Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Paypal is down, I need help!

Do you have problems with Paypal and not know how to fix them? Well guess what, I do. Well most of the time.

If you are getting errors like this:

We are currently unable to connect to United States Postal Service (USPS). No label was generated and the funds for this transaction will be credited to your PayPal account within 24 hours. Please try again later.

There are several things that could be wrong.

Make sure to check and see if your bidder gave you their first and last name, and that they are in the address. This fixes the problem most of the time.

If that does not work, check to make sure that all of the address is spelled out. For example, if something says St.Louis, make sure it says Saint Louis. Take the period out of things like St. and Ave.

Make sure that the address you are shipping to is clean and has nothing weird in it. If fixing all of these problems does not make your error message go away try this:

There is a back door to PayPal so that you send a package to anyone, whether they gave you a payment or not. All you have to do is go here :https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_ship-now

Just manually write in the address and it should ship no problem. The back door to PayPal will solve all of your problems, unless PayPal goes down completely.

So next time you have a problem with PayPal, bookmark that page, (or this one) and you will be able to ship your packages with ease.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Abrasive Terms of Sale

Hey eBayers, everybody has a bad experience with bidders. Everybody.

The trick is to not let your bad experiences rub off onto your auctions.

What I am referring to is the very negative and strict terms of sale found in some auctions. These terms of sale often turn off potential bidders. For example:

  • "I have been plagued by too many non-payers & re-listing an item is expensive."
  • "Money order or cashiers’ check made out to me (email me within 24 hours of auction close for address). I still must receive payment within 7 days of auction close.
    * No personal checks – No exceptions"
These are not even some of the worse terms that I have seen, but they are still pretty negative.

What you have to realize is that about 90% of your bidders will just bid on your item and then pay for it in the next 2-3 days without prompting. The more terms, conditions, and instructions you have, the more potential bidders you will turn off.

Go back and reconsider your terms of sales, and your eBay auctions. Make sure they are simple, and non-threatening, and you could see an increase in bidders. Don't try to dissuade the bad 10%, instead try to persuade the interested 90%.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Advanced search techniques for eBay for buyers and sellers

There are a lot of ways to find things on eBay. Searching being the one most widely used. But the eBay search engine is actually pretty powerful, and I believe it is underutilized. Also, the better you understand search capabilities, the better you will be able to write auction titles.

If you type one phrase or word it will find all combinations of that phrase. For example if you type "abercrombie 10" you will find all items with the words abercrombie and 10.

Everybody knows that.

But if you want to search for two different brands of pants, and they fit you differently, say Gap size 2 and Old Navy size 4, you can do both in one search as so: (Gap 2, Old Navy 4) Make sure it is inside the ().

With this technique the comma signifies "or" so this is a search for "Gap 2" or "Old navy 4." There can be as many terms inside of the (), Like so: (x,y,z).

Now, if you want to search for some khakis, but do not want to find them with cargo pockets you can search like this:
Banana Republic Khakis -Cargo
This will find all Khakis but remove all items in search that have the term "cargo" in it.

If you want to remove multiple words from your search there are 2 ways to do it:
-(x,y) or -x -y

If you want to find cargo pants, but dont want to search for cargo or cargos, you can do this search "carg*" The asterisk will find all terms that begin with a "carg." This is pretty powerful because it helps you find auctions where sellers use crazy terms with recognizable roots.

All of these searches can be combined

(bcbg, bebe) (shirt*,top*) med* -halter
This long string would search for all items that have "bcbg or bebe" in the title. It will also search for anything that starts with "shirt", "shirts" included. Same with top or tops. It will also find med or medium. And the search will exclude all titles with he word halter.

With practice you will be able to pin-point the exact item or items that you want.

Once you master this, and make the perfect search to find whatever you need you eBay has an option to "save this search." Use it, it is a great tool that can save you a lot of time.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

How to research how much your item is worth on eBay

There are a lot of beginning sellers out there, and some with quite a bit of feedback under their belt, that do not fully understand the power of the eBay search engine, or how to find out how much their item is worth on eBay.. Well, lucky for you, I am here to help!

There are several ways to search for things on eBay, but this approach will look at how to research profit potential for any given item you have. It is a good way to see how much your item sells for, and how high you should set your bid to get the best price.

After reading this, you will be able to more effectively see how much your item is worth, and what its average selling price is.

For the first simple starter example, I will use an item that I was researching to see if it would be worth it to buy in hopes of reselling on eBay. The item was the "Garmin Edge 305 GPS with Heartrate and Cadence Monitor." But if I searched for that whole string I would find very few results. So, instead I just searched for "Garmin edge 305."

This regular search just showed me regular results, but I am not interested in that, I want to see what it has sold for in the last two weeks. To see completed listings you have to scroll down and select the "completed listings" button. Simple enough.

This shows which items sold (Green numbers) and which items did not sell (red numbers). This gave me 209 results for items that sold in the last two weeks. This is good because it shows me that it is not really a saturated market.

To narrow this down further I narrowed down my results by clicking the button on the left which only shows the items that were GPS devices, and then was further narrowed by selecting "Personal GPS Devices." This gave me only 98 results.

That is a very easy number to work with. With those 98 results I sorted by price: highest first. These are the people that I want to emulate, and the prices that I am shooting for.

To see how much an item routinely sells for, it is a good idea to scroll down the page and look for the red numbers (usually the highest numbers) to start to get replaced by the green numbers. The red numbers go from a max of about $280 to about $260 before they start to get green. I know from this that I can not expect to make more than $260 on this item.

From there I keep scrolling down until I see a large section of just green numbers that have a lot of bids next to them. These prices show how much people are willing to spend on this item. The top third of the solid green numbers is a good place to judge how much you should try to sell your item for. This item sells heavily from the $240-$220 price range.

After I narrowed the prices I want to sell my item for down, I can look in that section and see how much I can charge for shipping to maximize my profit. It looks like I can charge from $10 to $17 to have this item shipped. Since this item only costs about 8.95 to ship in a priority box I know that I can make a couple extra bucks on the shipping increase.

With all of this information compiled I would probably do a fixed price, or auction for this item starting at about $230, and charge about $10-13 for shipping.

This is the basic way that I research all of the items that I want to sell, to see the kind of price I should expect, and see where I should set my minimum bid if I do not want to lose any money.

However, there are easier ways to research the popularity of your product, and how much sells for, and even the average sell-through rate. The time saving tool that I have been using, that works very well and I am very happy with, is Hammertap. It is a great little program that researches about a month back or more, and does some pretty in depth research. It also has a free trial right now, for like two weeks!

If you have a lot of items to sell, or plan on doing a lot of research in about a month period, it is worth it to pay the minimal fee. It will save you a lot of time. That is, unless you would like to do it my free and relatively easy way.

Also, if you want to find out how to get the Garmin Edge 305 for about $130, check out my blog post: Hot Deal to help you make about $80.00! (It is only $80 because of seller fees).

Research on eBay is fairly easy with practice. If you have any questions, I will be happy to answer them in the comment section. Good luck!

To the Auction or in my eBay Store?

A lot of people are not sure how they should go about selling their items on eBay. The majority of eBay sellers only do auctions, and then there are some who only do store items. The most successful eBayers use both eBay stores, and auctions.

The way that many powersellers sell on eBay is through multiple formats. A good way to go is to create an auction for all of your items, set at prices you can live with, but are still competitive, and sell to the highest bidder.

What do you do when your auction does not sell? You put that item in your eBay store. EBay is a fickle marketplace, and the price you get on your items largely relates to how many people are looking. If nobody is looking for your item, it may not sell. But do not worry, someone will find what they are looking for in your store!

It is a good idea to put items in your store that do not sell through auctions. It is a good idea to keep your items in your store for at least six months.

The way that store sales normally work, is that your best stuff gets bought out quick, because it is the most popular, and have good qualities that appeal to a lot of bidders.

This rapid liquidation of newly added eBay store items is called the "honeymoon" period

After the "honeymoon," your store has become depleted of its most popular items, the ones that appeal to the most people in the most coveted brands.

But, there are still people out there that are outside of the main stream who want to buy less popular, but still desirable items. These will sell slowly out of your store, but should still provide a constant income as long as your store stays stocked.

It is important to keep adding inventory to your store, and keep running auctions to draw a good flow of bidders to your higher priced store items.

After many of your items have sold, there will be random buyers who will come along looking for very specific items. They will come and buy the rest of your items. This may take 6+ months, but 6 months x .06 = .36. It is worth it to keep your items around if they still sell.

To help move your sales along, I recommend using the best offer option. That way, when the last random buyer wants something very specific, they can also get it in their price range.

I am repeating this one more time, because it is very important: make sure to keep your store stocked! This is good because the more items you have, the more you will sell. Also, once you do draw a buyer into your store, you have a better chance of having them buy multiple items from you. So make sure you have some way to entice them into doing that. Offer shipping discounts.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hot Deal to help you make about $80.00!

A lot of people ask, what should I sell on eBay? Well today I have a very specific answer.

You should sell the Garmin Edge 305 Cadence.

I have been doing a lot of research on the internet to find good products at cheap prices to sell on eBay. Today I want to share one of them with you. I found a way to buy one Garmin Edge 305 Cadence for $133.21 after rebate. These are selling routinely on eBay for $230.00 + 10.00 S&H.

After eBay fees you can make about $80.00 for selling this one item.

I am sharing this with you as a kind of fund raiser for my blog.

I am only selling 25 of these instructions on how to get the Garmin Edge 305 for super cheap so that I do not flood the market with people re-selling Garmins.

To keep this deal viable, I am only charging $1.99 for this information, and it will come with a satisfaction guarantee, so that if for some reason this deal does not work out for you, you will not be out any money. Plus this is an easy way to build your feedback.

If you are interested in making a relatively easy $80.00 please check my auction!

Monday, August 20, 2007

How to Increase eBay Store Sales with Markdown Manager

If you have an eBay Store, or are thinking about getting one, it is time to consider one of eBay's most effective marketing tools. The markdown manager! This is a great free tool that has increased my eBay Store Sales.

Everybody loves a sale, and markdown manager lets you offer a sale of up to 75% off for a maximum of 45 days. Though, I do not recommend that you use the 75% off sale unless you really need to clear out some inventory.

As noted above, these sales would be great to clear out unwanted inventory. They are also great for seasonal promotions. You could have a back to school sale, day after thanksgiving sale, labor day sale, etc... Check your news paper, listen to the radio, these mediums are time tested for presenting sales to the public. If some big box store is having an event sale, you could certainly have one too.

To get the full effect out of the markdown manager, I can recommend some tips and tricks to really get your store sales up.

  1. If you are running all store items, put up some regular auctions of similar items to draw customers to your store. If they do not get to your store, they will never be enticed by the sale.
  2. To make sure more bidders see that you have a sale running it is good to add this "sale " link to the right. To add this link to all of your listing takes a couple of steps, but it is worth it to draw attention to your items. Go to: My Ebay --> Marketing Tools --> Listing Frame --> Then check the 'Link to "Items On Sale" box. To see what this looks like in the listings you can check out my store, as I am currently running a sale.
  3. Also, be sure that your add copy at the very least commands your bidders to look at your other items, and ideally, tells them to check out your hot sale
  4. The next trick is to entice buyers with a sale, but to also make the amount of money you want. A good way to do this is to increase the prices of your store items by about the same amount as the percentage you are going to take off for the sale. For example, let's imagine we are selling a widget, and we want $12.00 for it. What you need to do is raise the price to $15.00 and then have a 20% off sale. This would bring the item back down to the price you want for it, but also make it look like the bidder is saving a whopping $3.00.
Please leave a comment and let me know how markdown manager has effected your sales.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Make More Money on eBay With Second Chance Offers

One of the easiest ways to increase your eBay auction cash flow and profits is to use second chance offers. If you have more than one of the same exact item in stock, and your auction ends with a price that you are happy with, then the second chance offer is your best friend!

Using the second chance offer button allows you to email the second highest bidder and gives them the opportunity to bid on your item at their maximum bidding price. If their was a bidding war, and the price was exceptionally high, this is a great time to cash in.

Second Chance offers also allow you to move inventory faster, sell at prices you are comfortable with, and greatly increase your income. For example, when I started working with beaddevotion, we were selling about $11,000 worth of beads a month. But when I recommended that we use second chance offers for auctions that ended profitably, our sales jumped to $1,3750 in a month!

Using second chance offers will make you a lot more money! Also, when using a second chance offer, you do not have to pay the additional listing fees that comes with making a new auction. All you have to do is collect the money, and pay eBay your final value fee.

Here are some tips for maximizing the benefit of the second chance offer:

  1. Make sure to only use the Second Chance Offer if your auction has ended at a price that you are very happy with. Unless you really need some cash, do not settle for less than what would be profitable for you.
  2. Try to send out the offer as soon as possible. Bidders are fickle and will move on quickly if you do not take action.
  3. Put a 1 day time limit on the offer. Creating a sense of urgency will help make sure more of your offers are acted upon.
I hope you make a lot of money! Good luck.

Friday, August 10, 2007

How to Cheaply and Safely Ship Clothing.

When I first started shipping clothing on eBay I waisted a lot of money on shipping products. I did this because I was unaware that the USPS was just giving envelopes, labels, and stickers away for free.

I would buy tyvek bags for about .45 cents a bag, at the local office depot. This was a big mistake. Office depot is expensive! Now I do all of my shopping at USPS.com in the Priority section. The items are free and they ship them to your door. The items that make shipping for eBay a lot easier are: both of the flat rate boxes, flat rate envelopes, rolls of priority mail stickers, and tyvek envelopes.

I can ship a very large pair of jeans in one flat rate envelope, and sometimes two pairs of dress pants! This is great because it only costs 4.60 to ship. Cutting shipping costs will make your eBay experience a lot better. It could either make it so you can charge a bit for handling and not gouge your bidders. This way you can make a little bit extra per eBay transaction, and also have more interest in your auctions because of your reasonable shipping costs.

Here is my technique for safely packaging a pair of jeans into a flat rate envelope:

  1. Fold the jeans into quarters or fifths, but make sure it is small enough so that when you put them in the tyvek envelope, that the envelope can double over on itself. The tyvek envelope is to protect from tearing that cardboard can not withstand. Also they are slightly weatherproof. Some sellers put their pants in plastic baggies as well as tyvek to further protect them from the elements (I do not).
  2. Put your label on the cardboard flat rate envelope now, if you wait for later it will look very ugly.
  3. After you have a nice little tyvek package, maneuver it into the cardboard flat rate envelope. This can sometimes be tricky, watch out for paper cuts.
  4. Make sure the pants are in the very bottom of the cardboard envelope and then attempt close the envelope. It is easiest to close the envelope on a table, not in your lap.
  5. Once the envelope is closed, put USPS priority mail stickers over the corners to make sure they do not catch on anything.
  6. Put a piece of packaging tape over the seal, to make sure your package does not rip open. Maybe also put another piece of packaging tape over the addresses so that they are protected from the elements and do not watch off.
  7. Rinse and repeat.
If you get anything from this post let it be: Get as much free stuff from the USPS as you can possibly use. Instead of waisting money on envelopes, maybe buy some tissue paper to make your items look fancy. Or cut the costs completely and watch your profits from ebay grow!

Good luck out there.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

I am back!

After graduating college and taking a break I am back! I am ready to start helping and teaching more. And I am selling a lot of things on eBay. It is pretty exciting for me. Right now I am working two eBay jobs. One for myself, and one for a super power seller beaddevotion.

When I am working for beaddevotion I mostly do shipping and packaging, but I have gained a lot of useful eBay experience that I would love to share.

Also, I have been doing a lot of my own posting, and have been focusing really strongly on selling quality name brand used clothing. I have been experimenting with auction formats, templates, copy writing, shipping, pricing, picture taking, and more. I will definitely have a lot to share with you in the coming months as I become a power seller.

Also if you have any recommendations or eBay questions you would like answered please leave a comment and I will put it at the top of my list of priorities.