Thursday, December 27, 2012

Learn To Make Your Own Inventory

If you are thinking of expanding the inventory you offer, you may not have to look far. You may have sourced inventory in the past but there is an alternative. Maybe making your own inventory is the way to go.

This could be a great option if you are in a remote location from the stores where you usually source your items. Maybe the weather is keeping you close to home or creating items is a way for you to wind down. Either way the outcome could help you increase your inventory.

If you are thinking this is a good idea but do not know what to make or how to make it, you should take a look at Crafty is a directory of crafting classes you can attend online. The site offers classes on everything from knitting and crocheting to cake decorating and weaving. For the experienced, crafter the site offers projects and patterns to help you find new items to make.

Once you have your items, you could use them as gifts or sell them on sites like,, or Craftsy is currently offering free mini-workshops. Click here to see a list of the free classes.

Related posts:

Pure Cashmere - Sell It on eBay Even If Damaged

Make Money On eBay Without a Product

eBay Not Working For You? List of eBay Alternatives

Monday, December 17, 2012

Be Safe While Sourcing

In the recent days, I have seen reports of some sellers becoming victims of theft while out shopping during this holiday season. While it is a great time for finding bargains and stocking up on inventory, it is also a time when others may be looking for people to victimize. Here are a few tips to remember while out and about, not only during the holiday shopping season but every day:

• Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member.
• Dress casually and comfortably.
• Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
• Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible.
• Always carry your driver's license or identification along with necessary cash, checks and/or a credit card you expect to use.
• Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings.
• Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
• Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible.
• Keep cash in your front pocket.
• Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused.
• Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
• Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse.
• Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.
• If you take packages to the car, move your vehicle. A thief could be watching and may break into your vehicle when you return to the store.
• Place items in your trunk before you get to your destination. Don’t put your packages in the trunk after you arrive because someone could be watching.
• Do not leave small electronics or personal items visible in your car. This includes money (even loose change), credit cards, cell phones, purses and GPS Units. Police advise you to remove the GPS unit and if necessary, take it with you. That includes even the suction cup, if that can be removed.
• Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con-artists may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
• Report any suspicious behavior.

Hopefully these tips will help keep you safe during your shopping trips. Feel free to add other tips you may have by leaving a comment below.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

You Can Sell On Etsy Even If You Are Not Into Crafting

Image courtesy of the DaniKfashion Etsy Shop

As the Christmas shipping season starts to reach its peak, it is time to start thinking about next year. What plans are you making to build your business? If you are looking for a new place to sell the items you source at thrift stores or if you make items to sell, Etsy is a site you should consider if you are not already using it.

The Etsy marketplace is growing in leaps and bounds. Sellers have reported a large increase in sales. Those that have been around for a year or more have reported that sales have more than doubled.

Etsy is a fantastic community of buyers and sellers. At first glance, the website looks more like an online store than a community made up of many sellers. This more familiar feel is appealing to online shoppers. Maneuvering around Etsy is straightforward; sellers can showcase their items and are sure to attract the right buyers. The set up of Etsy seems to be more conducive to ensuring that sales are accurate. What is meant by this is buyers get a true picture and description of what they are purchasing. Sometimes other online sales communities do not give as clear a picture.

As a seller, you might wonder if Etsy will draw enough buyers. The proof is in the statistics and the news is great! Small businesses and individuals who sell on Etsy are boasting about their sales. With the holiday season upon us, Etsy is ready and has distinct holiday showcases in place. Buyers are sure to get original, in many cases handmade, gift items for the holidays.

As you review how you sell and where you sell, remember Etsy. Even if you do not make handmade items to sell on Etsy, remember that those crafters need supplies as well. From old sweaters to torn jeans or toilet paper rolls to old books, crafters often use uncommon items for their creations. Take a look around Etsy to see what other items could be sold to this creative bunch.

Related posts:

Gourds Are Sold as Craft Supplies on eBay

eBay Strategy - Breaking a Sales Plateau

Selling on Artfire - Another Online Marketplace

Monday, December 3, 2012

Apple Opens eBay Store... Maybe

It appears that tech company Apple has joined the ranks of other retailers, like Toys R’ Us, who use eBay as a retail marketplace. A few weeks ago, a new eBay seller began selling refurbished (factory repaired) Apple products on eBay. The Apple-focused website believed the seller is indeed Apple. The seller has basically no established profile or identity. Its corporate information is hidden, the listings do not show where the items are coming from, and the seller has a 99.7% rating.

What clues convinced 9to5Mac the seller is Apple? The products offered in the listings have the same price as those listed. The items also have the same warranties and conditions as the products sold on the Apple website:

• Full one-year warranty
• Returned to like-new condition
• iPads/iPods include a new battery
• Received complete burn-in testing
• Original OS re-installed
• Repackaged with manual and cable
• Final quality inspection by Apple

9to5Mac has reached out to Apple to confirm but has not received a reply.

Related posts:

How Much Is That Apple iPhone In the Box?

Hot Items to Sell For Valentine’s Day 2012

5 Best iPad Accessories to Sell on eBay

Friday, November 30, 2012

Peek Inside an Amazon Warehouse

Image courtesy of the ABC Broadcasting Network

With the holiday season upon us, we are in a unique situation. We are able to be a part of the retail market that seems to be booming this year. We are able to connect buyers with the items they want and some of us are fortunate enough to make a living do it!

If you sell on Amazon, I am sure you have wondered what happened after your carrier dropped off your boxes and they were checked into the designated warehouse. If you are like me, at some point you have probably wondered what an Amazon fulfillment center looks like. If you have, then you have to see this.

As Cyber Monday rolled around this year, the press seemed to be looking to Amazon to show just how busy Cyber Monday was. From news stories to photo galleries online, nearly every network was talking about Amazon.

Here are a few fun facts about Amazon that were revealed during news stories by Bloomberg TV, ABC News, CBS News, and NBC News:

• Currently, Amazon has about 80 fulfillment centers worldwide. About half of them are in the US.
• Items are not stored in categories. They go into a free space and are scanned to document its location in the warehouse.
• Amazon’s largest warehouse in Phoenix is the size of 28 football fields (1.2 million square feet).
• On Cyber Monday 2011, Amazon processed 200 orders per second.
• For the 2012 Holiday season, Amazon plans to hire 50,000 seasonal workers.
• Amazon employs 20,000 full-time fulfillment center employees.
• Amazon was the most visited retail site Thanksgiving weekend.
• Amazon uses people instead of robots to pick orders.
• Amazon order pickers walk miles each shift.
• The order picks may also use tricycles to pick orders that contain items that are not warehoused close together.
Online, many sites shared videos and photos from inside the fulfillment centers. To see what happens when an item is ordered by an Amazon customer, click here for the NBC News story or here for the ABC News story. To view pictures from inside an Amazon warehouse, click here. (Photos courtesy of Coed Magazine)

FBA Sellers, did you spot any items you sell or were you looking for new items to source in the pictures? Were you surprised by the setup shown?

Related posts:

Understanding the Amazon Prime Customer – Become One!

Amazon Fulfillment Course – Automate and Grow Your Business with FBA

Invent Your Own Product to Sell Online

Monday, November 26, 2012

USPS Expedites a New Shipping Service

eBay, Amazon and Walmart Stores have recently a new same-day service in selected cities. (eBay Now serves some of the Manhattan and Brooklyn areas of New York City. Amazon offers same day in many cities throughout the country, including Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas, and Washington, DC. Walmart To Go is covering Chicago and San Jose/San Francisco.) Now a new company has thrown its hat into the same-day shipping ring, the United States Postal Service.

As you may know, the USPS has been dealing with mounting losses for years. This move may help to rebuild the USPS as a viable player in the delivery/eCommerce services market. The new service, called Metro Post, is slated to begin testing in the San Francisco market on December 12. For a fee of $10, the USPS will deliver purchases in that area from major retailers the USPS has partnered with. At this time, there is no list of retail partners available. That will be announced closer to the December 12 launch date.

According to the documents the USPS filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission, here is how the program will work:

Through this market test, buyers can request same-day delivery in one of three ways: 1) utilizing a qualifying online e-commerce platform to purchase items online; 2) purchasing items at the retail stores that have partnered with test participants; or 3) visiting a test participant’s website to purchase items. Eligible buyers must live in a specified area within a selected major metropolitan area.

The daily cut-off times for making any purchases of items delivered via Metro Post service will occur between 2:00pm and 3:00pm. Package pick-up will then be scheduled to take place at participating locations after 3:00pm, by Postal Service-uniformed delivery personnel. The Metro Post packages may be exchanged between agents, and dynamic routing tools will be used, in order to ensure efficient delivery; at this time, the logistics have not been finalized. Same-day delivery will occur between approximately 4:00pm and 8:00pm, as determined by the Postal Service.

The USPS is projecting that it will earn between $10 million and $50 million in new revenue in the San Francisco area alone. If the test is successful, the USPS plans to roll Metro Post out to 10 other large cities and believes it would increase its earnings to $500 million with the expansion.

This could be the program to help rebuild the financially struggling USPS. Last week, it reported a $15.9 billion annual loss for the last fiscal year. It will not resolve the entire budget issue but it could be a profitable move.

Related posts:

Amazon Considers Same-day Delivery

eBay Offers (Almost) Instant Gratification to Same Buyers Rolls Out its Locker Service to the Nation’s Capitol

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hostess Twinkie Feeding Fenzy Results from Baker's Union Strike

The Hostess Company announced late Thursday evening, November 15, that it would be closing its doors. According to the Chicago Tribune, November 17 2012:

"The company said Friday it has asked a bankruptcy judge for permission to go out of business and lay off 18,500 workers, blaming a labor strike by members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers International Union."

This announcement caused a frenzy of Twinkie and Sno Ball lovers to flock to local stores and bakery outlets to stock up. Many were stocking up for inventory to sell on eBay and Amazon. According to on November 17, "As of midday Friday, nearly 900 items for sale on eBay were Twinkie-related, including single-size snacks, unsealed boxes, and even lunchboxes, baseball cards, and magnets. One seller in North Carolina even set a price of $5,000 for a single Twinkie." Below is a screenshot of even more ridiculous offers on eBay as of Saturday, November 17:

According to different eCommerce Facebook groups, many sellers made substantial quick profit and were thrilled with the results. Chris Green, who runs the Facebook eCommerce group ScanPower, posted this screen shot of his own Hostess snack cake sales by late Friday evening. He was up to 26 sales by just after 6 PM. (Reprinted with permission.)

Once the news hit eCommerce groups that Twinkies, Sno Balls, and cupcakes were selling out so quickly, sellers hit the streets to stock up. Besides grocery stores and bakery outlets, sellers hit less obvious places like Walgreens, gas station convenience stores, and even hospital vending machines. (Now there's a captive audience - if you are going to eat a Twinkie the hospital is the best place to do it!)  Here are some photos contributed (reprinted with permission) by members of the various Facebook groups having these discussions. This seller posted her haul Friday night:

And this seller hit the streets early Saturday morning:

Many sellers reported lightening fast sales, high selling prices on both eBay and Amazon, and a very profitable weekend. By Sunday evening, eBay had over 21,000 listings with the keyword "Twinkie." Listings ranged from the actual snack cakes, boxes, advertising signs, store displays, domain names, and collector figures. One seller even listed his last box of twinkies in the category of Funeral and Cemetery.

Now the burning question: Will buyers experience buyer's remorse for paying inflated prices for Hostess products? Amazon's A-Z guarantee allows for unhappy buyers to file a claim within 60 days of their purchase. Most Amazon sellers see this regularly when buyers make incorrect assumptions about listings. In the grocery category, the item does not have to be returned. The buyer can simply contact Amazon regarding his complaint, and his money will be refunded. Will eBay buyers file "Item Received Not as Described" claims in an effort to recover some of the money spent after regretting their purchase? eBay buyers have 45 days to file such a claim.

Then there is the issue of feedback on eBay and Amazon. Will buyers regret getting caught up in this frenzy and punish sellers with negative feedback after the storm calms? Only time will tell. But many sellers decided to take the risk to make some quick holiday cash by jumping on the Hostess bandwagon. Hostess cakes may not be dead forever. It is entirely possible that another company will take over production and Twinkies will live on. However, if you are a Twinkie connoisseur, remember the saying, "The longer an item's shelf life, the shorter yours." Just sayin'......

Shortages of an item can increase an item's value on the secondary market including eBay and Amazon. Here are a few more examples of past shortages:

Today Sponge Shortage (2009)

Aveeno Eczema Cream Flip (2008)

Zhu Zhu Pets (2009)

Let's hear your Hostess stories. Leave a comment below if you participated in the Hostess Frenzy or had an interesting Hostess experience!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

eBay and Walmart Offers New Web Search Engines

eBay plans to release an upgraded web search engines early next year. This move is slated to help eBay be more competitive with in the online e-commerce market. When a customer shops online, the first thing they do is a search for the product they want. If that process takes too long, the customer will most likely go to another online competitor, or make their purchase locally. The result is a loss in customers and revenue.

eBay’s old search engine, called the Voyager has been around for more than ten years and it needs an upgrade. It was the best technology around when it was launched, but times are changing. Instead of an upgrade to Voyager, eBay is creating a new search engine named Cassini that will be launched in early 2013. eBay hired over 150 skilled employees to work on Cassini to make it the best web search engine around.

Some of the interesting features of Cassini are searches will show full product descriptions, Cassini will match search inquires and include product photographs, the search will also hone in on information about the seller and the buyer. Cassini will “understand” what the searcher wants in more detail.

The Voyager search engine takes search keyword literally and currently matches the keyword to titles in the product descriptions. This is because each eBay vendor describes their products differently and there are no strict rules on the how to write descriptions. Voyager pulls up everything related to the keyword that a customer searches. The customer then must add another search term, and eventually they will find the product. This is time consuming. has a catalog of products, and strict product descriptions. This allows the customer to search a product with ease and there will be no wait time for results. It’s almost a perfect search engine system.

Walmart has already launched their new search engine. It was created, amazingly enough, in less than nine months. This new search engine recognizes phrases that people use when they describe a product instead of matching the search to the exact words in the listings. One example of the way it works would be if a customer was searching for a backyard chair, the search engines will understand that a patio or garden chair is the same thing.

These types search engine improvements right on their websites for customers to use, this may be a threat to Google. Google wants the public to search for products on their website before going to or eBay. Google gets paid through e-commerce advertisements. If sites like and eBay suddenly stop advertising on Google, this will undoubtedly hurt Google’s business.

Google has also upgraded their search technology. Now they have visual recognition technology to search products. This means lots of photographs of products, mainly clothing.

With this competition to rein in the online buyer, it will be interesting to see how these new developments affect sales and traffic. We all have to wait a little longer to find out.

Related posts:

Optimize Keywords for Search Engines

Keyword Spamming on eBay

Free eBay Research Tool – Bay Estimator

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

eBay Thrifting Workshop in Atlanta November 13

We have an eBay Thrifting Workshop scheduled in Atlanta, Marietta area, for November 13. I realize this is short notice, but have 2 spaces still open. (Max class size is 5.) The next one won't be until January. The one-day workshop will focus on showing attendees how to purchase profitable items at thrift stores for resale on eBay. Product focus will be clothing, shoes, toys, household goods, sporting goods, kitchen items, craft supplies, and decorative collectibles. The purpose of this workshop is to teach participants how to select items to sell on eBay and concentrates on items that are commonly found in thrift stores and are repeatable.

Workshop includes 3 hours of thrifting in the morning, lunch at a local restaurant, 3 hours of thrifting in the afternoon. Attendees will learn:

Types of items that sell on eBay and why
Best selling brands, styles, and types of clothing
Items that appeal to international buyers and why
Consistent sellers that ship easily
Listing tips
How to get deeper discounts when shopping
Tips for out-selling competitors
How to use smart phone apps when buying inventory for eBay

Cost is $350 for the one-day intensive workshop. Participants will have ample opportunity to buy as much merchandise during the workshop as they like.

Click here for more information or email me at 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Etsy Wholesale to Connect Crafters and Sellers

Image courtesy of DeMoss Designs

As we find ways to build our inventory, we can often find ourselves moving along with the pack. Sometimes we find what we sell is being sold by many other sellers as well. It can be a waiting game. That is okay. But there are other items you could consider.

Marketplace sites like Etsy, Goodsmith, and Bonanza give crafters and other creative artists the opportunity to offer their wares to a large community of shoppers who are looking for something original. This is also an opportunity for you as a seller to find an original product to offer. Many Etsy sellers are offering wholesale pricing on the products when they are sold in lots. You may find woodcrafted items or sewn items that may be great to offer during the holiday season.

For the Etsy sellers who are looking for a little help in getting started selling wholesale, Etsy is creating a wholesale marketplace. While the site has not launched yet, Etsy is accepting sign-up for both wholesale vendors and buyers. Once the site is launched, this will allow you to connect to many sellers in the Etsy community who are looking to connect with sellers. For the crafter, it gives them an opportunity to concentrate on the actual art and not finding the individual customer. For the seller, it is a chance to find unique and uncommon items to offer your buyers. To sign-up, visit this link.

Related posts:

FREE Wholesale Sources for eBay Inventory

Point/Counterpoint: Can eBay Sellers Make Money Without a Wholesale Supplier?

Working with Wholesalers to Obtain eBay Inventory

Monday, October 29, 2012

Is fear limiting your success?

Is your fear of trying new things preventing you from reaching your potential? Are you avoiding growing your business because you are afraid of the consequences of doing something new or taking a risk? As an eCommerce and business coach, I hear statements like this on a daily basis:

I'm scared to ship internationally. (Get my eBay International Shipping Tutorial here!)

I'm afraid I will make a mistake.

I'm scared to sell things I haven't sold before.

I'm scared to try that.

I'm afraid I will lose money.

I'm scared of what people will think of me.

If statements like this are your common self-talk, it is time to change them and face these fears if you want to take your business to the next level. There are really only 2 ways to deal with fear:

Let it control you.

Let it pass right by you.

Here are a few ways to deal with fears when it comes to your online business.

1. Do your research and understand the thing you are trying to accomplish. This strategy works for business and for life. What if you went to the doctor today and were told you had a terrible life-threatening disease? What would you do next? Sit and home and feel sorry for yourself waiting to die, or start doing research about how to live? You would go online and read about the various treatments, find another doctor to get a second or third opinion, talk to others who have dealt with the illness to learn their experiences, read books written by survivors, or find support groups to attend.  Information is power. Learn about what you want to do - whether it is shipping internationally, selling in a different marketplace, sourcing inventory in a different way, or working with a new product line. Educate yourself.

2. Understand the risks and create a safety net for yourself or just accept the consequences of taking that risk. All risks have consequences, but not all consequences are paralyzing. People fear what they do not understand. Many people are afraid to try something new because risk is involved. Name those risks. What is the worst thing that can happen? Let's use the international shipping example again. People new to global shipping are usually afraid the package will get lost. So to work around that, insure it. If it gets lost, your money is refunded and you can refund the customer. No big deal. All you are out are a few fees. In the days before international shipping insurance, the worst thing that would happen is the package would get lost and we would have to refund the buyer out of our pocket. If you are selling thrift store items that cost around $5, shipping might be $10, that is a loss of $15 plus a few fees. So what? 1 out of 100 items might get lost. It doesn't make good business sense to walk away from 99 good sales because 1 might go bad. When you hear "I'm scared to" thoughts in your head, the next thought needs to be, "What's the worst that can happen?" Then make a plan to handle that "worst thing," It isn't so scary anymore. (Note: When shipping globally, you are just dealing with people. Those people are just like you they are only in a different location. Global shipping is wonderfully fulfilling once you realize that you are helping connect people around the world with products they want. You are providing a service for which they are very appreciative.)

3. Change your mindset. Sometimes, the the problem is you - your own thoughts and behavior patterns, not the thing you are afraid of. We tell ourselves that our comfort zone is the only safe place to be - the unknown should be feared. Fear keeps us stuck in one place and prevents growth. Fear is the biggest obstacle we all face - everything else is just an excuse. Fear is a natural human emotion - we need it to survive. But we don't want to allow it to control our growth as people and our success in life. Changing the way you think about fear will help you deal with fear in more productive ways. Many times we are just afraid of an illusion - what we think will happen. When in reality, those things don't happen at all. Overcoming fear is often the gateway to opportunities and brand new fulfilling experiences.

The next time fear shows up, stop and think, "Where is this coming from? What am I really afraid of?" Maybe you had 1 bad experience that is causing you to shut down. Can this fear be transformed into an opportunity for growth? What is the worst that can happen if you deal with this fear, and what are some ways you can deal with that "worst thing" if it were to happen? Are your old beliefs holding you back?

Mark Twain said, "Courage is the mastery of fear, not the absence of fear."

More resources:

Listen to Podcasts while you work

Join my Facebook group for motivation

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sellers, Meet Your Newest Clothing Resale Site

This week saw the launch of a new online selling site that caters to selling designer clothing and accessories that the original buyer no longer uses. Tracy DiNunzio, who started Recycled Bride a few years ago, has launched Tradesy. The site may prove to be an alternative to eBay who has been hit pretty hard with a large number of counterfeit items in its marketplace. The site also debuted its mobile app Wednesday to appeal to more buyers and sellers.

Tradesy does seem to be geared toward the individual seller versus the person who is selling many items online. The new marketplace does allow new and gently used items and provides a relatively quick listing process for the less frequent seller. To list, the seller only completes a few description fields and uploads the image. Tradesy then removes the background of the uploaded image and replaces it with a white background automatically. This allows the product to appear as it would on a traditional retail site. It is free to list items on the site and Tradesy takes a 9% fee on any item sold. The site does use PayPal for payment processing.

The site even takes care of the shipping for sellers. Once the transaction has closed, Tradesy will send a pre-paid shipping label and package. The seller then just packages the item and drops it off with the US Postal Service.

While this site does lean toward the high-end designers (Louis Vuitton and Chanel), it allows brands such as Banana Republic and J.Crew as well.

With the fact that counterfeiters can be an issue on sites like this, Tradesy has instituted a policy that it guarantees each item on the site is authentic. If it is not, then Tradesy will provide the buyer a full refund or a site credit (depending on the situation). Generally, all sales on the site are final.

From a seller’s standpoint, this could be the opportunity to showcase your authentic inventory on another site that may have a higher profit margin than eBay does traditionally. It may also be a good source of product if designer items are your niche.

It has only been a few days since the launch. It will be interesting to see how the site develops. If you decide to use Tradesy and would like to share your experiences, please leave a comment below.

Related posts:

Is Thrift Store Clothing Still Profitable on eBay?

eBay Niche Product – Plus Sized Women’s Clothing

I Am Not Ashamed to be a Thrifter

Thursday, October 18, 2012

PayPal's Plans for Growth: Great News for Online Sellers

Recent moves have allowed PayPal to include processing payments for traditional brick-and-mortar businesses in addition to their existing payment processing services offered to online businesses. This single development is great news for those businesses without an online presence or website. Visa, MasterCard and American Express now have an ambitious competitor. PayPal is positioned to take over the payment processing industry and the outlook for on-line sellers is optimistic. The recent move by consumers away from cash purchases has only helped make online transactions more seamless - and that is great news for those who buy online. PayPal will now be able to offer an easier way to pay than the traditional credit card companies.

In recent years, Visa and MasterCard have enjoyed an influx of revenue from consumers who prefer swiping a credit card over paying with cash. Growth for both of these companies over the past 4 years has been phenomenal. Just as plastic replaced the use of cash, PayPal has positioned itself to replace the credit card.. Take into consideration their recent partnership with Discover Financial Services and you can see what is likely to happen next for both offline and online sellers.

If everything goes as planned with a new partnership eBay has made with Discover Financial Services, buyers will be able to use PayPal to pay for goods and services in over 7 million stores in the U.S. Consider there are already over 113 million PayPal users who moved almost $120 billion in cash through PayPal last year, and the numbers can make any online businessperson giddy with anticipation. The ambitious folks at PayPal want to make plastic credit cards a thing of the past.

The partnership with Discover will allow PayPal to provide today's online and offline consumers a completely seamless shopping experience anywhere. PayPal believes that consumers see shopping as a delight but paying is a big negative. PayPal intends to change that perception by making it easier for consumers to pay.

For PayPal, the goal has always been to create a safer payment solution that assists both consumers and merchants in having trouble-free interactions. This goal of seamless interaction for seller and buyer is designed to benefit both online transactions and more traditional in-store transactions. If you sell goods or services online, PayPal has just made doing business a whole lot easier.

Related posts:

Paypal Debit Card - Get 1% Back

Swagbucks Adds $5 Paypal Cash Option

eBay to Welcome Teen Buyers

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Amazon FBA Workshop - Atlanta October 30, 2012

The next Amazon FBA Sourcing Workshop in Atlanta is scheduled for October 30, 2012. We will visit a huge grocery store and either a Walmart or Target where I will show you how to source items for Amazon FBA. Seller Engine has been gracious enough to provide a free download of Profit Bandit for iPhone or Android to attendees. Group size is limited to 5 people, so hurry and make your reservation. This class will fill up fast!

This is a great time of year to learn with so many seasonal products and unique buying opportunities available. One day workshop will focus on showing attendees how to source retail items for Amazon FBA using various techniques including smart phone apps, understanding retail marketing and positioning, identifying consumer trends, and more. The purpose of this workshop is to teach participants how to select profitable items to sell using Amazon’s FBA system and concentrates on items that are repeatable. Instructor will explain:

1. Basic scouting tips and shortcuts.

2. Types of items that sell well on Amazon FBA and why.

3. Items that appeal to international buyers and why.

4. Items to avoid that may be problematic in the FBA system.

5. Overlooked niche items.

6. How to examine shelf positioning, advertising, and hidden clues that indicate a product may be a good seller on Amazon.

7. How to move away from the herd of Amazon FBA competitors using creative strategies.

8. How to use both free and paid smart phone apps in combination with each other for more thorough and faster sourcing.

9. How to handle questions from other shoppers and employees if purchasing a large amount of inventory.

10. How to secure larger amounts of profitable items using your smart phone.

11. How to identify discontinued items vs items temporarily taken off the market and understand your selling window.

12. How to get deeper discounts on repeatable items.

13. How to scout with poor cell phone service.

Find all the details here, and submit the form to see if you qualify for the workshop.

Related Articles:
Thrift store haul for eBay inventory

Understanding the Amazon Prime Customer

Selling toys on Amazon

Thursday, October 11, 2012

How eBay VERO Protects Online Buyers and Sellers

If you are selling online, you've probably fallen in love with Etsy, eBay and Amazon. Selling online is convenient and easy. One of the downsides to selling online is that there are lots of counterfeit items out there. Some are very obvious but others, not so much. I think we all know the $20 couch purse at the flea market is a knock off, but the $75 wholesale bargain you find online can be much harder to judge.

To protect online sellers eBay has create VERO. VERO stands for verified right owner. This also protects online buyers for getting taken advantage of by buying counterfeit products, in addition to protecting sellers from getting their intellectual property stolen. Keeping the online world of shopping a safer and happier place. As a rights owner it can be very frustrating having your product copied.

To prevent counterfeit listings eBay quickly removes suspicious items, will remove and items reported as counterfeit, actively prosecutes offenders and provides free tools for rights owners to protect themselves.

Online buyers can help by not buying counterfeit items, by using PayPal for extra protection, reporting any suspicious items and leaving honest feedback. With a little effort you can help stop the sale of fake items.

Some may think that counterfeit items are no big deal, but they hurt both buyers and sellers. This is also unfair to the millions of people who depend on online sales to make a living. Online stores provide economic opportunity for people around the globe. Just think of all nonprofit organizations that fund themselves through product sales.

The important things to remember is that we all have a social responsibility to watch out for counterfeit items, not just the sellers. For more information on the eBay VERO program, please click here.

Related posts:

Counterfeit Items on eBay - What Every Seller Needs to Know

Don't Offer Counterfeit Items on eBay

Another Company Works to Halt the Sell of its Products on eBay and Amazon

Monday, October 8, 2012

Thrift Store Haul for eBay Inventory

A few readers have contacted me asking to see a typical thrift store haul when I go shopping for eBay inventory. I just returned from a 2-hour thrift store shopping expedition and below is what I came home with.

16 100% cashmere sweaters, both mens and womens. We price these between $19.99 and $29.99 depending on the size, brand, texture (cable knit, 2 ply, etc.), and style (cardigan, v neck, hoodie, etc). Average profit per item here is $12-$16. Worst case scenario, profit is $192 on this batch. These usually sell within 4-6 weeks, faster during fall and winter.


4 ladies workout tops. Columbia (NWT), Rei, and 2 Nike. We price these at $19.99 and profit is about $12, so $48 profit expected on these items.

4 miscellaneous ladies wear - 1 sequined Hard Rock Cafe Atlanta t-shirt, 1 Masters Tournament jacket, 1 Ann Taylor top (NWT), and 1 Chico's top. Expected profit on these 4 items is also $48.

4 Mens items - Columbia coat (with $80 tag), Bobby Jones Golf Shirt, Alpaca sweater, Woolrich wool cardigan zip sweater. Estimated profit on these items is $125.

2 children's items - Gymboree top and legging set and London Fog snow suit / bunting. Estimated profit for these 2 items is $30.

Other - Vintage game ( still in original shrink wrap), Starbucks mug, and electronic Sudoku new in package. I have just been informed that my daughter is keeping the Starbucks mug, so scratch that.  Estimated profit is $66. 

Total paid for all items above was $167.27.

Estimated profit for this shopping trip = $509. Not bad for an investment of $167 and a few hours of listing.  I love this job!

The great new is that anyone can learn to do this! Profitable items are all around you in your own community if you know how to look for them. Check out my eBook on Kindle, What to Buy at Thrift Stores to Sell on eBay.

Also, keep in mind that 1/3 of this stuff will go to international buyers. The #1 way to increase your sales on eBay is to offer international shipping. If you aren't offering international shipping, you are leaving a lot of money on the table. Check out my eBay International Shipping Tutorial.)

Visit my Facebook group and network with other sellers who share their finds!

Happy Selling!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

eBay and Amazon Sourcing Workshops - Small Group Mentoring Program

I am thrilled to announce a new service - eBay and Amazon Sourcing Workshops! Have you ever thought you could learn more about eCommerce if you had a personal guide to show you how to buy items locally for resale? I have taken a few clients to stores in the Atlanta area to demonstrate how the process works. Now, I have designed a program to personally mentor anyone who wants to learn more with hands-on instruction.

I am offering two types of workshops, one to teach how to buy thrift store items for resale, and one focused on buying new retail goods for sale on Amazon. These workshops are structured as "one-day intensives" with small intimate groups of 3-5 people. I am located in Atlanta where the thrift stores and retail stores are gigantic and abundant. It is a great place to learn if you are located in a smaller city. (Plus we have lots to do here in Atlanta and now you have an excuse for a road trip you can write off for business!) Or, I can travel to your location and help you in your own shopping environment.

Here is a summary of how each workshop is structured:

eBay Sourcing Workshop

The one-day workshop will focus on showing attendees how to purchase profitable items at thrift stores for resale on eBay. Product focus will be clothing, shoes, toys, household goods, sporting goods, kitchen items, craft supplies, and decorative collectibles. The purpose of this workshop is to teach participants how to select profitable items to sell on eBay and concentrates on items that are commonly found in thrift stores and are repeatable. As a full-time eBay seller since 2003 and over 25,000 sales, I have developed my own system for "thrifting for profit." (You can visit my eBay store here.) I will explain:

1.     Types of items that sell well on eBay and why.

2.     Bestselling brands, styles, and types of clothing.

3.     Explanation of bestselling clothing fabrics

4.     Items that appeal to international buyers and why.

5.     How to examine items before purchasing.

6.     Consistent sellers that ship easily

7.     Items to avoid that may be problematic to sell.

8.     Overlooked niche items.

9.     Listing tips, such as benefits of different listing types.

10.   How to “work” a thrift store and sections to focus on when shopping time is limited.

11.   How to get deeper discounts when shopping at thrift stores.

12.   How to handle questions from other shoppers and employees when sourcing.

Workshops will be held in Atlanta or your city ( if enough people are interested). Click here for more details about eBay Workshops. Be sure to fill out the information form. Workshops will begin in the Atlanta area in mid-October.

 Amazon FBA Sourcing Workshop

One day workshop will focus on showing attendees how to source retail items for Amazon FBA using various techniques including smart phone apps, understanding retail marketing and positioning, identifying consumer trends, and more. The purpose of this workshop is to teach participants how to select profitable items to sell using Amazon’s FBA system and concentrates on items that are repeatable. I will explain:

1. Basic scouting tips and shortcuts.

2. Types of items that sell well on Amazon FBA and why.

3. Items that appeal to international buyers and why.

4. Items to avoid that may be problematic in the FBA system.

5. Overlooked niche items.

6. How to examine shelf positioning, advertising, and hidden clues that indicate a product may be a good seller on Amazon.

7. How to move away from the herd of Amazon FBA competitors using creative strategies.

8. How to use both free and paid smart phone apps in combination with each other for more thorough and faster sourcing.

9. How to handle questions from other shoppers and employees if purchasing a large amount of inventory.

10. How to secure larger amounts of profitable items using your smart phone.

11. How to identify discontinued items vs items temporarily taken off the market and understand your selling window.

12. How to get deeper discounts on repeatable items.

13. How to scout with poor cell phone service.

Workshops will be held in Atlanta or your city ( if enough people are interested). Click here for more details about Amazon FBA Workshops. Workshops will begin in the Atlanta area in mid-October.

If you have any questions about how the workshops will be structured, or want to schedule one for your city, please send me an email at, or message me on Facebook.  I look forward to working with you in person!

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Amazon Pours Itself Into a New Marketplace

Amazon has decided to begin selling wines online again. In 1999, it owned 45% of the internet site That site closed in 2009 when it did not meet projected expectations. This time, it is starting out in much small way. This time it will sell directly to customers in the Napa Valley area of California. The wines may begin shipping in as little as a few weeks. This is perfect timing considering the upcoming holiday/gift-giving season.

Once that market successfully launched, Amazon could look into expanding into other wines from all over the world and customers from any area Amazon ships to. At a recent workshop in Napa that discussed Amazon’s plans, about 100 wineries were represented.

While nothing concrete has been announced by Amazon in regard to the terms of the new marketplace, there have been a few rumors. One set of terms that was mentioned (again NOT stated by Amazon) was $40 to join the wine marketplace and 15% of sales. (That $40 fee is probably on a monthly basis just like the Amazon FBA Pro Seller account.) If this is true, the cost is pretty much in line with most existing categories on Amazon. In this case, it is believed that the wineries will be handling the packaging and shipping side of the sales (using Amazon’s discounted shipping rates), while Amazon provides access to its large customer base and order processing.

Once this marketplace is online, it will be interesting to see if FBA sellers will be allowed to sell in that category as well. Or will Amazon leave it as a restricted marketplace. Either way, this could be a very successful partnership between Amazon and the wineries at the least. It could result in increased revenues, increased sales tax revenues, creation of more jobs, and much more. As with many of Amazon’s ventures, the possibilities appear to be endless.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It's not stalking - it's research!

Whether you sell from a brick and mortar location or online, one way to increase sales is to get to know your customers. As online sellers, we are at a disadvantage because we can't talk to our customers face to face to find out how to better serve them. We have to rely on clues left in feedback comments, questions, or learning to recognize buying patterns.

One easy way to find out more about your customers is by using Google Maps. Just enter the customer's address in Google Maps and you can see where it is located. Sometimes you can see an exact photo of the building. I have recently started to closely examine the addresses of where both my eBay and Amazon items are being shipped to. This is a very enlightening exercise. I'd like to share a few interesting sales I've had lately.

Amazon shipped 6 of a baby product to an address in New York. My first thought was, "Why does somebody want 6 of these?" The address is for an office building. After searching Google for the name of the building, I also learned that there is a day care center in the building for the employees. Aha, makes sense.

4 units of a coffee product went to a New York address. This buyer bought my last 4 units. Their address is 524 West 57th Street,New York, NY 10019. Look who it is:

Based on these two examples, we can conclude that businesses like to order products online just as much as individuals do. And they will order more than an individual would order. Understanding this can be a game changer. Businesses have deeper pockets than consumers and need more supplies. I have started to stock more of these kinds of products now that I understand that businesses utilize the Amazon Prime Account. What if CBS News wanted 8 of the product, and I only had 4? You are leaving money on the table by not having plenty in stock.

Here is another interesting situation. I sold my last few units of a product to a weird sounding address in California. After finding the address on Google Maps, I can see it is in the San Bernardino National Forest. 

The product isn't a camping or sporting goods product so I was surprised to see it going to this type of address. Note to self - buy more! Maybe someone is camping there for an extended period of time and ordering supplies from their iPhone or satellite computer hookup in an RV. Maybe the lodge is buying it to resell to guests. Maybe it is a park ranger living there. Who knows! This example enlightened me because I had no idea people out in a National Forest would be using this product - or ordering so much at a time.

Another example is APO or FPO military addresses. You can find out where the item is going by searching Google for the APO or FPO zip code. These might not show up on Google Maps but you can find out on the web where the location is. I saw this one today: 

FPO, AP 96650

Right now this aircraft carrier is located in the South China Sea. What's also interesting is the number of crew. Over 6,000 people. All these service people have access to the internet and can receive mail on the ship. Pay attention to what they are ordering. And it will come in an Amazon box so other people might see this person receive his order and understand that he / she can order products this way, too.

My teenage daughter comments that I am stalking my customers online. I argue that it is research. The better you know who your customers are and where they are, the better you can serve them. So pay attention to your orders on eBay and Amazon, especially when multiple units are ordered. This is valuable information. And it is totally free! You don't need a special tool or subscription to look up an address on Google Maps. Just pay attention.

What are some interesting locations you have shipped items to?

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Tuesday Morning’s Redesigns Its Customer Rewards Program

Tuesday Morning recently rolled out its new Tuesday Morning Perks program for its shoppers. The program replaces the E Treasures/Preferred Customer program the company had been running for years.
The new program is free to join. Once you are a member, you will receive:

  • Priority notice of all Tuesday Morning clearance and sale events
  • Exclusive promotional events
  • VIP private shopping previews
  • Special pricing on selected products
  • Automatic entry into a quarterly sweepstakes such as a vacation getaway for two, a shopping spree and more
  • 60-day return policy
  • The program is still under development and the company is telling its Perks members to watch their email because there are “more exciting rewards to come”.
    Currently, you cannot sign up for the program online as with many other retailers. To help make it a little easier, the company has posted a sign-up form that you can fill out at home and take by your local store to pick up your card.
    To grab your sign-up form and for more information on the program, click here.

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    Friday, September 21, 2012

    I am Not Ashamed to be a Thrifter!

    Thrift store shopping has been a part of my ecommerce business since I started selling on eBay in 2003. I had never set foot into a thrift store until I had sold most of my own junk and needed to find more items to sell. Back in those days, only a rare few of us used eBay to earn our living full time - as a way to support our families. So thrift stores became my office! I got to know them well.

    Thrift stores are definitely a gold mine for products to sell online but it takes practice and and patience to learn what to sell. I enjoy selling clothing the best. For me it just comes easy. (I haven't hit my stride with coffee mugs or ugly Christmas sweaters yet.) Clothing as a product line appeals to me because it is easy to pack and ship, everyone around the world needs it (about 1/3 of my clothing sales are international), and it doesn't take up much space to store.

    My friend and ecommerce colleage Kim Tarrant joined me on this trip. Although we both have been selling online for almost 10 years, our business models haven't always been the same. Kim had never been thrifting, so my daughter and I gave her a lesson. You can see Kim has the "deer in the headlights" look here:

    Thrifting can definitely be overwhelming! Start with what you already know and gradually branch out to other departments. A good starting place for moms is children's clothing. Use the eBay app to check completed listings on items to get an idea for the sell through rate and possible selling price. Don't be afraid to experiment.

    What did we end up with? A new in the box Mindflex Game, about 20 cashmere sweaters, Nike athletic wear, vintage wool sweater with pewter buttons, vintage Woolrich flannel shirt, a Canari cycling jersey, some cool t-shirts, and some Chico's clothing. We will both profit a few hundred dollars from this one thrifting expedition.

    For a quick tutorial, check out my book on Kindle, What to Buy at Thrift Stores to Sell on eBay. The book showcases my 40 items commonly found in thrift stores that you can sell on eBay for profit.

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012

    Celebrity Chooses Etsy TO Support Charity

    Image courtesy of Rose's Etsy Shop
    Many of us use online selling sites as a way to create income or support causes we support. I have written in the past about stars who have chosen eBay to run auctions to support their favorite charities. Now a celebrity has chosen Etsy to support her latest cause.

    Comedian and talk show host Rosie O’Donnell is now using the site to help raise money for a charity that is important to her and her family. The charity O’Donnell is supporting is The Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation. Her partner, Michelle Rounds, is battling the rare condition. Three in one million are affected by the condition that can be life threatening or even fatal if it grows undetected near vital organs.

    The listings are original pieces of art that Rosie created. In the past, Rosie has used eBay to sell these items but currently there are no listing attributed to her eBay account. Rosie has used Etsy in the past to support her charity, Rosie’s Broadway Kids (now known as Rosie’s Theater Kids), which helps to fund arts education to low-income children in New York City.

    To view Rose’s listings, visit Etsy. To find out more about this rare condition, please visit The Desmoid Tumor Foundation.

    Related Links:

    Olympic Item on eBay Funds Charity

    Looks Like Cher Has Joined the eBay Craze

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    Friday, September 14, 2012

    How Much Is That Apple iPhone In the Box?

    Images courtesy of eBay

    With the upcoming release with the upcoming release of the new Apple iPhone 5, I am sure some of us are wondering what to do with the old one (if we upgrade). You may be wondering what you will get for that used iPhone 3G or 4S.

    What if you had a 1st generation iPhone 3G that was new in box? Have you ever wondered what you could get for that? Well, one seller on eBay thinks it should be $10,000. Below is a screenshot of the actual listing.

    Top-rated seller Samsonbible has listed his new in box Apple iPhone 1st Generation with 8 gigabytes of memory for that amount. Photos show the phone in a cellophane-wrapped box that appears to have never been opened. The seller has called the item a “Crown Jewel for any collection”. So far, no buyers agree with him unfortunately. The item was recently relisted.

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    Bakelite – What Is It and Why Is It Collectible?

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    Wednesday, September 12, 2012

    Etsy Gets Ready For the Holiday Season

    There are a few changes going on at Etsy that are in the working to make the Holiday season more successful for Etsy shop keepers.

    Recently, Etsy began offering shopkeepers the option to accept credit cards (and not just PayPal) for purchases made in their shops. The direct checkout option is seen as a way of getting more customers to buy on Etsy by using a direct checkout that does not involve PayPal in any way. Many crafters are seeing increases in sales in the few weeks since the credit card option has been available.

    With the credit card payments, the money is held in the shop’s account and is scheduled for disbursement to the shopkeeper’s bank account each Monday. Shopkeepers do have the option to schedule a deposit more quickly if they wish. The processing fee is 3% + $0.25 per order.

    To help those who are looking to try out the direct checkout for their shop, Etsy is waiving all credit card processing fees for the month of September. To find out if your shop is eligible to sign up for direct checkout, please click here.

    With direct checkout as an option, Etsy is bringing on a new selling tool. This fall, Etsy Gift Cards will become available in the US. The gift cards will only be available for use in shops that have the direct checkout option available. Etsy will also use the gift cards as promotional tools for the site this holiday season. The ability to accept gift cards is a feature Etsy sellers and buyers have been requesting for quite a while. The gift card will be a promotional code that can be emailed to the buyer.

    In order to develop the system that would allow gift cards to be accepted at any store on its site, Etsy had to add the direct checkout option to its site. PayPal does not allow a central checkout. PayPal checkouts are unique to each seller and cannot accept gift cards. To see what experiences some Etsy sellers have had since adding direct checkout to their shops, click here.

    Related posts:

    How to Sell on Etsy – Part One

    How to Sell on Etsy – Part Two

    Improve Your Listing Photos with This Free Tool

    Friday, September 7, 2012

    New eBook on Kindle - Thrifting for eBay


    It is finally here! My first book on Kindle. Originally written in 2008, I have recently updated my best selling ebook, "What to Buy at Thrift Stores to Sell on eBay for Profit." Throughout my eBay career which began in 2003, the most frequently asked question I hear is, “What do I buy to resell?” This ebook contains a list and short description of items I have found in thrift stores that sold for good profit on eBay. There are countless “What to Sell on eBay” lists for sale out on the internet. Many of these lists contain rare items that sell for insane prices. Most of us will never find these rare items such as an authentic autographed baseball card, rare coffee mugs selling for hundreds of dollars, or one-of-a-kind authentic Star Wars collectibles.

    This eBook is a practical list of items commonly found in thrift stores that sellers can find repeatedly and sell for at least $10 or more profit. This eBook is about using the resources available in your community, rather than the rare score that will result in several hundred dollars profit. It’s my personal list of best sellers. These are items that I have found in thrift stores regularly that have sold within a few months, and produced a 50% or higher profit margin. From 2003-2009, eBay was my full-time job and I learned to sell thrift store items as a way to support my family. $10 per item profit may not sound like much, but when you learn to source and sell 300-400 items a month, the pennies and dollars add up.

    With some effort and persistence, the average person can find and sell these items repeatedly. Making money on eBay as a business is about consistency, repetition, and perseverance, not so much the huge occasional scores you see on the news. This list does not include everything I’ve ever sold or every possible item you could find to resell for profit on eBay as the possibilities are endless. Remember, eBay is constantly evolving and trends will change. Continue to do your own research to stay in touch with the latest “hot” items on eBay. These are my personal best selling items since I started selling on eBay in 2003. Consider this list a starting point that you can then add to as your knowledge and experience grows.

     If you do not have a Kindle reader, you may still be able to read the book using one of several kindle apps. Click here to see a list of Kindle apps , including the Kindle reader that can be installed on your desktop computer. I am thrilled and honored to be a part of the Kindle community. Check out my eBook here, and find out what good sellers you might be leaving behind in your local thrift stores!

    Tuesday, September 4, 2012

    Setting up an Assistant to Help With Your Amazon Account

    Have you found yourself wishing that you had more hours to the day to work on your inventory? Do you wish you could use an assistant with your Amazon account? Well, you can!

    While it may be against the rules to login to your Amazon Seller Central dashboard from more than one location, you can give others the permission to log into your account. If you’re working with an assistant, this would be a good setup for you.

    What could this person do for you and your business? The new user could be a new business partner you have added to your business. The person you set up an account for could help manage inventory or enter shipping confirmations on merchant filled items. The choice is yours. You can control what the person can do and what they can see by changing the permissions for their user account.

    In order to add users to your Amazon Seller Central, there are a couple of requirements that are needed:

    1. You must have a pro merchant account

    2. In the beginning, only the original account user can setup new user accounts (After you have added others, you can give another user on your account the ability to add users if needed.)

    In order to set up new users on your account you will need to visit the “User Permissions” page on Amazon Seller Central. You may find that page by clicking the”Settings” tab and choosing “User Permissions”. Once you are on the “User Permissions” page, you can enter the email address of the person who will be assisting you. This will send an invitation the invited person will have to accept before they can access your account. You can easily add or remove users as needed.

    To find out more about adding users and how to do it, please visit Seller Central.

    Related posts:

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    Hiring Help for Your eBay Business

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