Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Increase eBay Traffic by Naming Images

eBay selling gives you lots of opportunities to include images. Use this to your advantage! Learn how to strategically name your images to increase traffic to your listings.

Name your image using the same key words as your title. For example, if you are selling Listerine Teeth Whitening kits, name your image, "Listerine_teeth_whitening_kit." The name you create for your image becomes the alt tag for it, and search engines can find it and direct traffic to your image. So, not only do you have the item title out there, you now have the image title, in addition to the key words in the description.

Naming images is an effective trick to improve search engine optimization. So next time you are taking batches of photos, take a few minutes to name your image something specific and relevant, rather than just the random number your camera generates.

Related articles:

How to Handle eBay Image Theft

How to Make an eBay Photo Backdrop for Less than $1

How to Make a Collage Photo for eBay Gallery Images

Happy Selling!


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Kohl's $5 Coupons on eBay

I wrote about this a few months back. You can still buy these coupons on eBay. Now some sellers have moved on to selling the information on how to get these coupons for free. Here is one listing for the "top secret" information:






COUPON SMALL PRINT: Offer valid on minimum $5 purchase with any tender type. No cash back. Coupon may be used one time only. Offer is non-transferable and can be combined with any other offers. $5 Gift applied prior to percent-off total purchase discounts. Offer cannot be redeemed for cash. Only one $5 Gift can be redeemed per person. Offer good on all sale-, regular- and clearance-priced merchandise. Offer not valid for price adjustments on previous purchases, on gift card purchases or for payment on a Kohl’s Charge account. Offer also not valid on purchases of Kohl’s Cares for Kids® merchandise or other charitable items. See store for details."

You don't have to pay for this information! Click here to find out how they are doing it. I have contacted both eBay and Kohl's about this issue, and neither seems to care. Apparently, it is not an issue to Kohl's since the $5 coupon gets customers in the door and they are most likely to spend more than $5 once in the store. eBay doesn't care - since they are making their fees.

Just don't spend your money to learn the big Kohl's secret. It really isn't a secret at all.

Drop ship with Doba

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Earn Extra Money from Home in Addition to eBay Selling

I received this question from a reader:

"I would like to sell on eBay and work from home full time, but I am concerned that I can't make enough money selling on eBay alone to justify quitting my full time job. What else can I do to make money from home?"

Until about a year ago, eBay was my sole source of income. I started to try other work at home ventures and through trial and error, found other ways to make money. Here is a snapshot of how I make money using the internet and my computer (average values over a 6 month period):

51% of my monthly income is from eBay selling.

27% of my monthly income comes from affiliate programs such as Google AdSense, Commission Junction, and TrialPay. All of these are integrated with blogging or articles that I write for other sites.

13% of my monthly income comes from writing articles for other sites and from writing my own eBooks. I earn the most writing for eHow but have some earnings from Bukisa.

9% of my monthly income comes from miscellaneous things like consulting for companies who want to start selling on eBay, consulting with sellers who need one-on-one help, and pet sitting for my neighbors. (Pet sitting is fun and convenient, and pays well! Great way for moms and kids to make some extra money over the summer when neighbors travel.)

I have tried lots of things like product reviews and doing virtual assistant work. All of these things paid, but there are only so many hours in a day and it only makes sense to focus on the ventures that make the most money. Here are some resources that can help you investigate other options in addition to eBay selling:

Write articles for eHow

Write articles for Bukisa

Add affiliate programs to your About Me page

Write your own eBook to sell

More ways to make money at home using your computer

Hope this helps!

Vista Print

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

eBay Sellers- What to do When You Ship the Wrong Item

If this hasn't happened to you yet, it probably will. Maybe you were in a rush doing your shipping. Maybe your child interrupted you. Or the phone rang. Or your computer went down. What ever the reason, it is not an uncommon occurrence for an eBay seller to ship the wrong item. I did it last week.

I received an email from my customer stating that although the shipping time was excellent, I had shipped the wrong item. Here is a tip for you: When this happens to you, remain calm. We are all just people here. Things happen, and you can work it out.

I have learned over 6 years and 18,000 items, the best way to handle this situation is NOT to immediately offer a refund. Here is what I do:

1) Email the customer ASAP and apologize for the error. Don't make excuses. Just apologize for the inconvenience. You made the error, plain and simple. Own it. What is done is done and now you need to fix it.

2) Ask the customer how he would like to resolve the situation - don't give any suggestions. By asking an open-ended questions, you empower the customer in this situation. In many cases, the customer's solution is less costly than a full refund. I have had customers decide that they like the "wrong" item and say they will just keep it. Others only want a partial refund. Of course if the customer's solution is completely ridiculous, you will have to continue to negotiate. Here is an example of the email I send (feel free to copy it):

"Dear Mr. Customer,

Thank you for contacting us about your eBay item. We apologize for the error in processing your order. How would you like to resolve this situation? We are dedicated to 100% customer satisfaction. Please let us know your thoughts on how we can make this transaction acceptable to you."

3) Continue to negotiate a fair solution to the customer's satisfaction.

4) One a resolution is reached, act quickly. If you both agree to a refund, process it immediately. If you agree to send a replacement item, ship it quickly. Don't let these situations linger on. The customer has already been inconvenienced. Just take care of it.

5) There will be cases where you cannot win. The customer will be mad and NOTHING will satisfy him. Accept that mistakes are a part of doing business and resolve it to the best of your ability and move on. If he leaves you a negative, there isn't anything you can do. One negative never put an eBay seller out of business. The more you sell, the more likely you are to have this happen. It is part of doing business.

If you are in this business long enough, mistakes are not a matter of if but a matter of when. The key to success on eBay is how you handle a mistake and the damage control afterward. Have you ever shipped the wrong item to a customer, and what was the outcome?

Happy Selling,

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lost International Mail - Miracles Do Happen

Check this out. The package in the above photo was mailed on December 29, 2008 (see the purple circle). I received it back in the mail yesterday, on May 16, 2009.Almost 5 months later. The buyer filed a non-receipt claim back in February, won the dispute, and I had to pay. But, the package made it back to me, intact, so I can resell the product. (Note: For the customer's and my protection, I have blocked out complete address information.)

eBay. Never a dull moment.

Happy Selling!


Avoid eBay Scams by Buyers

Unfortunately, eBay has a reputation as being a breeding ground for scams. In most cases, confused buyers are really honest people who don't understand how eBay works. Others are crooks looking to get a free item or rip off sellers. Learn how to protect yourself as a seller, and avoid non-paying bidders and item disputes.

Explain your payment policies clearly and completely. Leave no room for "customer interpretation." When is payment due? Are you going to follow through with unpaid item disputes? Click here for all of eBay's payment options.

Explain your shipping policies and schedule. What carrier(s) do you use? How often do you ship? Will tracking information be provided? Do you combine shipping on multiple items?

Adjust your preferences in your eBay Selling Summary and block bidders with poor eBay history. On the Sell Your Item Form, look for a section near the bottom called Buyer Requirements. You can adjust your preferences to block buyers with specific feedback scores, unpaid item strikes, or other factors. Use this screening feature to block undesirable bidders from bidding on your items. Nip that one right in the bud. Click here for the exact steps in Setting eBay Buyer Requirements.

When shipping to US addresses with USPS, always use Delivery Confirmation. With DC, you are able to track the package online and provide proof of its delivery. If the customer files a non-receipt claim, you will have indisputable proof that the item was delivered. Click here for info on using Delivery Confirmation if you are not familiar with how it works.

Always file unpaid item disputes when buyers don't pay for their items. Remember, e sellers can't leave negative feedback for buyers, so our only recourse is to file the unpaid item disputes (and hope other sellers do as well) and those disputes will accumulate on the buyer's record. Too many unpaid item disputes and the buyer receives a NARU. Click here for the steps to file an Unpaid Item Dispute.

Be mindful of the verbiage you use in your written correspondence to customers. eBay can review all of your written exchanges. If you think you are about to be a victim of a scam, simply reply to the buyer in a professional manner, stating what you are and are not allowed to do as an eBay seller, and keep in mind that your message may be reviewed by eBay later. Do everything by the book - follow eBay's rules for sellers. Don't give a crook the opportunity to take advantage of you. Document everything!

Listen to your intuition. If you feel like something isn't right, block that eBay buyer. You don't have to have a reason. eBay says it is ok to cancel bids from unwelcome buyers. If a buyer asks suspicious questions or makes strange requests, you don't have to deal with them. Just block them and move on. Not every buyer with a weird question is out to swindle you, but listen to your instincts and don't work with buyers who make you feel uneasy. Click here for information on how to cancel bids from unwelcome and malicious buyers.

Hope this helps! Happy Selling~

Vista Print

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Thrift Store Item to Sell on eBay - Jeff Rose Golf Shirts

I've spent many years selling golf shirts and related golf clothing on eBay and have learned a lot about different brands. I had never heard of Jeff Rose golf shirts before, so maybe this will be a new one for you, too.

These shirts retail for over $100 and are made in Italy, which indicates high quality. They have the distinctive purple or navy blue tag in the collar. These usually come in funky or bright colors. I’ve seen them in pink, purple, coral, sapphire blue, orange, lime green and vibrant patterns. Here are a few completed listings. All of these are used and can be found at thrift stores for $3-$5.

JEFF ROSE Mens Golf Shirt Large 100% cotton

JEFF ROSE GOLF SHIRT---XL--Made in Italy---

Other golf shirts that are also profitable on eBay:


Bobby Jones

Click here for my free list of thrift store items to sell on eBay for profit.

Check out my Golf Shirt Bible. This comprehensive 40-page eBook contains all the pertinent information about making a profit selling golf and polo style shirts on eBay.

eBay Sellers - Be Careful Using Media Mail

Here we go again. eBay sellers on a message board trying to outsmart the system. USPS has a class of mail called Media Mail. The rates are very low, but, you must follow the guidelines if you use this mail class. From USPS.com, "Media Mail® service is a cost efficient way to mail books, sound recordings, recorded video tapes, printed music, and recorded computer-readable media (such as CDs, DVDs, and diskettes). Media Mail can not contain advertising except for incidental announcements of books. The maximum weight for Media Mail is 70 lbs."

Misuing Media Mail is not only fraud punishable by fines and imprisonment, it makes you look unprofessional and tacky as a seller. Read this excerpt from the eBay Packaging and Shipping Discussion Board: (The original poster is Postmaster in a post office)

"I'm sure this has been discussed in the past but I want to remind sellers that media rate is to be used only for books, sound recordings, recorded video tapes, printed music, and recorded computer-readable media (such as CDs, DVDs, and diskettes).

I recently had a transaction with a seller who mails everything he sells at media rates. When the parcel arrived at my post office it was inspected. Being the PMR in that post office I charged myself the $3.55 postage due for the amount the seller short paid the USPS. I warned him about the fraud he commits and he threatened to report me to eBay! So, FYI eBay sellers and buyers, please help stop this misuse of media mail and read the following:

Although the USPS Inspection Service cannot resolve routine business disputes between companies and their customers, it can act against a company or individual if there is a pattern of activity suggesting a potential scheme to defraud.

Media Mail can take several weeks to arrive. You are doing your buyer a disservice by extending the delivery time on their purchases and are also committing fraud when you do not use Media Mail according to regulations. Additionally, the USPS Inspection Service as the right to open any mail that is marked 'Media Mail' to check the contents.

The opened mail is then forwarded to the addressee, and a cautionary letter is sent to the sender. With as little as two infractions of the Media Mail regulations by any sender, a substantial fine is levied and, in some cases, the ability to print shipping labels online is suspended.

When it is discovered that a there is flagrant abuse, you are also opening yourself for possible fines and imprisonment. The US Postal Inspector Service does not take falsifying documents and 'cheating' the postal service lightly."

The bottom line is all USPS mail is subject to inspection with cause. The increased volume of Media Mail packages caused by online, catalogue or over the phone sales has caused the USPS Postal Inspector Service to step up investigations as the revenue lost by misappropriation is huge."

So, be careful what lengths you to go in order to save a buck. It may not be worth it in the end. Stay above board and stay honest. You won't have anything to worry about!

Click here for the USPS Media Mail Quick Service Guide.

Friday, May 15, 2009

eBay Seller Success Story: Starbucks Bearista Bear

Thanks to Rachel from the eBay SAHMs Facebook Group for posting this hot seller:


Rachel says, "Most of the Starbucks plush sell for $10.99, this one is a special edition so it went for more, I've also had some GIANT 30" ones that have sold for $50.00. I find a lot of them around here because we're not far from Seattle, but you may find them other places."

Thanks for sharing, Rachel! Do you have a unique, interesting, or fun thrift store or garage sale find you would like to share? Email the info to me at ebaycoach@yahoo.com and I will post it here. We can all make more money if we share our information!

Happy Selling!

Starbucks Caffe Verona

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

eBay Image and Photo Theft - What to Do?

I received this email from Sherri:

"People who are unethical will sell stuff they steal as well as stuff not as described, and steal your pictures when you have your name right through the middle of them. I wanted to know, if you have any help in the picture department. I have so many people stealing my pictures and they stole my friends also. She had her name in large type across the photo and they just cropped it out. She had her name across an item and they cropped half of the item out of the picture and still used it. Is there any suggestion that you have that might help with picture theft?


Unfortunately, we cannot control what others do, only what we do. Dishonest people will be dishonest. That is a sad fact of life.

There are a few steps you can take to make it harder for people to copy your listings.

1) If you are using Seller Sourcebook, go into the Preferences tab and choose to right-click disable your listing. This will prevent anyone from doing a right-click and copying your text or photo. If they try to right-click anything on the page, they will see the error message shown above.

2) If you are not using an image hosting service that offers a right-click disable, click here to use Marsha Collier's Cool eBay Tools script to prevent right-clicking.

3) There will always be back-door ways around everything on the internet. Sophisticated computer people who can read code will steal if they want to steal. Also, there is no way to prevent using the print screen trick to copy the image.

4) Remember this: If someone is too lazy to take and upload their photos on eBay, they aren't much of a competitor. They will also be too lazy to keep up with their eBay store, accommodate customers, or be much of a business person at all. I have seen this many times in my 6+ years on eBay - someone comes along and copies my listings word for word, copies my pictures, copies my pricing...and in 3 months they are gone due to too many negative feedbacks about poor service or slow shipping. You can laugh last - let them have their false sense of security and their moment in the sun but realize that no one can last very long on eBay without a true work ethic. Just focus your efforts on your eBay business and let the losers fall to the wayside. Give them enough rope and they will hang themselves.

Happy Selling!

Monday, May 11, 2009

eBay Seller Success Story: Frye Women's Boots (EUC)

Paula sent in this info on her great eBay find. Here is her listing:

FRYE Womens TALL Leather~Knee~Boots~Maroon~Size 7 EUC

Paula's price: $7 at thrift store
Selling price: $99
Profit before fees: $92

Impressive sale! Thanks for sharing, Paula. Do you have a unique, interesting, or fun thrift store or garage sale find you would like to share? Email the info to me at ebaycoach@yahoo.com and I will post it here. We can all make more money if we share our information! You can also check in on my SAHMs eBay Facebook Group and see what other goodies sellers have posted.

Happy Selling!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

eBay Ethics Question - Using FreeCycle for eBay Inventory

I was on an eBay forum yesterday and there was a discussion about using FreeCycle to get free eBay inventory. FreeCycle is "A grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer (them's good people). Membership is free." On my local FreeCycle group, and on many others, this statement is posted:

"When requesting an item with a WANTED post, or when responding to another member's OFFERED post, please state whether you will be selling the item. In general, it is NOT all right to take an item for free just to sell it on eBay, at a flea market, or elsewhere. There are people who may truly and personally benefit from the item, and if it were going to be sold, the person offering it might have done so. When it's offered out of kindness, please do not abuse it. However, there are some circumstances in which it might be acceptable for you to resell an item (i.e. you repair broken appliances and might be able to fix it up and resell it). If your situation might be something like this, please just state it in your request or when you email an offerr. If you are found to be reselling freecycled items without appropriately disclosing your intentions, you may be banned from the list."

The general consensus, as I understand it, is that FreeCycle is a community organization set up to help those in need, and it isn't appropriate to resell these items. In fact, many people won't use the site now because of the greedy eBay sellers snatching up the items - they aren't going to people in need. Some comments by other eBay sellers:

"Freecycle is a Non-Profit Organization and the "spirit" of it promotes charitable giving in order to promote less landfill usage. Most of us who list on FC use it in order to help those in need - charitable giving. If you truly advise those you receive items from that you are getting the item for resale and they are OK with that - good for you. However, there are people like me that are eBay sellers that would never utilize FC because we feel it is going against why FC was started in the first place."


"I could have sold the items on Craigslist too if I wanted to. I wanted to give it to someone who needed it. That is the drive behind Freecycle. It is to help your local community."

So, I am curious about how other eBay sellers feel about this issue. Please post your comments, and take the poll on the sidebar. This will be an interesting discussion!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Source for eBay Inventory - Walgreens

Walgreen’s drug store is full of bargains, rebates, rewards, and coupons, if you know where to look. Learn about all the different ways you can save money on every day products to sell on eBay when shopping at Walgreens.

You will find two types of printed advertising materials on the media rack near the front of the store. One will be the weekly sales circular (same as in the Sunday paper) that contains the specials for the current week. The other is a small book called The Walgreens Easy Saver Catalog.

At the beginning of the month, get a copy of the Easy Saver Catalog and familiarize yourself with what items are available for the rebate. The Easy Saver Catalog also has coupons that you can use on other items in the store. (UPDATE: The Easy Saver Catalog was discontinued in May. I was not aware of this! Thank you readers for letting me know. Sure enough, I was in a Walgreen's today and saw the sign on the empty rack.)

Another kind of deal you can get at Walgreens is Register Rewards. In the weekly sales circular, some items will produce extra coupons at the end of the receipt that can be used on a future purchase, making the item essentially free. For example, Pantene shampoo may cost $4 on the shelf, you could have a $2 off manufacturer coupon, and Walgreens offers $2 Register Rewards for your next purchase. It is like getting the item free.

The Walgreens Clearance section is a goldmine for finding things to sell on eBay. It is usually at the end of the first aisle, next to the cosmetics aisle, on the end of the aisle. It may be in different places in different stores, so if you don't see it, ask an employee. You will find incredible deals for 75-90% off the regular retail price, but you have to look frequently as new items are added daily.

The clearance items are specific to the particular store as products are rotated or discontinued based on shelf space. Good items to sell on eBay include teeth whitening kits, vitamins, diet products, As Seen on TV products, medical items (blood pressure monitors, Ace Bandages, etc), perfume, specialty skin care, curling irons, electric razors, and heating pads.

If you are going to sell any of the free (or almost free) items on eBay, you can always put items in a batch or lot. Try to accumulate some items first before selling them on eBay. Drugstore items such as shampoo, toothpaste, cosmetics, and baby items usually do better in a lot than as individual items.

Related Articles:

Source for eBay Inventory - Rite Aid

Source for eBay Inventory - CVS

Source for eBay Inventory - Kroger

Happy Selling!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

eBay Seller Success Story: 1900's Beaver Top Hat

Lisa B. from the SAHMs eBay FaceBook group posted about an item that she recently sold on eBay. She found this hat in an attic and knew it was old and thought it might be a high profit item on eBay. She was right! Here is Lisa's listing:

Vintage Antique 1900's Beaver Top Hat Kennedy New York

Lisa's cost: $0 (she found it in a relative's attic)
Selling price: $78.77

Do you have a unique, interesting, or fun thrift store or garage sale find you would like to share? Email the info to me at ebaycoach@yahoo.com and I will post it here. We can all make more money if we share our information!

Happy Selling,

Drop ship with Doba

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

eBay Seller Question: Trademark Violation When Selling Clothing

I received this question from another eBay seller:

"Hi Suzanne, just wanted to ask if you know how to list things that are "name brand" without having them removed for trademark violation? I keep having things removed on eBay for this and am starting to get frustrated with the waste of time and money spent. No one at eBay seems to know what to tell me, thought you may know. Is there something I can include in the listing detail to keep them off my back.


Kristin, this is a tricky area and the rules are not crystal clear. eBay has an algorithm for everything. For example, if you list a large number of identical items with the same brand name during a certain time frame, a listing hold will be placed on your account. This is a safeguard against theft from a retailer or wholesaler - say for example a truckload of merchandise is stolen and the thief tries to sell the merchandise quickly on eBay. The listing limits help to curb this type of activity. But, it can also frustrate legitimate sellers.

Is the label authentic? Some labels, such as Tommy Bahama, are rampantly counterfeit. In the past, I have had Tommy Bahama listings removed even when the item was authentic - I bought it at Nordstrom! After that incident, I gave up on trying to sell any Tommy Bahama items on eBay. It was just too much of a hassle to convince eBay that the items were authentic. Click here to read a thorough guide on identifying fake Tommy Bahama merchandise. I have also heard that the same thing is happening with Ralph Lauren merchandise.

Here are a couple of resources from eBay that may help you:

Click here for eBay's Guidelines for Creating Legally Compliant Listings

Click here to take eBay's tutorial on intellectual property policies. You will understand the rules more clearly after taking the tutorial.

You may also want to post your question on my FaceBook Group - perhaps another seller has experienced this and has some suggestions for you. Hope that helps!

Happy Selling,

Vista Print