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 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!

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Friday, February 17, 2017

eBay Success Story - Best Offer Increases eBay Sales

Bonnie sent this email after having her store critiqued and resisting putting Best Offer on everything. I recommended it to her, and her reply was:

"I have tried Best Offer at different times without much luck.  I have used the reject a price lower than and straight best offer.  I get very low offers a lot of the time and when I counter, I never hear again.  I use calculated shipping on every item and many people try to make offers and then add free shipping.  On offers that I do accept, people take a long time to pay or don’t pay so I opted not to use Best Offer. "

I told her I was still standing by my suggestion to add it. Even if you get 1 offer out of 20 you can accept, that is still a sale. And those add up over time. 

So Bonnie tried it, and sent me this email last night:

"I wanted to report back to you about using the Best Offer Option.  I listened to a video Saturday and one of the people talked about using Best Offer.  He talked about not being offended by low ball offers because we as resellers try to get the best deal we can when we buy, so some of our buyers are doing the same.  After your talking about using BO and hearing that I decided to give it a try.  I added Best Offer to everything $12 and up late Saturday night.  Below are my results.


I received a BO.  I countered after about 45 minutes, but apparently before she read the message, she bought the item outright.

I had an item with BO that someone bought outright.

I had an item that someone in Australia offered quite a bit less on, but after checking comps, I could see the person was in the ballpark so I accepted and he paid within 10 minutes.  With over 1000 listings, it is impossible to keep checking comps and adjusting prices so offers force us to do that.


I listed an item Sunday with BO, someone bought outright.

I had an item with BO that I had quite awhile, someone bought outright.


I had an item I received an offer on and after going back and forth, I accepted her offer.  She paid within 10 minutes and sent me a thank you note.

I had another item with BO that someone bought outright.

I just wanted to let you know that I am now a believer in BO.  I am wondering if it also helps move you up in searches, so that people see the item even if they aren’t making an offer.

I haven’t had a chance to add shipping to Canada myself yet, but hope to figure that out in the next week and get that going. 

Thanks for your persistence on using BO."

Visit Bonnie's store here and check out what she sells.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Selling on eBay when Thrift Store Prices are Too High

I received the following email from a reader:

"Do you think not living by a Goodwill Outlet is working against me? I mean can I still sell on eBay without having a Goodwill Outlet store close by?  I mean sometimes I find it hard to find things to resell at Goodwill and Savers.  Yard sales are seasonal. Savers is so over priced I cry when I leave.  The regular Goodwill store is ok but I feel as though what is left over wont sell that well that's why there left behind.  My nearest goodwill outlet is about 1 hour 15 minutes away and the last time I went didn't find too much and kind of thought twice about my drive being worth it.  I mean is it crazy for me to drive that far to maybe leave empty-handed? I am starting to wonder if selling on Ebay is for me anymore."

Having access to an outlet certainly helps with getting inventory cheaper. It is all about what you pay for inventory. 

I understand about overpriced items at stores - it can be hard. However, I wouldn't assume that what is leftover in GW is not sellable. Everyone is looking for different things. The people ahead of you may have been looking for books and toys and you are looking at clothes. They are constantly adding new things to the sales floor, so you may be the first person to see something. One person's trash is another person's treasure. You aren't buying every single item from a thrift store that has value on eBay, so why assume everyone else is? 

Also, it may be what you are selling. To survive on eBay I am a firm believer that you must diversify. The more you know about different things, the better picker you will be. Think about it. If you specialize and just sell dolls or purses, you may be walking past literally hundreds of items that you could turn a profit on. You just have to study, study, study and learn what to look for. It is constantly changing. I am selling things this year that I never heard of or never tried last year at this time. 

One thing you can do is use Facebook Buy Sell groups, or the Let Go app and buy stuff other people are selling locally. 

You can also put ads on Craigslist that you buy certain items. Something like, "Downsizing? We buy your used stuff." Then see what you get.

It is very important to change your mentality to one of abundance from one of scarcity. It may seem that there isn't anything to sell, but maybe there are other ways you can go about it.

And eBay isn't for everyone forever. Some people burn out and decide it isn't working for them. Things change, sometimes it is time to move on and try something different. 

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Monday, February 13, 2017

On No!! My First eBay Negative!!

I often receive emails from sellers who are shocked, discouraged, and upset by their first negative on eBay. Here is how to mentally handle it:

First of all, take a deep breath. This is just a negative feedback. You haven't been suspended for anything. Your account is still intact and you can go on!

It can seem devastating (the pic above is meant to be humorous...) - I've been there. Trust me, it sucks. But this is the nature of eBay.

This is like if you were in college and you bombed one test - would you give up and drop out? Of course not, you have done too much to get here. Or if you fall of a horse, the first thing you do is pick yourself back up, and get back on. Life is going to knock you down from time to time.

You can certainly call eBay and appeal this feedback. There are certain situations where eBay will remove feedback - like if it contains profanity, threats, personal information, or links. See the full eBay policy here.  But in most cases, the negative stands and you just have to suck it up and move on.  Put that energy back into listing items. Or, give yourself some thrifting therapy and go shopping.

My advice is to take this with a grain of salt, and get focused on your business. You can't unring the bell - you have to have a thick skin and move on. Keep listing. Keep giving great customer service. You will recover.

If your account goes below standard, you can recover. Here are the steps to do that.

Negatives happen, you deal with them, and move on. You can look at this as a road block or a speed bump.

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