When A Good Auction Goes Bad

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I’m sure at some point you’ve heard of an eBay horror story (if not you experienced it for yourself).  Unfortunately, it happens.  Every once and a while there is a buyer who might make a perfectly good auction a nightmare.  There are several degrees of an auction gone wrong, and for some reason, I had them all!  This is why, we as eBay Entrepreneurs, need to protect ourselves from bad buyers.  Even if you listed your item perfectly and made your description as clear as possible, you may get a buyer who argues that they were deceived in some way.  I recently sold a Flowbee on eBay and had a buyer from out of this world.  No really, he told me he was not from this planet Earth.  Here is my story.

img_0383About a month ago I was more than happy to be selling a Flowbee.  I thought this was great!  I decided to do an auction for three days, and it seemed as if people were bidding left and right.  As the auction ended for almost $60, an automatic invoice was sent to the buyer.  After a few days the buyer still didn’t pay (nightmare #1), so I sent another bill.  Finally, the customer decided to pay, and he sent a note telling me that he was just visiting Earth, so if I could please expedite the package.  As I always do, I packaged up his item the same day he paid and shipped it to Brazil.  I sent it priority mail, and I even lost just a few dollars on the shipping costs.  I thought everything was going great until I received an “Open Case” notification from eBay.  The buyer had opened this case because he stated he never received the package (nightmare #2).  This was only five days after I sent the package.  Luckily I was able to provide a tracking number and had the case closed.  The next day I look at my feedback, and he had given me a negative remark (nightmare #3).  He had stated that item was used and not brand new, and demanded his shipping cost back.  It was clear that the object was used in the description.   Now, this is the perfect example of when a Good Auction Goes Bad.  Like I said before, we Ebay Entrepreneurs need to protect ourselves from buyers like this, so here is what you need to do.

  1. Buyer never pays for your item:  In my case, I had to send a few invoices before the buyer paid, but if for some reason he decided not to pay at all, you can open an unpaid item case.  This way you are protected from paying the Final Value Fee for the item.
  2. Customer states that they never received the item:  Ebay knows that there are some scandalous buyers out there, so they put in place a program called (Seller Protection).  This way you can plead your case and prove that you sent the item to the buyer.  I ALWAYS recommend that you get Delivery Confirmation when you ship an item.  If you are shipping outside the US, then you have to fill out a customs declaration form.  There are two different forms you can fill out.  One is if it is under 2 lbs.  This one does not do a good job tracking a package after it leaves the US, but there is another one that is for items over 2 lbs.  This is a bigger form that you have to fill out, but it tracks your item as it goes to the destination.  I always fill this form out even if it is under 2 lbs.  Only once have they had me fill out the smaller form.  In my case, I was able to track my package and prove that I sent it to him.
  3. A buyer leaves you a negative remark: When a buyer leaves you an unjustified negative remark you can have it removed.  eBay has a tool that will allow you to ask the buyer to retract their feedback that they left.  Usually, you have to justify why they should remove the feedback, but 99% of the time they do.  Here are eBay’s guidelines.

As you can see, eBay has your back when a Good Action Goes Bad, but just make sure you have all of your ducks in a row with every auction!  Feel free to leave your eBay nightmare story in the comments below!

For more tips and tricks, check out “The Keys to a Successful eBay Business” HERE

 

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How I Tripled My Sales By Speaking The Correct Language

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We are all WORLD WIDE Entrepreneurs!  We can sell to any country and to any person who wants our item – but how do you market to the ideal customer?  Over the years, I’ve developed the skill of spotting trends on the items I sell.  For example, there are seasonal, size, and more importantly, location trends.

Over the past few months, I’ve been trying something – an experiment.  This experiment has proven to be quite eye-opening and has changed the way I connect with my customers.  Here was the problem.  Since the middle of summer, I started to see a slow down on the sales of my polo shirts.  I knew that summer was ending, but I refused to let my sales do the same.  As it grew increasingly chilly here in midwest America, I started to see a trend.  99% of my Tommy Hilfiger shirts were sold to only one place – Brazil.

untitled-pictureWith sales declining, I realized that I was selling one Tommy Hilfiger shirt sporadically throughout the month.  This is when I decided to make a change.  Knowing that almost all of my sales went to Brazil, I realized that I needed to market directly to them!  There are thousands of these Tommy Hilfiger shirts on eBay at any time, and mine looked exactly like the rest.  So here is my secret! I added a few strategic words to my description and secondary titles in the native language of Brizal, Portuguese!

My listing had all of the standard size and measurements descriptions in English, but I added one sentence towards the top of the description “Esta camisa de golfe é muito bom, e eu navio ao Brasil rápido e muitas vezes! Lance com confiança. Muito obrigado!”.  That translates into “This golf shirt is very nice, and I ship to Brazil fast and often!  Bid with confidence.  Thanks!”.  Of course, I have no idea how to speak or write in Portuguese, so I use the Google Translator Widget found HERE.

Since I have started doing this, my Tommy Hilfiger sales almost tripled!  Remember to Think Different and amazing things will happen!

For more tips and tricks, check out “The Keys to a Successful eBay Business” HERE.

How to make $100 a day on eBay.

 

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The number one eBay related question I get is, “Where do I find eBay inventory?” Over the past couple of years I have outlined many places you can go to find eBay inventory, but for most, this can be overwhelming. It can take time to find inventory, and if you’re like me, you probably don’t have all day to search for new items to sell. So, how do you make $100 a day on eBay? There are several ways to accomplish this – below I’ve outlined a simple and easy to follow formula:

The key to this program has a consistent inventory stream. This may sound hard, but in reality, it’s not. Ebay inventory is all around you. It is a numbers game, and this is how to play.

1. Look at the stores that are around you e.g. Target, Grocery Store, K-Mart, Dollar Stores, Malls, Shoe Stores, Thrift Stores, Costco.

2. Pick three or four stores, and walk through them with a notepad in hand. You will be looking for items that are SMALL and unique enough that a buyer might not even know that they are there e.g. Fake Lottery Ticket, Stickers, Lip gloss, Toy handcuffs, Party Supplies, shoe laces.

3. Out of all the stores you visit, you want to come up with a list of 100 – 150 items and their prices (each store has thousands of SKU’s so this may take time, but it shouldn’t be hard to do)

4. Take your list home, and visit this eBay profit calculator HERE. You need to figure out how much you would have to sell each item for if you wanted to profit $.50 – $5. (That’s right, $.50 – $5).

5. Compare each item with the completed eBay listings. See if any items are selling in this price range.

6. List your items using a fixed format.

It’s important to remember that you have free listings every month (unless you have an eBay store). This process takes some time to get up and going, but once you set up your listings, you can set it and forget it. There are two key goals we want to accomplish here. First, we want the items to be small enough that we can send them in an envelope. The reason behind this is that filling out an envelope is quick and it doesn’t take up much space. Secondly, we want to find items that are consistently available in the store (see number 2 for ideas). If you can locate and sell the same item, then you only have to set up the listing once.

If you are making $.50 – $5 per item, then you usually need to sell 50 items per day. If you are selling items that fit into an envelope, then it should only take you a few hours to gather your products and send them out. For me, I like to have my 3 or 4 stores close together (within a mile).

This technique should be used in conjunction with selling the more profitable items. I mentioned earlier that this is a numbers game. Since I have an eBay store, I know that I’m allowed tons of free listings per month. In most cases, I am using them all, so I don’t lose money if my products don’t sell. With newer sellers, you may be restricted to the number of items you are allowed to sell, but you can request the limit to be raised at any time.

The hardest part is making sure that your stores keep the item in stock. You do run the risk of your item being sold out when you go to buy it, so pay close attention to what you are listing. If this happens, make sure you quickly let the buyer know and refund their money.

Like I mentioned before, this is just ONE of the ways that you can make $100 a day on eBay. Just to be clear, it’s not easy. It takes work, but when your business is set up correctly, you will reap the rewards. As always, it’s not guaranteed that you will make any money at all using this system. The amount of money you make depends on your dedication, skill level, and time/effort you put into it.

For more tips and tricks, check out “The Keys to a Successful eBay Business” HERE.

Hey – That Would Be Great For….

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When eBay buyers go online to shop, do they know what they are looking for?  In most cases, I would say – yes, but it’s easy to get lost in all the active listings.  Lucky for them, you can help!

Steve Jobs is famous for doing zero market research at Apple.  He thought that customers had no clue to what they wanted.  This goes for the eBay shopper as well!  I’m not saying that us “sellers” need to invent a new life changing product like Steve did, but there is an easy way to open an eBayer’s eyes to your product.

With that said, there’s a small trick I use when repurposing a product on eBay.  This step opens up my item to a whole new group of eBay buyers that probably wouldn’t have seen my item.  So what’s the trick?  Well, the trick is to use the phrase, “Great For…”, and then suggest a use for a product.  For example, I found a Cast Iron “Mickey Mouse” Muffin Pan.  I tried to sell it as is, but no one was interested.  That was until I changed the description to “Cast Iron Mickey Mouse Muffin Pan – Great For Disney Birthday Parties.”  That opened up a whole new niche for me.  Not only was I selling to the collectors, but I now am selling to buyers looking for birthday ideas!  I got great feedback from the customer, and she thanked me for the suggestion.  I doubled the amount I thought I was going to get for it, so from there on, I was sold!

It’s fun to go to eBay and type in “Great For” in the search bar and see what results you get.  Some people have great ideas, and it helps me stay creative with my listings.  Before we take a look at a listing, you can check out the “Great For” search results HERE.

Okay, let’s take a look at how adding “Great For” helped a seller make more money.

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These are similar listings, but one has “Great For Bridal Showers, ” and one does not.  If an eBay buyer was looking for Bridal Shower ideas, then guess what listing popped up?  This technique will greatly enhance your chances of your item being bought!  Give it a shot and let us know how it worked!

For more tips and tricks (plus a list of what to sell), check out, “The Keys to a Successful eBay Business” HERE