Thursday, April 21, 2016

My Ebay (Selling) Addiction Essentials






























     Some people have a buying addiction.  I don't have that. (Well, not so much.) But I do have a selling addiction. On Ebay. Or you could say I have a scavenging/thrifting/hunting-for-stuff addiction, and Ebay is my excuse. Whatever. Anyway, my husband doesn't mind because, after all, I usually manage to bring in more than I spend, and it keeps me out of even worse vices. (Most of the time.) So the way I see it, it's a win-win!
     I have been selling on Ebay for several years now, and the habit seems to be growing rather than diminishing. I enjoy it most of the time, and when I don't, I quit doing it for a while. I probably will cut back substantially this summer due to a lot of things planned. So I like that I can do that--"work" when I want to, and only when I want to.
     For those of you who have the same addiction I thought I'd share some of what I have come to call my "essentials" for Ebay sellers, some of which I only recently acquired and wish I had gotten from the beginning. But who knew I would keep it up this long, with no stopping in sight?
     My most recent acquisition is my Zebra label printer. All these years I have printed out each label on a piece of computer paper, then cut around it with scissors, then used exactly 3 pieces of wide clear tape to tape it onto the package. Now, thanks to Sweetface's intervention, I just hit the "Enter" button on my keyboard and within a second I have a professional looking label that is self-adhesive. Absolutely wonderful invention!
     Another thing that Sweetface insisted on buying for me was some professional lighting. (Are you noticing a pattern here--me being a cheapskate, and him making me invest in professional technology?) Before spending what was required to buy these lights I have now, my attempts at cheaper mediocre solutions proved to be a waste of money, with not so good results on my photos. Now I can go into my spare downstairs bedroom with only a small window any time of the day or night and come away with very nice shots. And we all know that better photos bring in better sales.
     And after having a hard time finding decent boxes for shipping large pictures and art, even at the UPS Store, I finally discovered my very favorite source--FedEx. They have the most wonderful shipping boxes for large pictures, and in several sizes for what I think is a reasonable price.  (You can access their all of their box choices on their website.) What I love about the picture boxes is that you only have to slide the picture into the plastic sleeve and fold the sides inward and slide it into the box. No other packaging required--not even bubble wrap! Who can't love that?
     Another big requirement, of course, is lots and lots of sturdy shelving and storage area, bins and boxes, and a decent wrapping table. Add to that USPS free Priority boxes.  Packing paper, large and small size bubble wrap, and packing peanuts. And tape--lots of tape!
     My shelving is mostly the deep, heavy duty plastic kind from the hardware big box stores. It has stood the test of time with no problems.  I buy the nice see-through plastic storage bins on sale as needed as my store inventory grows. Cardboard shipping boxes, other than the freebies from the USPS (thank you!), are kindly supplied by a variety of kind-hearted friends and neighbors who save theirs and pile them on my front porch from time to time. (Thank you!) My wrapping table is a sturdy wooden one that used to live upstairs, with a great fluorescent light installed over it by my son. (Thanks son!) And the other packaging materials I either buy online or dumpster dive from behind a store I frequent. (I never dreamed I would be a bonafide dumpster diver!)
     Another great bonus of selling on Ebay is all of the other Ebay sellers you get to know, and like, and befriend. It's quite fun to go scavenging with a friend now and then, or just meet up for lunch and talk "business".  Not to mention the friends who you never meet other than online. There is a huge community of sellers across America, and even around the world. I only see Ebay and other similar venues becoming more popular with time, as technology makes it more easy to buy and sell there. With all the disadvantages (having to be there every day, employees and all their legally required benefits, government rules/regs/restrictions/overhead expenses) of owning a brick and mortar business, how much easier it is to sell via your home computer or iPhone! 
     After a sale I always try to pack my sales nicely, with clothing wrapped in tissue paper (Costco has huge packages every Christmas season and I stock up), and jewelry goes inside nice kraft boxes I buy on Uline, and are taped closed with pretty Washi tape. Inside each shipment I include a piece of paper with my contact information, and a little "Thank You!" note. After all the effort it takes to run an Ebay store, I mostly want my customer to feel like they were treated especially well. 

     What do those of you who sell online do to make your process work for you? And how do you make your customer feel special? Please share your ideas with us in the comments.


 




14 comments:

  1. That's quite an operation you have going, Linda. I've always thought I'd enjoy selling on ebay too. (I love selling too) When I had my shop, I had a vendor that always included a couple of pieces of homemade chocolate with each order. It made my day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe hard candy would be a better idea for me. I ight have an irate customer if they find melted chocolate on their item. Ha!

      Delete
  2. Hey Linda! I love this post! It's fun seeing behind the scenes of a serious ebay'er! I've sold a few things on ebay before and there truly is a certain 'happy kick' when something sells.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that definitely makes it more fun!

      Delete
  3. You're a great ebay seller, and you work so well at it! I'm sure your customers love you for all the kind thoughts you put into getting them their orders.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great organization Linda! I have a system for the listed items but my things to list are a mess, stashed everywhere till I get to them. How do you handle that part?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Donna, that is a good question! Fortunately we have an attached garage. So I leave the newly purchased items in the garage until I am ready to photo them at which time I take them down to the photo room in the basement. After taking photos of ten or so items at a time I bring them upstairs to my office (or if it is a lot, to the diningroom next to the office. Then I list them and carry them back downstairs tomy basement storage area. It sounds cumbersome, but it is the most efficient method I have found for keeping our home as clutter free as possible. If there is anything I hate, and this happens all too often, is when things get out of hand and "the dreaded piles" appear everywhere. I take that as a sign to Stop Buying until I have gotten caught up on my listings. Too much unlisted inventory is the result of too much buying. Just think of how much more profit you will have if you don't buy another thing until everything is listed. Hard to do, I know, but I often come close to being totally caught up before giving in to the scavenging bug.

      Delete
    2. Too many unlisted possessions and inventory is my problem. I've just got to buckle down and list list list to get rid of the dreaded death piles. I don't buy often, just don't have time to list as much as I would like. Thanks for the ideas.

      Delete
  5. I love how organized your space is Linda. All of my inventory is in the basement in two different sections. One section is for all my listed inventory and another for my unlisted (all in bins). I photograph everything upstairs and just bring up a bin, photograph everything and then put back in the bin, label the bin and back downstairs to the listed bin section it goes. I also have my laptop with me as i photograph. I normally write up my description, measure and weigh all at once in a google doc. Then I have everything that I need on my computer with me and just copy and paste into a listing.

    BTW, I recently finished reading your book. Really enjoyed it. Every section of the book confirmed what I believe and follow. Loved it!!!

    Also, last night we watched The Gods Must Be Crazy with the kids..and it was oh soo funny. It was so awesome hearing the kids laughing so much. What a great great movie. Thanks for the recommendation. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks Margaret. Yes, you are quite the experienced Ebayer, and very organized as well I know from your blog. I am so glad you allejoyed that slapstick old movie. We just went to the movies and saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. It was cute but the first one remains my favorite.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was thinking of taking my MIL to see that one. But I watched the trailer and wasn't impressed. But I love the original one! :)

      Delete
  7. You have a super organized set up and it has given me some organizing ideas! Would you mind giving the name out of the lighting system you are using? Lighting has been an issue for me and I guess I am tired of using cheap light methods!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My large soft boxes on stands, my light table and the lights over it and under it (spotlights) are from B&H Photo. I can't post a link in this reply, but B&H is our favorite source for anything to do with lighting or music. www.bhphotovideo.com

      You could start with the soft boxes and if you need more after that you could add that later, but they put out a huge amount of light by themselves.

      I forgot to mention that the mannequin was an inexpensive one I purchased from St. Louis Store Supply. It has a canvas torso. I painted the base black and distressed it. I painted the body/torso a flesh color and then distressed it with a little darker stain and then stamped the neck with a "Paris" rubber stamp.

      Delete