“I really must get round to selling on eBay” Sound familiar? It’s a fact that starting out selling on ebay is daunting. It’s a huge site with lots of hoops to jump through – so it seems anyway.
But as a full time Powerseller I can tell you, that it’s easy once you master a few basics and have your standard set of tools and resources sorted out.
In this article series I’m going to list and explain the tools and services you need to get in order to operate effectively as a seller on ebay.
**Why aim at Powerseller level?**
A Powerseller is an ebay seller who has sold above a certain number of items/value over a 3 month rolling period. It is an indication of success so therefore you what to be there as if you’re not then you’re by definition not selling very much and only making a bit of spare cash.
**How long to become a Powerseller?**
A minimum of 3 months. You need to sell over a certain number of sales/value and maintain a good feedback rating over a 3 month rolling period. So even if you sell $100,000 in month you won’t be upgraded. That’s because eBay define Powerseller’s as their most experienced “pillars of the community” So you have to prove yourself to eBay and that takes a little while.
It’s possible to do it in 3 months but unlikely. You’d be pushing very hard and taking some risks because of your unfamiliarity with the system. Better I suggest to aim at 4 months with month one being the test and learn phase.
**What do you need? My Powerseller Toolbox**
Some of these steps and tools you can do or get before you start. Some you need to be aware of and ready to fire at the right time. I’ve indicated this on each step.
**Verified Paypal Premier or Business account – Right away.
Free and essential. Lets you receive and send any amount of money. Premier if selling as a private individual. Business if you’re a business.
**Quality digital camera – Immediately.
Essential. Make sure it has a good macro mode for close up shots. Photos are a key to your success. When you’re selling products where you can get manufacturer shots I still find it good to take my own shots in a natural setting for the product. This adds extra differentiation and you’ll come across as more of an authority on the product.
**Image Edit software – Right away.
If you’re a whiz with Photoshop or other image software great. If not then you’ll need image editing software for resizing and touch up. I use Irfanview which is free.
**Image hosting account – Right away.
eBay’s Picture Manager is pricey. An alternative is an image hosting account. You just upload your pictures and copy and paste the image codes into your auctions. I use villagephotos.com where I get a 5000 image limit for $6 a month. Their cool image gallery feature allows you to use many photos in your auctions for free.
**Answertool – As soon as you start listing
I can’t praise this enough. As you do eBay you’ll find that you get many repetitive questions. E.g., postage queries, requests for your address, common questions on core products. It’s really annoying to type a reply each time for the same thing.
With Answertool you build up a custom database of common answers and access them through a really fast easy tree structure that comes up at the click of a button.
It’s simly a “can’t live without” tool.
I estimate it’s saved me 20-30 minutes a day since I got it 18 months = 10-11 days of pointless typing eliminated!
**Roboform – Right away
As you develop your business you’ll find yourself needing to log in to allsorts of places, ebay, supplier websites, membership sites etc. Roboform stores and automates all your login and password operations. Once you have you can’t and won’t live without it. A massive time and hassle saver that is also great for filling in online forms, e,g, anything with name, address ‘ Get it.
**Turbolister – Right away
Free. eBays auction listing and management tool. Create and manage your listings on your computer and upload them en masse to eBay. It’s faster and easier than creating auctions on eBay’s online interface, has loads of design templates and requires no HTML or techie skills. A vast time saver. Get it and take a few hours to learn it.
**Selling Manager Pro – Right away
Automates your business processes through the sales cycle – from customer emails and listing management to leaving feedback. Get the Pro version. It’s free for 30 days. Indispensable.
**Open an eBay shop – After 10 positive feedbacks
Your own eCommerce website within eBay. You can organise all your auctions in categories you define. You can put your own custom pages on there, run sales on your fixed price items, manage cross sell promotions, build and market to your own email list. You even have a Vacation feature to freeze things if you go on holiday. If you want to do a bit of SEO (Search engine optimization) this is where you target it.
There are 3 levels: Basic, Featured and Anchor. Go for Featured. Anchor is hugely expensive so ignore that until you’re at least a Gold level Powerseller.
Right away – Look at other sellers to get ideas for things you. Write the pages in advance so you can set them up quickly later.
**About Me page – As soon as you get auctions running
Free. A basic thing you must do. People buy form people and this where you get to tell people who you are and what you do. Write for your target audience in the context of your situation. So if you’re just starting, say who you are and that you’re clearing your house out so keep checking back! Later you can put info like buyers guides, FAQs and technical info ‘ stuff you don’t want cluttering up your auctions.
**Buy some stuff on eBay – Right away
Get some positive feedbacks and learn how eBay works from the buyers angle. Maybe things for your hobbies or some supplies you’ll need like scales and bubble wrap.
**Define Terms and Conditions – Right away
See my sites and feel free to lift and adapt mine if you. No matter how you’re selling you must have these just in case. Key things you might put in an auction are places you can’t or won’t ship to. Types of payment accepted. Whether or not people can call round to collect. Refund & Guarantee policy.
**Define Refund and Guarantee policy – Right away
You wouldn’t buy a most things without one so why should people buy from some person on ebay if you don’t offer one? I offer a 30 day money back, no questions asked. I get about a 1% return rate which is a mix of defective product (it happens) and ones where I suspect the person needed the money back as they’d overspent. Regardless I do the refund.
**Check email 3×7
Check morning, noon and evening at least. Potential customers will sometimes ask the daftest questions or ask about things that are clearly written in the auction. Just be polite and answer and don’t say anything sarcastic! Replay too late and someone might not bid and that can mean a bidding war never starts and the auction bombs.
**Skype or phone communication
If you don’t mind taking calls then I suggest a phone with answer machine and published hours when it will be answered or you’ll never get any peace. The same goes for Skype.
**Mailing stuff – Right away:
*Big sharp scissors.
*Scales that measure from 1 gram up as high as possible.
*Brown packing tape.
*Wide clear cellotape.
*Brown paper wrap.
*Bubble wrap rolls.
*Padded mailing bags, I use MailLite.
You can find suppliers for all this on eBay though I prefer office supplies company Viking Direct where I buy mailing supplies in bulk monthly.
**Future products and sales – Whan awake at all times!
Think about product you’ll source to resell. Make a list of hobbies and interests past, present or thing you want to start and go scout online for manufacturers and wholesalers and make a spreadsheet contact hit list.
Time spent in preparation is time well spent. Take care not to get caught in this phase ‘ analysis paralysis as it’s called. Get your tools done fast. Be focused and determined and move onto action stations ‘ selling your first items.