I hope everybody out there is having a fun and productive time picking, flipping, finding deals and making friends. I know I've been having a blast and coming up on some decent scratch in the meanwhile. Best of all, I've gotten to know some real great folks out there as well as some real great folks on the net through this here blog. You all have some great stories and inspiring ideas. I've particularly shared some insightful emails with a fellow picker named Katherine. She was kind enough to write up her thoughts on eBay Stores for us, so here is our first ever Guest Blog on Part Time Picker:
I've been selling on eBay for so long it's become a way of life, and during those years I've seen many changes - some good, some bad, and some entirely unnecessary!
When eBay Stores first started I signed up enthusiastically, but within a few weeks closed my Store and went back to auction-style listings. Why? Because back then stuff in Stores got no visibility.
If I remember correctly, Store items were tacked onto the tail end of all the auction listings. An insignificant link said something like See Matching Items in eBay Stores, so if you had a popular or common item, the odds of selling it out of your Store were somewhere between zero and a snowball's chance in hell.
So that was it for me. I ignored eBay Stores for years and discouraged anyone from opening one, for reasons that have now become obsolete. Recently I've talked to a number of eBay Store owners who wouldn't sell any other way, so I investigated.
So what are the advantages of opening an eBay store?
You can save money on listing fees – IF, and only if, you keep a minimum of 67 items listed all the time. EBay's monthly fee for a basic store is $19.99 for a max of 150 listings. For most non-store listings, you’re charged 30 cents. Multiply 67 x 30 cents and there’s your $19.99. Pay by the year and it works out to $14.95 a month, an even better deal.
That means items you add to your store – from numbers 68 through 150 – are the equivalent of free to list. Cool beans. Even better, final value fees (FVFs) are slightly lower with a store. In addition, you get a number of useful analytical and marketing tools and the ability to send newsletters to your subscribers. You can also run sales if you need some fast cash or dump a bunch of dead stock and potential buyers can see that the price has been reduced.
Generally your listings run for 30 days, although you can opt for a shorter duration. You could let your listing roll until sold (or you die), but I suggest that after 30 days you should change the main photo, adjust the price, and change the font and/or tweak the description. People will think it’s a brand new listing.
The other cool thing is, if you sell on Amazon, you could list your items in your eBay Store too. Some people shop for bargains exclusively through one or the other... why not get exposure to both? This, of course, won't work so well if you are using
If you 'dual-list' with both Amazon and eBay you must be on the ball though to avoid complications from 'double exposure'. The instant something sells on one site, you’ll have to remove it from the other. That means keeping your smart phone by the bed, if you get heavily into this – but what’s the chance something will sell on both sites at the same time? Very little, but I hate tempting fate. By the way, it's easier to cancel a sale on Amazon than it is on eBay, if that should ever happen.
Listing 150 items on eBay is very time-consuming, so if you have a mind to open an eBay store, start stocking up now. Don't do what a friend of mine did: open a store and list four items. Duh, that's a $5 listing fee per item, per month, fool.
In a recent interview on NPR, one of eBay's head honchos said that over 60% of listings are Buy It Now. The bidding novelty has worn off for many consumers. And besides, most people hunting for things on eBay want them
so I haven’t run an auction-style listing in months.
I've sold a couple of 'local pick-up only' items too. There's an app people can use to find anything listed locally, and it can pay off. There are too many weirdos trawling Craigslist, so I don't mind paying eBay's FVF to get a serious buyer who has paid up front.
So maybe an eBay store would be right for you. With enough research, trial and error, and yes, even minor setbacks, you will find the right zone for your online business. As they say: Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.