Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
With the downward dollar pressure that eBay is feeling from consumers, and pressuring it’s sellers to oblige it seems time to examine our values. As you start thinking of your Black Friday purchases – and hoping that you’ll get some sales consider the consequences of your purchases.
We’ve been brought up to think of ourselves as savvy consumers if we can find the best price on an item. So much so, that we brag around the water cooler when we manage to score a rock bottom price. Americans seem to love cheap crap – we sure buy enough of it! We rush off to Walmart to get those low prices on disposable products and purchase them with our charge cards. Of course, we have to replace them over and over again, because they aren’t made to last. We fill up landfills with items that were designed for one-time use, and max out our credit cards in the process.
This has become so ingrained in our lives that we think someone is ripping us off if they sell a product at a reasonable markup. And on eBay – buyers feel free to send nasty emails to sellers who can’t compete. Or, if they buy and have to pay for shipping they ding your DSR ratings. As a seller have you ever received one of those harassing emails, asking why you’re ripping people off by asking retail on a product? I’ve stopped selling several items, because they are now being sold directly from China, with no import duties or tariffs and no American distributers. I got tired of the harassment from buyers – let them buy it from China, maybe they’ll get the product or maybe they’ll get some an unregulated piece of junk that burns down their photo studio.
On a more national level – we blame the unions who pay their employees health benefits and pay retirement pensions for the cause of the American auto companies’ demise. After all, we can get those foreign cars made by someone living below poverty level (no health insurance, no retirement and no future) and pay considerably less for them!
When I owned a little shop in the bricks and mortar world we specialized in organic garden supplies. Our goal was to prevent the Puget Sound from further pollution and to keep our earth a little cleaner for the next generation. Sure, we wanted to earn money from the sales and make a living at it. Most people who shopped at the store ‘got it’ that we were working toward a common goal and that to attain it they might have to pay a few dollars more. We felt like a community and had many loyal customers. But, still we had people who didn’t care about the environment, just wanted to get the cheapest product they could – and they were always the first to get nasty when they thought we overpriced a product they could get at the local discount store. Of course, they couldn’t because the discount store sold a product of less quality.
My point to this rant is:
That every time you purchase something you vote. Yes, vote, just like you did in the elections. Who do you want running your lives, and what do you want your country to be? And how much are you willing to stand behind your vision? What about your children? What kind of lives do want for them? Are you willing to pay a few dollars extra to build a community, support organics or buy a product you only have to purchase one time? Or, are you focused on buying the cheapest, no matter that it might cost your job (send it overseas) or health care (gotta cut those profit margins so can’t pay employee benefits) or that you’ll be repurchasing the same thing next week.
How do we deal with this as sellers on eBay?
What is the solution for eBay sellers who sell to the bottom feeders who shop eBay? Don’t!
It may be time to take a look at your marketing plan. Yes, still sell on eBay – it’s an easy way to set up a shopping cart and have an online presence without knowing advanced coding. But, don’t sell to eBay buyers! Start marketing to buyers outside of eBay – start a blog – go back to the community you live in and market to them. Start considering eBay as your shopping cart – not your marketing plan.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Lynn's ebay store the Queen of Auctions
Griff normally takes it with stride, does the best he can to help sellers caught in a bad deal. He did so yesterday too, but there was a little different twist to his answers. Seems he's letting it out of the bag that there are changes coming in 2009. And that the changes are going to make sellers very happy.
He wouldn't say much more, other than "no, DSR and feedback policies will not go away - but eBay is going to address non-paying bidders" and he believes all sellers will be happy, especially when it comes to feedback scores.
It's just gossip and rumor at this point - but it's from an insider - and I for one, can hardly wait to see a change on eBay I'll like.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Listen up for the Cliff and Griff show - LOL
Monday, November 24, 2008
I'm not all that crazy about the new tabbed browsing, but know I'll get used to it. I change over now when I teach class, but as soon as I get home I change back to my old, familiar 'my eBay' - mainly because I've customized it - I know my items selling are right on top, followed by things I've sold, I've turned off my 'seller dashboard' etc...
So, my big gripe about the new look - once again, eBay is forcing us to waste time resetting something we sellers already have in place. I'm getting a little cranky about all the time I've wasted this year changing and upgrading listings because of policy changes, etc. Now I've got to get used to, and customize something else - all for the sake of eBay 'eye candy.'
I know I'm in the minority here, Renée VonBergen from the My eBay Product Team tells us that only 10% still use the old look.
For more information about the change here's the post: 100% New My eBay in The New Year
Have you changed over to the new 'my eBay' look or are you using the original version - please comment.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
***A Message from Dinesh Lathi -- 50% off Insertion Fees for all Auction-Style Listings -- Two Day Sale! ***
We hope you enjoy this promotion, and we wish you a safe, happy Thanksgiving!
Dinesh LathiVP, Seller Experience
Friday, November 21, 2008
Media Outlet/Publication: First for Women magazine
Specific Geographic Region? Yes (See below)
Region: U.S. and Canada
Deadline: 3:00 PM EASTERN - December 7
"First for Women magazine is looking for ways that women have turned a profit during hard times like these.
Are you an avid Ebayer? Let us know how you added to your income by making a profit on the side. Did you sell things you just didn't need? Start a small business? Include your age, city, state, and send a photo."
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Amazon now allows a limited number of vendors to have videos in their listings and they have found that video "contained a tremendous lift in glace views for the item pages"
Video is "one of the new ways to get customer attention."
During the webinar they asked viewers/sellers if they had or could use video, here is the results:
Already have videos: 14%
Yes, I could create one: 25%
Only 14% have videos of their products? Do you see the opportunity to outdo your competition with video? It's easy to create one with a flip camera and super simple to upload it to YouTube.
The time is now to start adding videos to your eBay and to get ready to add them to your Amazon listing (for 2009) - do you know how?
If not we've created a complete course on how to create videos for eBay and (now) Amazon listings.
Click here to find out more about our video course.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
- feedback withdraws
- eBay ad marketplace placement to increase store exposure
- more on best match and search (how eBay sorts our listings in auction and fixed price search)
- more information about choosing the right format when listing on eBay
- tips on how to succeed in fixed price
- shipping and handling terms and times
One of the things that concerns me the most about the 'changing face' of eBay is that price is becoming the most important part of making sales. Thus, eBay is rewarding sellers for having the 'cheapest' price. That means that if you are a seller, who buys new products to resell on eBay and you are buying product through the normal distribution channel - like a distributor who represents the manufacturer - your normal mark-up will have to be reduced to stay up in the best match rankings.
eBay is rewarding sellers who are finding creative ways to go around the normal retail channels. In other words, eBay sellers who are buying directly from the manufacturers, or importing items instead of buying the product from the US distributor.
This sounds great for the consumer - but is it? When eBay sellers go around normal sales channels many times the consumers loose the warranty and product guarantees. Wholesalers control their distribution for quality control, to cap prices and control brand reputation. If sellers are going around the normal channel they may find that they are purchasing black or gray market goods, without meaning to, or even knowing that they are.
I know for me, that I'll be re-examining my product sources, dropping products (on eBay) that aren't competitive and looking hard at alternative sales venues where being the cheapest seller isn't the main criteria for success. This isn't anything that is necessarily good or bad - this kind of re-sorting of products is part of retailing - whether online or in the 'bricks and mortar' store.
If you sell used products or collectibles, you'll still going to be fine selling on eBay. But, for sellers who sell new, commodity items we need to make sure we are moving out to multi-venue sales.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
She never really talks about eBay - but Naomi recently purchased a purse on the site. It was refreshing to hear her experience was pleasant enough to post about it. And, not only that - the seller had a brilliant little marketing plan.
Read Naomi's post 'This is Kind of Neat"
Warning: Reading Naomi Dunford may offend you - she uses strong language
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
It's a nifty little product. The creator had spent a fair amount of time designing it for her target audience, made sure it was UL rated, and had tested it in her own business before manufacturing them in bulk.
While I had a few misgivings about the venture (not the quality of the product - more her reliability) I decided that after a couple months of negotiations to take her product on.
The item sells, slowly - I could sell a lot more if I really stepped up the Internet marketing and went all out - but, it really doesn't fit my product line, so I just let it sit in my eBay store and when it sells, call her up and have her ship the product.
The product is what eBay sellers search high and low for. No up-front inventory purchase, little competition, unique niche product that sells with the minimum of effort and I get a decent mark-up. It is the perfect dropship item. So, why am I firring her and removing her product from my store?
A number of reasons, many small that have been tallying up till today...
- First, the one and only way I can contact her is via phone. I have to call her up (no fax) and read the address out loud to her.
- Second, she won't combine shipping. I had a customer who ordered three units and the supplier put each one in their own separate box to mail... (which meant I paid the extra shipping to keep my DSR's in check)
- Third, she won't promise to ship them out right away - it's more like when she feels like getting to the post office.
- Forth, she won't accept returns (what she afraid of? It's a great product...) so, I have to assume all the risk of returns, because I sell items with a money back guarantee
- And the number one reason - she won't pay 55 cents extra for delivery confirmation
Today, I had a new eBay buyer (less than 10 feedbacks) who's very nervous, wondering how soon the item will be delivered and when she can see a tracking number. While I can't offer her a tracking number because the items go priority, I can give the buyer piece of mind by providing her with a delivery confirmation number. So, when I called to order the unit today, I requested that my supplier call me back with a delivery confirmation number. This sent the dealer into a tail spin - she absolutely would NOT pay the extra .55 cents for the delivery confirmation. She told me she was selling the units at so close to her cost that she could and would not spend the extra .55 cents.She told me the customer would just have to trust her - that the item would get shipped......
OK, that floored me - left me speechless and, of course caught me between a rock and hard spot with my customer.
Needless to say, if my supplier can't afford a .55 cent investment in her business, how can I respect and continue to do business with her?
I've spent literally thousands of dollars investing in my business and making sure my DSR ratings and Amazon rankings stay high - I'm not going to jeopardize them for someone so cheap they can't invest .55 cents.
So, I share this with you for two reasons:
- Dropshippers are not nirvana - it takes a lot of effort and trust to make them work - just because they sound great, doesn't mean they are perfect for your business
- How much are you investing in your business? Are you too cheap to invest .55 cents to make a sale? If you don't invest in your customer service (by paying a little extra for better quality, loosing a little on shipping once in awhile or accepting returns from someone you know may just have buyers remorse) you may be find yourself without any future sales. Buyers expect more from us now and if you don't keep your feedback and DSR ratings up - they'll stop buying from you.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
In this months edition I talk about Amazon FBA program, announce classes,
and of course, there's a new "marketing minute" video.
Hope to see you there!
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Here's more information from their press release:
Seattle, WA- ShipRush publisher Z-Firm LLC announced today that version 6.1 has been released and is available at www.ShipRush.com
"The number of ecommerce platforms we support is growing," said Rafael Zimberoff, ShipRush product manager. "ShipRush has a large footprint in the eBay space, and now helps sellers on a variety of systems."
Ecommerce merchants increasingly list their inventory on multiple sites. For example, a merchant may offer inventory for sale on both eBay and Amazon. ShipRush v6.1 supports both of these platforms (among others) and automates the post-sale process for all sales.
A single copy of ShipRush can support multiple ecommerce platforms, and even multiple seller accounts on each platform. A key benefit of ShipRush is that it is free of charge. Sponsored by FedEx, the software, support, and updates are free of charge.
ShipRush has advanced features for merchants, including: Bulk (aka batch) shipping, packing list support, email notification to buyers, and other features.
Bulk-capable tools are important for sellers. For years already, eBay sellers have used pre-sale tools, such as Turbo Lister or Blackthorne, to list items in bulk on the eBay web site. "We think of ShipRush as the Turbo Lister of the post-sale," said Zimberoff.
The large user base of ShipRush means sellers get a feature-rich and well-supported solution. More shippers use ShipRush than any other independent shipping system. For example, the built-in QuickBooks Shipping Manager is developed from ShipRush technology.
Available to the eBay community since early 2006, ShipRush helps ecommerce merchants improve the efficiency of their post-sale process. For example, Jay Gee of Full Spectrum Service Group sells high-end Shure brand wireless audio equipment to touring bands and organizations like churches. He uses ShipRush for his post-sale needs.
"ShipRush for eBay has been a godsend," Gee said. "It is a phenomenal time and energy saver, and it facilitates greater accuracy because the information comes right from the buyer's eBay contact information. I would recommend ShipRush to anyone who sells on eBay. It works perfectly."The FedEx version of ShipRush is free of charge, and can be found at www.shiprush-fedex.com. For those who use the U.S. Postal Service, free and for-charge versions of ShipRush are available at www.ShipRush.com/USPS and www.ShipRush.com/Endicia.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
The 'weekend warriors' who tend to come and bid things into the sky may be staying home and counting their pennies instead....
WASHINGTON STATE DEPT OF REVENUE
THURSDAY & FRIDAY - DECEMBER 18 & 1910AM EA DAY
Preview 8-4, Tuesday and Wednesday, December 16 & 17
1000 bill Gold coins Silver dollars Paper currency including Federal Reserve Notes & Silver Certificates Mint sets Foreign currency Gold bars Silver bars Commemorative coins & medallions Ancient coins Tax tokens Walking Liberty, Mercury dimes, buffalo nickels, Indian head pennies, Eisenhower dollars, Franklin & Kennedy half dollars, and many, many more Rings Bracelets Earrings Pearls Loose precious & semi precious stones Stick pins Lockets Costume jewelry Ken Griffey & others sports cards "Revenge of the Jedi" promotion piece PLUS a huge quantity of old photos, silverware, silverware sets, pens, drawings & sketches, books, diaries, wallets, maps, religious items, calendars, date books, pocket knives, diplomas & graduation papers, old newspaper clippings, letters, post cards, bank books, insurance papers, marriage certificates, keys, show tickets, opera glasses, report cards & school papers, plus thousands of items too numerous to list!!
See you there!
Monday, November 03, 2008
#@*!!! Anonymous anger rampant on Internet
Blogs, commenters and whole Web sites are full of vitriol
Anger is sharper on Internet as result of medium's anonymity, lack of retaliation
Professor: "Kids don't realize that one post can destroy somebody's life forever"
Parents can instill understanding in children; adults can better understand selves
The article confirms my belief that many users may not participate, post videos, create a blog, ask questions or even join the Internet age because they just don't want to be 'flamed'. (meaning being cursed or yelled at)
I can't teach others behaviour modification, but I believe I can offer a safe and supportive place for people to come together and learn from each other. Within the next couple of months, watch for the Web Sellers Circle to come online. It'll be a peaceful place.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
These blog readers say that they trust relevant blog content for purchase decisions more than content from social networking sites, the study found. So, if your main marketing strategy solely relies on having a presence on Facebook, MySpace or Twitter, it's time to expand your reach and include a blog.
According to Rob Crumpler, CEO, BuzzLogic the report show us “Blogs are becoming trusted guides, steering users who are seeking very specific information to places of interest online". In other words, Blogs are becoming an increasingly valuable way to find your qualified buyers.
For the online seller here are some pretty compelling reasons to start a blog and keep it updated.
The report found that Blogs influence purchases:
One half (50%) of blog readers say they find blogs useful for purchase information.
Niche focused blogs increase the influence factor with readers: For those who have found blog content useful for product decisions, more than half (56%) say blogs with a niche focus and topical expertise were key sources.
This tells us that readers are actively seeking advice about their purchase decisions and trust the authority of a blog writer. As an eBay or online seller of goods, who better for a blog reader to trust than someone who purchases in the industry? If you are a retailer, you know all the product trends, inside industry information and know which products are the best.
The study found that blogs are no longer just for technology and politics: readers are referring to blogs for all kinds of information. many key categories include media and entertainment (15%); games/toys and/or sporting goods (14%); travel (12%); automotive (11%); and health (10%).
Blog readers are more likely to click on a link in your blog! The study found that links signal trust:
For frequent readers, blog links appear to have similar impact as a trusted recommendation from a person (a response from 39 percent of survey participants).
For more information about the study visit:
If you've been resisting starting a blog, because you felt it was too hard, or too time consuming - the time is now to stop dragging your feet!
If you are wondering where to start, I can highly recommend:
Blogging With WordPress by Dany Byne.