Here Comes The Stork Blog

Congrats to HCTS Member newmomcnd- $100,000 in eBay sales!

WOW!!!

Yes that’s 1 followed by 5 zeroes…one hundred thousand dollars. She reached that milestone this week, and had this to say about it in our private forum…

As of today, I have $100,000 lifetime sales. 

Thanks to all of my Stork sisters – I would not have gotten this far without y’all!

 

Here is a link to her eBay listings…check her out!

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better eBay backgrounds-gray chevron-does it work?

I starting up again, so I’m overanalyzing EVERYTHING. Yesterday I LOVED this idea, now I wonder if it’s too much. Do you guys like this?

gray chevron background for ebay listings

gray chevron background for ebay listings

 

I think it’s APPROPRIATE for what I’m selling, my kids outgrown clothes. I think it’s attention catching, but not too overwhelming. It’s decorator width fabric.

I also saw an awesome idea on pinterest of using low-sheen wrapping paper for a backdrop. The kind she used was from the Target Dollar Spot.

Do you have a background that you love? Show me with a link!

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What did you sell today on eBay or Amazon?

It’s back to school selling season on ebay, which means busy busy busy for children’s clothing sellers like me!  Lots of our members are selling and shipping out a lot this week. What did you sell today?

 

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WWYC?

Longtime eBay sellers such as myself have seen numerous changes in the market.  We’ve watched eBay’s business model change and grow, we’ve seen major shifts in the way business is conducted, and even in whom is doing the buying and selling.

Now, for example, there is no shortage of shops that will sell your item on eBay for you, if you don’t have the time or inclination to do it yourself.  Generally they charge a fee – a percentage of the item’s selling price – and in my area that is about 30-40%.

Many of our members work as trading assistants (TA’s) who also take items in on consignment to sell, charging a portion of the sales price as a fee.  Each TA sets their own fees, but in my experience 20-30% (before fees) is standard.

In reading a few days ago, however, I found an interesting article about flat-rate fees.  ISoldIt4U.com is charging flat-rate fees for items they sell for you on eBay, starting as low as $9.95 for a $100-$250 item.

Interesting concept.  However, most of us sell items for under $100, and we take a higher percentage of the profit as our cut.  What does that mean for traditional consignment and TA’s?  Maybe nothing yet, but it’s definitely a trend worth watching.  If this takes off, it will require major changes in the way we do business.

And so I have to ask…WWYC?

What Would You Charge, if you were to implement a flat-rate pricing structure?  How would this affect the way you do business?  Would you continue to be a TA?  Would this make you want to start?  I can see it being frustrating for a TA’s ‘cut’ per item to go down, but I can also envision a huge increase in the number of people willing to consign their items with a lower fee structure.

Part of our business is being able to roll with change and find new ways to stay competitive, and this article gave me much food for thought.  I hope it will do the same for you, and I’d love to hear some of those thoughts in the comments!

Not a member yet?  Join HCTS today and get in on the action!

Here Comes The Stork-Your Guide to Selling Online!

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October is here!

So we’ve reached the end of our Serious September challenge.  How did you do?  Did you shrink your Mt. Unlisted?  Are you feeling motivated and ready to continue making progress?

A couple of things to keep in mind for this month:

~ Halloween!  Get those costumes, decorations, and any other Halloween-related items you may have listed PRONTO!  This is the time to be selling them, and you need to allow yourself ample shipping time as well.  Also consider listing any team gear you might have – many kids love to dress up as football players, cheerleaders, or even just super-fans!

~ Amazon!  If you want to be eligible to sell toys on Amazon this holiday season, you only have 26 days left to do it!  You must have 25 sales by the end of the month, so get busy listing!

~ Speaking of holiday selling, now is THE time to stock up on your shipping supplies.  During the holiday rush, you can’t afford to run out of anything.  Take inventory now and order what you need, so you won’t get caught in a lurch.

~ You’ll also want to start scoping out those ‘hot toy’ lists for the holidays.  It’s still too early to make major investments in a ‘possible’ hottie so proceed with caution, but definitely start doing your research and watching items you think might take off.  Speed is key when selling toys, so you must be ready to buy, list, and ship in record time!

~ Finally, prep for your own family holiday.  Do your Christmas shopping, make some meals and stock your freezer, and get those Christmas cards ready.  If you want to be a gung-ho toy seller, the more you can do in advance the better off you’ll be!

What did I forget?  Do you have any other great tips for this month, or for preparing for toy season?  We’d love to hear them!

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Making the Most of Best Offer

If you sell on eBay, chances are you are already familiar with the ‘best offer’ option.  If not, allow me to explain.  When you list an item for sale, you have two options – auction and fixed-price.  If you select fixed price, you can set your asking price but also choose to accept ‘best offers’.  Potential buyers each get 3 chances to make you an offer. 

Of course we hope that offers are ones we can’t refuse, but that is not always the case.  Then what?  Well for each offer you receive, you then have the opportunity to accept, decline, or counter-offer.  The counteroffer is very similar to the negotiation of a house or car purchase – buyer and seller can go back and forth to negotiate a price that is mutually agreeable.

I would estimate that I use best offer on more than half of my listings, and I am very satisfied with the results it brings me.  For example, this morning alone I accepted 4 offers (and it’s only 10:30!) 

One common complaint that I hear about best offer is that people receive low-ball offers.  I understand that can be frustrating, but I think it is very important to remember that this is just part of our job.  The great thing about offers is that they are just that – you’re under no obligation to accept.  If someone offers you $1 for a $50 item, you can decline and move on.

You can also use those offers to gauge interest and your pricing.  If you recieve one low offer it may be a fluke, but if 7 different buyers offer you significantly less than your asking price, it might be time to consider a price drop.

Another way you can make best offer work for you is to turn on the ‘auto decline’ feature.  This is a great way to avoid potential frustration from low-ball offers.  Say I’m listing a cake pan for $50 – I might choose to set auto-decline to reject any offers below $40.  This saves you time in reviewing and responding to non-competitive offers, and it saves you mental anguish over low-ballers!  With auto-decline, you never even have to look at the offer – if it’s below the mark you set, eBay does the work for you.

One piece of advice I would give you – If you plan to use this option, I would use the counter-offer judiciously.  More often than not, I have seen my counteroffers ignored, even when they are not far off of the original offer.  Because of that, I rarely use this option, and tend to think of offers as a decline or accept situation.  Keep in mind that you can always leave a comment when you decline and offer, so you can easily say something like, “I’m sorry that I am unable to accept less than $42 at this time.  Thank you for your interest!”  I’ve found this tactic to work much better for me in terms of sales.

Would you like to know more?  You can read about Best Offer on eBay, or you can join HCTS!  We’re a community of thousands that would love to help you!

Here Comes The Stork-Your Guide to Selling Online!

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Get More Sales ~ Cross Promote

This week I have shared some things we can do to increase sales in our eBay stores.

Today’s topic:  Cross Promote

The idea of cross promoting is to get someone who is already looking at one of your listing to go and look at more of your listings.

How can you do that?  Make them want to and make it easy for them.

Make them Want to…

Offer them an incentive. An easy way to do this is to offer a shipping discount. You can have a very specific discount like “Buy 3 & Shipping is Free” or simply state something like “Discounted Shipping Offered for Multiple Purchases”.
A word of caution:  If you offer a specific discount like “Buy 3 & Shipping is Free”, you may want to state right below it “Shipping discount applies to clothing only” if you sell other things as well. You don’t want to eat up all your profits on a shipping mistake. (Ahem…speaking from experience here.)

Let’s take this a step further. We don’t want your customer to miss this! Here’s what it looks like on one of my listings:

Purchase 3 or More Clothing Items From My Store
and
SHIPPING IS FREE!

Plus, this is a clickable link directly to my eBay store! Which brings me to my next point…

Make It Easy for Them…

It is “eBay legal” for you to include a link in your listings to other eBay listings.  So, make it easy for your customer to find your other listings.  Again, here’s what it looks like in one of my listings:

Please check out my other listings!

But how do you make a clickable link? You need to put the html code in your description area of your eBay listing. Here’s the code for you:

<a href="YourStoreURLHere"><font size="6"><font color="#f3a7b6">
Your Clickable Words Here</font></font></a>

There should be no space between the top and bottom lines, I just couldn’t get it all on the same line.
You can make the font any size and/or color you want!

So there you go!  Enjoy customizing and driving more traffic to your listings!

I hope you have learned something new this week that will help increase your eBay sales.

There is so much to learn!  Want to learn more?
Consider a membership to

Here Comes The Stork-Your Guide to Selling Online!

We are a community thousands strong of online selling success. Our members share tips and information daily as we grow together and help each other along the way.
Join us! We can never have too many friends!

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Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

When creating a stand alone web site, it is best to specialize in one thing. It’s easier to drive traffic to a web site and attract a specific kind of buyer. This is not exactly the case on eBay.

eBay is…different.  There is already lots of traffic. You have to get that traffic to your store.

How do you do that?

Diversify!

Let’s say you have a store selling Children’s clothing.  You keep adding more clothing, more brands, more sizes, etc.
Who is shopping in your store? Who is your customer? You have to think about this.

Your customer is a Mom.

So, think about what else a Mom might shop for and add those items to your store.

Let’s make it easy for this shopping Mom. She’s already shopping for her kids.
Think, think, think…
Kids have birthdays…they might need presents. Toys!
Kids also have brothers and sisters…sometimes baby ones.  This shopping Mom that is already in your store might have a baby as well.  Let’s add more things she might consider buying and get her to look around a little longer.

This strategy will also help attract NEW shoppers.  Someone searching for a toy or baby item will now be drawn into your store!  You would have missed this potential customer by offering only Children’s clothing.

Another bonus: Clothing sales are seasonal. Birthdays and babies happen all the time. Having these items in your store can also help keep sales steady during off-season selling time for clothes.

You can apply this strategy to anything you sell:

Selling jewelry?  Add jewelry cleaning items and storage containers or displays.
Selling dinnerware?  Add napkin rings, napkins, table decor, silverware.
Selling hair bows?  Add other hair accessories like headbands and some storage items for all those hair accessories.

So start really thinking about who your customer is and what they might be looking for.
It might be time to diversify!

Join me again tomorrow for another tip for improving your sales!

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My Sales Are Slow…

It happens to all of us…usually right when we could use the extra cash. Sales in your eBay store are going great and then all of the sudden NOTHING! Don’t panic! There are lots of things you can do to get the sales moving again.

Each day this week I will share a simple tip to help you increase sales in your eBay store.

It’s Monday. Let’s start out easy.

LISTING…

That’s right! Just list something. The more things you have listed, the more chances you have of someone buying your items.

HCTS members were challenged last month in our 280 Challenge. Over and over people were sharing how their sales were increasing by doing nothing else but listing more inventory into their eBay stores.

Do you think you have nothing to list?  Look around your house. Is there a gift you received but don’t use? Clothing you or your kids have outgrown or just don’t wear anymore?  Anything in the kitchen you don’t use?
What’s that under your bed?
Also, think about the season or event that is just around the corner. Easter is coming up. Any old Easter baskets or clothes from last year you need to get rid of?  Why not turn them into cash AND help drive business to your store?

OK…GO!

But come back tomorrow!
Happy Listing!

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Oh! The Places You’ll Go!

It’s Dr. Seuss’s birthday today.  Did you know that?

It’s a pretty big deal in our house, but I’m not sure if that’s universal or just my own little weirdness.

I love Dr. Seuss.  Love him.

I wrote about him on my personal blog today (with a giveaway!) and as I was doing so, I thought he was a great topic for the HCTS blog as well.

It might sound corny, but I find him to be very inspirational.  Perhaps the most obviously inspiring of his stories is Oh! The Places You’ll Go! It’s a book that I love to read to my girls, hoping they will take it to heart, yet I often fail to do so myself.

[Why are children so often smarter than their parents?]

Take this little gem, for example:

And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.

True for life, and true for our businesses.  Almost daily I hear from frustrated sellers who don’t like eBay’s policies, don’t like the way Amazon communicates, don’t like the system anywhere.  We have a choice – wallow in frustration or accept it and move on.  Being light on your feet and ready to course-correct is part of our job.

I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.

Absolutely.  They happen to all of us.  You will have a hard-to-please customer, an unreasonable return, a lost package, a chargeback, negative feedback, and various annoyances.  Unfortunately those, too, are part of our job.  I wish I had a magic way to fix those problems, or avoid them altogether, but I don’t.  No one does.

And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.

Just as mistakes and struggles in our personal life help us grow, difficulties in our businesses are part of the growing process as well.  From each bad experience there is a lesson to be learned.  Look for the learning and you’ll be better off for it.  Don’t wallow!  Giving in to frustration never equals success.

You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

Don’t go to the Waiting Place!  If you learn to take setbacks in stride and keep moving forward, your business will grow.  You will be successful.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

If you’re FLYing with us, be sure to get yourself completely dressed (hair fixed, makeup and shoes on!) and check in on the forums.  And if you’re shopping today, keep an eye out for Dr. Seuss items.  Many are quite valuable!  Would you like to know which ones?  Log in, or if you’re not yet a member, join today – I’m discussing them in the General forum right now!

Have a productive day!

Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

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