Monday, April 17, 2017

Your listing has been removed: Trademark Violation - Unauthorized Listing Content



Welcome to the wonderful world of VERO on eBay. Have you ever received one of these emails?



VeRO stands for Verified Rights Ownership. Or in plain English:

Stuff you can't sell on eBay, or words you can't use in titles.

It means the company has taken special steps to protect their product from 3rd party sales, or to restrict the use of their trademarked name. Some companies just don't want their items sold on eBay. They feel it devalues the item. Amazon is the same - many companies like Dunkin Donuts and Gillette don't want their items sold on Amazon by 3rd party sellers (us). You just have to accept that and move on.

A few common examples:

Velcro. This word is trademarked and you can't use it in your titles. You can say "hook and eye fastener." And it is ok to use the word Velcro in your description, just not in the title.

Another common one is Onesie. This is a word trademarked by Gerber for the little one piece underwear / outfit for babies. I wrote about the restriction on the word Onesie back in 2013 - see, you gotta read this blog to stay in the know!

If you are selling automotive items or aftermarket parts or accessories, be careful. There are a lot of VeRO violations for automotive items - most sellers just don't know about the rules. Take some time to educate yourself on what is allowed.

Don't stress, it happens. Just follow what eBay says. I had a Simpsons ball cap removed a few months ago for VeRO. I didn't know. No big deal, I just donated it back to Goodwill and moved on.

You can read the full list of VeRO companies here.

Can anybody actually know this whole list? Of course not. Some just have rules for exactly what you can and can't sell under the branded name. Like Frito-Lay. They say you can't sell unauthorized coupons. But you can sell all the Fritos corn chips you want.

Or John Deere. You can sell all the John Deere stuff you want, it just has to be authentic. Do if you list a fake or knockoff John Deere item with their logo used illegally, and they see it, your listing will be removed. Who knows if there are fake John Deere logoed items out there, but anything is possible. (There are fake Uggs, fake Otterbox cases, fake North Face jackets - nothing surprises me anymore.)

These companies just want to preserve the integrity of their brand. It isn't about punishing eBay sellers. It is about keeping their brand pure and not having their image diluted because a bunch of people are making fake items and selling them on eBay.

Related Articles:

eBay Seller Success Story - Consignment Seller Sells $5,500 One Week

eBay Seller Success Story - Kim S. in Hawaii

New Overstock and Liquidation eBay Sellers Group

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

eBay Seller Success Story: Consignment Seller Sells $5,500 in One Week!


Congrats to fellow seller Karen Zumbrun in Louisville, Colorado for her incredible success selling on consignment! Karen shared with us that she had just shy of $5,500 in sales in one week with her eBay consignment business. 

So, your next question is, what does she sell for other people? Karen said, 

"Mostly watches right now but generally sell whatever shows up that is worth my time. I'm going to be listing some high-end dinnerware and sterling silver in the next week or so. I have more clients than I can reasonably handle and am having to turn people away!"

Robert Goins, in Tacoma, Washington, has the same problem. eBay consignment is a huge business and is another way to use your eBay skills to make money without having to buy inventory and wait for it it sell. (Check out my interview with Robert on YouTube here.)

Karen also commented, 

"Oh and I sold over $7,000 in the last month. It was a 3 week month - I spent 10 days lying on the beach in Jamaica."

Just about everything Karen sells is on consignment. Her store has all kinds of items including:
  • Watches
  • Art
  • High end handbags
  • Crystal
  • Designer clothing, shoes, and boots
  • Jewelry
  • Collectibles
  • Books
You can view Karen's store, Art and Other Things, to get an idea of her price points and the kinds of items she sells on consignment. 

Are you ready to get into the consignment game? If you aren't sure, check out my videos explaining the pros, cons, and how-tos of selling on consignment. 




Another way to connect with people who have things to sell, but don't have the desire, skill, or time to list items themselves, is to join my consignment directory. I promote this list heavily with Facebook ads, Google ads, and through other methods. This is what Karen is referring to above when she says "consignment list."

eBay used to have an eBay Trading Assistant Program but discontinued it several years ago. So I created this list to fill that void so when people are searching for eBay sellers, they find my list. The list gets several thousand hits a month - all people looking for an eBay seller to sell their stuff.



Check out the list of sellers here.  And don't worry if there is already another seller in your area, as Karen and Robert said, they are having trouble handling the demand so more than one seller in the same area is not a problem. There is plenty of opportunity for everyone. The cost to join the list is $50 a year - I do not get a percentage of your sales. You just pay a one time fee of $50 and I do all the promoting so people can find you when searching Google for eBay sellers in their area.

I also provide a basic consignment selling contract and a tip sheet, as well as unlimited email support about your consignment business. So if you are new to consignment, I am here to help you.

Congrats again, Karen, for the incredible business you have built! You are proof that "if you build it, they will come!"

Thursday, March 30, 2017

eBay Seller Success Story - Reseller Kim S. in Hawaii




It has been just over 2 weeks since my eBay Overstock and Liquidation Group started, and things are rolling along well for many sellers. But the gold star for sales goes to Kim S., who lives in Hawaii. Kim is also a Virtual Assistant client so we have had a good working relationship for several months and she decided to up her game and explore this new way of making money with eBay inventory. She  has access to high end brands, knows fashion trends, and is a very savvy shopper. Some of her favorite brands to sell include:
 
  • Anthropologie
  • Lululemon
  • Theory
  • St. John
  • Free People
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Escada
  • Nanette Lepore
  • Miss Me
  • Lily Pulitzer

Her $50 investment to sell on the group has paid huge dividends! She has sold 4 lots to date for a total price of $340. Below are  her lots:





Kim's challenge is that she lives in Hawaii, so it costs more to get items from her. She configures her lots to fit in flat rate boxes, to keep shipping costs as low as possible for buyers on the mainland. 

Kim has been an eBay seller since 2012 and currently has 200+ items in her store. She sells over 100 items a month, so she is one smart cookie! Visit her store here. 

I'm sharing Kim's success with you to show how one seller has learned to "work" this new business model. An eBay seller selling items in affordable lots to other sellers who can then resell them for profit. So basically, Kim has become a supplier of higher end items to other sellers who can then turn a profit. Everybody wins!

Kim's $50 investment has produced $340 in sales in just 2 weeks. If you are an eBay seller with access to good quality inexpensive inventory, consider joining this group to connect with other sellers who need inventory. (Check out my detailed video here with all the details of how the group works.) You can more of what has sold here as we are keeping track of the history of lots sold.

I'll be sharing more success stories and how this group is working for other sellers - not just the ones providing the inventory but the ones who have purchased inventory and are selling it on eBay. This is a great way to connect the haves with the have nots.

The group is free to join, and to sell items there is only a low $50 per month fee to connect with hundreds of buyers waiting to purchase your items.You won't pay until you are ready to post your first lot, so come join us and see what this new platform is all about.


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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

New eBay Overstock and Liquidation Buy / Sell Group for eBay Sellers on Facebook


A new concept for eBay sellers! A way to sell excess inventory to other sellers without paying eBay fees, meeting people in person from Facebook groups, or giving up and donating it.

If you don't want to read, watch the video here!



I have started a new Facebook Group specifically to address the issue of connecting eBay sellers who have too much inventory or would rather sell in lots, with other sellers who have challenges getting inventory to sell. It is a win-win for everyone.

Some Sellers Need Inventory


While many sellers have access to unlimited items to sell from local thrift stores, Goodwill Outlets, garage sales, flea markets, or retail clearance, other sellers don't have this luxury because:

  1. They live in an area that doesn't have good thrift stores - they aren't finding the same things you may be finding in a metropolitan area.
  2. They may have physical limitations that prohibit them from shopping - they just need the inventory to come to them.
  3. They may be caregivers and cannot leave home for very long because they care for children, elderly parents, or a spouse. 
  4. Their thrift stores may be over priced, not leaving any room for profit on eBay.
  5. They may not know what to "pick" - they would rather buy lots of inventory chosen by a more experienced seller.

Some Sellers Have Too Much Inventory


On the flip side, maybe you are a seller who has too much inventory and needs to turn some of it into cash, while helping a fellow seller at the same time. Maybe you:
  1. Have access to unlimited eBay-able inventory for really low prices. You know where to find the good stuff for cheap!
  2. Have the flexibility to shop and source any time you want.
  3. Would rather sell inventory in lots to make a quick profit, rather than listing each item individually on eBay. Save time, sell in bulk!
  4. Have a backlog of items you can sell to another seller for a reasonable price, still leaving them room to make a profit on eBay. 

Connecting the Have with the Have Nots!


If you are on either side of this equation, I have the answer! I have set up a new Facebook Group specifically for buying and selling lots of inventory. Here is how it works:
  1. It is set up just like a local Buy Sell Group on Facebook.
  2. Members will be screened - to make sure real sellers are joining. 
  3. Just like my other Facebook Group, spamming will not be tolerated, and I won't allow any pushy liquidation companies or wholesalers - only eBay sellers.  
  4. Members can post photos and a short description of what they have for sale. 
  5. Buyer pays to have the items shipped to them.
  6. Seller sends buyer an invoice. Just like eBay, the inventory isn't shipped until it is paid for.
  7. There are no per-transaction fees. 
  8. Best of all, no eBay rules! Post your ad, set a fair price, state the shipping cost, and connect with buyers.Your target audience will already be there in the group.
  9. Cost to join is for those wanting to SELL is $50 per month, or $300 per year. This is a membership group.
  10. Buyers join for free. 

It is A Safe Way to Buy and Sell Inventory

This is a much safer option than Liquidation.com type companies, buying inventory from China, or buying lots on eBay from people you don't know. Everything I do is with integrity, professionalism, and for the good of eBay sellers. This new group will be the same. It is a great way to connect with other sellers who need inventory, or who have too much inventory and want to sell some off.

Join Now!

You don't pay a fee until you post something for sale. Join us to check it out and see what is being bought and sold. 

I am really excited about this new way of connecting eBay sellers so we can all work together! If you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to contact me.

Happy Selling!

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Friday, March 10, 2017

If You are Buying and Not Listing on eBay - You are Hoarding



If you are buying and not listing, you are hoarding.

Truer words were never spoken by Ryanne and Jay over at Scavenger Life.  They often talk about tackling your death piles - those piles of inventory you have purchased but haven't listed yet.

So I have made a new rule on my Facebook group. We are no longer going to allow photos of unlisted inventory, hauls, rooms bordering on hoarding. Let’s focus on what you have listed and sold through the Money Making Monday's posts. Brag about what you have done! 

It takes no skill, dedication, or work ethic to shop and fill up a room with stuff. That isn't want an eBay business is all about. And if you are buying and not listing, that isn't healthy.

Those discussions seem to encourage more hoarding and buying without listing. The mission of this group is to help eBay sellers build and run their businesses. 

You aren't running a business when your focus is shopping and piling up inventory without equal emphasis on listing. 

When you have hundreds or thousands of unlisted items and no strategy to get them listed, that's not an eBay business. That's compulsive shopping. I ethically cannot encourage this.

I'm not talking about folks that live in a rural area and can't find inventory, so they must stockpile during garage sale season. I am talking to the people who know they have a shopping problem, and use the excuse that they sell on eBay. You know who you are. And you know this isn't healthy. Or productive. Or profitable. 

If you really want to tackle those death piles, here are some suggestions.

1. Stop buying. PERIOD. No exceptions. The thrift stores will still be there once your items have been listed. You aren't going to miss anything. Good finds will still be there from now until the end of time. The bargains will still be there. And you will have more money in your bank account to pay for them. 

2. Set an attainable reasonable goal for daily or weekly listing. It is very important to make sure this goal is attainable, because if you set an unrealistic goal, you will fail and give up. You can always do more than the goal you set.  Say 5 items a day, or 30 a week, or whatever you can realistically do. List similar items on the same days. So pick 10 sweaters, 10 hats, or 10 craft kits - and get going. The key is to start and to be consistent. 

3. Calculate the timeframe to get caught up. Make it real, don't estimate. Count the number of items in your unlisted inventory. This may take some doing if your stuff is all piled up. But you have to know what you are up against so you can tackle it. A marathon runner knows he has 26 miles to run and paces himself accordingly. Losing 100 lbs happens a pound at a time. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. You have a huge task ahead of you, but if you break it down into small pieces, psychologically it is more achievable and your attitude will be more positive. So if you have 1,000 items to list, and you commit to listing 50 items week, you can get those items listed in 20 weeks. 

4. Stick to the plan. Use a countdown app like this to stay on track. 

5. Keep a running total of your progress.  Write down on your calendar, a dry erase board, or your notes app on your phone about how many items you have listed. Add to the total every day as you list. Watch the number grow and celebrate the milestones. 

6. Avoid the temptation of thrift stores. If you think you have a thrifting "problem," make some changes to limit exposure to thrift stores. Make a list of places you shouldn't go - where you end up dropping by a thrift store because you can't resist. Choose a healthier alternative that fills the need and is still enjoyable. Walking, cooking, reading, lunch with friends, going to a movie, take a craft class, working in a community garden, doing yoga. Change your routine and stay out of thrift stores. 

7. Ask for support from people who you trust. Maybe it is family, friends, or fellow eBay sellers. Ask them to help you stay on track and don't get mad when they call you out on too much thrifting!

8. Seek professional help. If you think you may have a shopping addiction, seek professional help. eBay may be an excuse for buying.

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Friday, March 3, 2017

How to Make $2,000 a Month Profit on eBay - The Math of Getting to Your eBay Goal



I get this question all the time so it's time for a blog post! When you want to get your eBay business to a certain level of profit (notice I did NOT say sales), you have to work backwards to figure out what is necessary to get you there. 

This is basic math. And if you are not good at math or are confused my math, I have some bad news. An eBay business is all about math. So it is time to learn math, or find someone who can help you understand this. 

I talk to sellers all the time and am shocked by how little they know about their business. Think about it this way: You need a recipe to bake a cake. You don't just start throwing eggs and flour in a bowl and hope for the best. You need blueprints to build a house. You don't just start nailing boards together and stringing electrical wire haphazardly. But this is what I see on eBay. Sellers throwing stuff up for sale with no plan and with arbitrary numbers of what they think they can achieve with no roadmap to get there. Something like:

I'm gonna go to the thrift store and get stuff for $2 a piece and sell it for $25 and make a bunch of money.

Sorry folks, it just doesn't work that way. The blunt truth is:

YOU WILL FAIL AT ANY BUSINESS IF YOU DO NOT KEEP RECORDS AND DO NOT KNOW YOUR NUMBERS. 

You need to know two critical pieces of information about your eBay business. You cannot guess, you must do the research and KNOW. 

1. Average profit per item

2. Percentage of listed inventory sold each month

Let's remember that sales is NOT the number to strive for. Sales don't pay the bills, profit does. You could sell $10,000 in jewelry but if it cost you $9,999 you aren't making any money. If you ever watch Shark Tank, contestants will go on the show and throw out huge numbers about their sales, and the first thing the Sharks ask is, "How much did you keep, what is your profit per item?"


So, you need to know average profit per item. That is why you should devise some kind of system to track your sales, per item. Yes, per item. This is tedious and takes time, but it is necessary to make wise decisions about your business. Do it however you like. (Or use this spreadsheet I have been using since 2011.) Look at a 3 month average, 12 month average if possible to account for all the cycles in a year. 

Next, you need to know the percentage of your TOTAL LISTED inventory that sells every month. Unlisted stuff doesn't count, because nobody can buy it and you aren't paying fees on it. (Get that stuff listed so it can sell!) So if you have 500 items listed, and you are selling 50 items a month, you are selling roughly 10% of your inventory (because you are also buying and adding to it, but close enough for our purposes here).

Then, you work backwards with information you already have to figure out what you need to do to get to your goal. 

Let's look at some examples - assuming sellers are using 30 day fixed-price or GTC listings.

Scenario #1

Rebecca sells clothing and her average profit  per item is $18.  She keeps about 200 items listed at all times, and sells 30 items a month.  Using these numbers we can figure her monthly profit:

She is making $18 x 30 = $540 a month and selling 15% of her listed inventory.

She wants to get to $2,500 a month profit. So, based on these numbers we need to figure out how many items at $18 profit each she needs to sell to reach $2,500.

Divide desired profit number / profit per item:

$2,500 / $18 = 139 items 

Then we need to look at how many LISTED ITEMS will support that number if 15% of them sell every month, because that is her sell through rate:

15% of X = 139

X = 926

She needs to consistently keep 926 items listed, sell 15% of them (139 items) and maintain her $18 per item profit to reach $2,500 profit per month.

$18 x 139 = $2,502

Scenario #2

Maggie sells craft kits. Her average profit per item is $10. She keeps 350 items listed at all times, and sells 100 items a month. Using these numbers we can figure her monthly profit:

She is making $10 X 100 = $1,000 a month and selling 29% of her inventory.

She wants to get to $3,000 a month profit.

Divide desired profit number / profit per item:

$3,000 / $10 = 300

Then we need to look at how many LISTED ITEMS will support that number if 29% of them sell every month, because that is her sell through rate:

29% of X = 300

X = 1,034

She needs to consistently keep 1,034 items listed, sell 29% of them (300 items) and maintain her $10 per item profit to reach $3,000 profit per month.


Alternative to Increasing Number of Items in Inventory

The alternative to increasing number of items sold is to increase profit per item - find more expensive things to sell. You are doing the same amount of work on a $10 item that you do on a $100 item. This is why I encourage diversifying and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. It is much easier to sell a wide variety of things to people around the globe than to specialize in one narrow niche with only a few customers. 

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Will Using eBay's Vacation Setting Hurt my Store and Sales?



Great question from reader Heather B:

"Will going on vacation hurt my store …. I have read people going on vacation and never recovering in the sales dept." 

I recommend changing handling time and leaving your listings active. eBay store vacation setting has 2 modes - one where your listings are hidden and one where they are active, and you can add a note about your return.


The note should say, "We are away until XX, and will resume shipping on XX." Buyers (who read it) will know exactly when to expect their item to be shipped.

Change your handling time to what you need to cover the time you are gone.

Whenever you do get a sale during your vacation time, always message the buyer to make sure they understand there is a delay in shipping. Some will cancel the order, which is better than getting low DSRs or negatives.

But some will be fine with it. Also, take a screen shot of your vacation and handling time settings so that if anyone does ding you for slow shipping, you can show eBay that your store was on vacation and your handling time was XX, and they can remove anything derogatory from your account.

This is definitely more trouble than just hiding your listings, but it is all about sales, right?

I have never hidden my listings when away, just added a note and increased handling time. I don't mind spending the time shipping all the sales that helped pay for the vacation!

Related Articles:

How to Put Your eBay Store on Vacation

When is it Time to Open an eBay Store?

Selling on eBay When Thrift Store Prices are Too High