How to eBay the Smart Way
(ARA) - Just ten years ago, the best way to go about selling things you didn't need anymore was to either put on a garage sale, take out an ad in the classifieds or head on down to the pawn shop. Today, those options are still around, but not as popular as selling them on eBay. Ever since coming on the scene in 1995, eBay has taken the world by storm. In 2004, the site generated $34.2 billion dollars in sales. Only four national retailers -- Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Target and Costco -- ended the year with stronger numbers; and two of them are expected to fall behind eBay by the end of 2005.
So what's the draw? "There are a lot of them, but I'd have to say efficiency, price and convenience are the biggies," says Joseph Sinclair, author of "eBay the Smart Way: Selling, Buying and Profiting on the Web's #1 Auction Site."
Sinclair discovered eBay in the company's early days at a convention he attended with one of his clients. Back then, he was a Web site designer working on a project with a large collectibles dealer in the San Francisco Bay area. "I was so fascinated by the system, when I came back, I proposed writing a book about it," he says. He gained his expertise on eBay not only through research, but hands-on use.
Sinclair's book, "eBay the Smart Way," now in its fourth edition, starts out with an introduction to the basics, like how to navigate through the site and conduct searches, then goes into depth on topics of interest to the entire eBay community. For sellers, there are chapters outlining what kinds of merchandise sells and how to conduct auctions, along with advice for taking and using photographs and writing promotional ads. For buyers, bidding strategies and what to do if merchandise is lost, damaged, defective or never gets shipped at all.
Since the book first debuted in 1999, he has shared his expertise with others on more than 100 radio shows. Here are some of the most interesting questions he has been asked:
|Joseph Sinclair, author of "eBay the Smart Way: Selling, Buying and Profiting on the Web's #1 Auction Site" (<)|
Answer: If the damage occurred in shipment, make a claim against the insurer or the shipper. If the table was damaged before shipment, you may be out of luck. eBay probably won't do anything about it if you report it, as eBay does not get in the middle of disputes between buyers and sellers.
Informing the seller that you will leave negative feedback if he doesn't communicate with you might work to get an answer from him. But don't threaten to leave negative feedback if he doesn't replace the table. That looks like you're abusing the system to get your way in a dispute. If nothing works, you can leave negative feedback, and should, but that won't get the table fixed or replaced.
Question: I've been thinking about selling some of things I've collected over the years on eBay rather than holding a yard sale. What does it take to sell on eBay, and are there any costs involved?
Answer: It's easy. You sign up at the eBay website to be a member by filling in an online form. You list your items to sell individually the same way, by filling in an online form. It doesn't cost anything to become an eBay member, and the cost for selling an item is modest with a maximum fee of about five percent of the selling price.
Question: Are there things I can't sell on eBay?
Answer: eBay provides a list of items that are prohibited, such as firearms and fireworks. You can find it on the eBay website. It also provides a list of restricted items. These are items that are not prohibited but that you need to use commonsense when selling. For instance, when selling used clothes, the clothes should be washed and clean.
Question: I know a lot of people who buy things on eBay all the time, but I'm a little nervous about it. How can I make sure I don't get ripped off?
Answer: eBay has a reputation system it calls a feedback system. Both buyers and sellers rate each other in every transaction either a positive, a neutral, or a negative. Each member's ratings are public and permanent. You can look at the feedback of any seller to decide whether he or she is trustworthy.
Question: I just started selling on eBay, and most of my feedback has been really positive. However, one buyer didn't read the conditions of sale posted in my ad, and didn't have a confirmed address for me to ship to. Since I don't ship to unconfirmed addresses, I refunded the seller his money, but this really upset him and now he's left me negative feedback. Is there any way to get feedback retracted?
Answer: You cannot get feedback retracted except by mutual consent of buyer and seller, but you can leave a reply to the feedback that the buyer gave you. You can also leave negative feedback for the buyer explaining what he did.
Question: I live in a rural area, so I don't really have much access to designer clothes, handbags, and shoes. I know you can get this stuff on eBay, but I don't want to pay more than it's worth just because I live in the boonies. How can I make sure I'm not paying too much for these types of things?
Answer: You can get an idea of value of items by finding list prices in advertisements and clothing catalogs. Then you need to decide what percentage of list price you're willing to pay for such items. You can also look a several weeks of completed eBay auctions to find out what identical or similar items have sold for in the past on eBay. That will show you the market value of such items.
Other hot tips from Sinclair…
* Always include a photo with the item you're selling, even if it's just software in which case you could show off the box. Photographs give buyers a way to inspect an intangible product.
* Don't become overly concerned with bidding strategies -- eBay has proxy bidding, which means you won't win an auction by raising the price a dollar or two. You have to beat out the highest bidder.
Say, for example, you bid $75 for something. Someone else can come in and bid $100, but the price only raises to $76 on the auction site. Unless someone is willing to bid $101 or more, the person who bid $100 is going to win the auction. No one will know exactly how much the competition was willing to pay until they beat the highest bid.
You can find more tips like these by reading the fourth edition of "eBay the Smart Way" which is now available at booksellers nationwide. For more information, log on to the publisher's Web site, www.amacombooks.org.
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Courtesy of ARA Content
Courtesy of ARA Content