Stake your claim on the web

What Customers Want from an Ebay Seller

The customer is 100% essential to your success. Without focusing on the customer’s needs, you’re doomed to fail on Ebay. Is there really any excuse to not be catering to buyer’s needs? With everything you do on Ebay, ask yourself how it will help the customer. It it doesn’t help, but actually might make their experience with you worse, then do I even need to tell you what to do?

When buyers come to Ebay, they want to buy the item they are looking for at the price they want to pay for it. And they want it quick. They don’t want to have to fight through hard to read blocks of text, ask you how much your combined shipping rates are, or contact you to get their tracking information. The more you can do to help them out, the better their experience will be, and the more likely they are to return to your store.

Here are some of things that customers really want when they buy on Ebay:

People like free shipping, and it’s encouraged by Ebay to offer it. Try to incorporate it into your auctions when it makes sense. You may profit less per item, but the number of items you sell and the exposure you receive will most likely go up.

Buyers like tracking. Sending delivery confirmation or a tracking number is not only nice, but often expected. If you use Click N Ship online ordering from USPS, you can have the delivery confirmation number automatically sent to the buyer. You’re also more likely to receive a high rating in your DSR’s from this happy buyer for communication. Buying shipping labels through Ebay or Paypal also offers tracking, and will send correspondence to the buyer letting them know the item has shipped, along with the tracking.

Strongly consider requiring insurance on items worth over $25. All it takes is one expensive item to be lost in the mail, and you could be out a week’s pay. Play it smart, especially with more expensive items, and purchase insurance. Make sure to keep the receipt to file a claim should anything happen!

Items still do best in groups. If you have a lot of 40 items and you sell 10 items per week, you may have been better off selling all of those 40 items in the same week long period, provided they are different items. Traffic doesn’t just flow from the Ebay search, it flows from one of your auctions to your next auction, increasing the chance of interested buyers, bids, and overall sales numbers.

People trust sellers with high feedback. Start building your feedback as soon as possible by purchasing items on Ebay and selling smaller, lower priced items. Cheaper items in higher quantity can boost your feedback fast.

Open another Ebay account if you plan on buying and reselling. This way, buyers can’t search through your past transactions and see how much you’ve paid for a certain item.

The new DSR (detailed seller ratings) do have some benefits. If you hit a certain sales number and have a high DSR, you can qualify for a Powerseller discount on listing fees and final value fees. To maintain high DSR ratings, ship quickly, answer questions quickly, and describe the item accurately.

People want their stuff fast. Priority USPS mail still seems to be the best shipping service for Ebay. It’s reasonably priced, and it ships fast all over the country.

Enhance the look of your auction with a template. Templates can easily be purchased through Ebay itself, or if you’re a web design pro, you can make one yourself to suit your Ebay store.

A high buy it now price on auction format listings will help to establish a perceived value of an item. If the starting bid is $99.99, but the buy it now is $199.99, there’s a perception of a deal already just by being the first person to bid at $99.99 (even if it’s unrealistic that someone will purchase it for $199.99 – you never know!).

Buyers love combined shipping. Advertise that you offer combined shipping rates for multiple purchases in several spots throughout your auction, where they can definitely see it. Some sellers have had luck offering free shipping if they spend a certain amount of money (like free shipping on orders over $100).

Until the next post, maybe you should think about exactly what your buyers want, and how you can give it to them?

 Intro photo by Didriks.

How to Sell on Collectibles on Ebay

vintage Spider-man comic bookSell Your Collectible Merchandise and Make a Sizable Profit

Collectibles are one of the most profitable categories on Ebay. By selling off your old collectibles or someone else’s, you can stand to make a good profit. This page will help you step by step with the selling process, even if you have no experience in selling them in the first place.

Action figures, antiques, dolls, baseball cards, stamps, coins, vintage lunchboxes, comic books, and postcards all qualify as collectibles. No matter what the condition, they have a value, and they can be sold. This category can really be a wildcard, and can be one of the most exciting! This is what Ebay was made for.

Taking Inventory of Collectibles & Merchandise

When you have many items from a particular niche to sell on Ebay, you’re at an advantage. The more people see one particular auction, the better chances are that they might also click to the next auction of yours, thereby increasing your chances for additional bids. If you have a whole lot of collectible merchandise to sell off, this means you’re in luck.

The first thing you’ll want to do is take an inventory of what you have that you’re ready to sell. Before you go too crazy, you may want to research completed items first to see how this particular type of item sells. To research, you’ll first need an Ebay account. Once you’re set up and ready to go, it’s time to see the completed listings.

Simply search for the item in question on Ebay. If you might be selling collectible troll dolls, then search “troll dolls.” Check off the box on the left side of the screen marked “completed listings,” then hit enter. This will pull up all of the ended auctions in the past 14 days for this particular search term. Item in red have not sold, items in green have sold.

As you scroll down, see what ratio of items sell in that niche, and what the selling prices are. Is it worth it for you to sell? If not, it could be the time of year (summers tend to be slow), a bad economy, a holiday week, or, it could be that the item itself is not in demand.

Sometimes items sell – sometimes they don’t. These are often cycles, so don’t get discouraged. Try again, and you’ll find a price you are happy with eventually. If not, here are some additional tips.

What If the Collectibles Aren’t Selling on Ebay?

All collectibles are cyclical in nature. They’re in favor, then they fall out of favor, only to come back in favor again down the road. This goes for a lot of certain niches like antiques, and even seasonal items like swimsuits or sweaters. Just because the prices aren’t high now, doesn’t mean they won’t be down the road.

Then again, some niches never fully recover due to oversaturation of the market. If you have collectibles you’d still like to sell even though they aren’t selling well, then you’ll have to consider doing a few things:

  • Pricing the items to sell. This may mean starting the items at a low, low price to encourage bids.
  • Grouping items together to save buyers on shipping costs. If you have a large lot of troll dolls, maybe grouping them together will increase your chances for a sale.
  • Keeping the shipping costs low. Buyers never want to pay high shipping prices, so keep them low while you can to encourage bids. If the item is high priced, offering free shipping might not be out of the question.

These are great strategies for those just looking to sell now instead of waiting around for items to appreciate in value.

Taking Photos of Collectibles

A picture is worth a thousand words at least on Ebay. If you aren’t taking great photos, you simply are losing money. There are a lot of things that can sabotage the success of an Ebay auction, and the photos are one of them. I’ve gone over Ebay photos in great detail on my Ebay photo tips page, if you’d like more advice on pictures.

  • More photos is better than less. Take many photos to give buyers the chance to feel comfortable with your product.
  • Make sure photos aren’t blurry, and that the product takes up most of the space on the image.
  • Natural light works best. Position your photo station near a window if possible, or even outside during the day. Avoid using a flash.
  • Take pictures of all details, including tags and included accessories, guides, or instructions.

A great photo can really make your auction sing. The gallery photo is the most important photo of all.

Selling Collectibles on Ebay – Setting Up the Auction

Once you’ve taken photos and you have your inventory squared away, you’re ready to list your items. First, you’ll want to make sure you have the right packing supplies on hand for when the items needs to be shipped.

Next, you’ll log into your Ebay account. Again, search for completed items before you list any particular item. This should give you an idea of the keywords that seem to be generating more sales, and what trends you’ve noticed that seem to lead to less sales.

With that information, you’ll begin setting up your very first collectibles auction. Here, the keyword title will be the most important text aspect of your auction. This is the piece of text at the top of the page, not including the subtitle. These words are the words that allow your auction to be found in the Ebay search engine. Color, size, make, model, condition, item number, and brand name are all attributes worth putting in the title.

Now you’ll add your photos and fill out the description. Your main gallery photo should be your best photo, and one that people will recognize instantly. Don’t try to get too creative, just take a nice photo and upload it. You’ll also want to include more photos in each auction. It’s recommended that you host your own photos to give buyers better detail, and also to save money on fees.

The Description: Describe Your Collectibles

Descriptions work best using bullet points. This makes it easy to read, and easy to scan. Big blocks of text tend to scare away readers, so keep it organized. Some things buyers will want to know about are:

  • The condition – Be truthful, but be careful of your wording. The word “used” is undesirable, however “pre-owned” and
    gently used” have much better connotations.
  • The brand name, make, or model – Tell them what the brand is, and tell them about the brand. Copy and paste this blurb into each auction you write to give them a background on the brand, make, or model.
  • Where it’s coming from – Is this a pet free, smoke free home? Has it been in outside storage, or inside storage? Buyers want to know where this item has been.
  • Special Features – Is this a limited release, making it even more collectible? Is it signed? Is it a retired piece? Is there something that sets it apart from other items on Ebay?

Shipping Collectibles: Avoid Breakages and Pack it Right

Once you get the hang of shipping, it can be very easy and quick. The most time consuming part will actually be going to the post office to drop them off (though carrier pickup is available for items using the Click N Ship program in some areas).

You can never overpack an item, but you can underpack it. Keep plenty of the following on hand to ensure you won’t have any breakages:

Now that you’ve shipped the item, it’s time to find more inventory and start the process all over again! Read other posts on this blog to find out where you can find products to sell, listing tips, and other Ebay auction recommendations.

The Top Ten Things to Include in Every Ebay Auction

booksEbay Essentials That Will Improve the Clarity of Your Auctions to Potential Customers

One of the top reasons auctions perform poorly is that there is a lack of information in the auction. Providing all of the information that your customers will need to make an educated purchase will help them with the buying process, address any questions, concerns and fears that they may have. That information should be communicated in a well organized, attractive, and clear way that your buyer can easily read, scan, and view.

Here are 10 things to make sure you include in every one of your Ebay auctions to help out your buyers, and ensure a higher sale price:

1. At least 4 photos of the item, no matter how small the item is. Buyers can’t see your item in person, so they need to see the bottom, top, side angles, front angles, back angles, and any details like tags, inside tags, accessories, and close-ups to give them a good idea of what exactly your item looks like. Photos are free to add to your auction , up to twelve, so there’s no reason to not add them.

2. The condition of the item.Honesty is key here to a successful auction. As long as you are up front and document any flaws in your item (and photograph them), buyers will still show interest and bid on your item in most cases. Dishonesty will only result in buyer returns and possibly a negative feedback.

3. Your shipping policy and rates. Do you ship today, the next day, or next Friday if I pay today? Customers want to know when they can expect to receive their item, and how much it’s going to cost them before they bid.

4. Your return policy. Returns are a big issue with Ebay. Some sellers do allow returns, while others flat our refuse returns all together. Neither side is right or wrong, and both have their benefits. Decide which policy you want to adopt and stick to it (but realize customers are still going to want to return items once in a while – so be prepared for them to contact you sooner or later).

5. The retail price of the item. Include the full retail price to give buyers an idea of what the item is normally worth, even if the item is pre-owned.

6. Use bold, italics, underlining, and different colors in your text. Limit the underlining and various colors to the things you really need to stick out, instead of overusing it. Sticking with no more than 3 different colors in the text is more visually appealing and effective.

7. Use bulleted lists to make the item details easier to scan through and read. It adds organization to your listing that looks professional, and the buyer will appreciate.

8. Provide an FAQ area at the bottom of your page. Frequently asked questions are going to be “when do you ship?” “what shipping service do you use?” and “do you combine shipping?”.

9. Answer the question whether you ship internationally or not. With more expensive items, it can be worth it to ship internationally. However, shipping insurance is not always available to some countries.

10. Provide a link to your About me page, which should state more about you, and your business.

More Ebay Auction Essentials

When you give the buyer a more complete story, they’ll feel like they can actually touch, see, and experience everything about the item as if they had seen it in person. Utilizing the above techniques are some good ways to give the buyer that experience in a clear, easy to read manner.

Besides the must haves listed above, it’s important to never stop trying to improve your auctions. A few things can save you a lot of time, and create a much more organized place for buyers to browse, click, read, and buy.

  • Templates. Auction templates are readily available for free or for purchase on Ebay itself. These are usually priced very modestly, and can even be customized to your liking. Creating a uniform look throughout your store, auction, and About Me page will create a more “branded” look that buyers will feel comfortable with. You can also use these graphics, colors schemes, and layouts on your blogs and marketing materials. Contact the seller or artist directly to see what else is available for customization. These are often easy copy and paste solutions.
  • Link to your other auctions and store. Link directly to certain sections of your store, or certain complimenting items.
  • Store window. Vendio and Auctiva are the leading sources for creating a store window to showcase your other Ebay items. By directing traffic to your other listings, you are creating cross traffic that can lead to multiple sales from a single buyer. However, these days might be coming to a close as Ebay no longer supports third party scrolling windows (bummer). Hopefully we will have an update for you once we see the viable replacement.
  • Your store logo in every auction. After some time of selling on Ebay, buyers can come to know and trust your logo. Having yours prominently displayed in each auction can give that vote of confidence that the buyer is dealing with someone who really cares about their reputation. This works especially well if you sell in a particular niche on Ebay, where repeat customers will be coming back to you again and again.
  • ISBN or product model number. Ebay now allows extra specifics to be added to the top of every listing beneath the bid information and price. Take advantage of this organized way of communicating important data by listing important specifics like model numbers, ISBN numbers, color, size, and any included materials.

Photo by Hung Thai.

Once you’re done listing all of your important data, implementing a template, writing an FAQ, or placing links to your store pages, remember to save the auction as a listing template. This is on the submission page to finalize the auction before it goes live, and can save a lot of wording down the road.

Why Aren’t my Ebay Auctions Making Money? 8 Quick Fixes

Why Aren’t my Ebay Auctions Making Money? 8 Quick Fixes

On Ebay, there are two types of sellers: those that know how to sell, and those that don’t. The good news is, it’s completely up to you which of these categories you fall into. If you’re Ebay sales are falling flat or just plain falling, it’s your auctions that are to blame. With some quick fixes, you can spruce up your auctions in no time and start increasing sales once again.

If you fall into the category of “not making money on your Ebay auctions”, read on and see if one or more of these reasons applies to you:

1. Your Photo is a Mess.
Photos are necessary on Ebay. They’re what sell the item in the end, and what buyers expect to see… and plenty of them! No matter how small or cheap your item is, a great photo will enhance the auction. If you can’t take a good photo, learning a little Ebay photography is pretty easy. Just search “Ebay photography” on Google to find hundreds of help pages. The more photos in your auction, the more money you could potentially make.

2. The Description is Incomplete.
When buyers buy, they want to make sure they’re bidding on something they want. If you can’t describe the item, they can’t be sure what it is. Sometimes sellers (especially newbies) wrongly assume buyers will read between the lines, or assume the condition is obvious. That’s not how Ebay works. Give a robust, telling description that tells the buyer everything they need to know, soup to nuts. That includes the condition, the color, make, brand, model, anything included with the item, the working condition, the origin, interior features, exterior features, and the uses for the item. Or, you can stick with the terse descriptions and drive away buyers like the Bubonic Plague.

3. Your Shipping Costs Aren’t Competitive.
Shipping costs have become quite competitive on Ebay. Why? Buyers have demanded free shipping and lower shipping prices, and ecommerce has listened. This means higher shipping prices are really going to drive away potential buyers. Sure, it’s going to eat into your profits, but it’s going to keep you in the game. Find a way to get your shipping costs lower, whether that means offering free, slower shipping via UPS Ground or USPS Parcel Post, or factoring the shipping cost into the item price. Also, be sure to research your competitors to see what they are charging currently for similar items.

4. Your Feedback Score is Low.
On Ebay, your feedback score is like your license to sell. You want to keep that license at all costs, or you’ll be losing customers left and right! This can be done very easily. Like any retail business, the customer is always right. Even the most unreasonable questions, comments, and requests should be answered cordially. Sometimes the buyers that ask the most questions wind up purchasing the most, and really appreciate the time you take to answer their questions. They’ll also be the first to sing your praise in the form of feedback and DSR ratings (those star ratings that Ebay has). If your feedback score is low, don’t worry, you can improve it! Just keep selling, being honest, and keep shipping your items out fast. You’ll have your score back to near-perfect in no time.

5. The Market is Over Saturated.
Not all items sell on Ebay. In fact, most don’t sell, but Ebay still makes money on those items (while you lose money). Ebay encourages you to list, list, list every single item you have until it sells, no matter what. In reality, some research should be done prior to making big investments.

As you’ll find out with a little Ebay research, the marketplace can be very oversaturated in a certain niche. For example, Beanie Babies used to be all the rage on Ebay when the website was very young. Today, Beanie Babies aren’t nearly as possible as they once were, and the price of these collectibles has gone down considerably. If you were to enter the Beanie Baby field today as a seller, you would find far more competitors and probably a marketplace ripe with sellers, but rather dry in terms of buyers. Avoid this type of scenario all together and search completed listings and average selling prices on Ebay prior to making big inventory commitments and purchases, and find a fresher, less competitive niche that has buyers hungry for those items.

6. Your About Me Page is Flat.
The About ME page should be a confidence boost for buyers that you’re someone credible to buy from. It can contain information on your policies, what you sell, what discounts you offer, and your philosophy on selling on Ebay. There’s no limit to the length of this page, and you’re allowed 3 links on this page as well. Take advantage and point to your most attractive pages, whether it’s a clearance store page, free shipping offers, or just to your storefront. This page is where you should be gaining buyer’s trust, and getting rid of any doubts they might have about you as a seller.

7. Your Customers Are Afraid to Buy from You.
Just like the About ME page is a confidence booster, the auction should feel safe and trustworthy. Provide a guarantee to customers that the item is authentic, comes from a pet-free smoke free environment, and is completely brand new (or in whatever condition) and you’ll make customers feel much, much more comfortable to make a bid.

8. You Haven’t Filled Out the Item Specifics.
Underneath the gallery photo inside the item page, and above the description, there’s a box that states some of the item details. This is often the first thing buyers read as they enter your auction. If you’re not filling this out, you’re making a mistake! It’s also used to help sort your item in Ebay searches, so not filling it out can hurt you in valuable clicks. Ebay has made this box of item specifics easily scannable to buyers, so feel free to add your own item specifics in the “other” box. Buyers won’t spend long on your page, so if you can grab their attention quickly while they’re “above the fold,” you’ll have a better chance of getting them to bid or buy.

If you have all of these basics already done, then you should be on your way to making more money on Ebay.

Introduction photo of cassette tape by Ronald K on flickr.

You may also find the following posts helpful your business:

How to Take Photos of Ebay Items

Take Great Photos of your Ebay Products That Will Help it Sell

A lot of new sellers on Ebay make the mistake of not learning some basic photography tips. This can really hurt your bottom line. I know I’ve personally picked up some steals on items that have been poorly photographed that should have had a much higher selling price. All it takes to drive up your selling price is a better photo on your ebay auctions, which isn’t hard to accomplish. Read on for some basic tips for better photography in your auctions that will help increase traffic, bids and profits!

Photography Accessories to Take Better Photos

Taking better photos requires a few things. First, you need a very brightly lit area that looks naturally lit. Bright flashes white out the true colors of your product, and cause the picture to look fuzzy and unappealing. You’ll also need a tripod to get a steady shot without blur, and some basic photography supplies like an umbrella will help, too. These two products will probably cost less than $150, but will pay themselves off infinitely in the quality of the photos.

Choosing the Right Camera

When you choose your digital camera, you’re going to want to pick one with the manual focus so you can adjust. Automatic focus is good, but it often goes haywire and doesn’t focus on the close up aspects and details you need it to when you zoom. Speaking of zoom in, you’re going to need a camera with good optical zoom as well. I use a lens that has 12x optical zoom. It’s ideal for not just my Ebay photography, but for my outdoor photography and for vacations, parties, etc.

Many cameras have a built in “Ebay” setting, but you may not need that. Setting your camera on a typical “landscape” setting will usually yield good results.

Photo Editing for Your Ebay Pics

A photo editing program will help tidy up your photo, lighten or darken the photo, and maybe add some text or borders to make your photo look more professional. You can also adjust the resolution and image size so the file doesn’t take forever to upload to the site. Keep in mind that big borders around your gallery photo are prohibited, so exercise caution with that.

Be sure to check out YouTube for tutorials on how to take pictures of your items, most of which you can accomplish with just your phone. Good luck!

How to Sell Your Used Clothing on Ebay

It Might Sound Strange, But You Can Make Money By Selling Your Gently Worn Clothing on Ebay…

Ebay is a great place to buy and sell merchandise, and make a little extra money on the side. Some even make their living off of Ebay. Strangely enough, selling your own gently worn clothing is a great way to start your selling, boost your feedback, and get a feel for the site. Heck, it can even be a continued source of income for years, especially if you have a family and quantity comes into play. The key is to be able to identify what types of clothing will sell, what’s worth selling, and what to avoid.

Key points: these people are paying for your gently worn clothing, so you need to make them presentable, clean, be honest, and give them something that’s worth what they’re paying. Here we’ll go more into how you can sell your used clothing on Ebay for a profit (and make plenty of extra room in your house, too).

Be Honest! Only Sell the Good Stuff

Put yourself into the buyer’s shoes. Why are they buying used clothing? There could be a few reasons. They may like old styles that are no longer available. They might be trying to save money. They may be trying to get a hard to find size or brand. They may be trying to be more green, and buy used clothing instead of new. They might be looking for an old, vintage style that’s “in” right now. They may love the style of the clothing so much that they don’t care if it’s used or not.

Whatever the reason is that they would like to buy your clothing, they want something good and they don’t want to be ripped off. Ebay isn’t a place for scammers. Be honest with the quality of the clothing and document everything about the clothing articles in your auction listing. Scrutinize your t-shirt, pair of pants, sneakers, or dresses as best as possible. The more honest you are about the clothing, the better the chances are that you’ll have success. Buyers love honesty and they expect it!

What Not to Sell

Buyers are paying for something good, so don’t try to pass off something cruddy. The clothing might be used, but the buyer is expecting something high quality. Why else would you list the item if it weren’t high quality? Avoid clothing that has any major holes, rips, tears, or stains. You’ll also NEED to wash the clothing if it’s used, per Ebay terms.
sneakers

Preparing Your Clothing To Sell on Ebay

Your clothing should be, according to eBay’s policies, cleaned prior to the sale. Your used clothing needs to smell and feel as clean as it looks. Having a smoke-free environment is also very important. Though you may not be able to smell it, smoke travels everywhere, even in closets and basements. A non-smoker will be able to smell the smoke right away when their item arrives!

After cleaning your clothing, it should be wrinkle free. If it’s a polo, dress, or button up shirt, it’s very important that you follow this step. The gallery photo is the first thing that buyers see when searching for items. If your photo is the best, regardless if it’s used, your item will get traffic and bids!

Brand Names Sell Best on Ebay

People love brand names, it’s just how it is. The names of big companies like Aeropostale, Nautica, Ralph Lauren, Old Navy, Gap, Victoria’s Secret, Under Armour, and Lacoste are highly searched and already have a built in following of people. Typically, the bigger the brand, the more likely the used item of clothing is to sell, and for a better price. Just don’t expect most items to sell at what you paid for them. Be realistic, and realize most used clothing sells for a fraction of what you paid (think between 20%-50%, sometimes more for very in-demand items). In many cases, that can still be substantial, and can add to your own future wardrobe budget.

Many people are searching and scanning Ebay all the time scoping for great deals on low priced deals on their favorite brands. If you have brand name clothing, you’re at an advantage!

If you do not have brand name clothing, you are at a very big disadvantage when selling them on Ebay. If you don’t have a brand name attached, your items will most likely not see a good final bid price, and possibly even no bids! If you have a large amount of non-name brand clothing, try sticking it together in lots of similar styles and sizes. Someone might just bid on it if it’s reasonable and all of the articles of clothing are the same size.

Taking Photos of your Used Clothing

Now that your clothing is clean, it’s time to take pictures. Buyers love photographs, and plenty of them. They like them detailed, brightly lit, and colorful. To take the best possible photographs of your clothing, you’re going to need a few things:

  • A photo editing program
  • A brightly lit place with natural light
  • Clean clothing hangers, preferably clear
  • Additional lighting sources

Pick a place that is brightly lit with natural light if possible. Natural light throws off the best light, making your photographs look convincing and colorful. If the room is not brightly lit, you will also need additional lighting of your own. Try using your own floor lamps pointed at the clothing, from the left, from the right, and from the top and bottom.

Where to Take Pictures of your Clothing

Some people use a tripod to take photos for Ebay, but if you have a steady hand, you may not need to. Position the item against wall, or some hang them on doors. A word of caution, hanging clothing on doors tends to look unprofessional and may lower your final bid price! One easy technique is to put a nail into the wall on a spot where the entire wall is bare, from ceiling to floor. Hammer the nail into the wall 1/3 down from the ceiling, or enough so that you can easily reach the nail. Hang your clothing on the wall (while it’s on a hangar) and position the clothing as professionally as you can make it look.

Another tactic is to use a real life model, or a manequin. Some people claim to have good results by having a real life model displaying the clothing. Manequins definitely will boost your sales! If you plan on selling lots of clothing on Ebay, this will be a good investment for you. It gives the clothing shape, and shows the buyer what the clothing will look like on them, not on the wall.

Setting Up Your Auctions for Success

If you’ve never sold on Ebay before, read some basic Ebay tutorials on selling to get started. You should have at least ten feedbacks before trying to sell anything. Buyers tend not to buy from low feedback sellers.

Now, onto setting up your auctions! Host your own photos, don’t use Ebay’s. You can upload the main gallery picture, which is free, but for the rest of your photos, upload them to another site and grab the HTML code to paste into your auctions. Photobucket is easy, and they give you an HTML code to paste right into your page. Click the HTML button and paste the code for the photos at the beginning of your auctions, then click back to the regular auction tab. Place the photos throughout the listing. Most people prefer the photos after the description.

Describing your Items

Detail, detail, detail! It’s what people want. They want it in your photos, and they want it from your description. Here’s what you should include:

  • Color of the item, including ALL of the colors, the pattern etc.
  • The style of the clothing. Button-up, polo, tank top, long sleeve, t-shirt, tell us what it is!
  • The size of the item. What does the tag say?
  • The brand of the item
  • The exact condition of the item. Describe everything! If it has a rip, a tear, it’s stretched, stained or faded, be honest, people will still bid!
  • The measurements. Not the size, but your measurements. Be accurate and learn how to measure clothing, and include these measurements.

Using a Photo Editor To Take Make your Photos Better

You can’t always take the best pictures, but you can make them a little bit better and more accurate with a photo editing program! One of the most important things you’ll want to do is crop the photo. Gallery photos on Ebay are perfect squares, so try to keep your photo square shaped, but as closely cropped to the item as possible.

For the next step, you need to use your own discretion in order to preserve the integrity of the photo and to keep it looking like the actual photo. Play around with the enhancing features to make the photo a little bit brighter or colorful. Aim to make the photo look as much like the actual article of clothing as possible! Use a “quick fix” feature and you might be able to do this quickly and accurately.

The Most Important Part: The Title

Your keyword title will be the most important part of your auction. It’s how Ebay users find you, and this is why the brand name of your product is so important. You’ll also want to fill in as many other details as possible that buyers are searching for, like:

  • If the products is mens, womens, kids, baby
  • Size (very important!)
  • If the product is new (though if the product is used, do not put “used” in the title! This is like saying “nothing to see here!”)
  • The color of the product
  • The brand name
  • The pattern name
  • The style of the shirt or clothing article

There’s also the subtitle. This usually costs an extra 50 cents per auction, and is only effective when reserved for much higher priced items. For used clothing, for the most part, you will want to stay away from the subtitle. It costs too much in comparison to the profit. It’s also not searchable. Reserve it for high value items like brand name jackets and large, high value clothing lots.

A Checklist for Your Auctions

  1. Inspect clothing you would like to sell. Separate the good from the bad. Donate the stuff you would not like to sell.
  2. Clean the clothing and iron the clothing you’d like to sell.
  3. Prepare your photography area and take pictures of the items.
  4. Upload your photos to a web hosting site, if applicable.
  5. Insert your photos into the auction, and describe the item.
  6. Measure the item and include the measurements in the auction.
  7. Schedule the auctions at a time when buyers will see them (remember to avoid ending auctions on a holiday).
  8. Wait for the bids to come in! Lower prices on items that don’t sell, or donate the remainder.

Ten Websites That Can Drive Traffic to Your Ebay Store

No matter how big a website gets, there’s always room for improvement, and there will always be other places that you can use to drive traffic to your website. Ebay is one of the most visited websites in existence, yet, you can still get lost in the shuffle on this massive marketplace. Once your sales have started to hit a plateau, you may want to consider finding new buyers outside of Ebay.

Here’s a list of ten places that will drive traffic to your Ebay store through content marketing, social networking, and interaction:

1.Facebook. The most social spot on the web is also one of the best spots to get additional traffic flowing to your business. Take advantage of your current connections and friends list to occasionally put your Ebay business out there.

2. Twitter. Like Facebook, this social website has major clout with buyers. Use your current friend list to leverage your Ebay store, or set up an entirely new profile for your store and start networking with people interested in your niche. A word to the wise: only tweet your own link when it’s appropriate, or you’ll be known as the neighborhood spammer (and your followers will leave you!).

3. Pinterest. The great thing about Pinterest is that you can advertise not just your products, but you can break it down into very specific categories. Pinterest is image based, and will provide you with a whole new community to get to see your stuff. If you have unique images to share, this is a great place to upload images and send traffic back to your site. Just be sure to include the URL of your Ebay store, so people can find you.

4. StumbleUpon. This website may not have all that many buyers, but the increase in visitors from StumbleUpon can be encouraging, to say the least. Try stumbling your pages related to your Ebay items as well. You’ll have a better chance of your page getting StumbleUpon traffic if there is something there that’s worth reading, not just products.

5. Instagram. This is a very easy place to share photos, and is owned by Facebook. In fact, it can be seamlessly integrated with Facebook so that your Instagram photos are uploaded to Facebook as well. If you have unique finds, sharing them on Instagram will do you just as good as Facebook (and you’ll be doing one and the same if you sync the two). To increase your reach, use hashtags, descriptions, and most importantly, post things users will find interesting.

6. Facebook Pages. This is a completely different animal than Facebook itself. Pages allow you to create a home for your business that you can post any content that you wish. Create something interesting and worth sharing, and people will do just that — share it with other people. Growing your fan base can result in more traffic to your business, so be sure to appeal to the niche audience that best fits in with your customer base. Post links to your store or an item you want to showcase, as well as plenty of other useful, entertaining or thought provoking content, which can include links to other people’s content, not just your own.

7. YouTube. This one could require a little more work, but could be worth it. First, you’ll need a reason to create a video in the first place. An amateurish video spot won’t exactly bring in customers, so you’ll also need to be savvy with a photo editing program. A link in the description will help drive the traffic. Now, it’s your turn to create a compelling video people will want to watch.

8. Blogger. Also known as Blogspot, Blogger is a free blogging platform to showcase your writing. This is a great opportunity to provide searchers with some additional information about your products, all the while linking back to your Ebay store and Ebay pages. A tip for using Blogger: Post often, and keep posting. Blogger seems to reward blogs for posting content regularly with a decent amount of traffic.

9. WordPress. This is the publishing platform that most online writers choose, whether it’s a free WordPress.com blog, or a self hosted one of your own choosing. This site, even when used for free as at WordPress.com, has a lot of respect with search engines and readers. If you’d really like to promote your best items and the entire niche you sell, this is a great place to share what you know. Remember, you don’t have to choose just one of these sites — you can use all of them to promote your store. The only downside is WordPress.com does not support ads, so you will not earn on anything you create here. Self hosting your own WordPress domain has no limits, and you can place ads and any other content on your site.

10. Your Own Website. What better way to really define your presence on the web than to create something from scratch? Choose your own domain, plan out the content that you’d like to place on the site, and start linking to your auctions and products using Ebay Partner Network. This can also drive some affiliate sales as a nice bonus.

Intro image by James Cridland.

Besides the websites listed, there are hundreds of different free blogging platforms out there to promote your store, as well as other social media platforms. Which one has worked well for you?

Ebay Search Engine Optimization – SEO for Auctions and Stores

Find More Potential Buyers with Search Engine Traffic

With Ebay, there’s a huge built in audience that could potentially view your auctions. Traffic on Ebay is a major portion of where your potential traffic can come from, but with the right search engine optimization, you can find new potential buyers to supplement your views. Depending on your marketing efforts and where the traffic is coming from, this can increase your sales, your traffic, and exposure. Try using these tried and true Ebay SEO tips and start selling more through Google search results, articles, and linking.

Increase Your Search Engine Presence with Backlinks

Backlinks are one of the keys to optimizing your store for success. If you’re just starting out, this can sound like a difficult task, and it does take time. Building links slowly and naturally are what search engines want to see, so take your time to build up high quality links heading to your Ebay store from the most relevant sources that you can find. The sooner you start, the better off you’ll be.

Your own personal blog, social media, guest blogging, and online articles are a great source of backlinks. Write your own content to promote your Ebay store, or find someone else to write it for you. Try marketing specific keywords or keyword phrases that buyers could be interested in to get to your store. Link not just to your home page, but to other pages within your store. These deep links to specific pages will help other pages within your store get indexed, not just one single page.

Optimizing Your Ebay Auctions for Keywords

Keywords are one of the most important aspects to gain success on Ebay. Keywords, as you probably already know, are the most important part of your auction title, but are incredibly important inside the auction as well.

If there’s one thing that you should avoid with your Ebay auction it’s terseness. Don’t be short. Be lengthy, descriptive, and give your buyers all of the information that they might need. Sprinkle in keywords like the brand name, color, item code and size throughout the listing.

Your auction photos can also be optimized for search engines. Adding your own ALT tags to the description will have some weight with search engines, specifically image searches like Google Image Search. Consider using the largest size photo available. Not only do people appreciate the detail, but it can boost bids with all of that visual information.

Increase Your On Site Ebay Links

Ebay Stores allow you additional custom pages with a basic subscription. You also have your About ME Page. You should be utilizing all of these resources that are at your disposal to fully optimize your store. Once you’ve written your custom pages, you’ll find those may not be enough. There are a few ways to get more pages and links headed into your Ebay store. Ebay Guides offer infinite ways to promote your store. Offer up some advice on how to use the products you sell, review them, and offer useful, in-demand articles through your Guides. These index perfectly in search engines, and often attain a high traffic after just a few months. Link to your Ebay store in every guide, or to a page within your store. There’s currently no limit to the amount of guides you can create, so take advantage of this!

Links can also be gained from the Ebay forums. Link to your store from your signature and you’ll see a slight rise in traffic (and a lot of incoming links once you start posting more often).

Why You Should Set up a PayPal Account

Why Should You Use PayPal for your Online Transactions?

For Ebay, PayPal will cover all or most transactions when receiving money, and definitely for buying. PayPal will safely encrypt your transaction, while offering the safety of the PayPal Protection program. This will cover you in case of any loss or scam up to a certain dollar amount, while shrouding your credit card and bank account numbers from any online thieves.

The fact of the matter is, you really should be using PayPal to shop online. It’s safe, easy, and most buyers have really come to expect it. There are many advantages to using this online checkout, and very few disadvantages. Here, we’ll go over some of the reasons you should be using PayPal, and a few reasons why you may not want to.paypal logo

Reasons to Use PayPal

PayPal couldn’t be easier to use. It just involves you logging into your account and providing the payment method. Opting to use a credit card will also help add an additional layer of protection in case things go awry.

  1. PayPal will encrypt your payment, so others can’t see what you’re doing and steal your information.
  2. The PayPal Protection Policy will allow you to have some extra security on your payment in case the seller doesn’t send the item, or if it gets lost.
  3. You can easily receive payments from businesses, or from someone you know.
  4. It’s an easy way to add a checkout feature to your website. It can be set up in minutes.
  5. Payments are instant, so you no longer have to wait for the check.
  6. The rate of commission PayPal charges is relatively reasonable, around 3%.
  7. No more dealing with cashing checks, or waiting for them to clear.
  8. Your banking information will remain private. No more checking account numbers floating around.
  9. You’re more likely to receive business if you accept PayPal. Online shoppers feel more secure and trust the PayPal symbol. Having it will surely increase your sales.
  10. PayPal will help resolve any claims or disputes that buyers have against you, in the odd occassion that it happens. Keep all of your receipts for delivery confirmation when shipping an item and require insurance for the buyer and you will be okay.
  11. It’s greener than paper. Less paper waste and delivery time means less paper consumed.
  12. It’s free. Setting up a PayPal account costs no money.

Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use PayPal

For the most part, PayPal is great. It’s protecting your identity, and concealing your information. How could you not like that? Like anything in the world, you could point out a few cons:

  • As a merchant, you’ll be charged when you accept payment from PayPal. Actually, anyone receiving cash will be charged a fee. This is small, and comparable to what credit card companies charge merchants, so there’s not too much difference here.
  • PayPal could get hacked into. It hasn’t happened very often, but it could happen.
  • Someone could use your credit cards and accounts if they somehow logged into your account. The good news is that it’s still protected by PayPal if they do.

Tips on Using PayPal

It’s basic for the most part to use PayPal, but there are some things to consider when using it. They do require a bank account to set up an account. I would recommend using a savings account instead of a checking, so the account will not receive “insufficient funds” fees if the account has been drained. I would also recommend always changing the funding to a credit card if possible. PayPal will try to do everything to convince you to use cash, but it’s in your own best interests to use a credit card. Not only will you have extra protection of your own card, but you won’t have to worry about keeping track of how much money is in your bank account. Always change the funding source before payment to your credit card (if this is the payment method you prefer).

Answering Ebay Buyer’s Questions and Creating an FAQ

questionsNo matter how much information you include in your auction, you will have buyers who will have questions. It could be that they’d like to know if you can use a different shipping service, or they could be wondering whether you ship to Canada. You also could have missed something in the auction, like measurements, or there could be an error in the listing.

Buyers that ask questions are ready to buy. When a buyer asks a question, it means they are serious about bidding on your item. So, consider questions a great thing! Usually, lots of questions coincide with lots of bidding activity.

Including an FAQ Section in Your Auction

After you’ve sold a few items on Ebay, you’ll start to realize what questions keep popping up over and over again. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions, which you should provide an answer to in your auction:

• Do you ship to Canada?

• Can I purchase insurance for this item?

• Do you combine shipping?

• How quickly will you ship this item?

• When do I have to pay for this item by?

• Will you ship to a friend’s house (or only to a confirmed address)?

• What shipping service do you use?

If you set up a template, you’ll only have to provide this FAQ once. This should answer nearly all questions that your buyers might have, though you’ll still have plenty of questions from buyers. Creating an FAQ will drastically cut down on the amount of questions buyers ask. In addition, it can also increase your sales. How? Many interested buyers can’t be bothered in contacting the seller and awaiting their response. People are busy, and to them, who knows how long you’ll take to get back to them. Answering all of their questions right in the auction will enhance their trust and potentially gain you a bid or sale.

You can also includes an FAQ about the brand or type of item. If you sell the same types of items over and over again, and you’re getting the same questions again and again, why not include those questions along with an answer right in the auction? Save it as a template to sell on, or save the template to your computer, and you’ll cut way back on the time that you’re on the computer answering buyers’ questions.

Filling Out Item Specifics

Filling out all of the Ebay item specifics will also add to the information available to buyers, some of which may be things that you wouldn’t have thought to include. Some of those are the manufacturers parts number, the ISBN number, the model, product line, color, size, battery size, measurements, year released, and many other details. These specifics are given high visibility on mobile, and in search engines. Filling out all of these specifics will not only help buyers with their questions, but it will help find new buyers who may be searching using these item specifics. That means higher bids for you, and more money in your pocket at the end of the auction.