Sunday, April 29, 2007

A Little eBay Stores Board Wisdom!

I regularly read the eBay Stores Board but never post -- I am deemed a "rabble rouser" by the team that runs the stores board. When I was selling I rarely if ever read the eBay discussion boards but I think I missed out. Sure most of the sellers on the boards are small sellers but if you read the boards there are nuggets of wisdom to be found.

I spend most of my time on the Stores Board because I believe eBay Stores are the weakest link in the eBay Empire. I think that eBay has "screwed the pooch" in regards to stores, mostly by limiting Stores potential. They feel if they improve visibility in Stores it will continue the decline of CORE and in its present form that is probably correct. My biggest beef is they don't appear to know how to do both (Core and Stores) effectively.

I have many complaints about eBay in regards to Stores but it is time for Sellers to take some responsibility for their own business. Stores are not the "Holy Grail" of online business; it is a tool to reach customers. Sellers should not make the mistake of believing if they "just list it they [customers] will come. Sellers are not entitled to a nice profit just because they list items. I don't blame eBay for my business failure because when the market dynamics changed I was not prepared to handle it. Sellers need to learn to be responsible for their own business.

This recent comment from the stores board is full of wisdom in this regard.
faeries_finest (709 ) View Listings 2 of 9 Apr-28-07 22:07 PDT

"Stores aren't part of Core. It's that simple. Stores can be a profitable part of an Ebay business but Ebay never claims it is one size fits all - they never say 'put all your inventory in a store and your sales will go up 'You have to be responsible for picking and choosing the services that Ebay offers. Only you can decide the best listing formats and the best mix of listing formats for your particular business. Of course Ebay is going to encourage you to use all of them. That's their job. Your job is to exercise judgment about whether their recommendations are actually a good business decision for you."

Sellers don't let changes in the marketplace catch you by surprise. eBay Stores are a tool, its up to you to become the Master Craftsmen.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Consider this before you Make Online Selling a Career Move

If you are new to online selling or considering jumping into it headfirst, please take a few minutes to read this post. I am usually not a How-to kind of writer so forgive me if I don’t follow a standard format.

There are at least three major considerations you need to address before opening up a business online: (There are many more things to consider but these are key)

  • Do you have a product someone wants to buy and can you get sufficient quantities and steady supply? If you can’t answer positively regarding this question you should stick to selling items as a hobby or for extra cash. It isn’t a bad way to go -- you won’t get rich but you won’t lose your house either.
  • Is this a commodity product that everyone is selling already and being the lowest price is the major merchandising method? You will not last long, selling online, if you don’t have sufficient margin. Leave the low-priced, high volume game to the big guys.
  • Before you jump into online selling understand that from 15 – 20% of your total sales will be paid out to marketplaces like eBay and Amazon, Credit Card processors like PayPal and Google Checkout (eventually) If you choose not to go the Marketplace route you will spend from 10% to 20% on AdWords. Make sure you can afford to spend that kind of money before try and make a living at selling online.

Please don’t fall prey to the “Get Rich” fast schemes or the eBay Millionaire Stories. My company was profiled over and over again as an eBay Millionaire. While I made a good living for several years I was no Millionaire.

Think – Research – Test before you start an online business.

Just my 5 Cents (Adjusted for eBay economics)

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Dawn of a New Day - 24 hr. Notice for Listings Sales on eBay!

eBay announced a new .20 cent listing sale today which really is not news. It appears CLD's (cheap listing days as the Brits call them) are being announced each month. No, the news today is that eBay has given sellers 24 hours notice for the sale.

In the past eBay announced sales the day of the sale which limited seller's ability to pick the right titles to list many sellers just threw up items "to see what stick". With 24 hours notice sellers can pick and choose making for a more effective listing strategy.

eBay UK has been providing up to 3 days notice for CLD's in that market for awhile and that strategy has been very effective.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Meg Whitman on CNBC

Unfortunately CNBC does not provide a method for embedding their videos in a blog so I will just have to link to Meg's interview on CNBC this morning.

It was interesting to hear her take when she mentioned the strength of eBay is the small businesses that use their platforms and services -- they certainly have a funny way of showing that to sellers, don't they?

Another humorous comment was when she mentioned Skype. She mentioned that Skype's business was 2/3rds from Europe and 1/3 from Asia then she added the US makes up the rest of it -- is this another example of eBay math.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

eBay Feedback 2.0 - Revisited

Many US sellers are concerned about Feedback 2.0 and the impact it will have on their business. If sellers want to get a preview of how they will be rated once it goes into effect in the US market, that information is available right now if they sell internationally.

If you sell to the UK and have sold more than 10 items since Feedback 2.0 was launched you can see your rating by going to your ebay UK store. Huh? Yeah that's right you have an eBay UK store. To find it just do the following.

Take your ebay store url: (Example) and replace the with like this:

Once you are at your eBay UK store, just check your feedback to see how you are being rated. It's that easy.

Now that you know you have an eBay UK store make sure to add the new URL to search engines. It can't hurt.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Is eBay's Feedback 2.0 Coming to the US Soon?

I came across a great post on the eBay Store Discussion board regarding Feedback 2.0. Please read the Original Post as it is very fair and well written.

I don't think Feedback 2.0 will have as much impact on sellers as many think. Most buyers are lazy and if the transaction was favorable they will either not make the effort to rate the transaction further or give it all fives. The negative people are of course going to be negative regardless. The nice thing for US Sellers (though not great for International sellers) is they probably won't release Feedback 2.0 until after eBay live and they may make some modifications to resolve some seller's concerns.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Squidoo is Courting eBay Sellers!

I recently received an email from Squidoo promoting “The Lens of the Day” a nice little feature where they highlight a particular “Lens” for being unique, clever or in some way standing out. Yesterday’s LOTD was Freaknoodles and here is the email I received:

“Hi Randy,

Q: What happens when you cross Sock Monkeys with some Cherry Pie and Santa Claws?
A: Freaknoodles!


Okay, once more, in English.

Freaknoodles is a cute eBay store that sells colorful pajamas. And they have a lens, which is today's esteemed Lens of the Day.

This is what every eBay seller should have! Tell a story about your items, why you're selling, who you are, share some testimonials, and point people straight to your auctions. You get more reach, more pages linking Googlers to your stuff, more sales.

Are eBayers with lenses the new elite of online trade? You better believe it.

Stop by the Freaknoodles lens and suck up some inspiration from a pro.

P.S. The SquidTeam will be at eBay Live in Boston this year. June 14-16. Come out at say hi!

I was struck by the focus of the email. It appears that the folks behind Squidoo see the value of promoting their site to eBay sellers, in fact they are going so far as to tell readers they will be at eBay Live in Boston. I have posted a couple of times on the value of Squidoo for eBay sellers – mostly small to medium volume sellers -- it is nice to see the management of Squidoo sees that value as well.

BTW - Freaknoodles received a substantial increase in activity to their Squidoo Lens as noted in a eBay Stores Discussion thread post number 2.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

vFlyer - A Great Tool for Promoting your Online Business!

I've been playing with vFlyer for several weeks and decided to share some of that information with my Squidoo buddies. vFlyer is in essence a digital flyer for promotion of your business or specific products and is used for placement on classified sites like Craig's List, as a promotional widget on blogs and social networking sites and for email marketing. Please check out this example of a company promotion flyer for eBay seller Rider’s Discount as well as a product flyer for their Z1R Youth Motocross Helmets.

Here is an example of the widget:

They have a free personal account for you to test your own vFlyer so check it out.