Sunday, December 18, 2016

How $20 Sales Can Add Up on eBay Over a Year



As eBay sellers, all of us wonder at some point if that item is worth listing. Since we factor our time into everything we do (and if you aren't, you should!), it can seem like a waste of time selling lower dollar items. Of course we all want consistent $50 -$100 sales, but that isn't realistic when you are selling a variety of items and striving to make your money on volume. 

As 2016 wraps up, I wanted to show you an example of how $10-$20 items can add up over a year on eBay. I do this every year - analyze what I have done and review the fruits of my labor on all my business ventures. I've gone back over my eBay sales records for this year and extracted this data. Excluding some auctions I ran Oct - Dec to liquidate sale inventory (which will be explained in a different blog post), and consignment sales for others, these numbers reflect sales and profit from items that sold for $10-$20. (I'll come back and update the December totals in early January.)

Keep in mind that you can access sales from your eBay Seller Hub, but only you will know the profit because eBay doesn't know what you paid for something, so you must track that on your own. (Use this spreadsheet if you aren't tracking profit).  I wanted to show you a month by month accounting of the actual items, sale price, and profit so you can see how do-able this is. For you analytical people, I removed the fees, shipping paid, and shipping cost columns of my spreadsheet so as not to overwhelm the less analytical people. This is a quick analysis of my cost, sale price, and profit after cost of goods sold per item.

The bottom line here is: My hard work and the eBay platform turned $634.55 into $3,641.97 over a year's time. All from the comfort of home and on my schedule. And these were just the $10 - $20 items, not everything. So even as my 13th year on eBay comes to a close, I still see the value of the platform and the viability of an eBay business. eBay works, is accessible to anyone, and is a relatively easy way to use the resources around you to make money all year long.












 























So there you have it. This also shows the value of record keeping. You can look at what you have accomplished and make better more informed decisions about your business for the coming year. 

Related Articles:



Tuesday, December 13, 2016

How to Test Market Your Invention or New Product on eBay


I am a huge fan of the TV Show Shark Tank. When watching the show, I've noticed several products that hit big were tested on eBay. (My ears always perk up when eBay is mentioned.) Unfortunately, many inventors may shy away from the eBay test market because they don't know how eBay works or are intimidated by the process. So this article is for you budding inventors or anyone who wants to test their invention or new product on eBay. I addition to these tips, I have some connections that may help you get your product into retail - contact me here to chat.

Why Test Your Invention or New Product on eBay?
eBay is the world's largest online marketplace and perfect for test marketing products for these reasons:
  • Huge audience assembled in one place (165 million users)
  • Diverse audience with people from all walks of life, both genders, all ages, and in over 80 countries
  • It is cheap to test a product on eBay (and can even be free!)
  • You can get feedback from shoppers and buyers about your product
  • You can easily tweak the price to discover the right price point for your product 
Generally speaking, eBay is a wonderfully convenient and inexpensive exploratory marketing tool.  If you have invented a cool item or have a new product to sell, and want to test the consumer waters, here is how to do it on eBay.

Sell on an Established eBay Account
If you are brand new to eBay, and don't have an established history, your results selling an invention or new product could be skewed - or you may not get any sales at all. New accounts mean the seller isn't experienced and buyers may avoid buying from that seller - either consciously or unconsciously. Find someone who has an established account to sell the item from their account or store. You could ask a friend, co-worker, or hire a consignment seller.

Give the Item a Keyword Rich Title
Buyers find what they want on eBay by using search keywords, just like on Google. Make sure buyers can find your item by using synonyms in the title if it is a product that buyers won't know the name of. Let's use our old friend The Snuggie as an example. When the Snuggie came out, no one would have searched for Snuggie because the name, along with the product, had just been invented. Nobody knew what a Snuggie was. Keywords for the Snuggie could be travel blanket, blanket with sleeves, wearable blanket, or unique gift. The key to sales on eBay is appearing in searches. Think about what buyers might search for that will lead to your product.

Give the Item a Keyword Rich Description
Same philosophy as with the title, make sure your description has keywords your buyer will search for. Remember, people are looking for a solution to a problem. They will often search Google or eBay for the problem to see what search results are returned. What problem does your product solve? For example, Shark Tank Product ReaderRest is a magnetic eyeglass holder. It solves the problem of lost glasses, broken or damaged glasses, stretched glasses (from wearing them on your head). Include the problem your product solves in the description on eBay so the search engine can find it.

No Keyword Spamming!
If your item is like something else, you may not use that brand or copyrighted word in your title. For example, if your invention is like a Squatty Potty, don't put that in your title. Use words like plastic toilet stool, digestive aid, or potty stool. Don't use another item's name in the title to get traffic to your listing. That is called keyword spamming and your listing can be removed.

Use a Variety of Listing Types
Some folks new to eBay assume a 7 day auction is the way to go. Maybe yes, maybe no. The problem with auctions is that they have very little exposure. 7 days isn't very long to wait for your buyer to find the item. You are using eBay for exposure - so you will need to let your item sit for a while so it can be seen. The effective frequency of an ad is 12 times. This means a buyer needs to see your ad or product 12 times before deciding to buy. Don't be in a hurry. It will take some time to get traction before buyers find and buy your item.  Try different listing types and durations. The biggest mistake you can make is to give up after a week because nobody bought one - avoid the 7 day auction when testing products on eBay.

Try Different Price Points
You know what it costs to make your product and you know what profit margin you want, but will buyers pay the sales price you are asking? Jiggling the price around will help you discover what buyers will pay. Try fixed price for at least 30 days, and add Best Offer. Using Best Offer will enlighten you to what buyers are willing to pay for the item.

If you have a great invention or new product you are trying to get to market, contact me here. I have some connections in the direct marketing world who may be able to help you.

Related Articles:

eBay Seller Increases Sales by 873% in 12 Months

How to List eBay Items Faster

How to Use Google Image Search for eBay Research


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving: Count Your Blessings!


Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone has a wonderful day with their families or doing whatever you choose to do. Remember there is always, always, always, something to be thankful for! I want to take this opportunity to say how thankful I am for all of my readers and for you taking the time to come to my blog and spend a few  minutes here each week. In a world of high-tech, it is nice to know some people still take time to read. I know the internet is a big place, you have lots of choices, and I feel honored that you stop by and read what I write about here. So thank you!

I am also thankful for my family, friends, and colleagues who are always there to support me. I know I bounce a lot of ideas off you folks and I appreciate those of you who take the time to give me your honest input about my latest crazy idea.

If you are in a tough spot in your life, and I have been there on Thanksgiving Day over the years, try to focus on what you can be grateful for. I am so grateful for my good health. This year I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and it was so bad I was put on insulin injections immediately. I've been working hard to get my numbers right and get off the insulin. It has been a tough journey but I'm so grateful for good doctors and the medical technology we have access to. Just another twist in the road.

I'm so very thankful for my 2 great kids. These two kids were 6 and 8 when I started my eBay journey back in 2003, and have been the inspiration for  many blog posts and videos along the way. Melanie is 22 now and is about to move into her own place. This young lady is such a hard worker and was able to get into an apartment 100% on her own - no parent to co-sign with her. I am so proud of the beautiful ,smart, independent young woman she has become!


And my son Mitchell is a junior in college and is working as a cook to help pay his tuition. I couldn't ask for a better son. (Plus he's pretty darn handsome, too.)

 

Maybe some of you followed my journey last year moving to, and running my eBay business out of an apartment. Well, I've moved again, this time to a nice little cabin in the woods. It's the perfect place to work on my writing and to have my eBay business. Here are some photos:

 Nestled in the trees at the end of the street.

Nice front porch...

Complete with rocking chairs 
($10 each at a garage sale, the sun on the wall was $3 at GW)

Huge wooded lot

More trees

And more trees....

Patio in the back

Cozy fire pit area in back

Looks better at night 

Cozy inside, too (the rug was $25 on a FB group!)

What can I say, I like fires! 

The older you get, the more you realize what is really important.  So this year I am also very thankful for the place I get to live. It is small and cozy and manageable and perfect. And the very best part of where I live now is the person who is here with me - my fiance! Yes, I am engaged! 

More to come on that later, but this fine man and we have been friends for almost 20 years and it just recently became more than friendship. He is a kind, respectful, smart guy with the best sense of humor. We just laugh all the time. We have a wonderful time together and he loves going treasure hunting with me on the weekends. He even says stuff like, "Oh don't worry about the dishes, I'll get them. I know you have work to do." His momma raised him right! He actually works in the retail industry so it's great to be able to pick his brain about things related to the eBay market.

Some days I wonder what I did to deserve so many blessings in my life. I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving and take some time away from your work to enjoy your family and friends.

Love and appreciate you all,

Suzanne



Monday, November 21, 2016

Cyber Monday is a Week Away - Are You Ready?




What Exactly is Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving. The "cyber" part was created by marketers to refer to online shopping. The theory is that shoppers take advantage of online specials after the Black Friday weekend sales. This is a huge opportunity to take advantage of the presence of online shoppers, millions of whom will be on eBay. I'll make this Cyber Monday lesson easy for you with some cool infographics!

Consumers Like the Convenience of Shopping Online




Mobile Cyber Monday Sales Were Up 53% From 2014 - 2015


Women Out-Shop and Out-Spend Men 


Gen X is the Largest Segment of Buyers and Spends the Most as a Group


Consumers Shop from Work and Home


Average Order Value Holds Steady at $123



 eBay 3rd Most Visited Site in 2015


Are you ready for Cyber Monday? The #1 thing you can do to prepare is to list, list, list! A few tips to help you list faster:

Get off Facebook. It is a time suck.

Time block.  Plan when you will work, and make sure your family knows you are unavailable during those hours (if possible of course). Get your family on board with knowing you must get your work done.

Set realistic goals. Don't beat yourself up if you can't get it all done. You are only 1 person. Do the best you can.

Ask for help.  See who you can recruit around the house to help. It might be best to put kids in charge of chores or housework so you are freed up to work. Delegate and make it a team effort.

Hire help. My virtual eBay listers are available to help! We can list 7-10 items an hour. You just send us the photos and we do the rest after a few initial questions. Clients LOVE this service, it helps them make more money, and it is like multiplying yourself!



We are in the home stretch now - get those last items listed so you will be ready when millions of shoppers hit the internet on Monday. Get your piece of the Cyber Monday pie!

*Cyber Monday data provided by ComScore.com and PFSWeb.com



Sunday, November 20, 2016

Failure is the Opportunity to Begin Again More Wisely


Well, I have some bad news. Unfortunately the warehouse project isn't going to happen. First let me say that I really cared about this project and wanted it to be successful. I want everything I do to be successful. Sadly, the client and I have different ideas about how this mountain of inventory should be tackled so we have decided to shut down the project.

This is not because I was incapable or unwilling to do the work. I felt that my efforts were not making the measurable difference I had hoped for. After 5 weeks of listing I took a step back to analyze the progress and make suggestions for improvement.

My Concerns with Progress

Listing pace was very slow. Because of the nature of the items and the research needed, a maximum of 6 listings per hour was the norm. Much too slow to tackle 100,000 items in a reasonable amount of time. At this pace, it will take 16,666 hours to list everything.

The sell through rate (STR) on the items I listed was only 30%. This was discouraging as I understood the client's STR to be 80%. I was not even meeting half of their STR.

Dollar amounts on sold items were very low - most less than $20.

Revenue generated was equal to the amount the client had paid for my services to organize and list the items. There was no measurable profit after 5 weeks. As a service provider, that is not acceptable to me.

Unsold listings were accumulating. Handling unsold listings was not within the scope of my work. There were nearly 700 items in the unsold folder and that was a huge concern for me. I was very uncomfortable with listing more items until we had a process for handling unsolds in place. The client would be paying me for listing items, 70% of them would go unsold, and possibly drop off after 90 days of sitting in the unsold folder. Some might argue, "What does it matter, you are getting paid to list the items?" Well, it matters to me. I want my efforts to be successful and the client to be successful. I want the time I invest to mean something. I don't want to be a hamster on a wheel doing meaningless work.

I did not feel the client's money, or my time, was being spent well. My efforts were not paying off for the client. I brought these findings to the clients attention and proposed some solutions.

Proposed Solutions

I proposed to ramp up the listing by having a team of listers (experienced proficient eBay sellers) in the warehouse for several hours a week under my supervision. The client did not wish to have more people involved at this time.

I proposed to dedicate one helper to handling unsold items until we caught them up. The client agreed that this was a hole in the boat. Neglected unsold items means lost opportunities. The work is done, the items can't sell if they are sitting in the unsold folder. If the work is lost, sales are lost, and the work has to be done over again.

I proposed to lot together lower value items to get them moving.

I proposed to continue to schedule out listings as far as 3 weeks. Scheduled listings can hold 3,000 items. The client could still review the listings, change pricing, or make other tweaks before listing. With a team of listers we could knock out 100+ listings a day.

The client has always been concerned about keeping up with shipping as items sold. I proposed a shipping center in the warehouse where we could assist and help catch up on shipping daily as needed.

Unfortunately, the client and I have different ideas about handling this project and that is perfectly fine. I am honored to have been included and maybe some of things I learned during this experience will help me in the future. Refer to the quote above.

If you need help getting caught up on your backlog of listings, or want to list eBay items faster, check out my eBay Virtual Listing Service.

Monday, November 14, 2016

My Holiday Gift to You!


This time of year is not only rejoicing, but reflecting. As I reflect on this year, I can count many blessings that have come into my life. In the spirit of giving, gratitude, and appreciation, I am offering a 50% off special on all of the information products in my online store so that you can get the information you need to grow your business. You can choose from:

Virtual Picking - Find Items Online to Resell on eBay

The Art of Selling Preowned Women's Shoes

The Profitable World of Selling Women's Clothing Level 1

The Profitable World of Selling Women's Clothing Level 2

eBay Basics

eBay International Shipping

Etsy for Beginners

Keep Your eBay Business Growing

Supplier eBooks

Selling Groceries on Amazon

The Golf Shirt Bible

What to Buy at Thrift Stores to Resell on eBay

If you have been thinking about learning something new, take advantage of this special now. All items are instant downloads so you can start learning right away. You'll be ready for Black Friday sales at thrift stores! Remember, thrift stores are packed full in January since people donate heavily at the end of December to get the tax write-off for donations. (Consumer advocate Clark Howard even says so!) You can be ready to hit the ground running in January armed with new knowledge to explore different products you may have been passing by and grow your eBay business for 2017.

Use coupon code  


to get your 50% discount. There is no limit on the number of items you can purchase and the discount applies to everything! Discount is for 3 days only - November 14, 15, and 16.

Feel free to share this information and discount code in your groups and with anyone who wants to grow their eBay business. There is more than enough out there for all of us to prosper.

Remember, Einstein said, "If you always do what you have always done, you always get what you've always got."  Today is a great day to learn something new!

Happy Selling,

Suzanne A. Wells

Monday, November 7, 2016

Hatchimals Selling for Twice the Retail Price on eBay

Looking for the hot toy to flip on eBay this year? Read all the details here.

Will you get in on the Hatchimals frenzy?

Happy selling!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

eBay Listing Assistant Success Story - eBay Store Bepie's Odds and Ends



I wanted to take a moment to show you how my Virtual eBay Listing Assistant Program is helping sellers make money. Here are screen shots of actual items that my VAs listed for one of our clients and the items sold in just a few days. Remember, unlisted items can't sell!

Our client Beth sells clothing, toys, and other items from thrift stores. (Her eBay store is Bepie's Odds and Ends.)  Beth loves to shop and is a very good picker. She knows her brands, and she is an Anthropologie expert. She has taught me a lot over the years. Take a moment to look through her store, you will see brands you have never heard of before - she is always teaching me something.

Beth lives in Metro Atlanta, less than 10 miles from about 8 thrift stores, so picking is plentiful. She pays between $2 and $6 for her items, depending on the store, the sale, and the brand. She can focus on finding great inventory at super low prices, and we help her list the items quickly, so she can make money faster. Here are a few things that have sold in the last month - and they sold within just a few days of listing.




 

We have been working with Beth off and on for about 2 years. Beth is married to Jimmy, and they are they parents of 3 boys - one recently got married, one in college, and another in middle school. Her eBay money helps pay for private school for her youngest son, and household necessities. Beth is able to make money on a flexible schedule doing what she loves! We help Beth list between 20 and 50 items a week.

If you have a backlog of items to list, or are ready to outsource part of your eBay business, find out more here. We are ready to help you list eBay items faster and make more money!

Interested in becoming one of my virtual assistants? I offer great hourly pay, you can work on your schedule, and in the comfort of your own home. Use your eBay skills to make money from home, while helping other sellers at the same time. Contact me here for details.

http://ebaysellingcoach.blogspot.com/2016/10/new-virtual-ebay-listing-assistant.html




Sunday, October 23, 2016

eBay Seller Increases Sales by 873% in 12 Months






Congrats to fellow seller Mary H. who sent me this email:

"I know you are a very busy lady, but I just wanted to send you a quick thank you! I first stumbled upon your blog a few months ago, then discovered your videos, and finally joined your Facebook group. 

Since then, my eBay business has taken off in a way I never thought possible. I made more over this past summer than I did in my first 2 full years of selling. I even opened a store, which I always thought was only for serious sellers.

I've caught the bug to continue learning, researching, and thrifting. Even with a baby in tow, I've managed to grow my business and more than triple the number of listings I have up. It's such a thrill! Anyway, thank you again for taking the time to pass along your knowledge and experience with others. Keep up the good work, and have a great weekend! :) "

The screen shot above shows Mary's progress over the last year:

873% increase in sales over 12 months

57% increase in sales over the last 31 days

Check out Mary's eBay store, Spare Room Specials,  to see what she sells, listing type, and other details.

Congrats Mary for your success and may you continue to prosper!

More eBay Success Stories:

Living and eBaying the Minimalist Way 

American Girl Doll Expert

Flipping Storage Units to Sell on eBay



Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Most GIGANTIC eBay Listing Project Ever - Collector with Over 100,000 Lots

 

Well, here we go.

My daughter and I are about to embark on the biggest eBay related project we have ever done. This is probably the biggest project anyone has ever done with regard to catching up on a backlog of inventory. As my readers, you all have followed me on many projects including writing ventures, selling on Amazon, and downsizing my own home in 2015. Now, Melanie and I have partnered with Will Seippel, CEO of WorthPoint to help get his personal collection of items listed on in eBay store.

If you aren't familiar with Will, he is the founder and CEO of WorthPoint Corporation, the largest resource for researching, valuing and buying/selling antiques, art and vintage collectibles. WorthPoint offerings consists of WorthPoint.com, an online resource for researching and valuing antiques, art and collectibles; and an online resource for investigating makers’ marks as well as accessing a library of virtual books from leading publishers on a wide range of collecting topics. WorthPoint’s price guide is a comprehensive solution that gives a user access to more than 300 million historical prices and more than images 1.2 billion photographs. WorthPoint's research data goes back to 2007. eBay's data only goes back 30 days. The WorthPoint website gets 50,000 hits a day.

Will's eBay store,  Wills1n4, has 3,968 active listings as of today and the items range in price from $1.95 for WWII envelope cachets, to $9,999 for an antique 1904 photo book. Will has been selling on eBay since 1999, has over 15,000 feedbacks, and sells about 300 items a month. A lifelong collector and world traveler, Will has amassed a collection of over 100,000 items that aren't even listed on eBay yet. He has gotten behind on listings just like many of you reading. Will says,

"I like buying and selling but could not keep up with the selling on my own. In some cases, I was slow in wanting to part with some things but that was generally not the issue. Some people called it hoarding, but that is not my issue."

As a busy CEO, world traveler, husband, and father of 5 children, Will is just like us - life gets busy. He has quadruplets in college and a son who is a recent college graduate who works in the WorthPoint office. Part of his work with WorthPoint is helping estate sale companies price items. In this capacity, he gets to see all kinds of unique items that he buys for his personal eBay store. Many times, he buys out the whole estate sale. Inventory can add up very quickly when buying hundreds or thousands of items at a time.

Another reason Will is ready to get his items listed on eBay is about the legacy he will leave for his children.

"I am turning 60 and I realize I do not want to end up like some of the estates we all see and it is time to focus on dealing with it. I just am also putting my mom's house on the market and it took me two years to get to that point. Like a lot of great pickers, I have stuff in several locations; the warehouse, my house, and the house in Maine."

Melanie and I will be working out of a 1,500 square foot warehouse full of items, as well as the items stockpiled in Will's basement and garage. Here are a few sneak peek photos of what the warehouse looks like now.




Not very exciting photos, but all I can think about is what treasures are inside those mountains of boxes! Will and I decided to make this journey public on my blog and YouTube channel, and document the progress for several reasons. First of all, many of you out there have a backlog of items and maybe the  mountain has gotten just too overwhelming to even begin listing the items on eBay. Any mountain can be tackled, it just takes patience, determination, and the desire to get it done. We are going to eat this elephant one bite at a time. Perhaps our journey will inspire others of you to tackle your death piles.

Second, there is a shocking amount of money tied up in this inventory, and deferred profit. Many of you are dealing with that also. You have a significant investment in your inventory and cannot see the profit until the items are listed. It is time to take action so you can reap the rewards of your pickings. A dead tree can't bear fruit. Time to bring it back to life!

We are fortunate that Will lives in Atlanta, just a few miles away and we can go to his location to help him with this project. While we can't come to your homes or storage units to help, I have a team of virtual assistants who can help you. Here is how that service works.

If you are serious about getting your backlog of eBay items listed and pump some new life back into your eBay income stream, contact me here. I will connect you will an experienced seller who can help.

Stay tuned for weekly updates on this massive project. We are thrilled to be able to work with Will and his wife, Shari, and hope you all will learn some interesting things along the way.

12/8/2016 Update:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHMyX8C_81E


See the outcome of the project here.