Archive for December, 2008

Grading System, What Grading System?

Sell successfully online

Sell successfully online

In a previous life, about 15 years ago, I bought and sold vinyl records through the post.  I advertised in Record Collector Magazine.  I had a list of about 250 collectors who would buy from me every couple of months.  All in all I was selling successfully, and happy with my customer base and their response.  I put that down to selling good items and describing them honestly.

When I moved house that enterprise (more of a hobby really) was put on hold and I never got round to starting up again.  I still buy RC and take a bit of interest in the vinyl listings on eBay.

I have one gripe about some of those eBay listings.  Just because record (or anything else) is old does not mean it is valuable.  What really counts is the condition.

There is a recognised grading systemfor vinyl (and books, stamps etc.) but some sellers either do not know that or ignore the system.  To be successful on eBay you must know what you are selling, and the relevant grading system.  How else can customers really know what they are buying if they do not understand your personal definition of ‘very good’ or ‘mint’?   If someone says that their album is mint then I expect it to be just that, mint.  I do not expect the cover to be creased but otherwise mint.

Like most buyers I will buy from someone once but if I am not happy about the description I will not buy from them again.

Always be honest in your descriptions and use any grading system.  In fact, make a point of saying that you are using this or that grading system and explain how it works.  It will make you appear to be honest (which you must be), competent (which you should be), and an expert (which you might be).  It builds confidence.  It enhances your reputation and will help build your business.

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One Man’s Rubbish

Sell successfully online

Sell successfully online

I was rummaging through boxes of books at an auction the other day and I started chatting to a fellow rummager.

Tom was looking for royal memorabilia which he then sells on eBay in the States. Royal memorabilia is very cheap in the UK and few people collect it. However, it is sought after by many Americans and Tom has made a living of selling it in a market that is thriving.

There are other examples of items that are cheap and plentiful in one country but expensive and sought after in another.  When traveling in India a couple of years ago I met a couple who were financing their trip by buying Indian jewelery and selling it in the UK.  They were selling the goods successfully online because they ahd the imagination to see their opportunity, and take it.

Keep your eyes open, all it takes is an open mind and some imagination.

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Amazon Vs eBay (3) – Payment Methods

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Sell successfully online

This is a short series of posts comparing selling successfully on eBay and on Amazon from the seller’s perspective. This time I am looking at the payments methods and costs.

Ebay has its own proprietary payment system PayPal. It is quick and fits seamlessly into the auction process. You may also accept alternative methods of payment up to set limits (£500 in the UK). For all payments collected via PayPal there is a charge (1.4% to 3.4% + £0.20 GBP). Sellers send invoices, track whether payment has been made and chase non payers. Funds are released to the seller on request to Paypal.

Amazon collects the payments for sellers. There is no alternative, and no charge for using the service. Amazon invoices and collects payment and chases non payers. Payment is not realeased into the seller’s account until it is cleared by Amazon. The seller does not become involved in payment tracking or chasing non payers. Payments are made to the seller’s bank account every 2 weeks for the total of all sales made in that period.  There are no charges for Amazon collecting the payment.  However, for a true comparison of overall charges I will be posting another piece in a few days (when I have done the maths…..)

The Winner is: Amazon

Aggregate Score

Amazon 2

eBay 0

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Free Replacements, I Still Think That They Are A Good Idea!

Sell successfully online

Sell successfully online

I have recently been writing on various blogs about giving free replacements when buyers say that the item has not been received.  Many people disagree and say that I am being taken for a fool.  A sort of buy one get one free scam by some buyers.

They may be right in some cases but I stand by my idea that the vast majority of people are honest.  A little story to illustrate that. it is slightly different from a straight replacement but I think it is a story worth telling.

I sold a CD on Amazon the other week and the buyer emailed me to say that it was not the CD he thought it was, it had a different track listing.  My first thought was that he should have read the listing properly, or that he had burned the CD but did not want to pay £9 for the CD.  However, I emailed back saying return it and I will refund, minus the postage cost.  I knew that the CD would sell again.

The CD came back, I refunded and listed it again.  two days later John ordered another CD.  He emailed me to say that this was not a scam so I sent the CD.  No problem with the sale.  He then bought another.  I like to think that the later sales were made possible by my attitude to the first.

By the way.  There was an unexpected bonus.  The first time I listed the CD (which I had bought for 50p) there were 2 others listed at £9.  When I re listed the lowest price was £19.99, the other 2 had sold.  I re listed it at £19.99 and it sold yesterday!

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Amazon Vs eBay (2) Sale Prices

Let’s face it, when we think about selling something our first question is always “how much will I get for it?” We tend to worry about our costs later.

So when comparing selling on eBay and Amazon the average sales price seems to be a good place to start.

The buyers on Amazon seem to be more affluent than those on eBay.  eBay is seen by many as a place to go for cheap goods, for bargains.  Amazon is seen to be more up-market.  I know people who will buy from Amazon but not even consider eBay. This attitude means that the average price of goods on Amazon is higher than on eBay.  I can, and do, charge 20% more for my items on Amazon than I do on eBay and still make good sales.  In fact it is very possible to buy on eBay and resell on Amazon at a profit.  (Remember to research the market first though).

On the basis of sale price alone, without considering anything else, the advantage has to be to selling on Amazon.

Score

Amazon 1

eBay       0

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Amazon Vs eBay (1)

Over the next few days and weeks I will be comparing selling on Amazon and eBay.  I will be looking at the pros and cons of selling on both sites.

A lot of people have not considered selling on Amazon for a number of reasons.  Some people simply do not realise that individuals can sell on Amazon.  Others have heard stories of a bureaucratic morass enveloping Amazon, others that Amazon simply makes life for sellers too difficult.  Are either of these true?  I will try to cut my way through the chaff to bring you the wheat (I must be feeling quite poetic this morning :-) )

As you will know, if you have read some of the past posts, I have been selling books and CDs on Amazon for some time now and find it a worthwhile source of income.  I am not unique.

Many people dabble with Amazon.  If you look at the listings for text books you will see new sellers at the end of the scholastic year listing their old text books for unfeasibly low prices.  The trouble is they tend to talk up the condition of their books.  Often they do not mention the highlighted texts the inscriptions and annotations in the margins etc.  I have bought text books for 1p (plus £2.75 postage) and resold them but they have been far from perfect in spite of how they were described.  Once they have sold their text books these people then tend to disappear from Amazon.  However, as with selling on eBay, I believe that if you approach it properly and professionally selling on Amazon is a worthwhile proposition.

I hope that as I compare Amazon and eBay you will be able to make a judgement as to whether selling on Amazon is really for you.

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Review of ResourceCashmap.com

Last night a friend of mine referred me to a site
called ResourceCashmap.com.  She recommended that I
check it out as it offers a FREE summary of key online
resources.

I have to tell you – this package is unbelievable.  The
package consists of a set of process maps – called
Cashmaps – that show you the steps necessary to setting
up and growing an online business.

At each step, there are one or more online resources that
are referenced so that you can see exactly when and where
to use the resource.

Overall – this is a great product.  The only thing that it
seems to be missing is a write-up to help distinguish between
the resources.  There’s so many resources on here that it’s
sometimes a bit hard to decide which one to use!

I’d highly recommend that you check out cashmap.com

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