Auction websites, such as eBay, Yahoo! Auctions and the like, have been around for a few years now, and have undergone many changes that make things easier than ever to sell online. This guide will explain exactly how to get started, whether for a new business or getting rid of some old junk.
When it comes down to it, the best bet is to go with eBay. They’re one of the few sites that charge fees for listing and selling, but the fact is that for every single user on other auction sites, you’ll find 100 users on eBay. You can certainly try the other sites, but don’t expect very grand results. Because these sites are all so very similar, the tips can be used on almost all of these sites.
The first thing you need to do is register with your chosen auction site and buy some items. This will get you used to the format, the bidding and buying structure, and help give you some ideas on the right and wrong way to sell your items.
In choosing your user name, you should pick something generic that describes the kinds of items you’re looking to sell. I used “bobsbooksandsoftware” for a long time because it told people exactly what I sold the most of: books and software. I eventually ended up changing this because I got into selling a great deal more than that, but for starting out, it worked just fine. Names like “113451_*”, or “peggyj7” are not memorable, and often prevent repeat buyers from finding your other auctions. Try to avoid numbers in general, but sometimes they are necessary.
At this time, you should write a short and preliminary “About Me” page that describes your background, your interest, or provides information on some of the items that you sell repeatedly. Remember to update this to something flashy and unique once you come up with more content. Most eBay users will never read this, but it helps wary users trust you as a seller, and gives you an additional icon to put up by your name, making you seem professional.
You also want to register with Paypal at this time, and make sure that you get a business account so that you can accept payment (it’s free, don’t worry). I will cover using paypal in more depth later.
Buying items also has a really important function in the beginning. You’re also building up feedback, a user-inputted recommendation describing your experience with a certain seller. Feedback is extremely important, and you should do all you can to keep 100% positive. Once you get enough feedback to get a gold star (you get 10 positive feedbacks), then it’s time to start selling. Over time, as you complete more and more transactions, you’re star will change colors.
Remember in buying these initial items that your feedback score is dependent on the number of users you interact with, not the number of transactions you complete. If you buy 10 things from one person, and they leave positive on all of your transactions, you’ll only get a score of 1. Buying 10 items from 10 different sellers will net you a score of ten and a gold star.
Most sellers will leave you feedback only after you’ve left some for them, so leave feedback right away. If you wait too long, many large volume sellers may forget about you, and then you don’t get any feedback. As a seller, I always left feedback right away for my buyers, as soon as they paid. This entices them to leave feedback as soon as they get an item, and to compliment my speediness and customer service. It also encourages them to leave positive feedback right away, which is important should they misuse the item they purchased and break it the first time they try it. If you get a feedback that declares something along the lines of “Poor quality product. Broke when I used it,” you might as well pack up your bags and move on to the next auction site, as this will kill your business.
Always remember that feedback is optional. I incurred my first (and only) negative feedback on a product I bought. The seller was a high volume shoe outlet who lost my order in processing, and refused to refund my money. I eventually won a claim with Paypal, and got my money back. I decided to let the world know about my experience by leaving a negative on their account, and I received, unsurprisingly, a negative back from them. I tried to get eBay to remove it, citing the fact that I did pay, and that the comment was false, but their policy states that they do not remove feedback unless there is profanity in it. However, I noticed as soon as I received that negative feedback, I went from selling 72% of my items each week to only selling 38%. There seems to be no other explanation to this than the fact that I had one negative feedback, and it didn’t really seem to matter that it was on an item I bought rather than sold. There are two lessons to be learned here: 1. Don’t leave negative feedback, ever (although you can certainly threaten to). 2. Don’t buy from “mrhaney4.”