June 22, 2024

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eBay: PowerSeller Profit Tips to Help You Make More Money on eBay-#1 of a Four Part Feature

Sometimes just a few small tasks make all the difference between making a few dollars profit on eBay and generating a small fortune each month. These ideas will help you make more from your listings.

* Don’t think if an item goes unsold first time round that nobody wants it. Many times I’ve had items that failed to attract even one visitor but achieved multiple bids and high profits on second or third appearance. eBay is a fast changing marketplace with new members appearing daily and many more categories to list previously unsold goods. See the next tip.

* A more appropriate listing category might increase sales. For example, I had some World War One stereoviews which eBay’s suggestion tool considered most appropriate for listing under ‘Antiques and Art > Art > Photographs > Pre-1940’, where I sold some, but not many of my 200 photographs. I relisted unsold items under ‘Collectables > Militaria > World War 1’ and lowered the price from £4 to £3. Almost all sold, many at £3, others up to £40 each. Magic!

* Market your most likely best sellers outside of eBay. For example, I had a brass statue recently depicting a Greyhound, but not just any Greyhound. This one had won the revered Waterloo Cup in 1906. I listed it under Collectables > Animals > Dogs > Greyhound but visitors were few and the statue went unsold. I relisted it in the same category, but this time I wrote to editors of specialist Greyhound and Dog Racing magazines which I’m certain helped lift a simple ‘Dog’ statue into a much prized Racing collectible that sold for fifty pounds. (It cost me 10p at flea market).

* Look for anniversaries or other events which might inflate the price of your goods significantly, and list them close to the appropriate date. For example, an early autograph I had of Fay Wray, heroine of the film King Kong, had gone unsold over two listings, until she died recently, whereupon my third listing suddenly attracted dozens of bids and a cool £20 profit.

* Be aware that it’s just as easy (some say easier) to sell to people who have money as to others on tiny budgets. So rather than offer cheap items with tiny profit margins, go for big ticket items. You’ll probably achieve fewer sales, but you won’t work so hard and there’ll be fewer communications to handle. Consider: computers, fine jewellery, designer clothing, original art, cars, motorbikes. But be careful and check listing fees before pressing the submit button. Some items, like cars and motorbikes cost more to list and could eat extensively from your profits. Check carefully or do as I did and promote a pair of cufflinks shaped like motorbikes under Motorbikes > Accessories, and realise later you paid £6 in that category compared to the 35p you’d have paid under ‘Jewellery’.

* Consider setting a reserve price on a low starting bid item. The low starting price can generate early interest, but be warned, some bidders feel cheated on encountering a high reserve price on that ’99p’ starting price item. Nevertheless, the low starting price / reserve price combination can result in furious bidding and high realisations and guarantees you get a good price or the item goes unsold. The reserve price is never disclosed but is always fifty pounds plus.

* Specialise! Become an expert in one area and make fewer costly buying and selling mistakes. Experience also saves you time researching and listing items for sale. You’ll also generate repeat business from regular customers who’ll come to trust you and your business.

* LIST, LIST, LIST!!! And when you think you’ve listed enough – LIST SOME MORE! Warning: This applies to items you’ve already tried and tested, and not to expensive new products about which you know little or nothing.

* Aim to have a web site outside of eBay from which to sell additional items to customers derived from eBay. This can be done by including a leaflet or other mention with the original fulfillment package, thanking the buyer and inviting him (or her) to visit your web site for other items of interest. Consider including a voucher for a small discount on anything ordered outside of eBay. See the next tip.

* When you have that web site, get it listed faster in Google’s search engine by including the site url in your ‘About Me’ page on eBay. Someone told me that Google and other search engines index eBay related pages faster than most other sites. I wasn’t convinced, so I tried, and found it worked. Start by creating an ‘About Me’, you’ll see how in your eBay account, and say something like. ‘Thank you for visiting. We are suppliers of XYZ and you can learn more about us at http://www.oursite.com‘. Bear in mind it doesn’t matter if no-one ever visits your ‘About Me’ page, Google and other search engine spiders will visit and index your site. I follow this technique for all new web sites and find them indexed in days or weeks, never months. Warning: eBay takes a dim view of anyone giving web site addresses in their listings, or as part of an eBay ID and active links are likely to get you barred. The rule does not apply to ‘About Me’ pages.

* Use counters in your eBay listings. These are provided by eBay, free of charge, during the listing process. Counters let you see how many visits each listing gets, from which you can plan and make changes (lots of visits but no bids is a sign something is wrong in your listing; few visits and several bids normally indicates a hot product). Few visits and plentiful bids could indicate a niche market, one with fewer members but one hundred per cent responsive buyers. But your competition can also check popularity of your listings, allowing them to capitalise on your expertise and possibly poach your ideas and products. The choice to use counters or not is up to you and you can always remove them once testing is complete and you know your product’s a winner.