ANDY FISH is a comic book artist

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

HOW TO SELL ON eBAY and Make Money Doing It.

eBay can be a virtual yard sale

I read this article from a Noobie who gave eBay a shot and didn't have much luck with it, falling in to almost every single trap there is in the world of online retailing.

Go on and read it if you want to, but just remember to come back here so I can enlighten you with some positive experience.

Or it can be a viable part (or full) time job as a virtual retailer

First and foremost-- what kind of retailer do you want to be?

A. Quick cash cleanup-- a virtual yard sale!
B. Part time job-- a regular steady income!
C. Full time job-- quite my day job and work from home!

Any of these options is viable but first ALL of them have some simple structures you must follow;

1. Good pictures.   You have to make the product you're selling attractive, and you have to make sure the pictures are clear.  eBay also has a requirement that your picture be a minimum of 500 pixels wide at it's smallest side to ensure there are no tiny unseeable thumbnails in listings.

2. A good description.  I write a template which explains our selling policies i.e. we ship overseas but only at the calculated shipping rate so that foreign buyers can see what it's going to cost them to get the item.  Inside that template I have a space for a paragraph describing what this item is.  Be creative with your writing-- explain to me, the buyer, why I want this-- why I NEED this.  Humor helps sales too.

3. Ship quickly.  Nobody likes to wait for a package they order.  You don't and I don't.  Neither does your buyer.  The auction end is not going to come as a surprise.  List your auctions and then check them halfway through the selling session and if it has a bid, start looking for a box for it now.  Don't wait until the last second.

Worse, don't put it off until after the auction ends.  You can get free shipping supplies from the USPS but you have to use the service the boxes are intended for, meaning Priority Mail, Express Mail, etc.

All right-- so how do you start selling?

Let's begin with A.
Round up all those extra items around the house that you want to get rid of.  Think about setting up lots of two items, things that go together.  CDs, DVDs, books, all do better in lot sales than onesy's.

Take 'em outside like you're running a yard sale, and take some pictures of the items.  The light outside is going to be better than the light inside so your pictures will come out better.

Get yourself an eBay account if you don't already have one.  Do a search for the items you're selling.  When you do a search, go to ADVANCED OPTIONS and look for COMPLETED LISTINGS-- select that and you'll get an idea of what things sell for.

All of this can be done sitting with an afternoon cup of coffee.  Make note of the items that might have some value and take special care with those photos and listings.  Look at the items that sold and write down what categories those sellers put the items in.  That can help sales a great deal.

List your auction with the SELL AN ITEM button-- it's pretty straightforward.  You write your description, choose your category, your start price, your auction duration, your shipping charges as well as options like if you want to ship internationally.

Now if you're doing this as a Yard Sale type of business don't sweat the price too much.  It's bringing in exactly 0.00 dollars right now.  So anything is better than just throwing it out-- so I start most of my auctions at 99c.

RESERVE PRICES are available, but they are also the kiss of death in an auction.  I can guarantee the vast majority of Reserve price auctions don't sell.  People don't want to bother bidding on something they won't win at their high bid.

The opposite is true of a low start NO RESERVE auction-- bidders will get invested in the idea of getting a bargain and they will likely bid higher than they intended.

I've studied auctions-- I've seen items with a Minimum Bid or even a Buy It Now of $100 NOT sell, then the SAME exact item starts at $9.99 and ends up selling for closer to $200.  How is that possible?  People could have bought this for half price? 

It's simple psychology-- the perceived value at $9.99 locks in the idea of I must have this.  It just seems like a better deal even if it isn't.

It's why stores in Massachusetts are slammed at Tax Free day-- and yet a 20% off sale does little to get people in the doors-- why?  Tax free day you're saving only 6.25%- but the thing is they actually SEE the difference on their sales slip.  They're used to something being advertised at $100 and when they pay it's now $106.25-- the fact that buying that same item and now it IS what it IS marked makes a big difference.

It's how it is in Japan-- and I can't tell you how good it feels to just pay the marked price.

Next time-- we move on to selling with the B-Plan.