03/15/2018 at 9:57 pm #35332
As some of you may know, ebay is running a “boot camp” for ebay sellers. Without going into details about the camp—-I’ll save that for another day—I just want to ask for some help with this:
I suggested that in future sessions they focus on sellers like us—-people who basically “scavenge” their inventory, sell antiques, used stuff, collectibles, and usually have just one of a particular item (as opposed to sellers of new, multiple item listings) ebay’s answer was:
“Thank you for the suggestion. Can you elaborate for my own education: what do you believe are the differences in selling practices between those who sell new/multi-quantity and used/one-of-a-kind? I think the differences are in format (auction vs BIN) and return policy. The practices that are universal across all sellers, no matter what you sell, are listing best practices, good keywords, reasonable shipping and excellent customer service. Would love to hear your take.”
I haven’t answered just yet, but will point out that many of us do NOT use auctions, or use them sparingly. But I’d love to hear YOUR answers, and with your permission, will pass them on to eBay’s audrey tracey
So, to repeat the question:
what do you believe are the differences in selling practices between those who sell new/multi-quantity and used/one-of-a-kind?
03/15/2018 at 10:28 pm #35333
I would like to offer not to pass along each individual name with their suggestion. I think suggestions gathered would be better served if included in a bulleted list instead of being presented as multiple answers from different sellers. Capturing one’s attention when it comes to reviewing feedback is done in a split second. Either they see something they are willing to read and process or become overwhelmed at the extent of effort and work that appears before them and simply loose interest.
03/15/2018 at 10:38 pm #35334
AdventureE, Sorry for the confusion. I wasn’t planning on passing along names or IDs, I asked permission to pass along the comment….was planning on keeping the source anonymous, just mentioning that I’d asked some friends to add their comments. I figured I’d edit them if there were duplicates etc.
I just think it’s a good opportunity to get some viewpoints in front of ebay.
Do you have any comments you’d like me to include?
03/15/2018 at 10:48 pm #35335
Eventhough there is a large consumer base for pre-owned and vintage items, ebay does not engage in marketing efforts that specifically engage the target market of those who are interested in buying pre-owned and/or vintage items. Ebay has identified that there is a large percentage of people who want new items which seems to have become their main focus in their marketing efforts both online and in their TV commercials. Their platform grew due to pre-owned items and vintage items and yet they appear to have distanced themselves from that concept.
03/15/2018 at 10:56 pm #35337
OK, but the question is not about what does ebay do or not do, it is about the differences in selling practices between those who sell new/multi quantity and used/single items—-so it’s about sellers and their selling practices on ebay. For example, many (though not all) scavenger sellers are likely to “list it and forget it” based on the long tail nature of their items, whereas the sellers of new are more likely to aim for sales velocity due to the nature of their items and the need for volume sales.
That’s the sort of thing I’m talking about.
03/15/2018 at 11:25 pm #35338
Yes, I understand the question. Before a seller can sell anything, they must first have someone interested in buying thier items. Seller practices do not matter if ebay does not market strongly enough to bring buyers to the platform. Sellers of pre-owned and vintage items are competing against those who sell new and/or mass produced items, so buyers face the question – How do I want to spend my money – on new or old/pre-owned, vintage? There is no distinction in marketing efforts on the platform unless a buyer specifically searches for pre-owned, vintage etc.. If ebay spends alot of time marketing new, that is what buyers will search for and focus on causing sellers to have to work harder to sell their products. This causes feedback to become even more important eventhough some have downplayed it and many buyers don’t give it. As has been stated before, those who sell new and mass quantity items often have to engage in a “race to bottom” price war in order to get the sale. Those who sell pre-owned and vintage sometimes have to face a race to the bottom price war because of those who low ball their prices on items that may be similar in nature.
03/15/2018 at 11:30 pm #35339
Do you sell used, etc? If so, what selling practices do you use which you would say distinguish you from sellers of new, multi-quantity listings? Or do you feel there’s really no difference?
03/15/2018 at 11:45 pm #35340
Sellers of pre-owned and vintage items have alot more work on thier hands as far as description, details, research, pictures, dealing with returns etc. Brand names on items that are pre-owned and/or vintage are not as recognizable and searched for as are brand names of current brands/companies. Sellers who sell pre-owned and vintage can use the list it and forget method, but the only problem is that their items may drop in ranking the longer they sit and may not be seen at all – again back to the need for ebay to spend more time, effort, and money marketing pre-owned and vintage items as their own category.
03/15/2018 at 11:47 pm #35341
OK, thanks, I can work some of that into the answer.
03/16/2018 at 12:41 am #35342
Thanks for doing this, mycottage. Here are some ideas off the top of my head – pick and choose as you see fit.
– scavenger-type sellers do a LOT more research outside of ebay to just figure out what their item is, much less how to price it.
– We have to develop some sort of innate sense of what is cool or desirable b/c of the frequent absence of any comps. We can’t always just “look it up.”
– we take a lot more photos, b/c we have far fewer multiple listings.
– harder for us to fight INAD cases b/c it’s often impossible to specify every single possible minute flaw in used items.
– on the upside, we can often price high even when others aren’t, b/c there are very few or often no other similar items for sale
– we look at sold listings a lot, often under time pressure at auctions/rummage sales/etc – so important to get the mobile workflow for this search as easy as possible. As it stands, I have this issue where whenever I do a search on my iphone for something, I typically ask to sort “highest to lowest price”. Then I add “sold” as a criteria, and the sorting goes back to “most recent first.” Argh. So I have to go back in and change this. Not a huge deal, but when you’re doing tons of such searches when you’re out scavenging, it can really slow things down. Especially when you are trying to hide from the one cranky thrift shop lady who doesn’t like resellers, or when you are doing it at yard sales. If you are selling new iphone cases, you’re not doing this type of thing.
– we spend a lot of time driving around looking for stuff
– we have to learn details about a huge variety of topics/items.
– we clean and sometimes fix items
03/16/2018 at 12:49 am #35343
Here’s some more. Hope this is the kind of thing you’re looking for
– we have to learn how to recognize fakes of various things
– we ship huge things sometimes – so why did they get rid of the big boxes we like?
– have to develop ability to pack any combination of size, shape, and weight – so need a lot more different types of packing materials around. And since packing is often different every time, it takes longer than if you’re always packing/shipping the same type of item. I’m still recovering from 2 large vases I packed last week. If I were selling these vases over and over vs. just once, I would have had a particular set of boxes and padding around to make it super easy.
– Ever try to figure out the size of a shoe that’s not labeled?!?!? LOL – best practice for me and many others is to not buy shoes without size labeled, but we’ve all been through it as beginners 🙂
03/16/2018 at 8:14 am #35349
I agree that this is probably one of the biggest differences: shipping.
Since most of us dont have consistent, homogeneous inventory, we must be careful with our shipping policies. We’re shipping anything and everything so we cannot have a “one size fits all” shipping standard.
03/16/2018 at 9:21 am #35351
thanks everyone—-keep ’em coming!
03/16/2018 at 10:08 am #35353ChristineRParticipant
- Location: Southern California
I just looked at the boot camp topics. It does seem like it will be most helpful to sellers of new, common goods. I hope you report back to us later if you hear good tips for scavengers or ways we need to adapt if they openly address tweaking the algorithm.
With used, unique items a big factor is seller time investment – to source, list, research, price, sell and ship. Ebay metrics (except maybe view count) seem to to be less helpful. Sourcing guidance won’t be helpful to scavenger sellers. Sellers of used goods will need to rely on item specifics fields vs. product id # which typically cannot be found in the database.
Pricing is more of an art and sellers may need to maximze profits with slow dime selling to make up for the increased time investment. Ebay databases typically cannot offer valuable guidance for used items. Sales data going back longer than 3 months would be more helpful.
Returns may be more common with used goods due to condition issues on average and shipping may be more costly. Buyers may be less likely to expect free shipping and returns for hard to find or collectible items. Sellers of unique items may not see the same sales increase as new buyers if they offer free returns because fewer shoppers are looking for their items.
03/16/2018 at 10:17 am #35355ChristineRParticipant
- Location: Southern California
One more thought is that sellers of unique items probably are more likely to benefit from social media marketing. Ebay already makes it easy and convenient to share items but this also takes additional time. If older listings are pushed down in search, outside sharing might be somewhat necessary to attract buyers into the site and help people find your item.
03/16/2018 at 11:58 am #35363AmatinoParticipant
- Location: Texas
Hmmm… much of my response matches what has been said above.
Agree with ChristineR that we need longer background than 90 days for sold items. I pay $30 per month to Worthpoint bc eBay just doesn’t have our unique stuff readily available. If Worthpoint and Terapeak can provide this historical info (Worthpoint goes back 15 years!) why can’t eBay provide it? Especially for sellers with greater volume. Premium stores or bigger, perhaps, should have free access to Terapeak, for example, seeing as eBay now owns it.
There’s a greater time sink for scavengers than for listers of new inventory. In multiple areas:
– research and keyword identification (often a side effect of identification, bc some of our stuff is so “out there” that nobody knows what keywords a buyer will use!)
– actual listing process, bc we can’t use a template
– packing and shipping.
03/16/2018 at 12:00 pm #35364
Great point. Why not give sellers access to years of selling data? Or at least to store subscribers.
03/16/2018 at 12:19 pm #35367MDC Galleries & Fine ArtParticipant
- Location: Atlanta
right behind you on this one guys. I have been paying for WorthPoint for years. It has just so much historical data, but it also does have HallMark and Stamped Chop mark identifications and a library as added value tools. But 3 years or so of historical data from Ebay would be nice.
I know Jay has told me before he just doesn’t see a need for info. going that far back, especially if he has to pay for it, but many times due to the unique-odd ball nature of some items that span of time does at least give a few sold items to use as a bench mark.
Guess though that they make money off of selling this information to others who offer historical archive services or maybe it is just too much information to store for Ebay and eats up way too much storage capacity.
One way to cut down is to only keep 2 or 3 photos and dump the rest. That is what WorthPoint does.
03/16/2018 at 12:36 pm #35368
How about auctions? Audrey Tracey obviously assumes most of us are heavy auction users—-true for you, or not?
03/16/2018 at 12:42 pm #35369
almost never use auctions
When you have long tail items like we do, what are the chances that that one special buyer is going to come along in exactly that one week you have the auction up?
03/16/2018 at 1:20 pm #35374MDC Galleries & Fine ArtParticipant
- Location: Atlanta
Only used some auctions back when we first started in 2002. Did about 50 Baseball Cards at $.99 and allowed them to be sniped. That way we built up about 30 or so feedbacks very quickly. After that, only a couple for 15 year span.
I didn’t Jay to call me a “Sucker”..:-) [his famous line..Auctions are for Suckers]. seriously we could do about the same thing by taking Offers. Now that Ebay allows up to 5 counter offers, that is a mini-private auction within itself. We have had buyers use all 5 tries, back and forth.
Millnials or most people just don’t want to wait for auctions to play out. Either pay now and ship it to me today or tomorrow or make an offer and end it in a day or so. I think even sniping software is more for dealer buyers. nobody I ever speak to even knows about sniping, heck they don’t even read a short description.They see a vintage red vase for $35, and BAM! it is bought.
03/16/2018 at 3:58 pm #35388
Yes! “Make Offer” is a reverse auction where you start at the highest price you want and then negotiate down. Gives the seller more power to control the selling price.
03/16/2018 at 3:32 pm #35387AmatinoParticipant
- Location: Texas
I use auctions for loss-leaders. Sometimes I have items that just don’t have a value that justifies long-tail, but they do sell. I’ve noticed that auctions definitely have a positive affect on my sales, with a couple extra sales popping up in the category I have an auction. So I’ll sometimes throw a low-value item onto auction, or a listing that I want gone, or even a Lot or Set of items that have some value but that I just don’t want to hassle with storing. Sometimes I use auctions for stuff where the shipping is high, but I’m not fussed on how much I get for it. I’ll throw it up on auction, figuring if they bid on it, they’re going to accept the shipping. It has worked out in my favor a couple times.
03/16/2018 at 7:04 pm #35409TemudginParticipant
- Location: Jacksonville FL
I sell used – very different than selling new items in many ways. I very rarely use auctions, only for specific strategies like Amatino, or CraigslistHunter’s technique of setting a high BIN for items difficult to price and then dropping them into auction if many watchers are accumulated and I want a quick sale.
I agree with pretty much all that has been said. My personal take on the indispensable boot camp basics for new scavenger-type sellers, having sniped many an item from them over the years:
– How to pack and ship a variety of items. I have received countless poorly packed and damaged items from eBay sellers over the years, and have seen where sellers have paid way too much for shipping for not choosing the best method for size, weight, and destination. It hurts them directly if selling with free shipping, and takes money out of their pockets on the realized sale price if charging too much for shipping because they don’t know any better.
– How to take good, well-lit photos, including identifying marks and hallmarks, and take as many as needed to show everything a buyer wants to see.
– How to research items. How to look at a history of sold similar items (on eBay and elsewhere) and getting a sense of why there might be a large price range and learning how to distinguish what is valuable data and what is not.
– How to write good descriptions. Laziness in condition specifics will come back to haunt them. The use of high selling examples from their research to use the right key words to get the best price for their items.
New sellers’ failures in these last three points especially, along with using low-start auctions, have resulted in many very good buys for me.
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