Flea Marketing 101

Flea Marketing 101

Get there early and be ready to bargain. Scour through the entire sale, picking up your “maybes” as you go along. Use your phone’s ebay application for items you aren’t sure about. Keep the following list in your mind (or in your pocket) when looking for inventory to sell on ebay:

Anything with tags: If you can list an item on ebay as “new with tags,” the value increases. Name brands and trendy items will do best here.

Books: Focus on non fiction and “coffee table” books. Avoid fiction books unless you can get them super cheap (10-25 cents each.) Books are easy to sell on ebay, half.com or on amazon. Learn more about selling books with a great and reasonably priced ebook loaded with tried and true ideas for book sellers. I bought this ebook a few months ago and it has paid for iteself several times over.

Winter Coats: Children and Adult. Name brand and pristine condition coats sell well on ebay. Brands to watch for: Gap, Hollister, Abercrombie, Anne Klein, Roth’s Child, Gymboree.

Shoes: Name brand and in top notch condition. Depending on the brand, plan on getting $10-20 pair on ebay.

Dishes: Bought in a set (aim to spend $25-$35) and split into lots of 2 or 4, these can have an excellent profit margin.

Toys–current or vintage: Condition matters here, but there is a huge market for toys on ebay. Vintage toys can do quite well. I bought two “See and Say” plastic toys at a garage sale recently for $1 each and they each brought around $15. I also sold a lot of old Lincoln Logs for around $70.

Coffee Cups: Look for Starbucks or Trader Joe cups. Think trendy and nationally known. Coffee Cups do very well on ebay.

Lynne Dralle (the queen of auctions) has buying and selling second hand items down to a science. I’ve listened to several seminars with her and she is helpful, fun and willing to share her ebay secrets. She has been selling on ebay for over 10 years and makes a good full time living selling unique and antique items on ebay. She explains the particulars and gives great advice on exactly what to watch for when shopping to resell items on ebay. Check out her book:

Another resource that is highly recommended comes from an accomplished ebay seller. If you are looking to become an expert at flea bay marketing check out Garage Sale Goldmines to learn all of the tricks.

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Ebays “About Me” Page

Ebay’s “About Me” Page

Ebay’s “about me” pages are a GREAT place to tell your buyers about you and your business. Buying online can be impersonal and faceless and this is one way to connect with the people you are selling to. Take a few minutes to let them know who you are and what your business is about.Your “about me” page is your chance to highlight your experience in your niche, your dedication to customer service and your selling policies. Make it personal and professional at the same time.

Buyers are probably not curious about your favorite TV shows or where you shop(unless it relates to your niche,) but they DO want to know when and why you are selling on ebay. Be honest–buyers don’t mind if this is a part time job you perform between diaper changes and carpool runs. Tell them about yourself and keep it positive.

You are allowed to tell buyers about your own website or encourage them to sign up for your newsletter, but make sure never to bash ebay or ebay policies.

Post a picture of your family or your pet. You will never meet your customers in person and most buyers like to know something about who they are buying from.

Jim Cochrum at My Silent Team has extremely creative ideas about how to use ebay’s “about me” pages to grow your sales and your customer base.

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Using Your eBay Store

Using Your Ebay Store

Yeah! I love my ebay store.

No matter where this ebay journey takes me, there will always be time to scour garage sales and put treasures into my ebay store to wait for the right buyer. It seems like just as I tire of looking at them on my shelf, and wonder if they are ever going to find a home, someone comes along and snags them.

This weekend a buyer plucked a group of five coffee cups out of my ebay store. He paid $20 for them. They cost me a total of 50 cents. I LOVE that profit margin!

The math:

Sale Price $20.00
Handling Charge: $1.00
Inventory Cost: .50
Store Carrying Cost: .18 (six months in the store at .03/month)
FVF & PayPal 3.00
PROFIT: $17.32

Lynne Dralle, AKA the Queen of Auctions, clued me into the coffee cup idea. She is an expert at figuring out what to buy at local garage sales to sell on ebay. I have learned a lot from her and highly recommend her as a teacher if you want to sell collectables.

She has written many great books and has an entire “boot camp” dedicated to helping sellers learn how to find antiques and collectibles and sell them on ebay.

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Ebay Pricing Strategies

pricing for eBay

The final selling price of your products has everything to do with how you price your item to get that first bid.

There are many ways to list products and many strategies on getting the highest possible final price. After reviewing dozens of successful selling strategies and selling thousands of items on eBay, the process of pricing can still be a matter of “gut” feeling, especially when I’m listing a product for the first time.

There are several things to look at as you develop your own pricing strategy.

Is the item a commodity or a unique, one of kind item? A commodity, for this purpose, is something that sells over and over on eBay for the about the same price. Look at final selling prices on eBay by checking the “completed listings” box under “advanced” search or use a research tool like Hammertap or Terapeak.

If your product is easy to find and sells often on eBay for around the same price, consider listing it in a fixed price format or putting it in your eBay store. Most easy to find products are not going to end higher in an auction than what they typically sell for. If it is not a commonly purchased product (i.e. there is a good chance a week or 10 days could pass without the right buyer searching for it), a fixed price or store listing is also a good idea.

If your product is unique or collectible (but not so unique that 7 or 10 days could pass without someone searching on it) or “hot”, an auction format will work quite well. There are many strategies when it comes to the starting price in auction formats, but generally the lower the starting price, the higher the ending value. Many auctions start at just .99 even when the expected closing fee is in the hundreds of dollars.

Use Terapeak or your own research to see how many items like yours have sold in the last week. If there are at least three or four closed sales in the previous week, you are probably pretty safe with starting your auction low.

It can be hard to follow this advice, but study after study has shown that low starting prices drive the most interest and end at the highest price. Use Terapeak and notice the opening bid and the ending price.

If there are only one or two closed sales in the previous week, you might want to consider listing it a the lowest possible price you will take. That way, if only one or two buyers are watching and bidding on your item, you don’t lose your shirt.

Remember to pay close attention to the day of the week and the time of the day auctions end in your research. Your auction will close exactly 3,7 or 10 days after you list it depending on how long your auction runs. Evenings are generally the best time to have an auction end (consider the time across the country–you don’t want potential bidders to be asleep when it ends) and Sunday evenings generally get the highest prices. The Sunday evening suggestion is general, however, you will find that different products do best on different days.

Even after you develop your strategy you will need to keep doing your research and testing your own methods. EBay is changing constantly and the best strategy for today may not be the best strategy in the future.

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eBay Powerseller Essentials: Tools of the Trade

Ebay Powerseller Essentials–Tools of the Trade

Aiming to be a powerseller? Planning on building an ecommerce empire?

If your answer is yes, and I hope it is, you need to set up your home office. Even if your house is bursting at the seams, claim a corner for yourself and start gathering the tools you will need to succeed.

Ebay and Ecommerce Essentials:

1.) A digital camera. Pictures are essential to selling online. Your camera doesn’t have to be the latest or greatest, but it needs to be digital and reliable.

2.) A permanent workspace. Find a dedicated spot in your house and devote it to your business. The kitchen table is practical and works well between meals, but you are going to need a space you don’t need to set up and take down. Even if all you can manage at first is a small corner and a card table, set it up to stay.

3.) A good computer and printer. If your computer or printer is slow or out-of-date, make plans to get a new one. Your computer is a key element of your business.

4.) A dedicated shipping station and a good scale. Again, even if all you can squeeze out is a table, set up your packing supplies and scale and use the space just for shipping. Shipping will go much quicker and leave you time for selling.

5.) A standing order with the Post Office. Decide how often you are going to be shipping and arrange to have packages ready for the postman on certain days. Avoid the post office as much as possible. You are too busy to drive and wait in line.

5.) A support network. Get out there (in cyber space) and follow some blogs. Join a site for support and ideas. Make sure to follow the The Ecommerce Mom. I find Jim Cockrum’s My Silent Team to be an excellent resource. Another site definately worth its weight in gold is Lisa Suttora’s What Do I Sell.

6.) Feed your brain. Eat up books on selling, marketing and entrepreneurs. Read positive thinking material. Think like a winner and feed your brain winning thoughts!

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Five Sizzling Ideas for eBay Sourcing at your Local Store

Sell on eBay

After clearing out your basement (and your parent’s basement and your neighbor’s basement) most eBay enthusiast’s have an “ah-ha” moment or, more accurately, an “uh-oh” moment.  The “uh-oh”  happens to us enthusiasts who have uncovered a passion for making money on the internet, acted on that passion by selling everything and anything and sometime thereafter realized WE ARE OUT OF THINGS TO SELL!

My “uh-oh” moment came in glimpses and pieces.  I saw it coming about the same time I could finally see the floor of the basement storage room.  My eBay inventory was getting thin.  It wouldn’t last forever.  What was I going to do?  I was hooked on the money–I loved watching the numbers climb every week in my seller account–but soon I would run out of cast-offs to sell.

I started staying up late at night and researching eBay and trying to figure out WHERE and HOW the other sellers were getting their inventory.  I was CONFUSED–many of these sellers were selling items CHEAPER than the stores!  How on earth could they source something and distribute it for less than Wal-Mart?  (I later learned that deep pockets and large storage facilities are part of that equation!)

I started buying things at Flea Markets and Thrift Stores to resell.  This was a pretty good idea and after a few weeks of studying and paying attention, I got pretty good at knowing how to hunt.  I enjoy selling in the unique and collectible category and still do.  The CHALLENGE with this category, however, is CONSISTENCY and TIME. I would find ONE great item and make GREAT money but finding that same item again would be a long shot.  Some days I would find several great deals and other days, nothing.  The challenge in this niche is you are always HUNTING for inventory.  It can be a fun, rewarding and profitable business, but it isn’t CONSISTENT and it can take up a lot of TIME.

About this time my husband noticed that our local grocery store was no longer carrying a particular brand of Hamburger Helper that Adrienne, my oldest daughter, really likes.  On a lark he decided to look on eBay.  He not only found the Hamburger Helper but he found many other food items as well.  I decided to check it out.

What I found was that not only Hamburger Helper was selling online, but a lot of other groceries were selling online also!  GROCERIES on eBay–I was incredulous!  I soon realized that certain items are hard to find worldwide (or even nationwide) and that some folks do not have the ability to get to a store that carries the items they want.

I started listing a variety of groceries and also listed a lot of health and beauty items.  All the details of my eBay niche are available in my book Grocery Store Goldmines.

This idea can be twisted and turned in a lot of different ways–just keep in mind when you are at any store that you are potentially around dozens of items that have a market on eBay!  Some ways I’ve twisted and turned this idea around during my eBay sourcing:

1.)   Investigate “new” products, especially in the health and beauty section.  I sold the Jenny Craig diet plan from Sam’s Club when it was first introduced.  I had no competition and was able to put a healthy mark up on it for several weeks.  Pay attention when there is a “new ” brand of tooth whitener or a “new” type of floss.

2.)  Look hard at unusual products–items that you don’t see everywhere but that you can get you hands on easily have potential.  We sold a lot of lemon flavored crystal light that we could only find in one store in town.  Apparently, that store was the exception and that flavor was very hard to find!  You can ask your grocer if he/she knows of any unique items in their store.

3.)  Look hard at trendy items–things that correspond to a just released movie or popular TV series.  We sold 25 Twilight board games that we got at Walmart for about a $15 markup on each one.  These games were only released to Walmart and only released in a limited quantity.  They sold like hotcakes right after Twilight was released!

4.)  Find discontinued products that are still in stock–you used to be able to search on “wanted to buy” on eBay, but I think that function has been discontinued.   A Google search, however, on discontinued products can lead you to lists that manufacturers provide.  You will find that buyers who really enjoy these products will often pay a healthy markup and usually will buy all that you have because the items can no longer be found in most places.

5.)  See what is already offered on eBay.

If you want to do a random search on which grocery items are currently listed on eBay go to your category options and select “Home and Garden” and then “Inside the Home” and then “Food and Wine” and you will eventually get to a list like this for your browsing pleasure-

Categories

Food & Wine
Coffee (22,006)
Condiments (1,053)
Desserts (6,544)
Fake Food (1,350)
Food Coupons (39,877)
Oils (558)
Recipes (5,280)
Sauces (4,746)
Tea (24,036)
Water (934)
Wine (2,225)
Other (13,766)

You can make a fortune bringing the everyday items at your local stores to buyers across the world.  Keep your eyes open and your mind open and see what you can create!

 

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Do You Ship Internationally–If not, now is the time!

Do you ship internationally? If not, you should!

Uggg–customs forms, foreign languages and long shipping times. Who would want to bother shipping internationally? Ebay sellers who want to sell more and make more do!

Ebay is global and it makes financial sense to ship your items worldwide. If you don’t already offer international shipping, this change alone could increase your sales.

Buyers from around the world have access to your listings on the ebay US site but if you choose, you can gain even better foreign exposure by listing directly on the foreign Ebay sites. Look for the option in the List Your Item form on ebay.

If you are concerned about customs regulations, you can research particular countries and their restrictions on USPS.com. You can also let your buyers know right in the listing that they are responsible for knowing if an item is allowed through customs.

If you are concerned about shipping time, Canada and the UK are relatively quick. Australia is slow but reliable (the packages eventually get there.) France and Germany are quite slow and somewhat strict with customs. Brazil is VERY slow.

If you are worried about shipping times, start out shipping just to Canada and the UK.

Remember, foreign ebay buyers cannot affect your “top rated” status, but they can still bang you with negative feedback. Ship super quick and remind them of the expected time of arrival. Most overseas buyers realize that shipping times may be long. If you ship quickly and answer any questions, they are usually pretty patient.

I’ve always shipped internationally and am surprised to find sellers that don’t. The best way to take advantage of ebay’s huge audience is to sell to all of them!

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Two ways to get google’s attention

Two EASY Ways to Get Your Listings Found in Google

Feel like your listings might be invisible in the tangled and complex World Wide Web? Wondering how to get buyers to find YOUR product amongst the millions of listings on the Internet?

Figuring out how the Google spiders operate is no easy task. Without overwhelming yourself or your budget there are two very simple things you can add to your ecommerce listings that will help them get “noticed” by the search engines.

First, label your pictures with keywords. The search engines pay extra attention to pictures and having your labeled with a keyword or a keyword phrase gives you extra “points.” Naming your picture is an easy way to add value to your listing.

Second, put a keyword or two at the end of your listing. Search Engine spiders pay extra attention to what is printed LAST on your page. A quick sentence stating the name of your product or the benefits of your product using keywords can also increase your score.

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Reclaimed media…trash or treasure??

Trash or Treasure?

Entrepreneurs constantly look for ideas, angles and opportunities.  Online entrepreneurs are constantly looking for ideas about what to sell.  This constant question “What do I sell” must be asked thousands of times a day in front of thousands of different computer screens.

What to sell today, what to sell at Christmas, what to sell next year?  I am always looking at margins, leverage and time management.  Does it make sense?  Does it make sense for me?  Most importantly…does it make money?  And can I make it make more money? Finally, and perhaps most importantly, what are the opportunity costs (time, space, what I could be doing instead?)

I have been scanning Craigslist for eBay and Amazon opportunities lately.  Try typing in “eBay business for sale” or “inventory for sale” and you will find listings by folks who have run out of time or energy and have inventory they need to liquidate.  You can do this nation-wide at adhuntr.com.

My husband recently found a listing on Craig’s List.  A local man is selling his eBay business.  Intrigued, I went to his warehouse to check out his inventory.  He refurbishes computers and has contracts with schools, libraries and cities to get their old computers. This part of the business he is keeping–I have a feeling he does pretty well.  Along with their old computers his gets thousands of media items from the schools and libraries.  The media is mostly CDs, DVDs and audiobooks. The condition ranges from mildly used to completely trashed.   This part of the business he is tired of–he has hired (and fired) people to manage the media selling and he is so busy with refurbishing the computers (and tired of turnover in his staff) that he wants to pass the media along.

He is trying to sell everything he has listed (3,000 items or so) and the ongoing supply of media for a large amount of money.  It may be worth it—especially if the media items come regularly at no additional charge–but I am always careful.  So after mulling it over for a while, I decided to offer him $500 for some of the inventory to see if it made sense for me.   If I can make it make a reasonable amount of money and it doesn’t infringe on my other businesses, I might consider buying the business or buying the media on an ongoing basis.

I decided to buy one Gaylord of media (confession–I had no clue what a “gaylord” was until I saw one) and see how it goes.  A gaylord is approximately 4 feet tall and 4 feet around.  Without actually counting, I would guess there to be 2500 media items in my Gaylord. Wow!  Not as exciting as you might think…many are damaged and broken.  Exciting, nonetheless, because where else can you find that copy of the SIMS game you lost 3 years ago?  My kids spent about 2 hours helping me unload the media into my office and do a basic “sort” between obvious trash and potential treasure.

I considered my options.

1.) Sell the items in bulk though liquidation.com or other avenues (eBay, Craigslist, etc.)

2.) Sell the items on Amazon FBA

3.) Sell the items on eBay

I decided to skip, for now, the option of selling in bulk.  The most possible money is in selling it myself and I’ve done plenty of selling.  The systems are in place and I have the staff and storage to handle it.

Initially, I was hoping to list the majority of items on Amazon FBA.  FBA is great for media and I figured it would save me the storage space and the shipping and handling hassle. Once I got a good look at the media, I decided against FBA.  The condition of the items is a bit rough…a lot of cracked cases, torn artwork and library markings.  Amazon gives sellers the opportunity to list the condition of items–but my experience has been that buyers on Amazon expect new or like new items even when the condition problems are clearly marked.  I am leary of sending hundreds of items up to FBA to end up with feedback issues.

I am instead going to have it listed on eBay.  I decided to rewrite the description of my store and define ourselves as green, eco-friendly sellers saving media from the trash.  I explain in our store description that most of our items are well-loved and priced accordingly.  I also created a standard template explaining this again and asking buyers to contact us if the media does not work properly.  If you would like to see an example of our listings, my eBay ID is intlpantry.

I explained clearly to my staff that we need to list the items quickly and accurately and price them to move.  My staff will keep detailed records on how much time is spent on our new media project.   I am listing only this media under this eBay ID so I can see sales and eBay costs clearly and subtract the time spent and the cost of the inventory to see if it makes sense.

We also came up with a basic strategy for storing the items so we can find them when they sell.  We do not want to spend a lot of time searching for them once they sell.  Not having listed this much similar product at one time, I looked online for ideas.  I didn’t find any system that made sense, so we came up with our own and I think it will work well.  We are putting a one letter code “A, B, C etc” at the end of the item title.  Each listing session/person will use a different code.  We will then store the items on the shelf under their own letter code.  This will save us from putting stuff in categories or alphabetical order as we go.  Each listing session will probably have, at most, 100-150 items.  When an item sells, the shipper will see the letter and know which shelf to look at.

Today the listing began!  I will keep you updated with our progress.

 

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Earn Your FREE Online Selling Degree eBay 101–The FINAL Chapter!

When I first started this online income journey, I devoured all the free advice I could find.  I was a connoisseur of  eBooks, Blogs, Videos and Podcasts.  I learned and practiced and revised and sought out new material to learn more.  I was a student of online success.

Listing on eBay–12 minutes on listing and comments with PowerSeller Wendy Carrier

Basically–I earned a “degree” in online selling from all the free and low price material available to me.  My teachers were successful online entrepreneurs and I was free to study whichever subjects interested me the most.  I could attend class in my pajamas or in the parking lot waiting for soccer practice to finish.  I could attend weekends and nights or during the business day.

My homework was what I decided to try.  I could do this when I wanted and how I wanted.  I learned by doing.  I went back to my “classes” online and learned more.

This home-spun,  free degree has paid back several times more than the degree that cost upwards of 50k twenty years ago!

If you are looking to start (or improve) your online selling journey, soak up all the advice and ideas you can get from people successfully selling online.  Start working toward your own online selling degree.

Listing on eBay-12 minute video of listing with comments by PowerSeller Wendy Carrier

I have sold over 11,000 items online (mostly eBay–but growing on Amazon) and am happy to share my knowledge with you.  I make a full-time living in part-time hours and have no boss, no rules and no limits on my income potential.  Soak up my knowledge!

This final video takes you through listing an item for sale on eBay.  It is a screen-shot video (12 minutes long!) and I interject advice and ideas throughout the listing process.

Listing on eBay-12 minute video of listing with comments by PowerSeller Wendy Carrier

Thanks—

Wendy

 

 

 

 

 

Make it today’s ingredient for your success!

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