"I'm thinking of selling my hand-crafted jewelry on eBay. However, I'm nervous about dealing with people who may not be trustworthy. Can you offer any advice about whether eBay could work for my business -- and how I can know whether to trust the people I'm dealing with?"
Answer: First of all, let me put aside your fears about eBay. After all, eBay is among the top ten most-trafficked sites on the Internet, according to the Neilson Ratings -- and that's not a position that could be held very long by a site that wasn't doing its job extremely well.
Part of the reason eBay works so well is its feedback system. All eBay users have a “feedback” page where buyers and sellers can leave positive, neutral, or negative feedback about each transaction.
You can check the feedback rating for any of your buyers (or another seller) by clicking the “Search” tab on the eBay homepage, then clicking “Find members.” You'll be able to see their feedback rating, and read all the comments others have made about their transactions with that member.
Also, you should know that eBay has policies in place to protect you as a seller.
You'll want to keep in mind, of course, that the feedback system works both ways: If you have a positive rating, you can increase your sales by as much as 7% - 9%. So if you are going to sell on eBay (and, yes, I do suggest you give it a try), you'll want to start building your own feedback rating quickly.
Establishing Your Reputation -- and Learning the Ropes
Since your feedback for buying and selling all contributes to one rating, you can start to establish a positive rating even before you start to sell.
The easiest way to build your eBay reputation -- and do some valuable market research -- is to participate in the auction experience as a buyer. Pick an inexpensive item and see how easy it is to find. Take a look at the techniques sellers use to get you to look at their listings. Then start bidding.
Once the auction is over, take note of the checkout process, and how the seller completes the transaction. Keep track of how long your item takes to arrive, and how it's packaged.
Then analyze your experience. What techniques should you incorporate into your own listings? What should you be sure to avoid?
Afterwards, leave the seller positive feedback, and ask that they do the same for you. Repeat this process a few more times and you'll have learned a ton about online auctions -- and you'll have a great feedback rating when you start to sell!
Finding Your eBay Market
Listing an item with eBay gives you access to a huge crowd (37 million users!), and unlike most web surfers -- who tend to be in search of information -- eBay users are actually looking for something to buy!
But with three million items listed in 3,000 categories, you'll need to do a little research to figure out exactly where your potential customers will be looking for your product -- and how you can help them find it!
The best way to decide where to list your product (and what keywords to use) is to search for similar products, determine which ones sell best, and see what they're doing. Check how easily your product can be found using the site's search tools before you settle on a category.
Next, you'll need to create a title for your listing. Make sure your title is specific: Instead of "necklace,” say "Beautiful hand-crafted silver necklace with amber pendant," so everything is as clear as possible for your viewers. Being extra clear will help you show up on more searches, too.
No matter what you're selling, eBay can seriously impact your bottom line. There's nowhere else on earth where you'll find 37 million people brought together for the sole purpose of buying and selling.
Remember: As soon as someone arrives at eBay, they're ready to buy… and because the bidding process creates so much excitement, it can result in great profit margins on all kinds of stuff.
No matter WHAT you're selling, the fact is, this is a business like any other! You need to educate yourself and test the waters before diving in if you plan to be successful. Honest people DO make millions through online auctions... so it's not unreasonable to think you can profit, too. Just proceed with caution! And market smart!
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