Archive for selling online

What’s Going on at Auctiva?

Auctiva, as you probably know is a service that provides professional looking templates for eBay listings, as well as other services such as image hosting, inventory control, store etc. as well as the wonderful scrolling gallery in listings.

Until now this has been a free service but as from 1st June they will be charging.   Jeff Schlichtsays that the reason for the change is that Auctiva’s revenue streams have been hit by the changes that eBay have made to their affiliate scheme.  These changes have effectively reduced Auctiva’s income from eBay to almost zilch, and that funding gap had to be filled.  We, the users, are to be the ones filling that gap.  The full text of the announcement is here.

I think that the move was inevitable, more organisations than just Auctiva have found their eBay affiliate income reduced because of eBay’s recent changes.  Also, I do not object to paying a reasonable amount for a service (but free is better).  However, Auctiva have gone for 5 different payment plans (6 if you include the free but you can’t really do anything option).  They will suggest a plan for you based on your recent activity if you are already using Auctiva.

Are there alternatives to Auctiva?  Of course, and one of the most popular is The Seller SourceBook.

The Seller Sourcebook has a flat fee structure and would cost me about the same as continueing with Auctiva.  Their service is similar to Auctiva’s however, at present, there is no scrolling gallery.

It is entirely possible to design and use your own templates for your listings, of course and some people amend and use sales page templates etc.  personally, I will probably stay with Auctiva, for the gallery alone plus I have used them for more than 3 years without any problem.

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Where do You Find Stock to sell?

A couple of days ago I wrote about finding another line to sell.  A couple of people have contacted me saying that it is all very well talking about seeing a nice product finding the importer direct etc, but if that is not possible where do you find stock?

I have to admit that although I look out for new lines whenever I am out and about finding something to sell is rarely that easy.  My preferred source is Salehoo, link below.  They are a great resource for anyone looking for products.  Either if you know what you want to sell or just browse.  You are guaranteed to find something to suit.

Wholesale Products and Sources

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Why eBay anyway?

It is very easy to assume that everyone knows that eBay is a great source of enjoyment, and profit.  For me there is an added bonus.

I have the attention span of a gnat.

If I can not complete whatever I want to do within a week or two then the chances are that I will not complete it.  Witness the 3 ebooks that I am still writing, all of which I want to do but other things get in the way.

eBay is great for me.  I can find a product, order it, list and sell it all within days.  I was in London last week end.  I went to a market and found a wonderful product, green, in demand, easy to post, good price.  Yesterday I found the importer, have confirmed his T&Cs and have placed an order.  This time next week they will be listed.  Perfect.

From a standing start you can make money on eBay within a week.  On the other hand, building a business does take time and work.  The good thing is that the steps to build a business are all manageable within my attention span, and available time.  Small steps will get you where you want to be, believe me.

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Time to Take Stock

I have been working some very long hours over the last 4 weeks or so. That is why I have not been able to update the blog for a while.

Working a string of 10 and 12 hour days has lead me to a couple of conclusions;

First, my desire to get out of the sheer mind numbing drudgery of working in a warehouse has increased, dramatically.

Second, this blog has been running for 6 months, so where is it now and what has it achieved?

In April it had over 2,000 unique visits! My newsletter now has a smidgen under 500 readers, and a number of people contact me to discuss the posts and are often complimentary, sometimes not but hey, stuff happens.

I think that this is quite a good start.

What have been the most important things that I have done to get here so far?

1. I bought and used a couple of great ebooks, foremost amongst those is Blogging to the Bank, which I think is a must have for everyone starting a blog.

2. I invested in The Internet Kickstart Course from Sara Brown & Tony Shepherd. This is a course that takes anyone from having no IM knowledge and leads them by the hand through the jungle.

3. I found a great service that helps to increase a site’s ranking by identifying sites that can be used to build back links.

4. Lastly, I have discovered that building a business takes time and a steady approach doing a little evreyday.

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Selling on eBay – A Cautionary Tale (2)

Sell successfully online

Sell successfully online

For the background to this follow this link.

I saw the man who offered me his stock and showed him what I had discovered.  To say that he was surprised would be an understatement.  He did say, however, that he knew the manufacturer of some of the items the company in question sold and knew for certain that they were not counterfeit.

So, the position is that while some of the goods from this wholesaler are legitimate they were prosecuted for selling non-licensed, counterfeit items.  Do I buy the goods that I know to be legit?  The answer is no for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, if they have a record for this sort of activity in the past how much can I trust them in the future?  Also, even if the goods I buy from them are legit if they are caught selling other counterfeit goods my account with eBay could be suspended until I am cleared.

It is just not worth the risk.

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The eBay Numbers Game

Avril Harper is well know as a successful seller on eBay based in the UK.  She also wrote the successful eBay Confidential.  One of her ideas is that eBay is, essentially, a numbers game.  The more you list the more you sell.

It is more complicated than that of course but she estimates that a maximum of two out of three listings fetch bids first time arround.  The remaining items, when relisted, again sell two out of three, and so on.  As long as you know your exact costs and profit margins this is a very good way to test new products.  In fact knowing your full costs and profit margins is key to selling successfully online be that on eBay, Amazon, or any site.

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A Cautionary Tale

I am always looking for good sellers on eBay, as I am sure that we all are.  A couple of weeks ago I ran into someone who I knew sold football badges on eBay.  He said that although they sold well there was not enough profit per item and so he had stopped but he would give me his old stock and name of the wholesaler.

Now, my PowerSeller strategy is based on one or two fast moving cheap items with related higher priced items that can be sold either as stand alones or as an upsell.  The low price items satisfy the sale quantity threshold for PowerSeller status and the higher price items gives the real returns.  (Perhaps I will expand on my strategy in later posts).

Anyway.

This seemed a perfect fit for my philosophy and so I gratefully accepted his offer.  Then I did my research.  Unknown to my contact the provider of the ‘really cheap’ badges has a criminal record.  The company was prosecuted in 2006 for selling counterfeit badges.  Perhaps they are all genuine now but I am not willing to take the risk.  I do not want my seller reputation put at risk for the sake of short term profits.

Buyer beware is a good motto to live by.

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