing fees. But, if you keep your opening bid at $9.99 or lower your listing fees will still be only $.70. This technique can be especially successful when you have an item that a buyer isn't consciously looking for, but would be interested in buying. Let's say you've acquired a nice illustrated catalog of William Hoosier kitchen cabinets form 1917. The obvious place to list it is in Books>Catalogs where it will attract quite a bit of attention. But, by also listing it in Antiques>Furniture>Cabinets> Armoires, Cupboards>Post 1900 you are able to put it in front of many bidders who would have an interest in it, but wouldn't be actively looking for it. This can be a very effective technique because it greatly increases the chances that your catalog will be found by more potential buyers. However, your catalog still won't be protected, and there are some items that don't have cross-category appeal. Using a low opening bid with the option of a price revision This technique keeps your listing fees low and also offers some price protection for your item. Here's how it works. Start your auction at a low opening bid and be sure to monitor it daily. If it starts getting bids from several buyers you don't need to do anything. However, if several days go by and it just sits there
    • without a bid, you simply revise the opening bid to an amount more in line with what you need for the item. This effectively returns you to the first tactic we discussed, but you will have avoided giving the item away; while at the same time given it a chance to attract attention. Making Your eBay Auction Business Stand Out From The Crowd When my sons were growing up they started playing hockey when they were 6 years old. Each of them, in their first year, scored more goals than the rest of their team combined. How did they do this? Have you ever seen a hockey game between two teams of 6 year olds? The puck is like a magnet to them. Where ever the puck goes they follow like a swarm of bees. The game is one mass of young kids all clustered around the puck, pushing and shoving each other. It's like a rugby scrum. The result of this is that usually the puck squirts out of the mass of bodies, slides 10 or 15 feet down the ice, and stops. A few seconds later the mass of bodies descends on it and the process starts all over again. So how did both my sons score so many goals? It wasn't hard to score in those games - if you could get the puck near the net. The goalie was just one of the kids, and he or she was just waiting their turn to join in the scrum. On the way to the rink for each game I reminded my sons to stay away from all the other players. I would tell them when everyone gets in a clump around the puck, don't go near them. Be different. Stay about 10-15 feet away from everyone else and when the puck pops out, go get it, skate to the net and shoot. Many times my son's team would win by a score like 12 to 0 and he'd scored all 12 goals. Actually, in one game the score ended up 9 to 1 and my son scored all 10 goals (at age 6 it's pretty easy to get turned around and go in the wrong direction at times). That same advice can help you become more successful in your auction business - BE DIFFERENT!! As eBay and the other auction sites grow, it becomes easier and easier to become lost inthe crowd. Where there used to be 13 Elvis Presley "Blue Hawaii" 45's available at any given time, now there are 78. That hard to find Doric depression glass covered serving dish the used to appear once every 4-5 weeks now goes looking for bidders. Not that long ago there were just a few sellers offering digital cameras. Now it seems as if everyone is getting into the act. If you are going to survive and succeed on eBay you need to stand out from the rest of the auction crowd. How do you do that? 1. Be more knowledgeable than your competition If you want to stand out, seek more knowledge. Actually this applies to all areas of your life, not just your auction business. There are all kinds of great sources of information floating around - both on-line and offline. All it
    • takes is just a little time and effort, and you can get a lot of useful information. If you sell pottery, it's not hard to become more knowledgeable about Rosemeade Pottery than 99% of the other people selling it. Let that knowledge show in your item descriptions and you will soon have a devoted following of bidders looking for your auctions. The more knowledge you acquire, the more successful you will be. 2. Look down the road Obviously, we all want and need to make money this week, this month. But, to insure your continued success, it's just as important to be continually building your business for tomorrow. Build a list and use it. At the very minimum, your About Me Page (you do have one, right?) should have a way for buyers and potential buyers to add their name to your list. I collect aspirin tins. I also sell a lot of them on eBay. Over time, I've built a list of other aspirin tin collectors. Every two months or so, I send out a newsletter with 1 or 2 articled about these little tins along with a recap of the harder to find ones that have appeared on eBay and the prices they sold for. This is just one of 11 different lists of buyers I maintain. WWith a little thought you cancome up with a way to use your list, in an unobtrusive manner that will benefit both you and your customers. 3. Blow your own horn Don't be shy. Look for ways to place your name in front of as many customers and potential customers as possible. You will find this is probably the most beneficial step you can take to insure your success. If you sell antique windup toys, write a monthly or bimonthly newsletter about them (you're building a list, remember?). If you offer a quality newsletter about windup toys, your name will become associated with them. If I sold used children's clothing I'd do a little research and come up with the three most effective ways to get grass stains out of clothing. Then, with every package I shipped I'd include an insert with this information on it along with my name, address, eBay user name, web site address, and a link where they could add their name to my list. If you were a young mother looking for good buys on clothing for your children would they remember me? Would you seek out my auctions in the future? There are numerous ways you can promote yourself. Write articles for collector ezines, a quality newsletter and web site with valuable information, develop a e-mail course, No matter what you sell, you should be able to come up with several different ways to put your name in front of your buyers and keep it there. 3. Follow the golden rule The auction process should be fun - a win/win situation for both the buyer and the seller. Unfortunately, way too many sellers look at each of their auctions as individual battles to be won. They treat every bidder as if he or she were the enemy. It may seem like there is an unlimited supply of bidders out there, but there isn't. Believe me, bidders do communicate among themselves. I communicate with several groups of bidders (some several hundred people strong) with similar interests. Be obnoxious or rude with one of these and you haven't just lost one potential customer in the
    • future, you've lost several hundred. You can't do that too many times and remain in business. Conduct your business with class. Have fun. Enjoy the people you deal with. Your life and their will be enriched many fold. It takes time and work to build a good reputation. Putting your name in a bad light can tarnish or ruin that reputation forever. Treat every customer with honesty, respect, and friendliness. Isn't that the way you'd want to be treated? 12 Tips To Make Your eBay Business More Profitable Sometimes it's the simple things that can make your eBay business more profitable and run smoother. Here are twelve things you can do that will lead to more sales and increased profits on eBay. 1. Use auction management tools or services Using an auction management tool or service allows you to automate most of your day-to-day auction business and frees up time for other activities. There are numerous ones available and the majority of them offer a free 30-day trial period. Find one that fits your needs and budget, learn how to use all of its' features, and then stick with it. Make certain the one you choose supports eBay's Item Specifics and Pre-Filled features. 2. Target all your items toward the same market There's nothing wrong with offering several different items on eBay, but try to sell things that target the same general market or 2-3 markets. You will find this makes it much easier for satisfied customers to buy from you again. The majority of my customers have returned to buy five or more items from me in the past year. You should strive for this also. 3. End all your auctions on the same day and during the same general time frame Whatever you are selling, test different days and times of the day to determine what works best for you. Once you determine what day and time works best for you, stick to that time. Your customers will come to know your auctions always end on a certain day at a certain time and know that they can go on the computer on Sunday night at 10 PM, for example, and be able to bid. 4. Fast shipping equates to repeat sales We live in an instant gratification world. Once an item is paid for, get it in the mail as quickly as possible. This will lead to higher customer feedback and repeat sales. If you aren't seeing comments about how fast a customer received their item in 60 to 70 percent of your feedback, it's taking you too long to get things in the mail and it's hurting your business. 5. Give your product a vacation once in a while It pays to stop listing an item, or type of item, every once in a while so that potential customers don't begin to take it for granted that it will always be available. You will find that if you don't list an item for two or three weeks, when you do it again, it will almost always result in increased bidding and higher bids.
    • 6. Make use of eBay's "Second Chance" offers If you have multiples of the same item and more than one person has bid on it, make a "Second Chance" offer to the next one or two unsuccessful bidders. You will find the response rate to these offers is quite high. If you simply choose to re list, there's a good chance that many of the under- bidders will never see your item when it is re-listed. 7. Use a template to create a recognizable identity Every auction you run should have a similar layout, graphics, and style that your customers can quickly associate with you. When one of your customers clicks on an item link and first arrives at your auction, they should instantly be able to say, "This is one of Bill's auctions." They will instantly feel at home and be more ready to bid. 8. Make use of eBay's Keyword program Most people associate eBay's Keyword program with eBay stores, but it can be used very successfully in conjunction with your auctions too. The Keyword program is usually running some kind of free trial. Take advantage of it and see how it can increase both the number of bids and the ending price for your auctions. 9. Use Google's Adwords program to attract buyers Used correctly, Google's Adwords program is an excellent way to attract potential bidders who would otherwise never see your auctions. As long as you use search words or phrases that are tightly targeted to the item you are selling, this can be a cheap and effective promotional tool. 10. Sell only one item per auction There are exceptions, but bundling similar products into one auction almost always leads to fewer bids and decreased sales. While there may be times you do this to get rid of inventory that hasn't sold, it's normally not a good way to do business. 11. Sell internationally The simple truth is that if you don't allow international buyers to bid on your auctions you are throwing money out the door. This is a lucrative market with lots of money to spend. Since many sellers exclude these buyers, it only makes sense that you give them the opportunity to spend their money with you. 12. Accept PayPal If you're not accepting payment by PayPal, you may be loosing a lot of bidders and money. Buyers love the convenience of using this service and many won't bid on an item if the seller doesn't offer it as a payment option. If you're not doing it, you are throwing money away. 15 Tips To Make Your eBay Business More Successful 1. Set your business up to accept as many forms of payment as you can. PayPal, personal checks, cashiers checks, both domestic and International money orders, International bank transfers, etc. Every additional payment option you add will increase your customer base.
    • 2. Don't exclude buyers from foreign countries or with free email accounts like Hotmail or AOL. Ultimately, you are only hurting yourself. In some categories the best buyers are located in a different country than you are. 3. Keep your ads simple. If you confuse buyers, they will either by-pass your offerings, or leave you negative feedback because they read something into your ad that you never meant to be there. 4. Don't attempt to increase your profits by a few dollars by charging excessive postage. Buyers are not stupid. They realize what you are trying to do and most will avoid your auctions like the plague. 5. Give your customers all the facts to bid intelligently. Don't tell them you will figure out what the postage will be after the auction ends. Tell them in your ad what class postage you use and what the actual amount will be. 6. Don't discriminate against buyers who don't have a perfect feedback record. As long as you have good business procedures in place (such as waiting an appropriate period of time for checks to clear), there is no need to look downward at buyers whose reputation might have been damaged just because they got a bad deal. It happens to everyone and someday it will happen to you. 7. Don't discriminate against buyers who have little or no feedback. Remember, you were in the same position at one time. Once you have been in business for a while you'll learn that a buyer with little or no feedback is no more likely to screw you than one with a shooting star. 8. Don't make customers jump through hoops in order to buy from you. Just because you had a bad experience with one buyer, that doesn't mean you should threaten everyone else in advance. Doing so won't hurt your customers, but it will hurt your business. 9. If you are selling collectibles, antiques, or anything else that warrants it, show lots and lots of good sized, clear and crisp pictures. If you don't want to pay an online auction site for use of their web space then use the free web space provided by your Internet service provider. Buyers make critical buying decisions based upon what they see and pictures are the cheapest way possible to insure that you will have a happy buyer. The more pictures you include, the more your business will thrive. 10. Offer a money back guarantee. Be prepared to take an occasional loss on some items. You will encounter far more serious buyers who won't bid unless you have a guarantee than you will people who are intentionally trying to take advantage of you. 11. Be prepared to take a loss to make a buyer happy. If a buyer didn't receive his purchase, even if he chose not to purchase insurance, be prepared to return his money. You will get more repeat and honest buyers than you will cheaters. 12. Leave feedback in the correct sequence. When the buyer pays you and his payment is good, leave them positive feedback immediately. Don't become one of the angry sellers who practice feedback blackmail. 13. If you must leave negative feedback for a buyer, make it brief and to the point. Future buyers will read your comments regarding the sale and they perceive you as honest and mature. If you engage in name-calling, swearing, or derogatory remarks, you will be seen as immature and this will scare off potential bidders. 14. Always be friendly and answer any questions from potential bidders quickly. Remember, you were new once also. 15. Have an About Me page and include a picture of yourself. People will find it easier to trust
    • you if they can see you and know a little bit about you. Your eBay Business - 8 Ways To Insure It's Success I don't know if you've ever noticed, but it seems like every week or two we read about another Powerseller going out of business. If you want your auction business to be a long-term success, then it's important that you plan now for it's continued growth. According to some people the world economy may be moving toward a 1930's like depression. Others say there is no chance of that happening. Even without something as catastrophic as a worldwide depression, there are still plenty of little things that can put a damper on your success. But, whatever the situation, it's a good idea to hedge your bets. Here are eight tips for preparing your eBay auction business for whatever the future may hold. 1. Keep your overhead low A huge advantage that you, as an eBay seller, have in today's marketplace is that you can control your own overhead. You don't need big offices, lots of employees, and a lot of the expensive trappings of traditional businesses. By always keeping a close eye on your overhead, you will be in position to weather the slow times on eBay and/or slow economic times. On eBay you can't always control how many sales you make, but you can control your overhead. Keep it low! 2. Invest in tools and training Successful eBay sellers survive and prosper because they are willing to invest in new skills and tools; and to take the time to learn how to use them to make themselves more productive. The key to long- term growth is to continually learn new skills and acquire new tools that will save you both time and money. The more skills you develop, the more flexible you can be with the types of products you sell and how you sell them. At the same time, it's important to invest your time and money wisely. Many people that want to build a full time eBay business willingly spend $200 - $300 over a period of time on several $20 - $30 products, but are reluctant to spend $100 or more on one product. While there are certainly some expensive products that are of little or no value, many times the best products are priced at an amount that belies their value. 3. Have multiple income streams You've all heard the old saying "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." Nowhere is it truer than on eBay. Try to set up at least three or four different niches, each of which produces it's own stream of income. There are a couple of advantages to this.
    • First, while the income you make from each niche might not be enough to survive on, the combined income can provide a comfortable living. Secondly, should one or more of the niches suddenly slow down, you will still have income from the others to tide you over until new income streams can be created. 4. Have backup plans in place It's a fact of life that very few lucrative niches on eBay last forever. What will you do if you most productive niche suddenly takes a dive into the dumpster? And, what if another of your niches takes a dive also? Knowing the answers to these questions will help prevent you from having to make decisions out of desperation. You should always have a backup plan in place. You should be continually looking for and developing new niches that you can move into if others become unproductive. 5. Be flexible and be ready to react quickly to changing conditions or developments Always be on the lookout for the occasional, short term, hot item that pops up on eBay. Within the last year it was Dragonball Z, Beyblades and Furreal Friends. Would you have seen them coming and been in a position to take advantage of the craze for one of more of them? Many so called auction experts talk about utilities such as Hotbids.com or Andale's Research tool to help you determine what's hot. But the secret isn't to find out what is hot; it's determining what is going to be hot. There are several web sites and tools you can use to do this. One of the best is Lycos 50, a daily report on Lycos.com by Chris Schatz. He talks about the top 50 keyword searches on Lycos and makes predictions. The point is that, many times, the real research tools you should be using aren't in any way connected with eBay. Neither are they being touted by the so-called experts. But they're there to be used by you if you are imaginative enough to see how what they offer can fit into your business. Whenever there is change, there is always opportunity. But only if you can see the change coming and are flexible enough and have the skills and tools needed to take advantage of it. 6. Don't make business decisions out of desperation Never let any situation get so out of control that you have to make hasty decisions out of desperation. In nearly all cases, doing so will only cause more problems. It is far better to take the long-term view - constantly monitor your business so that you can take any necessary steps and make any necessary changes before the problems become critical. 7. Always keep your priorities straight Never let your business take over your life. Your priorities should be family, health, morality, and then business. It's never worth destroying your family, health, or reputation trying to build your business. If your business gets in the way of family responsibilities, change your business. If your business is destroying your health, change your business. If your business is causing you to make decisions you know are immoral or illegal, change your business. Always remember what your long-term goals are and don't sacrifice them for a quick, short surge
    • in business. 8. Hang in there If you are in business for any length of time you are going to run into rough spots and tough times. Often with that happens you will see a lot of people bail out and quit. In many cases, those few players that remain in the game are the ones who survive the tough times and go on to become extremely successful. If you are selling good products, have low overhead, and multiple streams of income from several niches, you can afford to hang in there a lot longer than your competition. And sometimes, just by sucking it up and hanging in there, you become the winner of customers by default - because they have nowhere else to go.