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

 

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.

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

Easy to Find – Money Maker

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The Sony Walkman – this brings back good memories. Walking down the street, listening to the latest MC Hammer cassette tape. I thought I was cool! I remember when I bought my first Sony Walkman. It was the latest and greatest technology, and I could either listen to FM radio or whatever tape I could carry. When I was done listening to the first side I simply flipped it over to side B. Technology sure has advanced since then, but the Sony Walkman is still in high demand!

Sure there are “newer” digital versions of a Sony Walkman that allow you to play MP3’s, but those are not the ones that sell well on eBay. The vintage Sony Walkman (from the 80’s) is what’s HOT! There are a few reasons why people want these beautiful electronics again, and it may not be why you’d think. I have sold many of these on eBay before, and just out of curiosity, I asked the buyer why they wanted an old Sony Walkman. Here is what they said:

1. Battery Life: A couple of buyers stated that they only wanted it for the FM radio and that the Sony Walkman has the best battery life.

2. Collectors: I had some buyer tell me that they are just a fan of older technology, and they wanted to add it to their collection.

3. Party: One other buyer told me that they are going to an 80’s party and wanted it as an accessory.

I’m sure there are other reasons why people want these, but whatever the reason is, I am happy to sell it to them! Let us take a look at some completed listings:

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As you can see, the Vintage Sony Walkman is worth some real money! So where do you find these? The answer is, EVERYWHERE! A lot of people don’t understand the value of the Walkman, so they sell them for $1 at garage sales or $2 at thrift stores. Even some people on eBay will do a buy it now for under $5.

Make sure you are paying attention to the model of the Walkman, and utilize the Completed Listings feature. Not all Walkman’s are worth the same amount, and of course, the older, the better. Try to stay away from any cassette Walkman’s that have a digital display. Those are too new. Lastly, make sure it works. You may have to buy a cassette tape from Goodwill for $.50, but it will be worth it. The last thing you want is to have an angry buyer!

f you are wanting more tips and tricks, you can get my ebook, “The Keys to a Successful eBay Business” HERE

Sometimes holding on to a product is more profitable!

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When selling on eBay, my official motto is to “Flip an item as fast as possible,” but in some cases, it may pay to be patient.  You may have an item that is easy to find right now, but it could be seasonal.  When the supply dries out, the profit should go up, right?  That’s not true in all cases, but if you do your research, you could walk away with much more money!

5a97fece-b691-404e-a39d-2ebeb92e9601-2878-0000030833421e07_tmpLet us take a look at a recent purchase I made.  Not too long ago, I was walking through a store with my wife when I found a huge lot of FrankenBerry cereal on clearance for $1.  This typically is a Halloween item, but since the holiday was over, the store seemed to think that the demand would go down.  I pulled out my handy smartphone and checked the completed listings on eBay.  I wasn’t that thrilled with the results so I kept on walking.  Then it hit me – clearance items usually mean that the stock will be gone soon.  So, the true FrankenBerry fans will be out of luck, and with supply & demand, I’d more than likely be able to make a profit.  Instead of listening to my instinct, I pulled up one of my new favorite apps, Terapeak.  I was able to see that I was right; a few months after Halloween, each box spiked to between $5.50 – $9 a box. So, against my wife’s wishes, I bought all 120 boxes for $1 each (at Target)

It’s not like these are selling like crazy on eBay, so I had to develop a strategy to sell these before August 2017 (that’s when they expire). Here is what I found:

  • They are selling better in the United Kingdom than in the United States, so I decided to add UK visibility to my listing.
  • The current average sale price right now is $5.99 with $16.50 shipping to the UK, so I decided to sell them now for that amount. According to USPS, it will only cost $12.50 to ship the box there – that will leave me a profit of $5.37 per box.
  • According to Terapeak, this number will grow throughout the year, so even if I only make $5.37 per box, I will have made a $644 profit on FrankenBerry cereal.
  • I am using more sources than eBay to sell this product (Amazon).
  • If all else fails, I have a lot of FrankenBerry to eat.

Thanks to TeraPeak, in this case, I have the knowledge that my product will probably sell for more in a few months, but since I have so many boxes, I think I am going to start selling them now. If you have never used TeraPeak before, I suggest you at least check it out.

Have you ever had an item that you sat on for awhile to make more money later on? If so, what was it and was it worth it?  Lastly, please subscribe to this blog for more updates :).

Want an easy sale? List some Hair Curlers!

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I’ll never forget the first time I was shopping at Goodwill and found a pair of the blue Remington Tight Curl Curlers. If it wasn’t for the TalkBoy sitting right next to these money makers, I probably would have walked right past them.  At the time, selling items from Goodwill was completely new to me.  In order to find out whether or not I could make money – I had to check the completed listings on the eBay mobile app.  My mouth almost dropped when I saw that those same curlers were selling for over $50 used. Goodwill was selling them for only $2, so I knew it was a home run.  But why?

The Remington Tight Curl Curlers are not the only set that will bring you in the big bucks. Let’s take a look at a few that have recently sold, and pay attention to the titles of each of these completed listings. You will see a theme. Every listing makes reference to Pageants. These old and used hair curlers provide the perfect curl for the toddler and tiara type of shows. It doesn’t matter that they are used, if it helps win the competition, then the parents will fish out the dough.  Take a look at a few of the sold listings below:

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This is an excellent time to point out the value to checking every “eye-catching” item at thrift stores. You truly never know what an item is worth to someone else! Using this type of thinking has to lead me to some crazy finds in my day. Here is a list of my most interesting finds:

  1. A box of tampons: YepI bought for less than a dollar and made over $60.
  2. Three bottles of cleaner: It was to be used in a machine that was discontinued. (Bought for less than a dollar per bottle and make over $30 each.)
  3. Water damaged ink: I found several boxes of old ink that were heavily water damaged for less than $3 each. I sold most of them for $30 and some for over $50. It turns out that they were solid ink bars and the water did no damage.
  4. Old Coke rugby shirt: This shirt had several holes and looked like it was worn in an actual rugby game. Bought it for $4 and sold it for $150.
  5. Electronic Face Shocker: That’s not the real name, but it does a good job describing what it does. It’s called a face exerciser. I found it in a zip lock bag for .50 cents and sold it for $70.

I really could go on and on, but the point I’m trying to make is that you can’t judge a book by its cover. It may not look like much to you, but someone else may be willing to pay big bucks for it! What is your craziest find?  Share in the comments below.

Hey – If you like these posts, subscribe to this blog 🙂

Hot Item to Sell on eBay – Finish Quantumatic Powerball Refills

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Here is a hot item, and a consistent seller on eBay.  The Finish Quantumatic Powerball Refills. These are dishwasher detergents that have been discontinued and replaced with Finish Powerball Tabs.  These Powerball refills require you to use an expesive dispenser system.  That is the good thing for us.  Customers that have already bought the dispenser system may have nowhere to get the refills in stores, so they look online.

Finish PowerballI actually found these by mistake one day while I was looking for Tom’s Brand Toothpaste.  While browsing the aisle, I noticed that someone had tried to hide a whole bunch of these on the bottom shelf behind a stack of mouthwash.  My trained eye immediately picked up on the out-of-place item.  There can be only two reasons why someone would want to hide these.  One, they did not have the money to buy them, or two, they wanted to do some research to see if they would sell on eBay. Luckily, I was able to use my smart phone and look up the complete listings for this item.  Right then and there, I loaded up my cart, and bought everyone they had in stock.

I found the Finish Quantumatic Powerball Refills for $1 at Big Lots.  I sold them on eBay in a lot of 20 for $66. Below is a snap shot of a listing that sold.

As you can see this items was sold for $66.  Here is the breakdown of my profit.

Net Profit of $25.23!

Remember, when looking for discontinued items, the biggest profit is going to come from items that are consumed or have to be refilled.  Once the customer runs out of your product, they will come back for more.

For more ideas on what to sell (and where to find them), check out my FREE book, “The Keys to a Successful eBay Business”.