Are you making money online yet? If you are still struggling and looking for someplace to get started...you might want to consider...
SELLING ON eBAY!
I know that everyone has heard of eBay...and you may be already saying..."oh, I already know how to sell on eBay."Maybe so...but, did you sell enough to make 'Silver Power Seller' status?
To reach this level you have to sell $3,000 - $9,999 worth of product, each month, for three consecutive months and have more than 300 feedback that is, at least, 98% positive.
I'll be honest and tell you that I no longer sell on eBay. For one thing, in order for ME to keep up this level of sales, I had to work...literally...24/7. But, that was because I was selling original paintings...all painted by me. It would have been easier, if all I'd had to do was paint..but, there was all of the 'behind the scenes' work that go along with having a brisk eBay business.
-Photographing your product. (And you really do need to take as good a picture(s) as possible. Since the buyer can't examine the product in person, you should make it as close to the 'real' thing as you can.
-Finding a good template that 'compliments' your store theme. Auctiva has a large selection of free templates, in an assortment of different categories, that you can use. And you can set up your listings to automatically 'list' in eBay at pre-specified times. All of this...is FREE! (I wished I had found Auctiva when I first started...it saves soooo much time!)
-Layout the listing in the most complimentary and inviting manner. Wording the listing so that the descriptions are as complete and accurate as possible. Be positive and 'invite' the buyer to purchase your product and 'come back for more'. This requires a little 'study' of your competition. What makes their listings so appealing that you want to buy from them? Emulate but NEVER...EVER copy their descriptions word for word.
-Answer questions from buyers and potential buyers. Do this in a timely and friendly manner. If ever you receive a message from someone, that is less than friendly, 'sleep on it' for 24 hours before responding. Let your 'immediate reaction' have a chance to cool and then word your reply in a mature and appropriate manner. (I was once 'accused' of copying another artist. Truth be told, I had been painting in that fashion for years...probably while the 'accuser' was still in diapers. My immediate response would have been 'downright bitchy' but, I applied my 24 hour rule and simply responded, "Titles cannot be copyrighted (and included a link for proof of fact) and as for the similarities of styles, since I have been painting in this style for many years and have published evidence of same, I can only suppose that perhaps I have influenced your style of painting, rather than the other way around." ... I have never received a reply.)
-Marketing. If you list your items and leave them to 'take care of themselves', you might as well take a toddler and let them 'fend for themselves'. Your business is your 'baby' and needs to be nurtured. Don't leave it to 'chance' that your buyers will find their way to you. They'll find your competition...the ones tending to their marketing (like a mother tends to her child)...long before they find you. And, chances are more than 70% that they'll buy from the nutured shop first.
-Packing and shipping. In a cost effective and timely fashion. If you don't want to get low marks in your 'detailed seller ratings' - shipping costs and shipping times (these are two separate categories..and low marks in both could be a real 'killer' to your business)
- you'll want to have your shipping supplies on hand. A membership to a Sam's Club more than pays for itself in what you save on Bubble Wrap. I haven't found it online any cheaper, in quantities that I am able to store in limited space. As for boxes, it's cheaper for me to order boxes through Uline and ship USPS First Class or UPS Ground than to get the free priority boxes through USPS and pay the extra charge for Priority Mail -- unless, your merchandise is something that NEEDS to be shipped Priority.
-Customer Service. Email your customer when their item is shipped. If possible, give them a tracking number. Let them know to email you with any questions. Thank them for their business and let them know that you really do appreciate it. Do all of this through eBay, unless the customer has specifically instructed you otherwise, so that you are not accused of 'spamming your buyer.' People tend to get a little put-off if you direct mail them without their permission. So, don't do anything...as innocent as it might be...that sends any kind of warning flag to your customer. You want as much repeat business as possible. Repeat customers tend to send other customers your way and that is great for business.
-Thank you 'gift'. This isn't required and I didn't do this on eBay. I started doing it when I moved my business to Etsy. I still sell original paintings but, now I've added prints and a few other things to my inventory. I have much more inventory and much less work. And, as a 'thank you' I include a magnet of one of my art prints. I use a letter size magnet sheet and print a dozen magnets per sheet, using my own printer. It costs me very little to include one of these little 'thank you's', it personalizes the 'gift' by using my own art prints, and it's something I don't offer for sale. I like to think it is one of the things that bring me a lot of repeat business.
If all of the 'behind the scenes' stuff didn't chase you away.....here are a few other things you need to know, BEFORE you decide to 'set up shop' on eBay. There will be fees associated with listing each and every item you post there.
Some of the fees will be charged, whether you sell anything or not. The 'up-front' fees include:
=Insertion Fees (the fee for 'inserting' a new item into your eBay 'shop'.) -- If you don't sell your item the first time, you can relist it one time, and not have to pay the second insertion fee. This does not apply to the Gallery Fee or any Listing Upgrade Fees, however.)
=Gallery Fees (it's hard to sell anything online without a photo, so your customer knows what it is that they're bidding on. So you'll need to be aware that these fees are separate from the Insertion Fees.
=Listing Upgrade Fees (these are fees that include such upgrades as; subtitles, Featured items, Reserve prices, etc.The 'back-end' fees:
=Final Value Fees (you will be charged a percentage of the actual sale price. If your starting price was $100.00 but the final sale price was $500.00, you will be charged a percentage of the $500.00 actual sale price, rather than the starting price of $100.00. For this reason, it is a little more difficult to determine how much your eBay bill is going to be each month.)
- Do note that the Final Value Fees are only on the final sale price and do NOT include shipping charges.Sometimes you won't be paid, (that's the price of doing business online.) You will still be charged the Final Valuation Fee unless you request a final value fee credit. It doesn't always come before your Bill is due, so you'll want to go ahead and pay your entire eBay Bill, but you should normally receive the final value fee credit without waiting too long.PayPal FeesPayPal will charge a fee as soon as a payment is made through PayPal. Fees range from 2.9% to 1.9% (according to their fees chart
- I did check my PayPal and note that on sales I have made very recently, the fees charged were closer to 4.5% to 5%, per sale depending on your amount of monthly sales. Please note that, PayPal charge their fees based on the amount they receive from the buyer, which also includes shipping charges.
Six Ways to 'Survive' on eBay .. during Economic Slowdowns.
1. Price it right! Lower prices aren't ALWAYS better prices. People will pay more for quality, even in the toughest economic times. Key here is, to keep the price as low as you can while still being fair to both buyer and seller.
2. The right 'stuff'! If you want to sell in volume, switch to items that you can sell for less and still make a profit. You can still make a good living from your eBay business, if you learn to adapt to the economic trends and adjust your inventory accordingly.
3. The 'Laws' of Attraction. They work both ways. If you put a 'positive' spin on your shop and your listings, it will work FOR you and for your sales. People will buy from someone who seems happy and trustworthy. On the other hand, if your shop has any kind of 'negative' undertones, like 'bargain basement' prices or 'times are tough' wordage, the buyers will 'sense' this and won't be as willing to buy from you.
4. Be Budget Minded and Frugal. Don't utilize Listing Upgrades that aren't 'absolutely necessary'. Why spend extra on the cost of a 'sub-title' only to use it to list the name of your shop? They can find out the name, when they click into your listing.Use free listing templates instead of paid ones.Recycle packing supplies and switch to First Class or Ground Shipping.Cut inventory to items that you believe are, or will be, your best sellers. Don't hang on to items that just 'waste space' and fees.
5. Offer 'high end' items too! If you've got them, list them! Don't avoid listing higher priced items, because you don't think there are any consumers left who will pay the price you would need. Go ahead and list them. If they don't sell on eBay, then get yourself an e-Commerce shop that doesn't charge listing fees and list them there.
6. Market..market..market!! You CAN list an item on eBay, set the price and the length of the auction and HOPE for the best. You may or may not get a nibble! You'll improve your odds 'dramatically' with the RIGHT marketing however.
--The Right Title. Make sure your title is 'marketing friendly.' For instance, you want to put as much 'pertinent' information as possible, into the title.If you're selling an original oil painting of a Rooster, don't title it 'At The Break of Dawn'..(even if it is the title of the painting)...that doesn't tell the buyer anything.Keep in mind that many buyers will type in more specific 'keywords' and none of those will include 'break' or 'dawn'.
--Put a 'face' on it! Many people want to 'know' who it is they're buying from. It's easier to purchase from someone you 'know and trust'. Listings that are worded properly can help, but you'll probably need to take it a step beyond and write a blog. You can help your buyers get to know you and what you have to offer in a more 'personal' manner. There are several free blogsites that are very good, including Wordpress and Blogger. If you want a good example of a seller who really 'sells herself' through her blog...visit this blog.
GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE IS VITAL TO YOUR ONLINE SUCCESS! Consumers can get an original painting, an Apple iPod, and, occasionally, even that rare PEZ dispenser from a number of other Sellers.Maybe your prices are the lowest, but if that potential customer takes a peek at your feedback and at your detailed seller ratings and finds that; your shipping prices are high, shipping times are slow, your products were not as described and you didn't offer good communication...they'll move on to another seller, even if the price is higher.I have only disregarded these factors once and it was a purchase that I ended up, not only regretting, but also without product and most of the purchase price. With really GOOD Customer Service, you can be a step above the competition. Most of the time it doesn't cost anymore to offer good customer service as it does Not to. Often times, poor customer service costs More.
What to Sell?I frequently look at the eBay Pulse to keep on top of what items are best sellers. Almost all of the items currently in eBay's Top 10 have been there for months.EBAY TOP 10!
3. xbox 360
5. wii fit
9. digital camera
Here is a link that explains, in further detail, almost everything you need to know to start selling on eBay.But, WHATEVER you do...don't put ALL of your eggs into One eBAY Basket! Whether the economy is booming...or on the 'down-side'...with all of the opportunity that is out there on the internet, having 'multiple streams of income' just makes good 'cents'.
If you are an artist, a crafter, a dealer of 'vintage' goods, a scrapbooking supplier or ...well, there's a lot of categories you might not have ever thought of before, over on Etsy. Take a look. It costs $.20 a listing and each listing is good for four months. It's not an auction site. When a sale is made, payment is almost always immediately received through PayPal.
Whatever you choose to do, to start making money right away, the TWO most important things to remember:
1. GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE - is money in the bank!
2. MARKETING IS KEY -- you are your own best public relations expert! Don't be bashful...bang your own drum!! Take a look around and you'll see those that are selling well do that very thing!