Category Archives: eBay

Free Day After An Estate Sale

Pickers Log BookThere is plenty left at the end of an estate sale or garage sale, even after all the pickers have been through.

For any number of reasons – wrong audience on the wrong day, poor attendance, bad pricing, hidden in a dark corner – something of value always gets passesd over.

And when it is free, that’s even better

A Few Tips When Buying New Inventory For Your Online Business

Finding the right vendor that will work with you and help your business is one of the hardest parts of retail. If you are just starting out not only must you find the true wholesaler suppliers, you have to find ones that will open the door to you. In many ways, retail is like the ‘good old boys club’ they really don’t want newcomers to join.

Here are a few tips to get you started.

Make sure you are buying from a reputable source.

  • Look at their history
  • How long have they been in business?
  • Generally it’s better to find your source offline; like a trade show or through a business association
  • Check the suppliers references with the Better Business Bureau, do a Google Search on the company, etc

Start small and build a relationship

Ask what the MOO is (Minimum Opening Order) and try to keep the first order at that amount.

Try to conserve your capital (cash) don’t over-order. Ask for show discounts if you are at a trade show.

Once you’ve ordered, reviewed the products and company the next step is to set-up a credit account.

Purchase on credit (not your credit card – on the vendor invoicing system) and pay off completely before due date, but not too soon. Keep your cash as long as possible. But always pay your suppliers on time. This one step will get you more goodwill than anything else you do!

After you have ordered and paid a few times, it’s time to start negotiating. Suppliers and sales representatives will be more open to working with you after you show them you are a reliable seller. Find out if there are any ‘early order’ discounts. Early Orders are placed before they bring in their supply. Vendors will give you a discount if they know you’ll take delivery as soon as their shipment comes in.

As you start to build trust with the vendor and see how they control their inventory you can decide whether the company is reliable enough to approach about drop shipping. If the supplier keeps good stock, has a good communication system (or customer service support) you should consider approaching them to work out a deal. Ask the vendor drop ship the larger or more expensive items while you continue to order the smaller or less expensive items in larger quantities.

If your vendor agrees to drop ship don’t expect a super discount on the drop-shipped items. Because your supplier is holding the inventory, tying up their storage space and capital investment, they’ll expect the lions share of the profit. That’s OK, you’ll still be ahead of the curve because you can offer a greater ‘depth of inventory’ or larger selection for your buyers.

Building a relationship with your suppliers takes time. Expect to start slow. As you get started (unless you have an ‘in’ with the company) you probably won’t get the best prices on products until you prove yourself. Conserve your cash, start small and build slowly, and always be on the look out for the next vendor to start a relationship with. It’s healthy in business to have more than one source for your products.

What About Free Shipping?

According to a recent survey* 78% of buyers surveyed said that “they would NOT purchase an item online if the cost of shipping is too high.”

The same survey shows that 95% (that a whole bunch of customers!) said they will purchase an item online if the shipping is FREE.

I’ve heard lots of grumbles (including those emanating from me) about offering customers free shipping.

The cost of shipping is on the rise – yet 95% of our customers expect us to offer them no cost shipping.

So, how do we cope with this extra expense? Let’s take a look at what some of the big box retailers are doing.

Many retailers (78% according to shop.org) plan to offer free shipping but with conditions. Think of Amazon.com – to receive free shipping you must purchase over $25.00 or belong to their Amazon Advantage program. As a buyer, it works for me – it seems I’m always purchasing a second book to receive the free shipping. Think of it as a way to help upsell your customers.

Another ‘condition’ might be “free shipping” if ordered within the next _____ hours (you fill in the blank). Giving your customers that all important reason to act now!

In the coming years you will see many retailers moving the “conditions” up. This will help level the field for all of us. As costs continue to rise competing with low free shipping barriers is hard. But, if you sell more product, it makes the free shipping expense easier. Can you offer free shipping for sales over $50.00 or 100.00? You may be surprised how many customers will take you up on the offer.

If you can factor in a way to offer free shipping do it. That means making some tough decisions about the products you carry. Is the product you are selling offering a large enough profit margin to afford the extra cost of shipping? If not, let it go and look for items that offer a better mark-up. I know, that’s easier said than done, but as you prepare your books for tax season, take a good hard look at your inventory. Red numbers will make some decisions a lot easier.

*eTatiling groups “Mindset of the Multi-Channer Shopper Holiday Survey 10/2008

Looking For A Niche?

Magazines are a great indicator of trends. Go to your local bookstore or news rack and see what the best sellers are.

A new survey by mediafinder.com, an online database of US and Canadian publications just released an interesting report.

There were 335 new magazines launched in 2008. The largest number of categories were in Health, Regional and food.

The category with the largest number of launches was Health, with 31 new magazine titles, including Autism Research, Therapy Times and Living Well.

Can you find a niche -writing about these types of topics? Or, are there products you can sell relating to living well? I’ll bet there is!

The next-largest category for new magazines was Regional, with 24 titles launched in 2008. New entrants in this area included Michigan Avenue, Orange Appeal and Mountain Time Magazine. This is great news, and my favorite part of the report.

This year I started a blog called: Photowalkstoday.com – about photographing in the Seattle Puget Sound area. This evidence – reminds me that I’m on the right track. I’ll focus more energy on growing the blog.

Magazines reflect the trends of current times – and are a very useful tool in predicting what people are looking for.

Joining The eBay Partner Network

One of the easiest and lowest risk ways to make money on the internet is affiliate programs. Using a link or widget on your website you recommend or direct those ready to purchase to a website or product. In exchange the seller gives you a monetary reward for sending them. The beauty of these programs is that you assume very little costs, so the money you make from the sale is almost pure 100% profit.

Although it is happening on the Internet, there’s really nothing new in this kind of arraignment. Manufactures, service companies, and all sorts of business have hired sales people who earn their livings on commissions gained from the sale.

The amazing thing about the internet is the potential income stream you can create. According to The Marketing Sherpa in 2006 there was over six billion dollars created in affiliate income.

One of the easiest ways to get started with is the eBay Partner Network or EPN. Rencently brought ‘in house’ by eBay the EPN is still growing strong. Currently there are over 50,000 others who are using the EPN.

Joining the eBay Partner Network is easy once you understand their policies. But one of the biggest obsticles to overcome is that in most cases you must have a website up and running to join. It’s kind of a catch 22 – you want to create a website with their links and widgets, but you can’t get them until you’ve already purchased a domain and published the website online.

Joining The eBay Partner Network

Naturally the first thing most people put on their ‘to do’ list when they start creating their eBay affiliate page is signing up for the eBay Partner Network (EPN).

The problem is, if you don’t have anything to show you’ll be rejected. A real live person reviews each application to the EPN. They want to see a website or blog and make a determination that your site will bring in qualified buyers and that you will comply with EPN policy. If you have nothing to show them they’re very likely to reject you.

Having a site up and running before they come by will assure acceptance if you follow the guidelines below.

    1. make sure your website of blog is up and running before applying to EPN
    2. no ‘under construction’ signs – in other words have published posts and no broken links
    3. have an about me page that talks about the website
    4. have a privacy policy page
    5. until you are accepted by EPN don’t fill your site up with ads and widgets from other publishers
    6. when you purchase your domain name, buy it for more than a year. Spammers are notorious for purchasing domains for only a year. You want to look like you’re going to be around for awhile choose a domain name with a .com extension (spammers then use .info domains)

Getting into the Partner Network isn’t hard. Just remember to publish your site for people to read. If you focus on the human element you’ll be accepted into the network and successful with your new website.

How Long Is Your eBay Affiliate Link Tracked?

Did you know once the customer clicks on your eBay link that eBay tracks the buyer longer than just the first click? They use what’s called a ‘cookie’ to follow the computer as it moves around the Internet. By tracking the customer eBay can credit you with affiliate revenue even if they don’t purchase as soon as they click.

EBay tracks that buyer for 30 days – so anytime within the next month that the computer returns to eBay you’ll get credit for the next purchase (only one). However, eBay gives credit to the last link that was clicked affiliate link. Which means if the buyer clicks on someone else’s affiliate link after yours they’ll get the revenue.

The eBay Partner Network ~ Rolls Out New Changes Taking Effect July 20, 2009

If you are lucky enough to be approved to use the eBay Partner Network (EPN)they’re making the rules even more complex to follow.

Here is a quick summary of the changes.

  • If you make less than $25.00 in a month, eBay will roll it over until you do make $25.00 and then pay out. In other words if it takes you several months to reach $25.00 eBay will hold the money in reserve till such a time as you reach the payout.
  • You may only put the EPN affiliate links on your own websites and blogs (and newsletters if you have been approved) – no affiliate links on pages like Facebook, Twitter or MySpace. What I didn’t read was whether the EPN considers a ‘blogger’ (google) blog your property or not.
  • No hiding the URL – you may not use a tiny URL or similar

Of interest, and despair to me was the paragraph about copyright infringement….

“We have also updated the language in the Network Agreement to make it clear that our partners may not use promotional methods that violate intellectual property or proprietary rights of third party trademarks. This includes, but is not limited to, using a third party trademark (or a term confusingly similar to it) in your URLs.”

While I feel it is completely within a copyright or patten owners right to have terminated any violators – it’s that eBay will be involved. The VeRO program is broken and a mess – any eBay seller can tell you that. And now, it sounds like that very same team will be visiting the EPN.

Learn To Sell On eBay – Part 1 – Opening an eBay Account

If you are new to eBay, this series of short movies will help you open an account and start selling.

One of the best ways to learn how to make money on the internet is to buy and sell on eBay. You’ll learn important lessons about what people want, customer service, packaging and mailing, pricing your goods, finding sources for products, choosing good key words, and much more.

Part 1 will walk you through the new account registration process

Learn To Sell On eBay – Part 8 – Add A Picture

If you are new to eBay, this series of short movies will help you open an account and start selling. One of the best ways to learn how to make money on the internet is to buy and sell on eBay.

On eBay, there is no doubt that a good picture sells your item. But how do you add one?

eBay gives all sellers at least one free picture per listing. How big should that picture be and how do you upload it to ebay? This video will show you how.