Everyone should learn how to buy and sell on eBay. It can be very profitable to do business on eBay whether it be a full time business or merely to sell an object from around the house. Having some experience will save you money and keep you from making some bad mistakes while on eBay. If you go to the eBay site, you should check out their education center before you attempt to buy or sell anything. Then as a starter, you should present for sale a moderate object from around the house as a learning process. Expect mistakes while you are learning, but always make sure that you do not get trapped into just giving something away for peanuts without taking some security precautions which can easily be learned. For example, it may be advisable to set a minimum bid offer just to protect yourself. You will learn most of the important things from some of our ebooks in the Profit Garden which is reserved for our paid membership. Check it out, because our low one-time membership cost could save you hundreds of dollars.
eBay: The First 10 Years.
Yes, you read that correctly: ten years. eBay was created in September 1995, by a man called Pierre Omidyar, who was living in San Jose. He wanted his site - then called 'AuctionWeb' - to be an online marketplace, and wrote the first code for it in one weekend. It was one of the first websites of its kind in the world. The name 'eBay' comes from the domain Omidyar used for his site. His company's name was Echo Bay, and the 'eBay AuctionWeb' was originally just one part of Echo Bay's website at ebay.com. The first thing ever sold on the site was Omidyar's broken laser pointer, which he got $14 for.
The site quickly became massively popular, as sellers came to list all sorts of odd things and buyers actually bought them. Relying on trust seemed to work remarkably well, and meant that the site could almost be left alone to run itself. The site had been designed from the start to collect a small fee on each sale, and it was this money that Omidyar used to pay for AuctionWeb's expansion. The fees quickly added up to more than his current salary, and so he decided to quit his job and work on the site full-time. It was at this point, in 1996, that he added the feedback facilities, to let buyers and sellers rate each other and make buying and selling safer.
In 1997, Omidyar changed AuctionWeb's - and his company's - name to 'eBay', which is what people had been calling the site for a long time. He began to spend a lot of money on advertising, and had the eBay logo designed. It was in this year that the one-millionth item was sold (it was a toy version of Big Bird from Sesame Street).
Then, in 1998 - the peak of the dotcom boom - eBay became big business, and the investment in Internet businesses at the time allowed it to bring in senior managers and business strategists, who took in public on the stock market. It started to encourage people to sell more than just collectibles, and quickly became a massive site where you could sell anything, large or small. Unlike other sites, though, eBay survived the end of the boom, and is still going strong today.
1999 saw eBay go worldwide, launching sites in the UK, Australia and Germany. eBay bought half.com, an Amazon-like online retailer, in the year 2000 - the same year it introduced Buy it Now - and bought PayPal, an online payment service, in 2002.
Pierre Omidyar has now earned an estimated $3 billion from eBay, and still serves as Chairman of the Board. Oddly enough, he keeps a personal weblog at http://pierre.typepad.com. There are now literally millions of items bought and sold every day on eBay, all over the world. For every $100 spent online worldwide, it is estimated that $14 is spent on eBay - that's a lot of laser pointers.
Now that you know the history of eBay, perhaps you'd like to know how it could work for you?
You Can Sell Anything on eBay – Or Can You?
Over 100 million people are members of eBay. Through eBay, you can buy items in almost any category that you can imagine – at great prices. You can also sell almost anything you can imagine on eBay – people often sell items that have absolutely no real value for very high prices. There are limits, however, to what can be bought and sold.
eBay does not allow certain items to be auctioned through their website. Services are one type of ‘item’ that cannot be auctioned – simply because it is not an item. Some seller’s blatantly ignore this however. The sell of other items is illegal, even if it isn’t being sold through eBay. eBay restricts the sale of any type of item that is considered ‘illegal for sale’ in any other selling format. Illegal items such as satellite descramblers are forbidden as well.
Anything that is copyrighted - such as copies of DVDs, CDs, or software - may not be sold through eBay auctions. You can, however, sell a DVD, CD, or any software that you bought legitimately…as long as you are not just selling a copy that you made of these types of items. eBay does not allow the sale of ‘replicas.’ A replica is a knockoff version of designer items, such as purses, dresses, shoes, or sunglasses that look identical to those that have designer labels.
Items that are regulated by the state or federal government are forbidden on eBay. These items include alcoholic beverages, weapons and firearms, all tobacco products, and both prescription and illegal drugs. There are small exceptions to this rule, however. If you have a collectable, such as a tin that contains tobacco, you may sell that item if the package has never been opened, and if you state the contents of the package are not meant for consumption. There are other conditions that must be met as well when selling these types of collectables.
Any type or breed of animal or reptile may not be sold through an eBay auction. This includes animals that were once living, and are now stuffed and mounted. This rule may also apply to items that are taken from endangered species, such as Ivory. When it comes to these types of items, when in doubt, don’t.
Tickets may be sold, but it is illegal to sell tickets for a higher price than you originally paid for them. This is called ticket scalping, and it is illegal. Lottery tickets are also banned from eBay auctions, as well as raffle tickets. Again, if you are not sure if your item is eligible for an eBay auction, either don’t put it up for auction, or contact eBay to get an answer one way or the other. Don’t risk breaking the law!
eBay and Customer Service
If you are running an eBay business, you may not realize that the need for great customer service still exists – even for online auctions. When a buyer receives quality customer service from you, they will potentially do one of two things – or both. They will give you great feedback, and they may look for more of your auctions in the future. If you hope to make a living from eBay, you have to stop thinking of it as an ‘auction’ and start running it like a ‘business.’
If you owned a brick and mortar business, how would you treat your customer while they were standing at your counter, waiting for you to finish ringing up their order? You would be helpful and respectful of course! You would do everything that you could to guarantee that customers return to your establishment in the future. You would bend over backwards to make sure that their buying experience with you was both satisfactory and enjoyable. Why would you do any less at the close of one of your eBay auctions?
First, act quickly at the close of your auctions. Contact the winner, and congratulate them. Describe the item they have won and how the item will be shipped – even if this information is already part of the description for the auction. Remind them of their winning bid amount, and give them payment options and instructions. Let them know when the item will be shipped.
Close your email by thanking them for participating in your auction. You might even take this opportunity to tell them about other open auctions that you have as well. Think of this contact with the winner as a conversation that you are having with a customer who is standing at your counter in that imaginary brick and mortar store.
Once the payment and shipping details have been taken care of, contact your buyer again. Let them know when the item was shipped – the exact date and time – and when it is expected to arrive on their end. During this contact, let them know that if they have any problems or questions, that they should contact you through the eBay site. If they do contact you in the future, make sure that you answer promptly, and that you do all that you can to make them happy with their purchase – even if it means issuing a refund.
Yes. You should be open to issuing refunds, depending on what the item is. Furthermore, you should issue refunds promptly. Of course, it is reasonable to expect the buyer to return the item to you, at your expense, before the refund is issued – but once you receive the item, issue the refund promptly. This is just good business!
eBay and Drop shipping – Getting the Product to Your Customer
If you hope to own an eBay business, and make a full time living at it, you can easily make that dream come true – even if you don’t have a product of your own to sell. eBay provides many people who want to quit their corporate nine-to-five jobs with a way to make a good living, without having to put up a lot of start up capital. This is made possible with the help of drop shippers. Drop shippers send merchandise to the customers of business owners. If you have an eBay business, you are a business owner. This will allow you to offer a wide variety of stock in your eBay store, without having the need to warehouse
all of those products!
All you have to do is set up your auction, and sell the product. You then pass the customer’s information on to the drop shipping company. The drop shipper does the rest, and they will even use your company information, as well as your company logo if you have provided it to them. When the product arrives at your customer’s home, they will have no idea
that your company didn’t send it. The drop shipper will package, label, and ship the products that you sell, allowing you more time to set up even more auctions, for greater profits.
You must establish a relationship with several drop shipping companies in order to become successful.
In the beginning, most companies will require you to pay for the items that your customers order before they are shipped. You need to fill orders in a timely manner, so you should pay for the items with a credit card for speedy service. Eventually, you will be able to have the drop shipper fill your orders, and then bill you for them later.
When you set up your eBay auctions, make sure that your reserve price is set higher than the price that the drop shipper will be charging you for the item. The idea, of course, is to earn a profit! Depending on the item you are selling, a markup of about 10% should be about right, but you should do some research to see if the item is selling for a lower price in another eBay auction, or through other online sources.
By starting an eBay business using the drop shipping method, there is essentially no financial risk
involved. The product will be sold before you pay the drop shipper for the item. This is one of the few businesses where you can actually turn a profit before you have expenditures!
eBay Business Solutions
If starting an eBay business is your goal, as opposed to just auctioning a few items off for some extra cash, you need to use the eBay business solutions that are available to you. Because eBay’s success depends on the success of its sellers, they strive to help you at every turn. eBay Business
Solutions is the key to starting an eBay business.
eBay Stores is one of the better solutions for eBay business owners. An eBay store will allow you to list multiple quantities of the same item, and allow you to keep them listed for longer time periods. eBay Store owners also enjoy lower auction fees, and have access to advanced merchandising tools. Eventually, you should consider upgrading to an eBay Pro Store, which will allow you to customize your storefront with your own brand and web address.
There are many other eBay Business Solutions, such as seller tools, the eBay solutions directory, and the merchant solution center, but you should definitely start with your very own eBay store, followed by an eBay Pro Store.
eBay Courses – Are They Worth It?
There are numerous eBay courses that are available on the Internet today. These books and courses are designed to help you become more successful on eBay. Unfortunately, not all of these courses are worth the money that you will pay for them. Some of them are full of what used to be good information – when it was relevant – and others are simply junk information, written by someone trying to make a quick buck.
Before you purchase any eBay course, find out when the course was written. If it was written in 2004, for instance, you don’t want it. Even though that hasn’t been very long ago, eBay changes so fast that much of the information will not be relevant. However, if the original issue of the course was written several years ago, but the course is updated each year, this will probably be a good course for you.
Again, use care when purchasing eBay courses. They can be quite helpful and enlightening, but only if the information in them is still good. Talk to other eBay sellers – preferably successful ones – to find out what courses are recommended.
The real scams being perpetrated are usually in the form of TV infomercials. These courses are not very accurate nor are they any different in scope as compared with the course given by eBay itself. The problem with these TV infomercials is that the agents will call you and try to get you to spend several hundred dollars on a coaching program. The idea is that you will be able to consult with an operator over the phone and get personal service. However, you will only find yourself getting more solicitations to buy even more services. Stay away from these scams.
eBay Data and Research – How Important Is It?
eBay is a business anyway you look at it. Sure, it is a great deal of fun for both the buyers and sellers, but when you look at it from another view point, you will see that it is a business from the seller’s point of view, the buyer’s point of view, and eBay’s point of view. 40 million dollars a day travels through eBay. Selling items on eBay successfully is an art, and eBay offers many different forms of Data and Research to ensure that you are selling the right items, to the right people, in the right way.
Some of the data and research is not free, but much of it is. The available resources include hot items by category, eBay Pulse, merchandising calendar, sales reports, marketplace research, buyer behavioral report, and the eBay solutions directory. These tools are quite easy to use, and the information that can be gleaned from them is extremely valuable.
The Data and Research tools are all accessible through your seller’s account, by clicking on the ‘Advance Selling’ link. Learn to use those tools, and get your piece of that $40 million eBay revenue each day.
eBay Gift Certificates – The Gift Solution Suitable for Everyone
We all know one. There is at least one in every family, and one in every circle of friends. There is even one in every office! There is always that one person that you know who is absolutely impossible to buy a gift for! These people either have everything, or want nothing. They don’t drop hints at all, and when asked, they simply say that they don’t know, they don’t care, or they don’t want anything.
Well, now you can buy a gift for that person. The solution lies in an eBay gift certificate! This will allow your loved one to essentially buy anything that they want, in a very exciting way. eBay gift certificates can easily be purchased through paypal, in varying amounts.
There are things that you should point out to the gift recipient, however. For instance, eBay gift certificates do expire. eBay gift certificates will not be accepted for all auctions either – they can only be redeemed for those auctions that accept Paypal as a form of payment. Other than that, your loved one should not have any problems redeeming their eBay gift certificate!
eBay Scams – Steps to Take if You Have Been Defrauded
eBay is a relatively safe marketplace. Unfortunately, like most online marketplaces, it is vulnerable to scams. eBay tries to keep instances of scams occurring, but with more than 100 million members, and approximately $40 million moving through the site on a daily basis, this can be a little difficult. Sometimes, scams occur.
If you have been scammed, there are certain steps
you need to follow to report the incident, and to try to come to a resolution. If you paid for the item through Paypal, the first step is to login to your Paypal account and open up a dispute for the payment. If you did not pay through Paypal, contact
your credit card company. In most cases, if you have used one of these two cases, you will recover your money.
The next step is to use eBay’s dispute process to report the seller. This is specifically for items that were not received, or items that were significantly different than what was described in the auction. eBay also has a purchase protection program to further protect buyers. If a settlement cannot be reached with the buyer, the next step is to make an eBay buyer purchase protection claim.
eBay Success - How to Price Your Items
Many new sellers don’t realize how important pricing is when it comes to eBay auctions. Many don’t even realize that ‘pricing’ needs to be done. eBay is an auction site after all! But eBay auctions are not quite the same as the auctions you attend in the offline world. In fact, quite a bit of work goes into determining and setting prices.
Essentially, there are only three prices that can be set for an eBay auction: the ‘buy it now’ price, the reserve price, and the starting bid price. Of these three, the starting bid price is the only one that is required for an eBay auction. The reserve price and the ‘buy it now’ price are optional. The starting bid price is fairly simple – never set it higher than $50 or so – no matter what your item is really worth. This low opening price will get bidders to your auction.
Setting low starting bid prices creates the need for a reserve price. A reserve price is the absolute lowest price that you want to get for your item. You may sell the item below the reserve price, but you will not be required to. In other words, if you set your reserve price at $100, and your highest bid is only $50, you do not have to sell the item to the highest bidder. You can close the auction without any negative feedback or repercussions. Set your reserve price at the absolute lowest price you are willing to sell your item for. Keep what the item is worth, as well as what it cost you in mind.
The ‘buy it now’ option will allow you to set a price, and buyers can buy the item immediately, without bidding, for that set price. This option can be used for any type of item, and it should be set to match your reserve, give or take a few dollars. This option is great if you have multiple identical items to sell.
Shipping has a price, and potential buyers take this into consideration when they are looking at an auction. If you can see your way clear to offer free shipping, you will find that people are placing more bids. Make sure that your potential buyers realize that you are offering free shipping!
Before setting any prices, you need to determine what the item is really worth. The value of the item in different markets might be quite high. However, you are selling on eBay, and it is a different world altogether! Find out the price that similar items sold
for on eBay before setting any prices. If it is a collectable, or a high ticket item, have the item evaluated to ensure that you aren’t going to lose money!
eBay University – What Is It All About?
eBay University is the learning program that eBay established to help people become successful eBay merchants. For convenience, eBay classes are held in many locations throughout the United States, and classes may also be completed from home, using your computer.
You should note that all of the information you will learn through eBay University can be found on the website – for free. However, understanding that free information isn’t always easy. eBay University will teach you how to open a seller’s account, how to conduct research and create listings, how to improve listings for greater success, how to integrate Paypal with eBay, how to monitor your auctions, and how to complete transactions.
Once you’ve finished the Selling Basics course, you are ready for the ‘Beyond the Basics’ course. This advanced course will teach you how to start and grow an eBay business, how to choose and create listing formats that sell, how to use all of the eBay resources, how to market your business, how to pack and ship your items, and much more. Both courses are reasonably priced, and well worth the short amount of time that it takes to complete each course.
Getting Started on eBay
You’ve probably heard about how much money can be made on eBay. With dreams of quick riches and easy money, you are probably ready to jump in with both feet – right now! The best thing you can do if you are serious about making money with eBay, however, is to slow down. In fact, just stop for a minute. Don’t rush straight in. Take your time, and do it right.
eBay has over 100 million members. Think about that number for just a minute or two. When you get your eBay business set up, that is how big your customer base will be – instantly. 100 million people - 100 million people who are just waiting for you to get set up and running so that they can throw money at you! Well, not quite. It is true that there are over 100 million members, but at this point, they don’t know that you exist. In fact, no matter how well you do on eBay, most of them will never know that you exist. 100 million is a very large number.
The most successful eBay sellers started out as buyers – and you should too. This will give you a sense of how everything works. It will also show you how things are from the buyer’s side of the fence. Let’s call this period of time ‘consumer research.’ You are literally studying how eBay works, from a customer’s point of view. You may not realize this, but this eBay buyer experience will actually make you a much better seller – right from the very start.
Really pay attention to the customer service you receive from the buyer. Think about how you want to be treated as a buyer, and take notes. Take your time during this process. Interact with the sellers. Get involved in hot auctions to see what they are like. In your spare time, start making notes about the hot items that you see. These notes will come in handy later.
eBay works just like any other business. You have to determine what people want to buy before you can hope to be successful. There are very specific items that sell really well on eBay – you just have to figure out what those items are. There are many resources for finding out this information. Start with the lessons that eBay offers to their sellers. Strongly consider attending the eBay University as well. This is the next step in the process. After you have had the eBay buyer experience, it is time to learn how to be an eBay seller.
Read all of the information eBay provides for you at the site. The information is free and you will learn a great deal from it. Take full advantage of this – before you start setting up your first auction or your eBay store! By reading through all of the resources, you will avoid making numerous mistakes that so many before you have made. This is another step towards building a successful eBay business. Once you’ve made it through the learning process, you should know everything you need to know to get started with a money making eBay business of your very own.
Hot Selling Items for eBay Auctions
Many people who are trying to start an eBay business spend a great deal of time trying to figure out which items sell the best on eBay. Many of these
people have elaborate systems for determining this information, and many others purchase expensive courses that teach them how to find this information as well. None of that is necessary. Everything you need to know is right in front of you – on the eBay website!
Take a look at any category, and you will see the word ‘hot’ beside some items. These items are not marked as hot sellers randomly – there is a method to the madness! Items only get marked as hot when there have been more than thirty bids placed on the item. All you have to do is wonder around the eBay website for a while to find an item that will do well.
However, most power sellers will agree that there is more to figuring out which items sell best than this. In fact, they claim that it is a science. A great way to start your search for items that will result in a successful auction in the future is to do research on the auctions that were successful in the past. You can view old listings that have completed at:
A new way to determine what items sell best on eBay is ‘eBay Marketplace Research.’ Marketplace Research will allow you to view important statistical information on the buying trends at eBay. This product contains all of the data one could possibly ever need to determine how well – or how poorly – an item will do in an eBay auction. There is a small fee for using the eBay Marketplace Research tools, however.
Another tool that will be very useful in your quest for finding hot selling items for your eBay auctions is the listing of popular eBay search terms that is found on the site. This list can be found at: http://popular.ebay.com/ . This list is divided into categories, which will make it easier to determine how popular your potential item may be.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that an item will do poorly, or that it will do well without doing your homework on the item first. Some of the strangest things sell for the highest prices, while items that would sell quickly in any other environment just sit there. Almost any eBay Power Seller will tell you that the key to a successful auction rests in the amount of research you put into the items you hope to sell.
How to Avoid eBay Scams and Fraud
Countless people have been scammed and defrauded on eBay. eBay is a fun place to bid on items and to sell items – but you must know how to recognize a scam, and how to avoid them, them or you quickly join the ranks of those who have lost their money to eBay scams. Of course, if you are scammed, there are some actions you can take the correct the situation – but in many cases, the scammer does indeed get away! The best option is to avoid being scammed.
You can easily avoid many scams with the payment method that you use – whether you are a buyer or a seller. eBay owns Paypal, and in most cases, Paypal is the payment method you should use. First, as a buyer, if you are scammed or less than satisfied with the item when it arrives, you can dispute the charge easily, and demand a refund. The seller must reply and show proof that the item was shipped, and that it arrived in the condition that you expected, or Paypal will return your funds to your account.
As a seller, you can protect yourself by only accepting Paypal. This will eliminate the chances of receiving a bad check or having the buyer dispute a credit card charge. Instead, they must dispute the charge through paypal, and you of course will be able to prove that you shipped the product. You cannot, however, prove that the product arrived in the condition that was expected. In this case, you should demand that the product be returned to you before the refund is issued.
Another common scam that buyers use is the bidding scam. This type of scam is run either with two separate eBay accounts – with one person in control of both of them, or with two friends with separate eBay accounts. A very small bid is placed on your item, using one account. This is followed by a very high bid, from the other eBay account. Right before the bidding ends, the high bid is cancelled or withdrawn, leaving the low bid as the winning bid.
This bid can only be avoided by setting a reserve price
– the lowest bid that can be placed is the same as the reserve price that you set.
If you are an eBay seller, you can further protect your auctions by placing a notice on your auctions page, declaring that you have the right to back out of the sale if you suspect potential fraud. As both a buyer and a seller, also beware of spoofed emails. These emails appear to be from eBay. The email may claim that you need to verify your information, and ask you to login to your eBay account, using the link provided. If you follow that link, the site looks exactly like eBay, but it is actually a scam to get your eBay login details, as well as your credit card details! eBay will never ask you to do this. If you suspect a spoofed email, report it to eBay immediately!
Don’t let scammers ruin your eBay fun! Just use good common sense, and a reasonable amount of caution, and everything should run smoothly. Report suspicious activity to eBay, and if a deal doesn’t feel right, simply back away from it and move on to the next auction.
How to Avoid Failure on Your eBay Auctions
Many first time sellers have one thing in common – they fail. Many of them fail time and time again, never understanding what is going wrong. They do hours of research looking for the perfect item to sell, get the auction set up, and wait for the bidding to begin. Hours go by and no bids are placed. Days go by, and there are still no bids – or there are very low bids. Finally the auction ends, and it turns out to be a total failure. Considering the huge number of sellers who run eBay auctions, there are specific things you must do, and specific things you must not do if you are to be successful.
There are many reasons why auctions fail. The most common reason is that the item is not in high demand. This problem can be avoided by doing the necessary research to determine which items sell well, and which items should be avoided. This research takes a great deal of time – but in the end, you will find that it is time well spent.
Another reason for eBay failure is pricing. No matter what your reserve price is, your opening bid price should never be more than $50 or so. This is how you
will attract potential bidders to your auction. If you set that opening bid too high, most people won’t even click the link to read the description for your item. Another pricing problem is lack of research. Before you set your reserve price, you must determine what the item is really worth, and the price similar items have sold for in past eBay auctions.
Poorly written descriptions are another cause of failed auctions. Poor grammar and misspelled words drive people away. Failing to post a picture of the item will also keep people from visiting your auction page. Make sure that your description is well written. This is essentially your ‘sales copy.’
Shipping prices scare people away from auctions if they are too high. Find the lowest shipping prices that you can find, and consider paying for the shipping yourself if it won’t cut into your profits too much. Do not charge handling fees.
Offer great ‘customer service’ for all of your auctions, and ask your buyers to give you feedback. If the items that you sell are everything that you said they would be, and you offer great customer service, you can expect wonderful feedback – and this feedback will help a great deal in your future auctions.
How to Avoid Losing to eBay Snipers
Sniping occurs when a bid is about to end. Some yahoo rushes in and bids a little higher than the highest bid as the clock runs out of time – winning the bid. Sniping is against the rules at eBay, but it doesn’t slow the snipers down! In most cases, even if you report it, the sniper will get away with it, and you will have lost the item that you wanted to win so badly. Unfortunately, in order to avoid losing the items you want to snipers at eBay, you have to take on the sniper mentality. You also need to snipe in a way that will not violate eBay’s rules.
Snipping can be done in one of two ways. The first way is the safest, but not necessarily the easiest. Simply keep up with the item you are bidding on. Make a note of the date and time that the auction will end, and make sure that you are in front of your computer and logged into the auction well before that specific time. The objective is to either bid higher than the highest bid during the last few seconds – which is what snipers do - or to simply make sure that you are not outbid by a sniper.
Remember that sniping is against the rules, so you should log in about thirty or forty five minutes before the bidding ends, and get your bid up until it is the highest bid. At that point, all you need to do is to keep an eye out to make sure that nobody else raises the bid. If you’ve been logged in for a while, this cannot be considered sniping.
Using this method, you must be aware of automatic bidders. It is very hard to bid against people who use bidding software. That software has been designed for the purpose of snipping, and your chances of outbidding the software manually are very slim – which leads us to the second method of snipping
– Snipping services.
Snipping services are very easy to find online, and they are relatively inexpensive. You can also purchase your own snipping software. If you want to become a sniper, purchasing your own software is usually the best way to go if you bid on a lot of items. You just set up the software, tell it which auction to watch and what the highest price you are willing to bid is, and let it do the work - just remember that it is against the rules, and while eBay seldom enforces this rule, you will be running the risk of getting banned from eBay.
Sniping is bad if someone does it to you, but if you use it yourself to win bids, it can be a wonderful thing. On the other hand, it may not be very ethical. Outbidding someone is one thing, sniping is something altogether different!
How to Find Great Deals at eBay
Everyone loves a great deal! Many people spend quite a bit of time searching for good deals on the items that they want and need – and when they find those deals, they experience a certain amount of satisfaction. These people typically haunt garage sales, stores that are holding sales, wholesale warehouses, flea markets, and especially online and offline auctions. With the incredible number of auctions that are constantly going on at eBay, it can be difficult to find the items you want, at the price you want to pay. But it isn’t impossible to find great deals!
There are steps you can take to ensure that you are getting a great deal on the items you purchase through eBay. In fact, these same steps will also help to protect you against fraud. Participating in online auctions is a great deal of fun, but you must
use caution as well. This caution entails doing your research before you place any bids.
Start with the auction in question. Make sure that you read every word of the description and the auction details. You can never have too much information – especially if that information is about an individual that you may be doing business with. Pay special attention to what the description and auction details do not say. For instance, is a guarantee mentioned? Is the item new? Is it authentic? Is there proof of authenticity? Look for auctions that provide the right information – and the right amount of information. Avoid those that do not.
Who will pay the shipping and handling costs? Often,
the buyer pays these costs, and sometimes, the seller tries to charge more than the actual shipping and handling costs are. Beware of high shipping costs, especially for items that will be auctioned off at a very low price. Also note when the item is supposed to ship after the bidding has ended. Depending on what you are trying to purchase the item for, it may not arrive in time.
Don’t make the mistake of bidding on an item simply because it is a ‘good deal.’ It is only a good deal for you if the item is something that you really want or need. Many people simply bid for the sake of bidding – or winning – without having any real need or desire for the item in question. Before bidding on items that you do want or need, check prices around the Internet and the prices available from offline sources as well. Just because it is on eBay does not guarantee that it is the cheapest price available!
Finally, learn more about the seller. Can you trust them? What is their rating? Read their feedback page! Failure to learn more about the seller can be
costly. Not everyone is as honest as you are – and the seller may be trying to take advantage of people that simply don’t know enough to find out more about them. Sometimes scammers make their auctions sound like really great deals. Beware of prices that seem extremely low!
How to Sell Expensive Items on eBay
Selling expensive items on eBay is really no different than selling low cost items. Essentially, no matter what you are selling, it all comes down to how you market the item. This doesn’t mean you have to surf around the Internet placing ads here and there – when it comes to eBay auctions, the marketing is all done at the eBay website. Basically, when you set up your auction, you are setting up an automated marketing campaign.
First, you must determine what the value of your item is, in three different ways. This will help you determine what your reserve price is. On eBay, the reserve price is the lowest price that you are willing to accept for your item. First, have your high priced item evaluated to determine what the actual market value is. Next, research similar items from past auctions at eBay to see what price those items sold for. Finally, determine what the value of the item is to
you. With this information, you should be able to determine the lowest amount you are willing to sell the item for.
Set your reserve price, and then set your opening bid price lower than $50 – no matter how high your reserve price is. This is a marketing tactic. It will be hard to attract potential buyers to an auction for an item selling for hundreds or thousands of dollars – but getting them to an auction where the opening bid is only $50 is quite simple. Remember, you don’t have to sell the item to anyone who bids less than your reserve price – unless you choose to do so at the close of the auction. This method of price setting resembles marketing gimmicks used by offline businesses that are simply designed to ‘get customers in the door.’
Work hard on the description for your listing. Use words that really describe your item well. Provide as many details as possible, including details that prove the authenticity of collectible items. Include pictures of the item as well. Do not try to deceive potential buyers! If the item has marks or scratches, simply be honest about it, and make sure that the pictures convey this as well. State how the item will be packed and shipped. Also let potential buyers know
that shipping insurance must be purchased as well
– in case the item is damaged once it leaves your possession.
For higher priced items, most eBay buyers feel more comfortable using an escrow service. Offer this as an option in your auction, with the understanding that the buyer must pay for the service. This protects both parties from fraud, and it makes many buyers more open to spending the money to obtain the item. eBay has partnered with an escrow service that is commonly used for high ticket items.
How to Use eBay Escrow Services
If you buy or sell big ticket items on eBay, you need to know about the available escrow services. An escrow service is designed to protect buyers and sellers from being ripped off. The funds for the sale go to the escrow service, and then the seller ships the item to the buyer. Once the item has been received, the funds are released from the escrow service to the seller.
In some instances, both the item and the funds go
through the escrow service, and the service makes sure that the buyer gets the item, and the seller gets the money. There is a small fee for the service, and it is usually a fixed percentage of the sale price. It is up to the buyer and seller to decide who will pay the fees. Often, the fees are split between the buyer and seller.
If you want to use an escrow service, there is only one service that eBay recommends, and they back that service up. This service is Escrow.com. Over the years, there have been many ‘look-alike’ escrow services, using variations of the escrow.com domain name, but they have shown to be less than reputable companies. Make sure you use the services of escrow.com for the greatest protection.
How to Use the Promotional Tools on eBay
eBay wants you to be successful. Essentially, if their sellers are not making any money, eBay is not making any money – or not enough money. eBay does have one other very small source of revenue, which comes from the sellers. This revenue is realized from the promotional tools that actually help you, as a seller, have more successful auctions.
The promotional tools on eBay are very inexpensive. For instance, you can have a bold listing for just a few cents. Highlighted listings are equally inexpensive. These two tools could easily raise your final price by as much as 25%! Not all promotional tools cost money. Many of them are free. The available promotional tools found on eBay are product finder, gallery, bold, highlight, border, gift services listings, subtitles, featured home page, featured plus, featured gallery, keywords, co-op advertising, and optimized listings.
If you are serious about making money from your eBay auctions, or if you are selling just one high ticket item, you should definitely take advantage of the eBay promotional tools that are available to you. These can easily be found through your sellers account.
Increase Your eBay Profits Without Relying on eBay!
While it is possible to earn a full time living on eBay, it is a mistake to depend solely on eBay for your income. You could be using your eBay auctions to generate a huge amount of business for other products and services! Many people, however, fail to fully utilize eBay’s resources to this end.
eBay has over 100 million members, and they gained those members by continually running major marketing campaigns. Essentially, they do your marketing for you. But you have to help yourself as well. The key is to drive people to your auction page, which in turn can be used to drive traffic to your website.
You can sell many different items on your website, including items that are up for auction at eBay! This is a fabulous way to earn income that does not rely on eBay auctions. You can easily accept website payments with a Paypal account, so there is no need for an expensive merchant account!
You are not allowed to include the website address of an outside website on your auctions – you are, however, perfectly welcome to place a link to your website on your eBay ‘About Me’ page. Invite your bidders and potential bidders to view your about me page, and watch the website traffic roll in!
Shipping eBay Items to Customers
If you stock the products that you sell on eBay, as opposed to drop shipping, you probably spend a great deal of time and money shipping items to your customers. If you are a big success on eBay, this could quickly become a problem. Organize your shipping practices before they get out of control!
Keep stamps, packing materials, and boxes on hand. You can have these items delivered to you, which will save you a lot of time. Use large padded envelopes instead of boxes whenever possible. These envelopes are easier to handle, and usually cheaper to purchase. Furthermore, they often weigh just a little less than cardboard boxes do, which will save a bit of money on the postage. Purchase stamps and packing materials online. Not only will you save time, you will save money as well.
If you ship a lot of packages, purchasing your own set of postage scales will increase your efficiency – the expense will more than pay for itself. Other items you should invest in include a rubber stamp, label printing software, a good printer, and labels. Either use a stamp for the return label, or keep a large stock of pre-printed return labels. All you need is a plan and a little bit of organization to successfully ship your eBay items.
The eBay Item Listing Rules
Because eBay is such a huge marketplace, with members from all walks of life, in almost every single country around the world, it is no wonder that there are many scammers lurking about. In order to better protect the buyers, eBay has specific rules concerning the items that can be auctioned off on the site. These rules must be followed, or the person posting the item for auction can be banned from the site.
Even though there are numerous categories, items that are put up for auction really only fall into one of four categories at eBay: Prohibited, Questionable, Potentially Infringing, and Approved. Approved is the simplest category to define and understand. An approved item is any item that does not fall into one of the other three categories. That is fairly simple, right?
After the ‘approved’ category, however, it starts to get a little harder to understand – with the exception of prohibited items. A prohibited item may not be auctioned on eBay for any reason, under any circumstances. Prohibited items include alcohol, drugs, animals, tobacco, human remains or body parts of any type, lottery tickets, and governmental property. There is quite a bit more on the list, and that list can be viewed at the eBay website.
Questionable items are those that are not prohibited, but are not necessarily infringing. Adult material falls under the ‘questionable’ category. Tickets of any type may also be questionable. Law enforcement related equipment, as well as guns, knives, and other weapons are questionable items. Artifacts, food items, batteries, all hazardous chemicals and materials are also on the list of questionable items. You can auction questionable items at eBay, as long as those items meet certain conditions.
Potentially Infringing items are those that violate copyrights, trademarks, and other legal rights. These items are almost always some type of media, such as software, DVDs, and CDs, but the list contains other items as well, such as counterfeit items and illegal recordings. You can find out more about ‘potentially infringing’ items at the eBay website as well.
If you are unsure as to which category your item falls into, you should contact eBay with this question before setting up the auction. As a buyer, you should carefully consider the consequences of purchasing items that fall under one of the three categories above. In some cases, it may be very illegal to have some of those items in your possession – no matter how they were obtained. Before making such a purchase, or bidding on such an item, you should find out more details about the item in question, and then get some legal advice.
The eBay Shipping Center
eBay wants to help sellers with every aspect of their eBay business. The eBay shipping center was created to help ensure that you get your items to your customers in a timely manner, in the most efficient and economical way possible.
The eBay shipping center will help you print shipping labels, help you figure shipping costs, and even help you with International shipping. Shipping information for all of the major shipping companies, including the USPS can be found through the shipping center. You can even purchase insurance for packages that will be shipped by the USPS directly through the shipping center.
One of the greatest features of the eBay Shipping Center is the ability to order free co-branded shipping boxes for USPS shipments. These boxes are delivered to you, at no cost! This will cut a great deal of your shipping expenses because you won’t have to purchase your own boxes! There is also a great video that will teach you how to save time and money on your shipping, and whether you are a buyer or a seller, you can easily track your packages through the eBay shipping center as well.
The eBay Trading Assistants Program
If you excel at eBay auctions, you might want to consider an additional source of revenue as well. The eBay Trading Assistant Program will allow you to sell items for other eBay members on consignment. Being successful at your own auctions is the key to becoming a successful trading assistant for other people.
Often, newcomers simply don’t know how to make their items sell. Many people who are auctioning off a one time big ticket item, such as cars or real estate, will often employ the services of an eBay Trading Assistant. Items such as these can add up to very big commissions for serious trading assistants! Usually, trading assistants are responsible for every aspect of the auction, including shipping the product to the customer and collecting payment. For high ticket items, the person who hires
Trading Assistants get access to trading assistant marketing materials which are quite helpful. In order to become an approved trading assistant, you must have sold at least ten items in the last ninety days, have a feedback score of at least 100 with 97% positive feedback or higher, and your eBay account must be in good standing.
Using the eBay Security and Resolution Center
Whether you are an eBay buyer or a seller, problems may arise at some point. That is why the eBay Security and Resolution Center was created. Even if you have never had a problem on eBay, and you don’t expect to, a visit to this eBay resource can be very enlightening, and it may even help you to protect yourself in all of your online activities.
If you do not receive an item that you bought from eBay, this is where it is reported. The same is true if you sold and shipped an item and did not receive payment for it. But there are many other ways to use the security center as well. You can learn how to protect yourself from identity theft, how to protect your eBay account and the eBay guidelines that are designed to make everyone’s buying and selling experience safe and enjoyable.
If you are an eBay seller, you will learn how to become a trusted seller, which will ultimately bring you more profits. There is something for everyone at the eBay Security and Resolution Center – even if you have never had a security problem at eBay.