In addition to the basic business models I've outlined above, there are also a number of tips and tricks you will want to consider using, as they have the potential to radically increase your profit margins.
Tips From eBay Power Sellers
USE YOUR TITLE INTELLIGENTLY
Use your title line intelligently.
You are competing with a million other items trying to get attention and dollars.
What you say in your title is critical because that's what eBay 's search engine reads. You throw away money when you neglect important key words that buyers search on.
A good title should identify what you have.
Always mention a brand name or maker (or artist) if known.
Identify the material it's made from whenever relevant.
If selling an illustration of any type, the subject matter must be in the title.
The more relevant information that you can jam into your title, the more bidders you attract. Bidders don't search eBayfor words like "wow" or "look" so be smart with your space.
CHECK ON THE COMPETITOR
Read a few similar eBaylistings before you post yours.
A little research can pay off.
Each hobby has a vocabulary, a standard way of saying things.
Learning the basics of that vocabulary can be worth money to you.
Wrong words can cost you money.
For example, one seller sold his "scrapbook of liners" on eBayfor $187.
Had he identified it as "Cigar Label Sample Catalog" he would have attracted bidders who routinely pay $3,000 to $10,000 for them.
So remember, check what your competitors are doing before doing it yourself.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT CATEGORY
List items in the correct categories.
In March last year, an item posted on eBayin one category sold for $174.
Three months later, an identical item was put up in a very different category with a more informative description and it brought $2,700.
List in multiple categories when in doubt.
KEEP YOUR EBAY LISTING SIMPLE
Assume bidders are in a hurry.
Make it easy for bidders to read about your offering and see your picture.
Keep it simple, direct, clean, and get to the point.
Get our attention WITH YOUR ITEM and its description.
Only then is your Power Seller logo relevant, as are your terms, what credit cards you take, ads for your shop, and pictures of your children.
They belong after your description and item photos.
Avoid large, slow loading graphics.
Learn how to use your camera or scanner so you can make modestly sized pictures.
Low resolution jpeg images that load quickly are perfect for eBayunder most circumstances.
If you're using scanned images, make sure to resize them so they load fast, fit on smaller screens, and can be viewed in their entirety without scrolling.
Thumbnails are great, but if you use them, make certain the most informative picture is first.
Sellers who open their listings with page after page of giant type spelling out their terms doubly inconvenience bidders who physically print out the descriptions and photos of everything they bid on (print-outs make perfect inventory and tax documents).
Give them title, description, photos, then all that other junk. Incidental information does not make them want to buy; how you display and describe your item makes them want to buy.
KEEP PLAIN BACKGROUND COLOR
Avoid color backgrounds.
Base your listing on the needs of your customer, not those of your interior decorator.
The recent eBaytrend toward dark or cluttered patterned backgrounds constitutes customer abuse, especially for the colorblind or those still using monochrome screens and printers.
eBay Tip #1: 2-Step Arbitrage
Before you attempt this step, you will want to get better at arbitrage on eBay.
So what is arbitrage?
It's the act of purchasing something to immediately resell it for a higher price. This is actually one of the methods outlined above for physical inventories; however, you can use it in conjunction with non-physical inventories, too.
The most important part of being successful with arbitrage is finding auctions that are either deficient in some respect or have the potential to close at below the market price.
HERE ARE SOME RED FLAGS YOU CAN LOOK FOR:
- Does the auction properly use keywords and keyphrases?
- Is the auction “no reserve”?
- Does the seller have a massive inventory?
- Does the item lack a thumbnail image?
- Does the item have a reasonably good description?
- Does the item have an extremely low amount of visitors (hint: check the counter)?
- Are critical keywords misspelled?
If an auction exhibits any of these features, there is a good chance it will close below the market price.
If you plan to search specifically for items like this, you will want to look for “no reserve” auctions or use a misspelled keyword tool.
Note: for this specific technique, you will want to try to pick a seller who has constantly clearing his/her inventory below market prices; however, for regular arbitrage, you can simply purchase from whomever is making these critical mistakes.
Once you have found a number of items selling like this from another buyer, you will want to purchase them, re-list them in your store, and sell them at a significantly higher price.
This, in itself, is a worthwhile activity, as you're profiting from your sales; however, it is only the first part of this
The second part will not only earn you MORE money, but it will also help out some eBay store owners in the process.
Now, in the second step, you will actually want to create a product of your own that explains what you are changing on auctions to bring in higher prices.
You can create a short PDF (5-10) pages that explains all of the critical elements you have to change to get more visitors and to prevent auctions from closing below market prices.
If you want to earn more money, you can setup some sort of back-end mechanism for this product.
For instance, you could segment part of your list for people who specifically purchased this product – and include a link for that at the end of your PDF.
Your next step is to create a quick description of the ebook on the website you setup earlier.
Along with that, you will want to login to your Paypal account and create a checkout button for the ebook.
This step is pretty straight forward and you can learn how to do this at the Paypal help section.
If your ebook actually contains some good tips – and it is precisely what you would use to sell products for a higher price, then do not put a small price tag on it.
Now, your next step is to contact the seller you purchased the products from AFTER you finish selling them yourself and AFTER you receive feedback.
Let the seller know that you purchased his items and resold them for higher prices – and that you are willing to show him the exact steps he would have to take himself to do exactly that.
One way in which you can do that is to send a private inquiry about an item in his/her inventory.
Tell him/her that you've purchased from him/her in the past and resold the items you purchased for higher prices.
Say that the PDF will explain some of the problems his current listed item has – and how he can easily correct them to increase his/her profit margins significantly.
eBay Tip #2: List as Both a BIN and Auction
This tip is really simple.
Listings on eBay are sorted into two categories: “buy it now” listings and “auction” listings.
If you put listings up as both “auctions” and “BINs,” you will double the amount of exposure you receive without significantly increasing the amount of fees you have to pay.
So, with nothing to lose, do this!
eBay Tip #3: Test Out Pricing Strategies
Price structures will have a considerable amount to do with how successful your auctions end up being.
This is especially true if you are selling expensive physical products.
For instance, if you are using eBay to sell cars or expensive antiques – or even something less expensive, such as jewelry – you will want to test out potential price structures to determine what will work best with your selected inventory.
Remember the golden rule of eBay, you make money by selling mass products, not by highly priced individual products.
eBay Tip #4: Cross-Promotional Strategies
Earlier in this ebook, we outlined a number of different potential cross-promotional strategies you could attempt with your eBay business.
These range from simply using cross-promotion boxes at the bottom of auctions to cross-promoting products you are selling on an external website via “thank you” letters.
In addition to this, there are a number of cross-promotional strategies you can use that simply involve positioning auctions, setting up special auctions, and varying your price and listing strategies.
eBay Risk Factor
On eBay, there is almost always a positive correlation between risk and the potential for high closing prices; however, what is important to note is that this potential doesn't always translate into reality.
For this reason, it is important to gauge how realistic your chances are of reaching your targeted potential price before you actually use “dangerous” listing methods.
For instance, let's say you're selling a rare item – perhaps one you've paid $2000 for yourself – and you know that it could potentially receive a lot of exposure, visits, and a high price tag, how should you list it?
One way in which you could do this is to sell it as a straight “no reserve” auction; however, within “no reserve” auctions, there are two other options you will have to consider.
The first option is a “no reserve” auction with a “break even” minimum bid.
As we discussed earlier, the break even point is the point at which you receive enough money to pay for your the item, your time, and your listing and shipping fees.
If you know without any doubt that your item will easily sell for around the break even point, you may want to take this approach.
This will do three things: it will ensure that, at a minimum, you break even.
Additionally, it will ensure that you do not lose money.
Last, it will push people to bid, since they know they do not have to reach a reserve in order to get it.
RISKING IT WITH ‘NO RESERVE’ ON EBAY
Now, if you're willing to risk your item for greater potential rewards – and you're positive there is a large, interested market – you may want to test the waters with a “no reserve,” $1 minimum bid auction.
This is, indeed, very dangerous; however, at the same time, it is also a great way to start bidding wars, which can quickly bring the price above what you normally would have expected.
MAKE SURE POTENTIAL BUYERS KNOW THE REAL VALUE
If you're using the “no reserve,” $1 minimum auction model, you will want to clearly communicate the value of the item being sold to ensure that bidders have a reasonable idea of what would qualify as a deal.
If they do not know that a rare antique would sell on normal markets for $5000, then they might also not understand that $2000 is an excellent price.
SAFE EBAY AUCTION METHOD
Now, if you want to avoid “no reserve” auctions altogether to take a safer strategy, you can always create bidding wars by using the $1 minimum technique – but then simply using it in conjunction with a reserve.
If you set a reserve at $500, for instance, and no one ever exceeds that price, then you never actually have to sell the item; however, when creating an auction with a reserve, you will want to set it around your break even point, as that will encourage more bidding when someone finally passes the mark.
Again make sure you do describe the product that you are selling well and make sure you describe it in a way to ensure potential buyers know the real price of such a item. Make it a bargain!