Thursday, July 23, 2009

Are You Using Your eBay Packaging as Advertising?

I received this question from a reader:

“I have a question I am trying to get my stuff known on due to all the changes that eBay is making. I realize we can't advertise on their site but just wondering if it is ok to send cards to out customers and maybe on our packages we ship out write www., do you think this is ok to do?”

Absolutely! Once you sell to a customer on eBay, they become YOUR customer. Many, many sellers use eBay for harvesting new customers and diverting customers to their own website outside of eBay. For some, that is the only reason they are on eBay, they don't even make a profit - they simply harvest customers that will make them money in the future. (Click here for a recent article about diverting your eBay customers to your own website.)

You can use your packaging as an advertising vehicle for your eBay store, your own website, or for your store on another site such as Amazon, Etsy, or Bonanzle. Write your website or store address on boxes, poly mailers, etc. Tape a business card with clear tape to the back of the box or package. Include a business card or flyer insie the box as well. Look at the packaging you receive from businesses (such as the Amazon box in the photo). Don’t they put their website address on their packages? Think about how many pairs of eyes will see a package mailed thru USPS: The mail carrier, sorting clerks, delivery personnel, and others. Each of these people is a potential customer.

You can be marketing to all kinds of people involved in processing, delivering, and even just seeing your package as it makes its way to the final customer.

Here are some examples:

Customers who have eBay orders delivered to their work address. It also has to be handled through their internal mail system. If you have ever worked in a mail room, you know that mail processors look at the packages. “Hmmm, wonder what this is.” Trust me, people are nosey.

Customers who live in apartment buildings, condos, dorms, or other multi-family housing. Other people will see the package or have to pass it on to the final customer.

International customers. Mail personnel processing and delivering mail in other countries will see your web address and might check out your site.

And while we are on the subject of marketing, click here to download a FREE excerpt of how to use Twitter for marketing. More and more eBay sellers are using Twitter to promote their items and their stores.

Related Articles:

Should eBay Sellers Also Have Their Own Website

How to Get Free Business Cards for Your Small Business

How to Capture the eBay Segment of the Online Consumer Market

Happy Selling!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

eBay Seller Success Story: Remington Tight Curls

These have been a hot one (no pun intended) on eBay for years. When I first heard about these a couple of years ago, I couldn't figure out what was so special about them until I saw a listing with the word "pageant" in the title.

Blue Remington Tight Curls make the spiral Shirley Temple curls worn by little girls in beauty pageants. Spiral curls are also popular in the competitive cheerleading world. The rollers heat up fast and stay hot for a long time. Pageant Moms love these! They often come to eBay to buy them.

Jessica from the SAHM eBay Facebook Group shared a recent sale with us. Jessica said, "At one of the yard sales I went to today I found my first set of Remington Tight Curls that looks brand new, still in the box with the clips!!! I was SOOO excited! It was like it was just staring at me when I walked up to the sale." And here is her listing:

Remington Tight Curls W/ Box & Original Clips Pageant

Click here to see all completed listings for Remington Tight Curls.

Jessica's Cost: $4
Selling Price: $80
Profit Before Fees: $76

Way to go, Jessica! Great sale!

And here is something interesting - here is just the base for the tight curls, no rollers or clips, that sold for $51:

REMINGTON TIGHT CURLS Hot Roller Base Unit Only H-21SP

So, don't even pass up the warming unit if you see it without the rollers!

Click here for my list of thrift store items to sell on eBay. Want to know about more thrift store finds to sell on eBay? Check out Thrift Store Goldmine, which contains 61 pages of items just like this. You may already have some of these huge money makers in your house, and not even know they are valuable!

Happy Selling!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Discontinued Item to Sell on eBay - Kodachrome Film

I was reading Time Magazine and came across an article on Kodachrome film. "After a 74 year run, Kodachrome, the world's first commercially successful color film, was pulled by Eastman Kodak because of the the declining demand." - Time Magazine, July 6, 2009, page 17.

I suppose we have digital cameras to thank for this. Naturally, I went to check eBay and found that Kodachrome products are good sellers - probably collectors gathering them while they still can. There are various listings from camera film, slide film, and more. Here is one listing for 3 rolls of Kodachrome film that sold for $66.00:

3 rolls of Kodachrome 64 (36 exp. 07/2010) slides film

Click here to see all completed listings for Kodachrome film.

Kodak expects the supply to become exhausted by the fall and you might be able to find it in camera shops until them. If you have some Kodachrome lying around, and you aren't too attached to it, you might consider selling it on eBay. This will also be a good item to look for at garage and estate sales. Experts speculate that this item may become highly collectible as it was a huge part of the Baby Boomer's generation. Let me know if you find any!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Discontinued Item to Sell on eBay - Redken Rewind 06 Solid Water

This is a different product than the Redken Rewind 06 I posted back in March. This product is Redken Solid Water 06 Wet Set Gel. It has also been discontinued. I have not personally seen this on clearance, but if the trend holds, you should look for this at hair salons, Ulta, Kroger, Target, and other stores that carry Redken products. It may be marked down on clearance since it has been discontinued. (In the past, I have found discontinued Redken products at these places and they are usually marked down 50-75% off the regular price.)

Here is a completed listing where a lot of 4 sold for $80:

4 Redken Solid Water 06 Wet Set Gel 6.7oz Discontinued

Click here to see all completed listings for Redken Solid Water 06

I am a little ashamed to admit that I have not been working on my next Hot List - I am enjoying my summer too much! I will be posting hot items here on my blog instead of doing a Hot List this month. So be sure you are subscribed so that you can receive updates!

Happy Selling!

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Friday, July 3, 2009

eBay Seller Question: Should I Have My Own Website?

I received this question from an eBay seller:

"I have been doing well on eBay for several years, but lately it just seems like eBay is making it harder and harder for sellers to make money. The fee increases, the loss of our ability to leave neutral or negative feedback for buyers, the impact of DSR ratings, and losing so many Paypal disputes (and money) because of dishonest buyers, I feel like I need a back-up plan. What do you think of starting my own website?"

I think starting your own website is a smart way to create a safety net for yourself. Let's face it - eBay is making it harder and harder for sellers to make a living. I'm not sure that eBay realizes that for many of us selling is our livelihood - it is how we pay our mortgage and support our families. It isn't just a fun past time - it is how we earn a living.

I'll be honest with you, I have my own e commerce site in addition to my eBay store. For privacy reasons, I don't make my site known. But after several undeserved negatives from impatient international buyers, my DSR dropping, and a "warning" letter from eBay, I decided it was time time to create that safety net in the event I leave eBay at some point.

There are several advantages to having your own e commerce site:

1) You play by your own rules, not eBay's. You can list/sell what you want, link to what you want, and run your store as you like. No interference from Big Brother. You call the shots.

2) You can charge less for your products and make the same profit. Without eBay listing fees, final value fees, store subscription fee, and photo fees, you can charge less for your items and make the same profit.

3) You can sell what you want. On some eBay international sites such as eBay UK, the rules for what can be listed are very strict. With your own site, you can sell whatever you want.

4) You can make MORE money than on eBay. With your own website, you can add Google AdSense, affiliate programs, and other advertising and make money outside of just selling your products. Your ecommerce site becomes a fully rounded business - not just a store.

So, here is what you do. First, you have to find a place to put your site. You need a site that is easy to build, has web hosting, an integrated shopping cart, and I suggest a Paypal feature since eBay buyers (your target audience) already use it. You definitely want a site that comes with its own integrated shopping cart - that part of the process can be a nightmare.

I use CoolBuild for both my coaching site and my ecommerce store. I did a lot of research on this and CoolBuild is very similar to eBay. For $19.98 a month, you get all of the features listed above plus 500 pages, 500 images, and up to 500 products. You can customize your colors, fonts, backgrounds, page layouts, and choose from 200 predesigned templates. You don't have to know any HTML or programming. (In fact, it is very similar to eBay as far as uploading photos, creating the listing, etc.) I have experimented with other sites such as Yahoo Merchant Solutions, and CoolBuild is by far the best. You can go to CoolBuild and do a free 10-day trial and play around with it - it is kind of fun to see all the stuff you can do. I figure for $20 a month, I have a safety net and can build another business on the side that can grow along with my eBay business. You can also look a my coaching site (click here) to see how a completed CoolBuild site looks.

Now, after you set up your site, you will need customers. (This is one of the disadvantages of having your own site - you have to drive the traffic there - but it can be done.) There are several ways you can direct your current and previous eBay customers to your website. Once a customer buys from you on eBay, they become YOUR customer and you are free to communicate with them off of eBay. A word of warning, DO NOT PUT ANY LINKS TO YOUR WEBSITE ON YOUR LISTINGS - THIS IS AN EBAY VIOLATION.

1) Update all of your eBay automated emails (such as winning item, payment received, etc) to include a sentence about your new website. Say something like, "Please visit our website at XYZ." eBay's automated system does not allow for hyperlinks, but at least you are getting your site in front of your customers.

2) Pull your history from Paypal. Log into your Paypal account and find the Download History option. You can go back years into your history. Download your history into an Excel spreadsheet. You will have a record of every customer, their email address, and the item they purchased. You can create an email campaign for your new website with this information.

3) Create promotional materials for your current eBay orders. Include a flyer or business card about your new website and put it in all your eBay orders.

4) Use social networking. Promote your new website on Twitter, Facebook, and in all the places you have been promoting your eBay store. Contact your best customers and ask them to check out your new site.

It will take some time to build your business on your own website, just as it has taken time to build your eBay store. Be patient and give it time. But, you will have a safety net in the event that you are (wrongly) suspended from eBay, choose to leave eBay, or if eBay evaporates overnight.

Have a happy 4th, and be safe!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hot Item Coming - DuWop Lip Venom

You may have heard of the Twilight book series by Stephanie Meyer. DuWop has created a line of Venom cosmetics to appeal to Twilight fans. The newest edition, called Lip Venom V, is a lip gloss/stain with a sizzling tingling sensation.

So, why should you care? The Twilight craze is huge in London, and unfortunately for DuWop, they don't ship their products internationally. I've seen numerous posts on fashion blogs, Twitter, and Facebook from fans in the UK who are willing to pay big bucks for this product. This is where eBay sellers come in. Lip Venom V is scheduled to be released on July 31, but you can preorder it now on the DuWop site. Each customer is limited to only 2 tubes on preorder.

I don't have a crystal ball, but based on the Twilight book and movie craze, this product looks to be hot worldwide. You may want to get your hands on some Lip Venom V early, as supplies will be limited. The price is $16 per tube on DuWop. Enter code venom54U at checkout for a 20% discount.

Lip Venom products are available at Sephora, Ulta, and Bath and Body Works and this product will eventually be available there after its release. Remember, timing is everything on eBay. Being the first or one of a few to offer a product can result in good profits. Just use your best judgment.

Happy Selling!

Thrift Store Item to Sell on eBay - Birkenstock Sandals

Birkenstock is a German brand of sandals and other shoes, known for the contoured cork and rubber footbeds. The shoes conform to the wearer's feet for a comfortable, casual look. Birks have been popular in the US since the 1960s. They are great sellers on eBay. Here are a few completed listings for Birkenstock sandals, all are in used condition. You can find these at thrift stores for around $5 a pair. Notice the high number of bids on some of these listings, which indicates an item's popularity.


White Birkenstock, size 39 or U.S 8 to 8.5 EUC!

Birkenstock 39 Hunter Green Sandals EUC

Click here for my comprehensive FREE list of thrift store items to sell on eBay.

Related Articles:
How to Make Money on eBay Selling Used Shoes

Thrift Store Item to Sell on eBay - Men's Cole Haan Shoes

Thrift Store Item to Sell on eBay - Dansko Clogs

Happy Selling!