Sunday, June 30, 2013

eBay Coach Giveaway - Weighmax Scale

According to an informal poll on my Facebook Group, the overwhelming majority of eBay and Amazon sellers reported that the best scale for their at-home ecommerce business is the Weighmax 2822. Some of the comments were:

I use this brand. No problems with it. Works great.

Mine works great! And I was using mine to weigh ounces this morning. I would recommend it if there even the slightest chance that you will ever do AZ FBA.

Have a weighmax. It's great! Have had it several years and stays accurate except when battery needed changed, which has only been once.

We bought that scale several years ago and it is great. We had the LCD screen go out about three years ago and they honored their lifetime warranty. We only had to pay to ship the broken scale back.

Because we love this scale so much, the good folks at Weighmax sent me 2 of these great scales to give away on my blog. To enter the giveaway, just  post this contest on your FaceBook page, in a Facebook group, on Twitter, Pinterest, on your own blog, or anywhere else you like. Leave a comment that links back to where you advertised the giveaway. You can enter multiple times for each way you spread the word.

 Winners will be randomly chosen and announced July 5. Good luck!

(Please note that comments are moderated and may take a few hours to appear.)


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Are Your Photos eBay Legal?

The deadline is approaching for all eBay photos to meet the new guidelines set forth in the Spring 2013 update. July 1 is the deadline for all photos to be updated to meet the new standards. Just a friendly reminder:

All photos must be a minimum of 500 pixels on one side.

Photos cannot have borders.

Photos may not contain any seller-added text, watermarks, or artwork.

When you list a used item outside of books, movies, music, and video games, you cannot use the eBay catalog stock photo in the primary photo position. You must upload your own photo. 

All listings must have at least one photo.

If you are a "Last Minute Larry," and still have some photos to fix to meet the new standards, here are a few free tools and tips to help in the process:

ISDNTEK Tool - enter your seller name in the box on the top left and this free tool will tell you which photos need repair. Don't panic, this tool pulls up all of your listings. Just pay attention to the number next to "Listings to repair." - upload photos and specify custom size to resize your picture so that it is at least 500 pixels on one side.

So get those photos fixed! According to, "Pictures that violate these requirements will be blocked from listing or will be subject to removal from the site after listing. Sellers who repeatedly violate the picture quality requirements may be subject to further administrative action, including selling restrictions and possible search demotion."

Related Articles:

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Monday, June 24, 2013

New Podcast - Selling Vintage Perfume Bottles on eBay

More Entrepreneur Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Online Selling with Suzanne Wells on BlogTalkRadio

This is a really fun niche and these items are often overlooked at garage sales and estate sales. While everyone else is rushing towards the fine china, sterling silver, and furniture, you can casually make your way to the bathroom or bedroom and check out the vintage perfume, perfume bottles, and cosmetic related items. In the past, I have made great money on vintage perfume bottles (empty!), discontinued perfumes,  and old soaps. Listen to the podcast here.

Repurposing also comes into play with vintage perfume bottles. If you are on Pinterest, no doubt you have seen all the ways old bottles are being repurposed and made into beautiful new things like oil diffusers, jewelry holders, flower vases, or just embellished as a creative decorative piece. DIY folks love these things! They are unique and fun. I've even seen some wedding centerpieces holding fresh flowers made out of old perfume bottles. Crafters have to get these items somewhere - and they are looking on eBay and Etsy for their supplies to make these lovely pieces:

This just goes to show you that something old and empty can be valuable!  Get on over to Blog Talk Radio and check out my latest podcast, "You Sold WHAT on eBay?" and learn more about this interesting niche. And be sure to subscribe to my podcasts so you will be notified of new episodes.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Amazon FBA Smarter Scouting Tips - Stop Leaving Good Products Behind!

This video is for all you frustrated Amazon scouters who "can't find things to sell!" You are skipping over good finds and you just don't realize it. Take your time, and dig a little deeper than just one screen on your scouting app.

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Friday, June 21, 2013

The People Who Bought the Morgue Refrigerator on eBay

In case you missed my story on the eBay Examiner last week - the latest weird sale on eBay was for a morgue refrigerator.  New York State Office of Mental Health Manhattan Psychiatric Center auctioned off a real morgue refrigerator on eBay. (See the listing here.) The item sold for $3,049. After I wrote the article for The Examiner, I received this email from the buyer:

"I was just scrolling through News360 when I came across an article about the Morgue Fridge being sold in NY.  I was actually the lucky buyer.  I went to disassemble it from the old morgue at The Manhattan Psychiatric Hospital yesterday, which was interesting to say the least.  I know you're probably wondering why I bought it, well my company does Haunted Houses in NJ so I'm planning on using it as a prop for this October.  So I just wanted to drop you a line and let you know that yes, it was definitely a real item and taking it apart was creepy.  The whole fridge has a musty smell about it and the metal slabs were sticky!"

The attraction is called BANE Haunted House and this year they are located at The Rockaway Mall in NJ.

Related Articles:

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Customer is Not the Enemy

I'm seeing a lot of discussion on my eBay seller's Facebook Group (almost 5,000 strong now!) about blocking eBay buyers. Here is a sample discussion:

Seller A: I just had the weirdest question from a customer. He asked xyz and that just made me nervous. What should I do?

Seller B: Block him! You are just asking for trouble if he buys from you.

Seller C: That person is probably a loser! Block him!

Let's examine these responses and think about how you can grow your business if you are shutting out potentional buyers. Slamming the door in a potential buyer's face isn't going to help you make money. Bending over backwards to help them may put money in your pocket.

Blocking buyers by name is really a huge waste of your valuable time. I see a lot of talk on eBay groups about blocked bidder lists, exchanging names of non-payers, and outing "bad" buyers on groups. Sellers are spending valuable time (that could be spent sourcing, listing, or researching) blocking buyers on these lists. If a buyer is really a crook, he is going to have multiple IDs anyway, so blocking one of them isn't going to help you much. Why shut out someone who wants to buy something from you?

I don't really understand this knee-jerk reaction to an odd or unusual question. So what if the buyer asks something strange? Can you accommodate them? Sometimes an unusual situation is an opportunity for you to get the sale, because other sellers think it is weird or a little kooky and they will shut down and not even answer the buyer out of fear. Investigate your options. Is what the buyer asking do-able? Is it eBay legal? eBay is a very competitive place and to get the sale, you have to be willing to go the extra mile and give better service than your competitors. See a buyer's problem as an opportunity - turn the situation around and you have a sale.

If you set up your account to exclude buyers with certain criteria, and they contact you asking why they can't bid, the professional response is to explain why. A friendly professional response, even to a non-payer helps make us all look good. There is no reason to be hostile - you have no idea why the person has these strikes. Sometimes life gets put on hold when emergencies happen and eBay is not the highest priority.

Also, if a buyer knows why they are being blocked because of their past actions, they may do what is needed to clean up their act. Educating the buyer in a professional tone is always a good response. The customer is not the enemy - he / she is our best friend and we cannot survive without them. The best way to deal with non-payers is to file unpaid item strikes so that the buyer will be suspended if he reaches the maximum number of strikes. Let the system work. Don't react out of fear and lose a potential customer. Think through your options.

Related Articles:

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

eBay Sellers - If You Have It, List It!

Ok, folks, as Dr. Phil says, "It's time to get real!"

Raise your hand if you have a pile of stuff like this waiting to be listed on eBay. (I'm seeing a few hands slowly going up.....) Don't worry, you are in good company. I am here to push you out of your comfort zone and tell you, "If you have it, list it!" If you are using the excuse that your item is out of season, and probably won't sell anyway, you are now busted. Here are a few of my and my daughter's sales for the past 2 weeks (this is June) that are WINTER items! The season is irrelevant - anything can sell at any time, and if your items are in a bag or box in the corner of your office waiting to be listed, well, you are just missing opportunities to make money.

My daughter sold these Columbia snow boots last night. Bought at a garage sale in April for $3. They are going to a buyer in the state of Georgia! Really? A pair of snow boots sold in June to a buyer in one of the warmest parts of the USA. Not a huge profit, but a sale nonetheless.

We bought this cashmere sweater for $5 at Goodwill recently. It sold on June 2 for $19.97.

Another cashmere sweater sold on Best Offer for $14.97:

So no more excuses! Winter clothes and boots sell in the summer time, too. If you are not shipping internationally, be mindful that the seasons are opposite on the other side of the world and international customers buy winter clothing when it is summer in the USA. (Check out my International Shipping Tutorial to learn how to ship internationally.)

So put on a pot of coffee, put a movie in the DVD player and get busy listing! Customers all over the world are waiting.

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Optimize eBay Listings for Mobile Phones

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Increase eBay Sales - Optimize Listings for Mobile Phones

You've been there, done that, right? The new great American Past Time - doing stuff on a mobile phone and ignoring the people in front of you. Let's face it, the world has about 6 billion cell phones (Huffington Post 10/2012). How many of those users are spending time on eBay Mobile? And how many of them are leaving your listings because the text is too small to read or they can't see the picture well enough? The good news is that you can optimize your eBay listings for mobile phones in just a few easy steps.

Listing types. Fixed price listings actually work better for mobile users because they don't have to go through as many screens to make a purchase. They can buy items in fewer steps. Now this isn't to say that you should nix auctions all together, because some buyers do prefer auctions. Just be aware that you may be missing mobile buyers who want a faster shopping experience. (Check out my podcast about listing types here - there are pros and cons to all listings types so you need a mix of different listing types to reach different types of buyers.)

Images. Eliminate empty space and make sure you have zoomed in tight on the product, edge to edge. If you are selling multiple items in a lot, use one good photo with one item in the lot as your gallery photo. Potential buyers might not want to even look at a tiny little picture of 25 pieces of baby clothes. Get their attention with a nice shot of 1 or 2 pieces, then include more in your listings. Everybody gets 12 free pictures now, so take the extra time to take more than just one photo of a huge lot of something.

Descriptions. Keep them short, sweet, and to the point. Succinct and concise. Include important information but don't clog up the screen with too much text and a zillion of your personal policies. Avoid using more than one color font. Some eBay experts even say to forgo the fancy backgrounds and templates because the extra graphics cause the listing to load more slowly (buyers might click away) or clutter up the screen to much. For eBay Mobile, less is definitely more! And use 12 point font or larger. Lots of Baby Boomers (there are about 76 million of them out there) don't always wear their reading glasses and may not even try to read your listing if the font is too small.

Item specifics. You know, those little boxes you check with size, color, brand, style, etc. Make sure those are filled out. The mobile app displays them on a perfectly formatted screen and many buyers may not even look past that point. 

Think through these issues when you are creating your listings, and remember that everyone isn't sitting in front of a huge flat screen monitor when shopping on eBay. Sometimes, it is better to think small.

For more information on this topic, listen to my podcast here.

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