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    26 Replies Latest reply on Dec 4, 2008 10:18 AM by HireMe

    Event: How to successfully sell on eBay

    SBC Team Guide
      Want to get your products in front of 84 million potential online customers? Learn how with eBay, the world's largest online emarketplace! Take your hobby or existing business to the next level by learning the best techniques of how to sell and market your products on eBay. Join us for this special event with eBay's Jim Griffith, aka "Griff" the Dean of eBay Education!

      About eBay:
      eBay was born over Labor Day weekend in 1995, when Pierre Omidyar, a computer programmer, wrote the code for an auction website that he ran from his home computer. With a presence in 39 markets, including the U.S., and approximately 84 million active users worldwide, eBay has changed the face of Internet commerce!

      About Jim:
      Jim Griffith, has been an enthusiastic eBay buyer and selling since Monday, May 20th, 1996, at 10:18 am PST when he bid on his first eBay item, a PS/2 memory chip for his old IBM computer.

      Currently serving as Dean of eBay Education, roving ambassador, eBay spokesperson, the host of eBay Radio and as the author of The Official eBay Bible, Griff spends nearly all his waking hours teaching others how to use eBay effectively, safely and profitably; leading classes at eBay University in order to help new eBay users learn the nuances of the site and its history; responding to customer e-mail; managing and hosting the popular weekly "eBay Radio" and "Ask Griff" radio shows, and spreading the word about eBay across print, radio and TV.

      The SBOC Team is pooling questions in advance for Griff. Join us from 1-2:30PM EST for Griff's response. You may also ask Griff a question at any time during the event, just remember, you MUST be a member to participate. If you haven't joined yet, it's easy and free, just follow this link - http://smallbusinessonlinecommunity.bankofamerica.com/create-account.jspa
        • Re: Event August 14: How to sell your products on eBay
          bpbp51 Newbie
          Dear Friend, I am interested in selling products on Ebay but I find the Ebay seller fees very expensive. What is the best way to keep the ebay seller costs down so that you do not lose your shirt selling products? Thanks, BestProductsBestPrices
            • Re: Event August 14: How to sell your products on eBay
              firefamily5 Newbie
              Hi,
              I am taking a online ebay course right now that has really helped me.
              I don't have your answers yet but you might check into it.
              www.learntobuyandsell.com
              Good luck,
              Dan
              • Re: Event August 14: How to sell your products on eBay
                Jim_Griffith Newbie
                I will start by answering some questions and providing some basic tips in between. Here's our first question:

                "...Dear Friend, I am interested in selling products on Ebay but I find the Ebay seller fees very expensive. What is the best way to keep the ebay seller costs down so that you do not lose your shirt selling products? Thanks, BestProductsBestPrices..."

                Alas, the days of selling for free online are long over (weren't they great?) Still, when considering the best possible options for providing the most exposure for your merchandise, eBay is a great value proposition (here I go, giving an eBay commercial right off the bat!) However, if an eBay seller isn't careful, they can quickly start to rack up fees unnecessarily (these would be fees or costs that do not help generate sales and income).

                First tip: Make sure you are using the right format for your listing. There are two main formats: Auction and Fixed Price. All too often I see sellers using the wrong format and this can result in unnecessary costs. Here's a good rule of thumb. Rare or high demand items are usually best in an auction format. Items that are readily available in other markets (like commodity items: consumer electronics, clothing, home an garden, etc) are usually best listed in a Fixed Price format.

                More to come...

                Griff
                1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • Re: Event August 14: How to sell your products on eBay
                caymans Newbie
                Who can really do business on eBay? Every day I receive emails inviting to participate on eBay, offering thousands in profits! But those are scams, I believe. Please, let me know how I can start.
                  • Re: Event August 14: How to sell your products on eBay
                    Jim_Griffith Newbie
                    "...Who can really do business on eBay? Every day I receive emails inviting to participate on eBay, offering thousands in profits! But those are scams, I believe. Please, let me know how I can start. ..."

                    Anyone can start a business on eBay (or just sell a few items). That's the beauty of the Internet (and specifically, eBay). In my years working with the eBay Community (I have been active since May of 1996), I have met thousands of people who got their start on eBay and who now run successful businesses.

                    The best way to start today is to have been smart enough to attend this forum (blush!) but there are other ways. If you are the type who learns quickest in a physical classroom or seminar type environment, then the aforementioned eBay Education Specialist program is a great way to start:

                    http://www.ebay.com/esp

                    If you learn quickest from a book, I might suggest my book, The Official eBay Bible (available at fine bookstores everywhere) but there are countless great publications out there including my good friend Marsha Collier's eBay For Dummies series.

                    Finally, one of the best ways to learn is free! Just visit the eBay Answer Center and ask the community experts who hang out there for assistance:

                    http://pages.ebay.com/community/answercenter/index.html

                    And of course, my email is griff@ebay.com and I am always willing and happy to assist anyone with their eBay efforts.

                    regards,

                    Griff

                    More tips coming!...
                  • Re: Event August 14: How to sell your products on eBay
                    simon07 Wayfarer
                    My wife wants is always shopping on eBay, but now wants to start selling her handmade jewelry on eBay. How do you recommend she get started? How does she get an "eBay store?" Any tips for new comers?
                      • Re: Event August 14: How to sell your products on eBay
                        Jim_Griffith Newbie

                        "...My wife wants is always shopping on eBay, but now wants to start selling her handmade jewelry on eBay. How do you recommend she get started? How does she get an "eBay store?" Any tips for new comers?..."

                        Hi Simon07,

                        Sure! Just tell the wife to read and keep handy the tips I am giving right here today! Also, she should start perusing the Jewelry category on eBay to learn how other sellers of their own handmade jewelry find success. Remember, the best teachers on eBay are existing successful sellers and for the most part, their successful listing strategies are right out in the open for all to see (and to use! Just remember that you cannot copy and paste another seller's descriptions and one should never "borrow" another seller's photos!)

                         

                        Griff

                        and we continue....
                      • Re: Event August 14: How to sell your products on eBay
                        caffeinated Scout
                        Hi Griff,

                        Thanks for taking the time to speak to the community. I always hear about dropshipment. What is it exactly and how does it play into the selling process?

                        Thanks for listening

                        -caffeinated
                          • Re: Event August 14: How to sell your products on eBay
                            Jim_Griffith Newbie

                            "...Hi Griff,

                            Thanks for taking the time to speak to the community. I always hear about dropshipment. What is it exactly and how does it play into the selling process? Thanks for listening

                            -caffeinated ..."

                            Hi caffeinated (pour me one, thanks!)

                            Dropshipping involves entering into an arrangement with a manufacturer or supplier for inventory of which you never actually take possession. The way it works on eBay:

                            1. You list the inventory (the manufacturer or supplier dropshipper might supply the photos and text)
                            2. You sell items.
                            3. The dropshipper handles fullfillment (packing and shipping the item)

                            You can see right off, the advantage: The seller doesn't have to store or manage inventory! Brilliant, yes? Well... maybe... if the seller locates a reliable dropshipper of quality, in-demand merchandise. If a dropshipper suddenly flakes, then it is the eBay seller, not the dropshipper, whose reputation and eBay account are on the line. Therefore, I do not recommend dropshipping as an option for new sellers. New sellers should get to know the site first hand. Later, if a seller decides to go the dropshipping route, they will do so will a better working knowledge of how eBay works from the selling end. Also, anyone who is using a drop shipper should always keep an supply of the inventory on hand just in case the dropshipper is unable to fulfill existing orders.

                            Regards,

                             

                            Griff

                            Another tip... coming up.

                             

                          • Re: Live Event at 1:00 PM ET - How to successfully sell on eBay
                            SBC Team Guide

                            Community, please join me in welcoming Jim Griffith, aka "Griff," the Dean of eBay Education.

                            He'll be delivering topics and tips on how to successfully sell on eBay. We're trying something new today. Griff will be presenting in an online seminar format - users are encouraged to submit questions into the queue throughout that time as well as after the seminar. Just note that questions will be answered in which they were received, but he may not get to all of them.

                             


                            Griff will be posting as user Jim_Griffith

                            Take it away Griff!
                              • Re: Live Event at 1:00 PM ET - How to successfully sell on eBay
                                Jim_Griffith Newbie
                                Hi SBOCT Team and participants,

                                Thanks for having me! I will try to answer as many questions as possible and also provide some tips for selling. Please bear with me as it can take some time composing responses.

                                regards,

                                Griff
                                  • Re: Live Event at 1:00 PM ET - How to successfully sell on eBay
                                    Jim_Griffith Newbie

                                    Official Griff Tip #1

                                    Find something to sell (duh!) The best candidate for your first eBay listing is something from your own personal possessions. Choose something small, easy-to-pack-and-ship, of some value, in good shape (new is best but used can work) and most importantly, something in which you have absolutely no emotional or financial investment (like an unwanted gift).

                                    Even if you already have inventory on hand that you will be selling on eBay, if this is your first listing, go the "personal possession" route. Here's why: If your first listing is one that is something you don't really want or need, you will concentrate on the actual logistics of listing instead of worrying "Oh dear... how do I price this? What if I loose money? I really don't want to sell this?" etc,

                                    More to come...

                                    Griff

                                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                    • Re: Live Event at 1:00 PM ET - How to successfully sell on eBay
                                      Jim_Griffith Newbie

                                      Official Griff Tip #3

                                      (that last one should have read "Tip #2, sorry!)

                                      Preparation! Most new sellers rush off to the Sell Your Item form at this point but that is a mistake! You want to prepare everything beforehand. Here is the checklist:

                                      1. Write a description (you can type it into Word or a text editor like Windows Notepad)
                                      2. Take at least one digital photo (If the item has more than one side, take a photo of each side. We'll talk photo tips in the next tip)
                                      3. Create your Terms of Service
                                      4. Choose a format and appropriate price
                                      5. Pack the item http://smallbusinessonlinecommunity.bankofamerica.com/images/emoticons/alert.gif" alt="(!)" />
                                      6. Weigh and measure the box

                                      Now you are ready to list.

                                      Don't leave yet! There is more to come...

                                      Griff
                                        • Re: Live Event at 1:00 PM ET - How to successfully sell on eBay
                                          Jim_Griffith Newbie
                                          Official Griff Tip #4

                                          Taking great photos! The basics are a snap:

                                          1. Use a digital camera. You don't need an expensive model. The basic, inexpensive camera will work just fine.
                                          2. Place your item on a table with a solid colored background behind it. The goal here to completely isolate your item visually. You don't anything that isn't the item to show in the photo.
                                          3. Use as much light as you can, preferably diffused light (you can bounce household lamp light off a white wall or ceiling). Make sure the item is bathed in as much diffused light as possible. (there are cheap and effective "light box" kits on sale on eBay that work like a charm but for starting out, you can get near the same quality by the inventive use of available household materials.
                                          4. Take as many photos of the item as necessary to display all sides of it (Back, front, sides, top, bottom, etc).
                                          5. Follow the instructions for your camera on how to transfer the photos to your computer. Have them stored and ready to go in a location or folder that you can easily find later.

                                          More to come...

                                          Griff
                                            • Re: Live Event at 1:00 PM ET - How to successfully sell on eBay
                                              Jim_Griffith Newbie
                                              Official Griff Tip #5

                                              Writing a description and creating a Terms of Service. This is an area where so many otherwise well intentioned sellers fall flat. Don't let that be you! Remember, your eBay item description is where you actually "pitch" the sale to buyers. One line descriptions just won't work. When it comes to the item, describe it in exhaustive detail.

                                              Start with a Word doc or a new Text Editor file. Begin by typing the item's title, size, color, make, condition, history, etc. Include every possible detail. This is absolutely crucial. Call out condition! If there are flaws, make a clear list of them (and include photos of the flaws close up).

                                              After (never before) your description, include a concise and easy-to-read list of your Terms. This should include the types of payment you accept, the time frame for the buyer to provide payment, your shipping terms (what classes of service and carriers you provide as options) and most important, your return policy. The best return policy is one that states "100% satisfaction guaranteed or your money back" Don't hedge! If your return policy isn't reasonable and customer-centric, you will loose potential buyers.

                                              More to come....
                                                • Re: Live Event at 1:00 PM ET - How to successfully sell on eBay
                                                  Jim_Griffith Newbie
                                                  Official Griff Tip #6 (they are neverending!)

                                                  List the Item! This is the point where you actually post the item on eBay. Click the Sell link on the top of any eBay page and follow the instructions. There are two options: Keep it Simple and Customize Your Listing. I suggest anyone who is considering continual selling on eBay to opt for the Customize Your Listing so you see every option that is available to you.

                                                  The process is broken down into sections. Pay close attention to the Shipping section. This is where you provide either a calculated rate (based on your and the potential buyer's zip codes) or a flat rate. One important bit of advice. Keep your shipping costs as low as possible! One of the single biggest reasons for seller failure on eBay is too high shipping (buyers HATE this). By providing the lowest costs possible, you will make your item much more compelling a value proposition, especially when compared to your competition on eBay.

                                                  More to come (but we are nearly at the end... so stay tuned)

                                                  Griff
                                                    • Re: Live Event at 1:00 PM ET - How to successfully sell on eBay
                                                      Jim_Griffith Newbie
                                                      Official Griff Tip #7

                                                      After Listing: Once you have listed the item, you need to be available for email from potential buyers. Make sure you answer any all questions (no matter how "stupid" they might appear) professionally and completely. Don't rule out any reasonable requests for services beyond what is stated your Terms of Service.

                                                      If the item sells, contact the winning buyer with an invoice (If you use PayPal ... and you should... you can set up automatic invoices for free:

                                                      https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_auction-outside

                                                      Once payment has been recieved, ship the item out. Follow up with the buyer to let them know the item has shipped. Remember that sellers are rated on eBay by buyers and your status as a seller depends on maintaining good customer ratings. It is no crime to ask buyers for good ratings and the best place to do so is in the item package. Create (or buy on eBay!) professional glossy stock cards that contain a simple explanation of the eBay ratings and feedback system, how it works and why it is important for your business.

                                                      Oh, and leave the buyer a positive feedback once their payment has cleared!

                                                      I guess that's all the time we have today. There are so many more tips to running a successful business on eBay. If you ever run into an issue or a need for advice or assistance, feel free to email me at griff@ebay.com

                                                      Thank you for your participation and Happy eBaying!

                                                      regards,

                                                      Griff
                                            • Re: Live Event at 1:00 PM ET - How to successfully sell on eBay
                                              Jim_Griffith Newbie
                                              Official Griff Tip #1

                                              Research: One of the biggest mistakes both new and experienced sellers make is not researching the marketplace to determine the demand and value of the item(s) they wish to list and sell on eBay. No one should ever assume the value of what it is they want to sell. Sellers need to know exactly what their item might bring on eBay so they can price their item for success (no one wants to go through the entire listing process, wait for 3, 5, 7 or 10 days only to discover that their item has not takers because they were asking too much!)

                                              In the pre-Internet days, marketplace research was extremely difficult but today, it's only a few clicks away. Go to the top of any eBay page and click Advanced Search. Enter keywords that best describe your item and check the box for Completed Listings Only. Then click the "Search" button. This will filter the results to only those matching items that have closed on eBay in the last two weeks. You can then scroll through the results lists. Listings with prices in red indicate items that either received no bids or, items where the bidding did not meet the reserve price. http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/reserve.html

                                              Prices in green indicate an item that has sold. Check examples of both so you can learn not only how to price the item appropriately (determine a good starting price or Fixed Price) but you will also pick up great tips from experienced sellers on how to best describe the item. In addition, you can learn what types of photos work best, and pick up valuable information on how to best formulate a customer-focused Terms of Service (your payment, shipping and return policies.)

                                              Beyond Completed Listings Only (which is free), there are many third party services that provide more in-depth marketplace research. Most have free 30-day trial periods. One of my favorites is Terapeak (http://www.terapeak.com )

                                              More to come...

                                              Griff
                                            • Re: Live Event at 1:00 PM ET - How to successfully sell on eBay
                                              Interpreter Wayfarer

                                              Griff,

                                              Have you seen anyone sell a service on eBay? How do the techniques differ from selling a tangible product?

                                              Thank you,
                                              Interpreter
                                                • Re: Live Event at 1:00 PM ET - How to successfully sell on eBay
                                                  Jim_Griffith Newbie
                                                  "...Have you seen anyone sell a service on eBay? How do the techniques differ from selling a tangible product? Thank you, Interpreter..."

                                                  Yes I have. In fact, there is a specific category just for listing services:

                                                  http://services.ebay.com/_W0QQ_trksidZp3907Q2em21

                                                  Coincidentally, I just recently purchased a service on eBay:

                                                  http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=110048308774

                                                  The actual listing of a service is no different that listing an item with one important consideration: The seller of a service needs to package the service in a way that is consistent with the listing process for physical items, specially when it comes to pricing. For example, the seller above offers a set service at a set price. This is one "unit" of service. That way, the buyer can purchase as many units as they need. I had two reel to reel tapes that needed to be transferred to CD so I bought 2 units from the seller @ $40 each.

                                                  For this particular service, I had to ship the tapes to them and wait for them to be transferred. It went pretty quickly and I am extremely happy with the results. If you peruse the Specialty Services category, you can pick up other ideas on how to list various types of services (or maybe even come up with one of your own!)

                                                  More to come...

                                                  Griff
                                                • Re: Live Event at 1:00 PM ET - How to successfully sell on eBay
                                                  flex_00 Wayfarer
                                                  I'm a private trainer and have access to a ton (no pun intended) of unused/unwanted gym equipment. How do I position it so that shipping costs aren't seen as such a burden and a turnoff?
                                                    • Re: Live Event at 1:00 PM ET - How to successfully sell on eBay
                                                      Jim_Griffith Newbie

                                                      "...I'm a private trainer and have access to a ton (no pun intended) of unused/unwanted gym equipment. How do I position it so that shipping costs aren't seen as such a burden and a turnoff?..."

                                                      First, don't assume that the higher price for shipping heavy or large equipment will be a turn off. Anyone shopping online for gym equipment knows that shipping will be a factor. What many sellers resort to in this situation is "Local Pickup Only" which preempts the need to provide shipping but definitely excludes an enormous potential customer base.

                                                      Many sellers of heavy equipment work with a freigh company to obtain reasonable estimates to various points within the USA. The seller can then provide these estimates in their listing. In addition, the eBay Shipping Calculator has a tab for Freight which works for most every location in the US.

                                                      Check out the eBay Shipping Center for more information:

                                                      http://pages.ebay.com/services/buyandsell/shipping.html

                                                      specifically, the Freight Resource Center:

                                                      http://ebay.freightquote.com/

                                                      Griff

                                                      One more tip.... coming right up!
                                                    • Re: Live Event at 1:00 PM ET - How to successfully sell on eBay
                                                      SBC Team Guide

                                                      Griff,

                                                       


                                                      On behalf of the SBOC Team and the members of the Small Business Online Community, we wanted to say we truly appreciated your time today and your professional responses to user questions.

                                                      Community members, while our session with Griff has now concluded, please feel free to discuss today's session and the questions answered. Again, if you'd like more information about Griff and eBay, visit:

                                                       


                                                      http://pages.ebay.com/university/index.html

                                                       


                                                      Thanks again,

                                                      The SBOC Team