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Ebay - Becoming A Good Seller - Building A Customer Base

Discussion in 'Random Discussion' started by jonasdatum, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. jonasdatum

    jonasdatum Thread Starter

    Jul 15, 2000
    Ok, I am contemplating some experimental business models and have some minimal mad-money to try them. I would like some insight into how to build a strong customer base?

    I've had no success in selling online.

    I have read so many articles and they for the most part say the same thing.

    Some of the advice:

    1)Take decent descriptive photos.

    2)Make yourself fairly available. With this being the early 21st century and data phones being fairly cheap, then it is not a problem.

    3) Inventory: Make sure you let customers know when, if, how, frequency you will have items.

    I am not trying to become a mega seller. I want to attract customers. When I have something to sell. In the past I have had very good merchandise. Yet I couldn't even get any hits on on the page.

  2. etaf

    etaf Moderator

    Oct 2, 2003
    First Name:
    make sure you are using the correct categories and also a good title
    Also be very clear and honest in the description

    good photographs - i would suggest size 1080 on the shortest side - so people can get a good look

    make sure postage and packing charges are reasonable and clear on the description what you offer

    do everything you say you will do - give a timescale for postage - make sure you use good quality packaging ,

    Have alternative payment options - although everyone has used paypal so far, apart from a few home collections

    simply do the things you would expect to receive your self

    make sure you communicate by the ebay message system , if anything is not going to run to plan

    Also the auction is a 10day window - so you may need to keep listing the item

    I also vary the category if the item is applicable to more than one category

    i have been selling on ebay since around September - not great volume, just some collectables I have in the house and family and friends have also donated.

    some items I have listed since September , every 10 days- have not sold until January - so like a shop window , just depends who happens to be passing by

    hope that helps
  3. jonasdatum

    jonasdatum Thread Starter

    Jul 15, 2000
    You sound just like the seller I want to at least 'start' as. The problem is the law of diminishing returns and opportunity cost. If I keep posting over and over again, then I will be spending more on selling the item than the item is worth.

    I am not expecting [but am hoping] to get rich. However, I do not want to be in the red.

    Profit good. Poverty bad.
  4. etaf

    etaf Moderator

    Oct 2, 2003
    First Name:
    thats a very good point,
    Looking at US ebay, they don’t seem to have the occasional free listing, which the UK version has, but only for auctions and a maximum of 100 items.
    Think of your customer profile, and ending an action midweek or midday , may deter people from bidding, as people tend to bid towards the end of action and cant if they are at work
    I read quite a lot about buyng on ebay, in order to try and get a feel for what may happen.
    have a read of some of the ebay buying strategies - I have certainly noticed , that I get a lot of watchers and then in the last 2 hours I get the bids.
    one of the buying strategies is not to bid until a few minutes before the end of an auction.
    Also you can give ebay a proxy bid to bid for you. there are also programs that will bid in the last minute of the auction.
    also you may want to contact ebay, if the item does not sell, can you obtain an insertion credit , if you relist and it sells , how often can you relist and do you get a credit for all relistings.
    Of course that will not help if the item will just not sell.
    Look for similar items to the ones you want to sell and watch them , also do a search for completed listings and see what items like yours actually sold for and how many did sell – that can be very useful. I have used that to set a few prices. Just because a lot of items do not sell, actually does not mean your will not – it maybe they have poorly listed.
    A lot of my items only get the 1 bid, possibly two, so i try not to list items starting at the free 99p insertion fee and use the free insertion fee periods.

    i have also set up a spreadsheet to monitor all the listing, price needed to sell for, how much items sold, fees, postage, postage tracking, date and times etc, only because i like playing with spreadsheets and thought it may be useful to see any trends etc - But none so far - but at least i know exactly what my costs , spend , sales are. Margin made on items etc

    I also got agreement from the UK ebay, that once a buyer had purchased an item , lets say an old Picture Post magazine (published 1938-1957), as I have about 170 of them and had not listed them all , I could contact the buyer via the ebay message system, and ask what they where interested in particularly in the magazine, some said pictures of london during the war ,others said celebrities. So i went through all the magazines looking for those articles and then when i posted , i contacted the buyer and let them know I had listed some items that they maybe interested in.
    that worked and I have had a number of repeat sells to the same member
    of course if you count the time it takes to do all that - then i'm making a huge loss and very much in the Poverty bad category. But I only do it for fun really - only talking a few £100 - same as i would expect from a couple of boot fairs to get rid of all my old stuff.

    Hopefully some members from the US will answer , and those who make a living from ebay in the US are who you need the advice from really
  5. dvk01

    dvk01 Moderator Malware Specialist

    Dec 14, 2002
    First Name:
    The days of making money on Ebay with junk & tat are long gone.

    Almost all listings now are business sellers, that are selling the same items that you can buy in a physical shop, but cheaper ( hopefully)
    Very few home sellers ( in UK anyway) do anything other than get rid of a bit of junk, that is cluttering up the house.
  6. jonasdatum

    jonasdatum Thread Starter

    Jul 15, 2000
    Pants in very good condition.
    Pants never worn with the tags still on them.

    In retrospect, I should have sold them to a pawnshop. I donated it all. I do not feel bad, but donating it is almost harder than selling it to a pawn shop. Even at $10 a pair new and $5 used, I could have made some cash.

    At most I'll be able to write off $250.
  7. Drabdr

    Drabdr Moderator

    Nov 26, 2007
    First Name:
    If you want to do this and make money...

    Get a decent camera and build a booth. You should have a white and black background (depending on the item). You can build one inexpensively from PVC pipe.

    Your first listings will not net you money. You will have to build a good reputation and rating first. Thus, sell some stuff you're wanting to get rid of yourself.

    You'll need to figure out a way for people to drop stuff off. If you had a friend with some retail space (dry cleaners would be perfect) to drop stuff off and securely store it would be perfect. Otherwise, you'll need to make pick up runs.

    Do your research on your item. Here is one suggestion page I found; there are others:


    Like has been mentioned, be honest and detailed; make sure the photos tell the whole story and not just partial. If you do what you say and are honest, people will rate you highly.

    Get a business name (cash for you; whatever is not already take ) for your business. Make it different than your selling name.


    You need to get adequate boxing, shipping material, and a decent weigh scale. When in doubt, add packing material. Having damage from shipping in a properly packaged box and one poorly packaged are two different things.
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