Monday, February 25, 2008

Things You Can Find Added To Our Stores This Week!



Amazing 1920s Lipstick Tube Travel Toothbrush...coming soon...





New Old Stock Vintage Rare 1940s Westinghouse Electric Chrome Deco Mid Century Coffee Pot Percolator

Brand new again, never used, original paper on the strainer....
why buy new when you can have this??











A few more things we are digging out and adding to our inventory. This is just a small sampling of what was dug out this week.




Vintage National Hosiery Stocking new in package. You can find these at our ecrater and BISI locations. Click here to see them at ecrater.


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We are digging out some great vintage goodies this week. Here are a few!

Amazing condition 1958 PINK electric Treasure Chest blanket by Montgomery Ward...you can find this in our Etsy store


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1945 Swinging Guide To Sin In San Francisco..how cool is this??



You can find this in our BISI store!


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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Stuff White People Like 1-10

I was wasting time this morning over coffee and found this blog mentioned on another site. It looked too good to pass so I clicked. I think I peed my pants. No. Seriously. If you don't possess a sense of humor nor the ability to laugh at your own race, this site is not for you.

My better half; who is from Connecticut, said this blog is all about the mass amounts of democrats living in parts of Fairfield and Litchfield Counties. He should know, he spent over 30 years in CT. The rest well, gotta love it...


Stuff White People Like


While reading through the posts, I found one about vintage. I think this may have been the start of the trickle. SoI thought I would share my views on where I differ from the list...and it started with vintage...see..I am on topic.


#1 COFFEE

"They are also fond of saying “you do NOT want to see me before I get my morning coffee.” White guys will also call it anything but coffee: “rocket fuel,” “java,” “joe,” “black gold,” and so forth. It’s pretty garbage all around.

If you want to go for extra points - white people really love FAIR TRADE coffee, because paying the extra $2 means they are making a difference."



Now now...I am very serious when I say you don't want to see me before my coffee. It is very true. But the affects last well into my third cup, so technically you don't want to see me until after my third cup. However; my male better half hates coffee and quite frankly, I will drink yesterday's coffee reheated in a dirty mug, thank you.



#2 Religions that their parents don’t belong to

"White people will often say they are “spiritual” but not religious. Which usually means that they will believe any religion that doesn’t involve Jesus.

Mostly they are into religion that fits really well into their homes or wardrobe and doesn’t require them to do very much."


Well, no, I am the same religion as my mother and I work very hard at being the good person God wants while trying to understand his tools for a clean and healthy life. But otherwise, I frankly agree 100%...and again, I am a white person.


#3 Film Festivals

"White people can’t enough of Film Festivals. Especially Sundance, Toronto, and Cannes. The reason why they love them so much can be due to a number of factors."

Too many factors to list...but I think they have something here...although, I have never been to a film festival and never plan on going. Yes, I have taken a film class. Ahem..ok..I have taken two film classes. Why? Because as point #2 points out..it was the easiest choice...


#4 Assists

"One explanation is that white people still feel guilty over slavery, colonialism, and the crusades so passing is a way to make up for it. But more importantly, it makes them feel good to help others."

I think this has something to do with basketball...which being white, I know little about. However, I don't have any guilt about slavery, colonialism or the crusades and quite frankly, the media cannot make me start. I wasn't there and had nothing to do with it..remember that. Although, I do like helping others...but I do that just out of liking to help others.


#5 Farmers Markets

"White people like Farmers Markets for a number of reasons. The first is their undying need to support local economies (see future post), and the idea of buying direct from the farmer helps them assuage the fears instilled in them from reading Fast Food Nation (and yes, every white person has read this book)."

Well, I would like to think I love Farmer's Markets...and I do see a lot of people in overalls and they do drive tractors, but to be honest, I always leave disappointed. The prices are always high, the fruit and veggies are usually bruised, sometimes things smell like poop. And no, I have never read Fast Food Nation..but I have been meaning to.

#6 Organic Food

"Never mind the fact that if the world were to switch to 100% organic food tomorow, half the earth would die of starvation.

But white people don’t care, just so long as they aren’t eating pesticides they are pretty sure they can live forever.

It’s almost guaranteed that if some Columbian drug lord can start offering “organic” cocaine, he’ll be the richest guy ever"

Well. I do choose to buy organic in some situations...but otherwise...gotta agree with this one too. 100% organic crack sounds really good.

#7 Diversity

"White people love ethnic diversity, but only as it relates to restaurants.

Many white people from cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York will spend hours talking about how great it is that they can get Sushi and Tacos on the same street. But then they send their kids to private school with other rich white kids, and live in neighborhoods like Santa Monica or Pacific Palisades.

But it’s important to note that white people to do not like to be called out on this fact. If you run an ethnic restaurant you can be guaranteed repeat business and huge tips if you act like your white customers are adventurous and cultured for eating food that it isn’t sandwiches or pasta."

Well, I actually copied the whole paragraph on this one. I honestly believe there is a lot of truth here. But for me....frankly, I LOVE my Chinese and Mexican dives around the corner. But I also have a lot of respect for the people who run them....because they are good people. You can be black white purple or green..if you are a drain on society, you are a drain, if you are an asset, you are an asset. I need a fajita plate special.


#8 Barack Obama

"Because white people are afraid that if they don’t like him that they will be called racist."

I don't like him.


#9 Making you feel bad about not going outside

"And much like most things with white people - they win both ways. If you decide to go with them, they feel good about getting someone off the couch and “into the fresh air,” and if you don’t decide to go, they can spend their entire time outdoors saying “boy, this is great, X doesn’t know what he/she is missing!” and running on a mix of self-satisfaction, Odwalla juice and muesli."


Is it wrong that I agree with this one too?

I belong to a social group for my Autistic son and I swear, the waiting room is filled with nature loving democrats with no TVs and truly, moms talking about food choices while thumbing through organic gluten free catalogs discussing what hike they are going on the next weekend.

Don't get me wrong, I love the outdoors. I am a mountain girl. But I am just not willing to fight three hours of traffic filled SUVs with two people inside to get to a mountain or spend my time in the city with 1000 other people on a two foot wide nature trail.

#10 Wes Anderson movies

"White people love Wes Anderson movies more than they love their kids.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) “I know a lot of people said they didn’t like this film, but I thought it was fantastic.”

I would have never even known who Wes Anderson was if I had not seen the above title listed. I am a huge Bill Murry fan..a junky, many Bill movies are in my top 10 favs..but this move put me nightynight. Maybe I am not white after all.

I never did get to the vintage part, did I? More to follow...




Friday, February 22, 2008

What's vintage without a lil Tom?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The New Customer Service





Found on the eBay Seller Central Board...sad but unfortunately true...

Sure wish I could take credit for this. Found it on another "spanish" auction site:

Once upon a time....I called the office of the feeBay Mall to see about opening a store there. Here's the transcript of my side of the conversation

"Good Morning, I'd like to open a store at your Mall"

"Yes, I understand you are just a venue, that'll be great"

"You want my credit card number first so that I can register...well OK, here it is XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX. OK, so I'm all set?"

"You want an up front fee for everything I bring into the store?"

"Ok, and then you want a cut of everything I sell, I thought you were a venue"

"Oh, you are just a venue, but then you want me to use your bank that's not a bank to process my customers' payments?"

"What? Sometimes I'll have to let the customer leave the store with the merchandise and afterwards you'll notify me that your bank that's not a bank is holding my funds for 21 days or until the customer calls in to say they like it. Is there anything else I should know?"

"As customers leave my store YOU will poll them to see what their reactions were - something called DSRs - and then you'll charge me more to sell my merchandise if they rate me me as merely good - 4 out of 5 DSR stars, anything else?"

"Oh, and you get to hang a RED BANNER warning my customers that I have problems outside my store if my DSR scores are only 4 out of 5, in other words merely what you call good? My goodness, is there anything else?"

"AND you'll place other merchant's merchandise in front of my store so that my customers see it first, and then my RED BANNER?"

"What else could your venue possibly do for me?"

"Oh, from time to time you'll let a deadbeat shoplifter come back in to slap me around in front of my other customers, and all I can do is say how much I liked it"

"I see. Let me get this straight, you are just a venue but YOU collect a fee everytime I offer something for sale, YOU collect a fee everytime I sell something, YOU REQUIRE that I process payments through your bank-thats-not-a-bank, YOU ask my customers how I did on your scale that they don't understand, YOU get to hang a RED BANNER in front of my store if my DSRs are merely GOOD, YOU get to place other merchant's wares in front of my store, and YOU will bring in shoplifters and deadbeats to slap me around with no recourse. Do I have this right so far?"

"OK, can you tell me what's in it for me?"

"Hello"

"Hello"

"Helloooooo"

"Anybody there?"

"What?, I can barely hear you, what? I have to supply my own Vaseline and smile too?"


click

Boycott Update Feb 21 My take

Well,

After the eBay announcement; I received my email January 29, listings did in fact stay stagnant in the 12.5 million range for half the month of February due to everyone freaking out, including me. The length of time the listings stayed in the same realm is a true indicter of how upset many people were. If you look at any other month, the market fluctuates weekly..up and down 12 mil to 16.5 mil on average.

The mid January range listings were fluctuating like this which is normal based on many factors. Holidays, the news, the perceived economy, eBay messing with things on the site, all play factors in the listing range...but they usually float between 12-16 million listings.

Now mind you, I feel the need to point out; in nine years, I have never freaked out over a change in fees or announcement in different paths eBay decided to take for the sake of eBay as a business.....this is quite different and I sincerely urge everyone to do as much reading as possible on all the aspects of all the issues to plan accordingly.

The sell through rate dropped into the 30% range during parts of early February as well...lower than the normal fluctuation of 40% or so. Percentage wise, that is a large drop.

When eBay snuck in their 20¢ listing fee; I believe it was Feb 14th; listings jumped by four million. They did not raise until this day and then the continued to nose dive everyday after that. Many people took advantage of that day trying to make as much money as they could to still feed their family and show support by boycotting. -More on my take on how horrible listings days can be on your success rate later.-


Those auctions kept the list rate around 14.5 to 16 million....until the boycott started on the 18th.......and then the numbers kept dropping with no upward curves until today. Today's numbers are under the 12 million mark. Many people used seven day listings so a true boycott success rate indicator cannot be told within the first seven days.

Fact is though, the start of the new lower fees yesterday, February 20th, made no impact on the amount of listings in a positive way. Listings kept dropping back down, leveling into the mid 12 million range. This morning, after all of those seven day auctions need relisting; they are slightly going up, but not enough to match the amount of listings that went up on the secret 20¢ day last week...no where near it...... and certainly not adding up as fast as that day..which is indicator people are seriously boycotting.


Will the boycott work?

Let's face it, if you look at any eBay email or announcement page; eBay public relations does a fine job of purposely hiding the true details and ramifications of their latest changes. Go ahead, look at the pages. Don't take my word for it. This in no doubt leaves millions thinking the fees are the worst of it..when frankly, if you are selling the right things, the fees should be the least of your worries. But the fact is, only a small percentage of people truly know what is going on. It is just like the eBay boards. I believe it is said on average only 1% of eBay members even go to the boards, much less even know they exist and only sniff them out when faced with a serious eBay related situation or looking for things to sell. So we cannot expect eBay to completely die in a week and we cannot expect the listings to drop beyond a certain point. People simply do not know.


My answer to will a simple one week boycott work....no. I one week boycott which ends up with everyone going back listing as normal will do absolutely nothing but show eBay we are all a bunch of needy sheep. All of us need to think ...longterm....

It will take weeks of stagnant listings and sales to show eBay who the true worker bees are and that they mean business.


However;

I am supporting the boycott in full to show my respect and support to the millions of hard working Americans that eBay drew in with their advertising. eBay used the blood sweat and tears of hard working people to make eBay what it is and now eBay is kicking those same people in the teeth. The boycott time needs to be used in a constructive way and if used properly, can have a very large effect on the pompous minds who think up these "improvements" for eBay.

Plant other seeds, search out other venues. Help build up other venues. We want eBay to no longer be the monopoly? Then shop and sell elsewhere! It really isn't that hard...eBay just wants you to believe it is. Meet new people who have been there, done that. Rethink our own business models and resources. Learn new marketing tips. We all need to ween ourselves into independence.

To rely solely on eBay is flat out foolish. It was foolish for us to do it, it is foolish to do it period. To rely on anyone's services that have to have their own personal agenda and stockholders to please..is bad business.

I have decided for me, to not wait around for eBay to change their mind, cause by golly, eBay is a good guy.....even though they have proven over the last nine years, they are not the good guy....

I have decided for me, that I cannot any longer support a company who cannot think clearly through their plans before scaring the pants off millions of people.

Will it take a lot of work? Yes. Will it be scary? Yes. Will I possibly take a loss in income? Possibly...most likely yes.

Can I afford the losses? No. I have 11 mouths to feed...well 5 are cat mouths, but still.

Can I make adjustments for the greater good, I will have to. I believe in this.

Do I like how eBay treats good sellers? No.

Do I have confidence in eBay's ability to be honest or not have hidden agendas? No.

Do I think I get what I pay for in fees on eBay, no.

Do I feel safe selling on eBay? No.

Do I worry daily what kind of nutbar eBay will throw into my lap each day? Yes.

Do I find I enjoy eBay less and less with each year and horrible buyer experience? Yes

Do I long to be more in control of what happens to my fate? Yes.

have I seen a dramatic increase of problem buyers over the last years? Definitely yes.

Do I want to enjoy passing on fab widgets again, that we work hard to find, clean, test and pack so the buyer will love it as much as we do?? Yes.

Which is why we are weening off eBay. There are too many arrows pointing to that being the smart business and sanity move.

So, boycotters, I certainly hope you are honest with yourselves and you have though about your long term goals. One week will not work...you need to do more..for you.

Work Smarter Not Harder - Don't Shoot The Messenger


This was my third installment on making online transactions - mainly eBay successful. Parts one and two are right below. I should have done this first..but it is early and I was stupid.



Ebay Is A Two Way Street - Some Really Ugly Facts - Don't Shoot The Messenger


There is no question that sellers are obligated to try and be the best seller they can for the buyer and the ebay community. There are ebay, federal, state, and Paypal laws/regulations to follow as well as ethics. Every seller is obligated to follow them, no doubt. It is in the best interest of the seller to always try go above and beyond the call of duty when able.

Likewise, there are ebay rules for the buyer. The world does not revolve around the buyer alone and all things apply to both sides.

Fact is -

Buyers are on ebay for a reason. That reason may be to find the widget they simply cannot find anywhere else, the much greater ease of using ebay and having things delivered to their door rather than using their own time and gas going to the mall, wanting that great deal they cannot get locally, or can simply be addicted to ebay. .......................................................See how this works?


It is very easy to say ebay sellers would not be here if it weren't for the buyers, but the other side of the coin is that the buyers would not be here if it weren't for all the sellers doing the footwork for the buyers. Appreciation is a two way street and both sides share the responsibility of making ebay a great community for all.


Fact is-

A seller will have to pay fees to list whether the item sells or not. It is the seller that keeps ebay flowing, not the buyer. I know this will not sit right with many people who want to believe the buyer is the reason the earth moves. But in the ebay world; there are thousands upon thousands of sellers giving millions of dollars to ebay who never see a profit or barely sell anything at all. Only ebay, the product wholeseller and Paypal see any profit. The buyer had very little to do with that part of the process. And if buyers dropped off the face of the earth tomorrow eBay would still reap the benefit of millions in listing fees before drying up.


.........Is this who you want to be?


Yes, you can say that if all the buyers leave, ebay will tank. Yea, you can say that, but that will never happen. Fact remains, there will always be new buyers and new sellers........................


And good sellers have to get paid to remain on ebay.


A buyer cannot expect good sellers to consistently take losses so the buyer gets the long end of the stick. And if the buyer does have this mentality or does not understand this, then they are frankly not an asset to the ebay community. There are thousands of buyers on ebay looking for that penny deal with free shipping who will scream bloody murder to you and the world if they win their $50 item for .01¢ and have to pay a $10 shipping fee. don't believe me? Spend a couple of days on the ebay chat boards.....................

......................Are these the customers you want to deal with?

How many times have you heard 'The customer is always right?'


Well, back in the day when a much larger portion of society was raised on ethics, they were usually right. Let's face it; our society and all the societies we can work with on the wide world of ebay, don't exactly run on the same moral and ethical structure and this greatly needed structure is quickly deteriorating more everyday.. Add in the fact we do not have to deal with people face to face and can secretly be a pain in the butt = a recipe for disaster.

Contrary to popular belief; Paypal and Ebay buyer fraud is MUCH higher than seller fraud. The ratio of sellers actually here to defraud a large amount of people compared to the number of buyers who will do a charge back when the seller did not add on delivery confirmation, switch your item with a broken one they already have and try to get a full refund while keeping your item, claim tiny flaws to get a partial refund, buy a size without checking the measurements needed and demand a refund at a loss to the seller when the buyer did not do their homework, do a credit card charge back months down the line, etc. is MUCH higher.

Fact is -

Many large shopping chains have just about eliminated the ability to return things. Target will no longer allow returns at all without a receipt. Walmart will swipe the driver's license when returning anything over $10 without a receipt. Walmart also implemented much stiffer rules for items like electronics. Kmart and Walmart have both eliminated lay-away plans due to to many flaking customers. Credit card companies keep raising interest rates due to the amount of defaulting users and credit fraud. Stores are supposed to check signatures and picture ID when accepting checks and credit cards. Paypal Seller protection requires sellers to use a proof of delivery on their items to cover themselves. And guess what?? 99.99% of ALL auction houses have an AS IS YOU BID YOU BOUGHT IT NO MATTER WHAT POLICY. All of this has been mainly put in place due to fraud on a buyer's part.

Do not misquote me by saying there is no seller fraud, there is. But buyers have a much better ability to pick their sellers carefully by choosing sellers who accept safer payment methods, buying from safer categories rather than picking the first IPOD they see, buyers are able to check feedback scores, etc, When the truth remains; just about anyone can click on a seller's auction or Buy It Now button and mess with the seller without seller recourse. A seller has no protection compared to a buyer's protection.

Yes, some of that buyer protection comes from common sense. Common sense is a needed component when using ebay. But sellers have no ability to block bad ebay users until it is usually too late. By that time, the seller is open for a fat undeserved neg due to the buyer's unethical or unfair demands.


What is my point?

You cannot run your business with the main goal of trying to please everyone all the time. You cannot and will not be able to, ever. For most of you reading this; you are here to learn how to sell on ebay to make some money. This means your bottom line comes first and foremost WHILE adhering to the rules and laws of the land and protecting yourself the best you can.

No matter what you hear from anyone; all businesses run on costs, total costs.

Your business will either run bad and fail or run well and succeed due to money. This includes everything it takes to keep a business running. This is why the tax man allows you to deduct a portion of you taxes for things like a home office, business meals, travel expenses and everything you use for your business, including gas and tape. It does not matter how much anyone whines about you *charging for a trip to the PO and a tiny bit of tape* those things will still impact your bottom line. Fact is, if they want to whine about you being paid for your time to package their $100 item they got for $35 delivered to their door while they stayed in their pajamas, so be it. Those are not customers who have everyone's best interest in mind, they have THEIR best interest in mind and no one else's.

YOU do not need those types of customers and neither does ebay.


Example: American Airlines removed one olive from each plate after realizing doing so would save $100,000 a year. Who can claim that olive was free to American Airlines?

If you do not run your business with your bottom line in mind, you will most likely fail. If you run your business and think taking losses over and over again to make people happy will guarantee your success, you will most likely fail. If you run your business with a hidden need to please everyone, you are on a very wrong path that can never be fully paved. If you run your business thinking you are fulfilling a need but not getting paid to do so; you are working for everyone else and not for yourself....................................


......................................................................Is this what you want?


Picking items to sell means keeping all of this in mind. This means what you buy, how you package, what you can sell it for, how much time is involved, what it costs to package, what the market can handle, and who your customers will be for that type of item and what they will expect from you..


Something to think about...


Part 4 will include; Ebay Misconceptions & Time Stealers

I hope this Part 3 made you think and you learned something new.

Work Smarter Not Harder Part One...& Two

With all the changes taking place, many people are not sure what to do with themselves. In any event, no matter where you go, there are ways to give you more free time, less stress, higher profits and better sell rates.

This is a guide I wrote on eBay awhile back. I have updated it and changed some things to stay current with some eBay changes.

I am willing to share our metamorphosis on eBay over the past years so others can learn from the ever changing venue.



Learn from other's mistakes without making them yourself....


This part one includes:

An introduction to us and our success, what success means for you, how we got started, and the hard questions everyone needs to ask themselves to be on the right ebay track.


First; let me tell you a little about us. My better half and I are 8+ year full time sellers. We have been Silver Level Powersellers for a few years now. We started on ebay as buyers and sellers before we even knew each other, so our experience goes way back. This is my personal buying ID. We have a different ID for selling. Why am I not using our seller ID for this review? Well, we love ebay, but ebay has its kooks.

Now, unfortunately I can't answer all questions or provide a full on fool proof tutorial for everyone. imply do not have all the answers for everyone since what works for one does not or cannot work for another. I can't tell you what to sell or where to buy it. Different people have different things available to them, etc. But I can pass along some very important tidbits that are 100% vital to being all you can be on ebay.

If you are already well versed or practicing the below tips, wonderful, you are definitely on the right track! If by chance you are not doing what is mentioned below, please, definitely take the advice to heart. They are key actions that helped make us as successful as we are. We could not have gotten this far without these actions.


YOU GET TO DECIDE ON WHAT SUCCESS MEANS...

Success mean different things to different people. For us; we have basically acquired what we hoped we would get out of ebay when we started years ago. However; we always try to improve, expand our knowledge and other selling venues as well. But we are at a level we are happy about and gives us a large amount of freedom. I know many of you would like this too, and this is why I am going to share secrets that many people simply do not know or practice but could change the ebay experience forever.

I know it isn't hard to hear tales of how people can make lots of money fast and easy on ebay. There are tons of guides, books, etc that tell you that if you just pick an item you love to sell, pick a wholeseller, you are on your way to quiting your day job being rich! That is a lie. I don't want to burst any body's bubble, but I hate seeing people start up cute IDs and list the same stuff that ebay is already saturated with and end up losing on inventory and ebay fees. Just because you work hard, just because you ship the same day, just because you have cute bumble bees on your auction, just because you sit at the computer 24-7 to email every customer right back, just because you wrap everything in lilac scented tissue paper, gift card and bow, DOES NOT MEAN YOU WILL PROFIT FROM EBAY. All the good intentions in the world will NOT make you money. It comes down to what you list, what you paid for it and what the ebay buyer / seller ratio can handle. PERIOD......

So.... Let's be honest for a few minutes, ........................................ebay = work + knowledge.


How did I start, where do you start?

I personally started selling things from my house, things from the Dollar Store, 99¢ Store, TJMax, thrift stores, you name it. I started at a time I could truly put up anything and make some money at it. I have always been a savvy shopper. I knew good brands, etc. I could buy 10 things at a dollar store and make $60 off of it...not bad for a part time hobby.

Within a couple of years; that market become over saturated with sellers due to new stores opening up all over the country, wholesalers popping up and more stay at home parents, etc. listing the same things I was listing. I rarely list items I buy at a store now and I am constantly amazed at the amount of sellers who keep trying the old business model but are clearly working for ebay, paypal and shipping companies and not for themselves. Bottom line; any wholesale items being offered on ebay are always in danger of running their course, already being offered by 30 different sellers or they simply will not have enough of a buying market on ebay for a long term hall. It is not as easy as picking a wholeseller of something you like and selling it. Ebay means research.


After this shift in the ebay market; I had to ask myself........................What did I want out of ebay?


I wanted to be able to sell things that would make me a good profit. I wanted to be able to list at my convenience and stay at home so I could care for my 4 kids, 3 on the Autism spectrum. I wanted the freedom to be open for doctors apt, school events, or a nap. I wanted to shop and make money at it. I wanted to pretty much do as I wanted with most of my time and have the money rolling in while giving people things they have a hard time finding or at a price they are thrilled to get the item at....and I wanted to ENJOY what I did.


The hard questions I asked myself were;

What is my time worth? What kind of profit was I looking for my time? How much would I have to make to cover my bills and some wants? How much would I have to make in profit to truly rely on this one source of income for the future? Am I sure I want to put all my eggs in one basket? What were all my costs involved in hunting down, picking up, safely storing, having a good camera for pics, taking the pictures, uploading editing pictures, picture storage, having a good and easy listing program I could count on, creating a listing, doing research on the ebay market on what the item would go for, handling emails, accepting payment, supplies to pack, labor and time involved with packaging the item and then shipping the item. ....TIME IS MONEY.

Do I have access to one thing that I can sell for a long period at a high profit margin that I can easily ship or do I have to diversify? Where can I go to hunt down things to sell? How will I know what will sell and won't? What about selling items that don't fit in flat rate free boxes? Where am I going to get packaging supplies at a low cost so my shipping stays low? When will I go and hunt down these things? Do I want to be one of those low Buy It Now people and charge more for shipping to save on fees or not? Do I know how to properly pack something I am not used to packing? Will I have to buy in bulk and store it, but not too much in bulk because I want to make sure the buying market doesn't dry up or have it take over my house? Am I going to have to borrow money for start up to get things at a lower cost to even make a profit? What do I have knowledge about? ......................................................................What is my competition on ebay?


I quickly realized there was a lot more to ebay than people said! I also realized I would have to change my business model in order for ebay to give me what I wanted out of it. I was not looking to spend hours and earn $5.00 per hour. I was not looking to list 20 items and have 5 sell under the price I paid by following ebay's recommendation of starting everything at 99% and letting it ride ...to encourage bidders of course.....Are you?


Has anyone taken the time to punch in a key word of a normal wholesale item like Gameboy and seen how many things don't sell or sell at 99¢?? Go searching through the collectible categories and you will see the same things. And guess what? We have changed parts of our business model many times through the years to consistently stay successful on ebay.


And that is what you will have to do for you. Every set of answers will be different for every person. That is the beauty of ebay....you do have the power of deciding what you want out of it. So ask yourself these questions and then go from there. You might find ebay is not right for you or you might find you have been sitting on a goldmine and never even realized it. But with good advice, and facing the hard facts; you can find out if ebay is right or wrong for you without losing tons of money in the process.


The answer to my questions for me? Well, I have a better half who loves treasure hunting more than I do. Together we hit apx 100 private and public sales a week. We list a few items a day and the rest of our time is spent running the house, kids, life, etc. Let's not forget, we still have cleaning the items, pictures, packaging, etc. WE DO WORK. But this is also our hobby and we enjoy it and each other. This is what works for us. Your answers may be very different.


This is the biggest & most important tip that will always apply to ebay no matter what you want out of ebay..........


Research, research, research and research. ...............................................Did I say RESEARCH????

In case you do not know; ebay only has an apx 40% sell rate. That means out of all the millions of items that get listed on ebay daily, only about 40% sell....and that does not include non paying bidders. Every time anyone lists an item without doing research on the sell rate and what it will sell for, they are working for ebay and Paypal. ...................................................Is that what you want?

In early 1999, when I first got started with ebay, ebay had around 700,000 registered users. **Keep in mind, this means IDs and it is perfectly ok with ebay if people have more than one ID. So the term registered user is NOT in any way a good indication of actual people using ebay on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis** The ebay market was adding apx 70,000 auctions a day. At that time ebay said there was about a 75% sell rate....not anymore. There are now over 1 million items listed daily on ebay and about ........


60% DOES NOT SELL............................................................How will you be different and succeed?


If you do a google or ebay board search of past or present *about ready to quit because ebay has died* ebay sellers; you can quickly find many stories of people who quit their day job and were successful on ebay once upon a time but drowned in the ever changing market...constant planning can mean the difference between ebay life or ebay death. These stories have many dates on them through the years and the one thing in common is that they all blame ebay and the changing market. Stories from the years 2000, 2002, 2005, etc. Well, how can all these stories from different years be from the same ebay reason?? Easy, ebay is a consistently changing market and you have to change with it or you will lose.


Now at this point and time this change can also mean seeking out other venues. Do you really want to have all your eggs in one basket? Do you really want to be subject to a very bad business plan that you have no control over?

There are selling options. All business take work...let's just work smart.


Some categories are worse then others:

Many categories like handbags, makeup, clothing, shoes, DVDs, electronics, CDs, etc have about a 10% sell rate. That means for every 100 items listed, 10 will sell..but do they sell at a decent profit to the seller? Usually, no. Why would anyone list without doing research? Why would anyone think they could succeed when the market clearly shows they will fail or be working for ebay and not themselves? How do people trick themselves into thinking they should continue?

If a certain item is not for you due to what you can get an item for and what the ebay market can handle, no matter how much you love it, move on and keep searching. The bottom line for most people is profit. If you blindly list items in hopes that they will sell at a price to make you money, you are being foolish, yes, foolish. Day upon day I see people listing things that clearly never sell...yet they keep listing away. WHY????

If the item is not worth listing......................................................................................................... WHY LIST IT??


Down to basics.

Ebay has an amazing check box feature, called "completed auctions". You will find it on the left hand side of a search page.



Ebay also has Marketplace Research for $9.99 per month and up that allow you to go back farther than a two week period. There are other online venues to research what the market is doing as well. .......................................................................................USE ONE!

More About Marketplace Research


How do you use past research?

Well, 99% of the time you will not be able to get a true ebay sell rate picture by looking at current auctions. I cannot tell you how many times we have met someone who says they set the price for their item by looking at ebay and seeing it for a certain dollar amount. What they did not do was look at what the item actually sold for in completed auctions, what the percentage is of sold items compared to non selling, and what the highs and lows are. Just because something sold once for a certain amount does not mean it will sell for that again. Just because someone is asking a certain dollar amount for an item, does not mean it will sell. We have walked away from hundreds of sales due to people doing this. They just did not really know what their item would sell at, either locally or online. You have to look at the entire picture to determine what a good selling price will be. Was the high selling item a f look of frenzied newbies? Did you miss the boat of the handful of people wanting that rare widget right before Christmas, etc.

So the best thing to do is use an ended auction program and look over the past two weeks, month, etc. High to low, low to high and percentage sold. You gather that by eyeballing the info compared with the timing, condition, what is included in the auction, etc and possibly how many people already got that widget and then you can begin to understand if your item will sell at the price you want.

Are you a risk taker by letting items ride, starting at 99¢ hoping for a grand slam?? Well, those are rare and far between...but if you love the excitement and do not care what you will get for your widget, go for it. Otherwise a very good option is to pick fair Buy It Now price, and go forward.


Careful Listing

We are careful with what we buy and we won't list anything without a 90% chance of selling first time out with a profit margin built in. Our profit margin is made at the time of purchasing. If we do have an item with a lower sell rate, say 50% but at an amount that is worth selling, say $30 and I paid $5 for it, we just make sure it is marked at a price that still makes us money to move it and put more working funds back in our pocket, say $23.00. You have to ask yourself if it is WORTH YOUR TIME TO LIST.


Let's say I go to an auction house and I buy 3 widgits. I buy two widgets at $10 each that I know sell on ebay at $150 minimum every time. *** YES, this does happen *** This gives me some freedom to buy an item I don't know much about since I know I have already made a profit on my other two. I see an interesting widgit for $5.00. $5.00 is an amount I will never miss. So if I have to throw the item out, I chalk it up to $5 worth of ebay knowledge. I get home, use google, ebay, etc and realize my widget is only worth $10.00. Do I list it? The answer is no. After paying ebay fees, paypal fees, the time to list, etc. I won't be making any money. I chuck it or donate it. This is how we keep our profit margin high and time uncluttered allowing me to use my time to make a profit, not break even. If you sell 10 items on ebay, you have hopefully profited off all 10. If you list 10 and sell 5, the other 5 listing fees cut into the profit margin of the 5 you sold. Simple math but very important math.


Research again; I see sellers all the time list something with a buy it now in an amount that is truly pennies for what they could have gotten for it. They *guessed* what they thought it was worth and they shot themselves in the foot. A little research would have put a lot more money in their pocket. Research keeps you from losing. It also keeps the ebay market healthy. Undercutting other sellers by large amounts just hurts the ebay market and other good sellers in the long run.


Research again; On the same note. I frequently see items that are way overpriced for the ebay market. I can think of a few brand names that get listed and the sellers think that if there item was $200 at Macy's, surely they can get $100 on ebay....umm...no..many times it would be luck to get $25.00. Wishing something would sell will not make it sell. Being new, will not make an item sell. Needing money will not make an item sell. Research will make your item sell or free you from the money and time wasted in listing a useless item.

When we go to a sale; seriously, out of 2000 items, we may walk away with nothing, or one, two or three things that we would want to list. It comes down to collectability, condition, want and cost to us. Due to careful consideration; our sell rate stays right around 90% if nothing whacky has been announced by ebay. Our total ebay and paypal fees usually stay under 15%.


Example:

Powerseller One sells in decent volume, so it seems, and many want to be just like him. He sells items in the $10 range that are also saturated on ebay. These could be jewelry, make up, accessories, children's popular clothes like Gymboree, Gameboy accessories, etc. This seller lists 1000 different widgets a month, basically 250 a week and sells 400 of them per month...impressive. 400 x $10 = $4000, sounds great!


Let's break this down under the new and old structure.

1000 widgets x 35¢ listing fee = $350 in listing fees. Old structure would have been $600 if gallery was used. Savings of $250.00

However, seller one did not sell 600 of those widgets and each auction still cost 35¢ to list. This estimate is based on ebay's normal - average 40% sale rate. However; I am being very generous in giving the 40% rate because many categories fall way below that.

600 x 35¢ = $210.00 lost in listing fees. = Would have been $360 under the old structure. Savings of $150.00

The listing fees for the 400 that sold = $140.00 = Old structure $240. Savings of $100.00

Ending value fee is now 8.75%, used to be 5.25%. 400 sold items at $10 = $4000 x 8.75% = $350. Old Structure = $210. Increase of $140.

Listing fees for the 1000 = $350

Final Value for the 400 = $350

Grand total of $700 in listing and final value fees for only selling 40% of stock.


Under the new structure; those that sell $10 items can come out ahead, much better than before; however, one still has to ask themselves how much time and money is involved in a $10 item....and...with new final value fee which went up 66%...

Out of the $4000, you know have a minus of $700.00, when before it was $800 in ebay fees. So this volume seller is saving $100 overall with the new system in this scenario.


$4000 - $700 = $3300 after eBay fees for those 1000 listings.


Let's not forget Paypal charges ...

Receive payments funded by Credit Card, Debit Card or Buyer Credit 4.9% + $0.30 USD (limit of 5 transactions per 12 month period)** for domestic or U.S. transactions.

400 widgets x .30= $120, 400 widgets x $10 ...let's say NO shipping = $4000 x 4.9% = $196. $120 + $196 = $316.00 in Paypal fees.

$3300 is the amount after ebay fees- $316 in Paypal fees =$2984.

$4000 total turns into $2984 in sales. Plus he offered free shipping. Lets be super generous and say this seller can ship for $1.00. 400 items x $1 each is another $400. $2984 in sales - $400 in shipping fees =$2584.

We now have an estimate of basic ebay / Paypal costs for listing 1000 $10 widgets with free shipping, with ebay's average sell rate.

Let's not forget the seller paid $3 per widget. Many people would be thrilled to have a this markup ability. $3 per widget x 1000 = $3000 in inventory. Which means, at this point, the seller took a loss.

Now, in our heads we want to justify this and say this can be the cost of starting a new business...and you are right..however, as a little guy...can you do this and not have another job over the long haul?

Let's not forget the seller puts in 8 hours a day to inventory, pictures, auctions, emails, invoices, packaging and shipping.

What started out as a $4000 in sales Silver Level sales volume quickly dropped into a loss for this set of sales. The seller will have to sell the 0ther 600 next time around to profit..and each time, fighting against that 40% sell rate and fees.

This is a REAL business model folks and happens daily on ebay.

This does not take into account the time he has spent picking out his items, research, etc...all the other little time stealers ebay is known for.

IS THIS what you want?


Powerseller Two focuses on a wide variety of collectibles in an area he has gained knowledge on over the years while selling on ebay. He spent 6 hours over the weekend picking them out at different places. He carefully lists 59 items he has found to be sure things on ebay in a profit margin that pays him for his time over two weeks, half the time as Powerseller One.

Sell rate = 59 listed 43 sold in two weeks. Basically 73% sell rate for the period.

All the items sold were between $25 and $150.00 each = $2500.00 for the period.

Listing / ending value fees vary depending on the item but this seller's total ebay fees always stay under $400 per month due to careful listing- 1/2 the month = apx $200.00. Paypal is the 30¢ plus 4.9% per payment. Usually this averages about $2.50 per item =$107.50.


Let's do the math

$2500 - $200 in ebay fees for the two weeks = $2300 - $107.50 in Paypal fees $2192.50.

The other part I haven't mentioned? This seller only spent $145 for all this stuff. $2264 -$145= $2047.50.

Seller also spends an average of working 4 hours per day.

This seller is making 3 TIMES the money in half the time.

This is also a very real business model on ebay folks..............Who would you rather be?

It isn't about listing and selling on ebay. It is about listing and selling SMART.

Now certainly my goal here is not to pick on anyone. However. this is about business. And in business emotional feel good thoughts need to be put aside and the bottom lines need to be looked at. You cannot tell me the first business model is a well thought out and planned goal for the smaller seller.


Which Brings Us To Another Important Factor =Fees:

Know ebay's fee structure! It costs 55¢ to list an auction item at $10.00 but it only costs 35¢ to list an item at $9.99. Be careful and list smart! ** Media itms slightly lower.

Ebay Fee Structure Page

Another reason why fee structure knowledge is important? The higher the item sells for, the less money you pay out.

Research shows an item has to sell at $10 or higher to even make a slight profit and this depends on what you paid for it.

Ebay's percentage drops 5.25% on items over $25.00. This means that if you list items that sell in this higher range, you keep more of the money.


Example:

Seller One lists / sells everything at $10, pays 55¢ per item for a listing fee and 8.75% ending value. He lists 10 items to make a total of $100 in sales. Total of $5.50 in listing fees + $8.75 ending value= $14.25. This does not include Paypal fees on ten items. Even if the seller knew to list at 35¢ by starting at $9.99, he would still be paying $12.25 in fees.

Seller Two lists / sells two things at $49.99 for a total of $99.98. Two listing fees of $1.00 = 2. + two ending value = 1st $25.00 at 8.75% and the rest at 3.50% = $6.12. This does not include Paypal fees on two items.

Now, this guide is certainly not an attempt at putting anyone down. If the business model works for you and you are getting paid well for your time, wonderful. This guide is about knowledge and making the right choices for you, whatever those are and to avoid being sucked in the addictive pitfall ebay can become and has become for thousands of people.


Last but certainly not least;

Your customers want to hear from you. They quickly want to know how much their total cost is, if you got their pay ok, when the item they have paid for will go out, when it has gone out, with a tracking number and a thank you.

Your customers want to see what they are interested in with clear pictures of the item, not stock photos.

Your customers want an easy way to pay.

Your customers want the item in the condition you are advertising the item is in.

Your customers want fair shipping and nice / clean / safe packaging.

Your customers want a quick turn around.

Treat your customers like you would want to be treated and you will go far.

I hope this has helped with your ebay or other venue journey.:)


If you are serious and do your homework wisely, you to can accomplish what you want out of ebay. But it is not easy and it is not fast. DO NOT quit your day job. Building a business from scratch takes time.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Who wants swamp soup?

Yes...this was my soup...



Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The GOOD eBay Buyer Perspective...

This is the post a wrote a few weeks back and stuck on blogs. eBay is only going to listen to the buyers. So I honestly believe every good seller out there who is also a buyer, needs to be yelling at eBay.......as a buyer. How many of you that sell, buy where you sell? I would easily buy 20-100 things per month on eBay for my friends and family...whatever the occasion...no more.

************


Buyers are not comprehending how this will severely effect us as well. There are many indicators showing this will be disastrous for the buying community. I have been buying weekly for over 7 years on eBay. The clues are very clear. What negatively effects the good sellers will also negatively effect the good buyers. eBay is in fact throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

******Good buyers will no longer stand out among the bad. This means every seller will be leery of every buyer, going into every sale, and rightfully so. The greens we have worked so hard for will mean absolutely nothing since the greens will have to be given to anyone no matter how little they deserved it.

*Who is wearing a good guy dot?? As a buyer, I will no longer be able to see the true indicators and decide for myself who is telling the truth and who is just retaliating in spite with no warrant. The new system will make it impossible to see both sides of the story. IT IS NOT HARD to read through both sides, red & green, and come up with a clear view of the whole picture. In 7 years I have had very few truly bad experiences as a buyer but while shopping and checking fb, I see retaliatory feedback from BUYERS daily over things that give no reason to neg the seller.

How are we supposed to weed through the number of neutrals and negs every good seller will get due to overly demanding buyers who want things at yard sale prices with Saks customer service? It is already happening. Sellers are already posting on the eBay boards about buyers who are leaving undue neutrals and negs. In return, OF COURSE the seller is negging them, the buyer deserves it but the buyers are in shock the seller was able to leave the TRUTH.

Just because a seller leaved fb second does not mean it is in retaliation. A large percentage of the time it means the seller was negged first for something they could not control or blamed for the buyer’s stupidity and now there is reason to warn the rest of the eBay community. It always was the only seller recourse. This whole system will make it quite hard to see the truth. eBay is trying to say this will promote honesty , it will produce anything but. Buyers will not truly be able to see who is in fact *bad.*….. Why????…..

As a buyer, when I go in to leave feedback and use eBay’s “Detailed Seller Rating Stars=DSR; which was implemented recently, not only does that system not tell the seller what they could have possibly done wrong, so they can fix their behavior or show if there is merit to the claim, it allows buyers to ding anyone they want no matter what.

Independent studies taken over the years have shown that people will take advantage of a situation if they can….and now they can. Now, if a seller does not give a buyer their little green dot as fast as the buyer wants it, whether they deserved it or not, there is no reason to hold back by the buyer. Every buyer can easily neg a seller just for that without seller recourse. This is not only unfair, the new ratings eBay has sellers meet are totally unrealistic. Sellers are now calculated on DSR, feedback, including neutrals, any paypal claims, no matter how unwarranted and percentage of sales in a 30 day period. Sellers have to uphold a 95% satisfaction rate calculated over 30 days. WHAT business in the world succeeds at this?? Small, good sellers, we want to buy from will now be very easy targets for scamming buyers and we, the buyer lose out.

****Ebay is telling the buyers one thing and the seller another; When I click my choices out of 5 stars, if I give a seller ratings that equals = good communication, as advertised, reasonable shipping / handling charges and quick shipping = this equals 4 stars. This sounds to me like a very good seller. This should sound like a very good seller in any market. This seller delivered everything as advertised, emailed great, did not scam me on shipping, and packed my widget just fine, PERFECT……..not so according to eBay…

**** The new ratings set good sellers up for failure. eBay is telling buyers while making the selection that a 4.0 is very good, but then telling the buyer to view that rating as bad while telling sellers that a 4 star rating is .5 lower than the minimum requirements to be on eBay.. eBay is making sellers adhere to a 4.5 rating at the least or their account can be flagged and power sellers will not qualify for discounts on fees unless they keep 4.6 or 4.8 and higher. How is this at all realistic? Any business model, having a 90% customer satisfaction rate is actually quite good. Amazon only has an 86% satisfaction rating, yet eBay wants to be the next Amazon?? Do you see the confusion and hypocrisy here? eBay has set sellers up to an unattainable goal while being the target for buyer mood, which will give a totally false view on the seller's intentions and performance making it very difficult to truly find the good sellers.

****Items will be impossible to find if seller ratings drop. Ebay has said that if seller’s ratings drop, they will make their items harder to find in the searches. So your favorite sellers can be targeted, lose ratings and then buyers will have a harder time finding their items in search. Which means your favorite seller can be harder to find for others and end up leaving eBay. Is this fair??

Not only that; to show you how ebay's standards for sellers to uphold are impossible and insane, it shows ebay's total dissatisfaction rate is no worse than J.C Penney. The HIGHEST rating by Netflix falls short by a whole 5%, for ebay standards.

Based on Neilson ratings, eBay is already in the TOP 10 marketplace list of customer satisfaction sites…but that isn’t good enough for eBay…..yet their ratings system does not match the actual numbers…again, hypocrisy.

Here are customer satisfaction ratings for popular shopping sites:

http://www.internetretailer.com/dailyNews.asp?id=24861

"iNielsen Online, a unit of The Nielsen Company, reported that 82% of online shoppers surveyed were very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with customer support available during their online shopping experience. The data were gathered Dec. 13 – 17 from an online survey of nearly 900 shoppers. But in Foresee Results’ ongoing customer satisfaction index satisfaction with the Top 40 online retailers, as ranked by Internet Retailer on sales volume, scored an aggregate 74 on a 100-point scale, down 1.3 points from last year. The Nielsen Online survey found that 46% of those surveyed had done the majority of their holiday shopping online. 46% also was the percentage of respondents who said they planned to post, or had already posted, reviews about their online shopping experience. Most, 88%, said that their reviews were or would be positive.

The 10 top-ranked online retailers in Nielsen’s report all earned "very satisfied" ratings from more than 80% of respondents. They are Netflix.com, which garnered "very satisfied" ratings from 90.3% of those surveyed; NexTag.com, 87%; Amazon.com, 86.6%; Shopping.Yahoo.com, 84.3%; Kohls.com, 84.1%; BarnesandNoble.com, 82.8%; HomeDepot.com, 82.5%; CircuitCity.com, 82%; eBay.com, 80.5%; and JCPenney.com, 80.3%."


***** Good Mom & Pops will be gone taking their service and goods with them. Do you like buying from mom & pops? Low volume sellers are an easy target. A bad mood buyer can see one neg and use that against the seller knowing two can possibly freeze the seller's account The new rules have also set small time good sellers up to fail so severely many good sellers we buy from will not be able to compete and stay, making the discounts we currently rely on gone, which will effect our wallets and quality of life.

I frequently buy high quality goods on eBay at 65% off or more for my family and friends. Those days can easily be numbered and it will effect my entire family community. I find it interesting that the majority of sellers people claim about most are high volume power sellers, but these are exactly the type of sellers who will be able to stay, pushing all the good, small sellers out quickly. Yes, there are many high volume power sellers that will be forced to leave…but along with them are the low volume, one of a kind sellers we have grown to love.

***** Prices will go up to cover losses. Many sellers will also be forced to raise their prices to make up for the fee increases. While high dollar figure sales many not be effected much, this has crippled the $25 and under items which add up to millions of sales each day. Millions of buyers come to eBay to find that great deal or hard to find widget. These new rules will squeeze those out. Buyers will be forced to find their widgets in town or other venues they are not familiar using.

***** Hard to find collectibles will be expensive and even more hard to find. With all the above in place; hard to find widgets will go up in price. If many sellers leave, that means the items are going with them, which means there will be fewer to choose from, which means the prices to us will increase. Start planning on paying $250 at an Antique Mall again for that Bauer bowl you could buy for $40 on eBay over the past two years. This will effect many collectible markets and buyer pockets.

***** Forget about ever selling. Are you buyers thinking of selling? It will be too expensive, too risky, to stressful to even consider selling for buyers. New sellers will automatically go into the new stricter rules, with all sellers under 100 feedback automatically having to take Paypal or CC merchant with your account on aware status. Paypal is also raising their fees as well. You are automatically looked at as a fraud. This has not only maybe put a damper on bad new sellers, this has put a damper on all good low volume, new sellers as well.

***** The convenience of paying easily will be gone. Many good sellers who will fear the arbitrary Paypal rules will go back to money orders only again due to eBay's new Paypal freezes and open season on fraud charge backs which is very high in the credit card world. If a seller account is flagged / Paypal account fund frozen, even for an undue reason, sellers will be required to take Paypal or other cc venue, but then they are open to more charge backs and more account freezing. This will be their only way to accept pay. It is a no win situation. Sellers will have no recourse for this. While big business can figure in loss, most of the sellers I buy from are family run side things and they offer great stuff.……. which means less easy buying for us buyers.

I have emailed many of my good sellers letting them know I can no longer do business on eBay and the majority had NO CLUE to what eBay was really doing! Everyone needs to complain, post blog, you tube, etc to get the word out about what this is truly doing. ebay is no more. eBay is a totally different , horrible, selfish venue. I for one cannot justify giving my business to a company that is destroying the very people that made eBay what it is today.

This new systems put the BAD buyers at a very clear advantage over ALL OF US, buyers included. This is a horrible system and if eBay does not retract, I will take my business for my family of 6 elsewhere.


Here are VERY GOOD you tube videos explaining the issues & giving us back our power!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FOXbSJ82aA&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23TomS5--nQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6rKIZv9lP4&NR=1


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Jzc1V_1gC0



Please pass this along and post anywhere you can with my permission!

Etsy Review Handmade & Vintage items



WWW.ETSY.COM


Well, you learn something new everyday. I have been under the impression for a long time that Etsy.com was for handmade items only. I have never heard anyone speak about selling vintage items there...until today.

Sure enough, Etsy does allow vintage items in their vintage categories. Since we do vintage, I signed up and tested by putting up a more feminine item for sale. By the look of things over there, the site is filled with the female persuasion. I am not too sure that a Coleman lantern would do well on Etsy.

I took time to view the site, test load times, checked out some sellers, even bought a few things to test out the shopping cart. I signed up as a seller, made a banner, set some rules up, yada yada...so here is what I like about Etsy:


WHAT I LIKE:

  • Just as with what I love about ecrater and BISI, Etsy is a VENUE of individual sellers and will not get into buyer / seller issues. This again is what eBay intended to be, and severely failed at due to greed. On Etsy, sellers make their own terms and have to follow the laws of the common land we all share.
  • Etsy charges something. That's right, you read that right......they charge something. What does this do? It eliminates the free mentality of "let's list everything I find in the bottom of my trash can in hopes that someone will buy it." There is a vast amount of people who do not realize that if the item has a horrible sell rate on eBay, it will have a horrible sell rate anywhere. No online venue needs 1000 copies of the same John Grisham book.

The fees at Etsy are 20¢ per item for a four month listing. If an item sells they take a small 3.5% of the selling price. Very fair.

  • Etsy is very keen to the responsibility that buyers should be held accountable for their own actions.
A buyer has three days to pay by Paypal or let the seller know if they will be sending another form of pay the seller has stated they will accept. If the seller does not hear from the buyer, the seller CAN CANCEL THE SALE AND LEAVE APPROPRIATE FEEDBACK. Gee, what a novel idea. Non paying members can get booted....eBay ...are you listening???

  • Etsy software was no more difficult or confusing than ecrater or BISI. All places have a learning curve, even eBay. The software basically worked in the same way and I give them kudos for their easy meta tag input fields that are similiar to BISI.
  • Etsy allows you to set up a storefront with your name at the beginning of the URL.
This is the same as ecrater and BISI. Etsy got it right like BISI has done by providing a direct link to the seller's store when using the search feature. I found shopping to be fairly easy. Again, all places have learning curves and we cannot expect a site not to. Old dogs just have to learn new tricks..me included.

  • I was very impressed with the speed and quality of the site. The users take this place seriously and I saw a lot of really neat handmade goodies and vintage nostalgia.
  • Besides being able to drive customers right to your Etsy store, Etsy does have a common search function to search all Etsy stores. This is vital to for new sellers and buyers..if you want to know more about my mall analogy concept, scroll farther down for my BISI ans ecrater reviews. Fact is, it works. This search feature is very important to sales.
  • Etsy has a lot of listings. I was quite surprised when typing in random items in the search box..they do get a lot of use.
  • The Etsy community seems very friendly...crafty people usually are.
  • Etsy has the RSS feed ability as well as ecrater and BISI.
WHAT I DON'T LIKE:

Honestly...I haven't found a thing. While Etsy is for girly things and will not fit everyone's stuff, I think it is definitely a great place to buy or set up shop.

As I find out more, I will add more. If anyone has info to share, please email me or post to the comments!

Another Power Seller's Concerns...Where To Go? My Opinion..Lets All Work Smarter, Not Harder

A very nice fellow ebayer read my blog and asked some questions regarding where to go. what to do, etc for vintage type items. I did my best to answer based on our experience and they gave me permission to post it here so others can hopefully get something out of it as well.

If anyone has any questions, concerns, opinions, data to share, etc..please let us know..we truly believe if you are already successful on eBay, you have a great shot at being successful on other venues as well.

Here is my take...


"Hi Amber, thanks for getting back to me! And thanks for the encouraging comment - your enthusiasm is contagious and gives me hope!"

You are so welcome. The encouragement is genuine..I believe you can do this.:)



"I'm really enjoying your blog too, I think the information you are providing is really needed by the antiques and collectibles community right now. Not only are you giving sellers other options, but buyers too!"


Thanks again...and the more I looked into options, the more I too realized there WERE options..and eBay is not as big of an option as we think it is. I too was very mislead, because eBay wants us to believe they are the best...but the data proves otherwise. There are already hundreds of very good sellers who left between the last changes in I believe 2004 and now, who do a great business...we are smart ..I think we can succeed too..we just have to make the right moves and not fall into the false sense of *if I try, all will work out* ...No, we still have to make the right moves to succeed...the right choices, and not move blindly. The data and proof is out there, we just have to read it, and act upon it.



"I just wanted to talk to you a little about my situation and plans, and see what you think. You seem to have a good handle on both the situation on eBay and the alternatives, and I really value your thoughts. Especially when you said you quit selling items under $30 on eBay two years ago! I am really thinking of the $25 and up price point for my eBay store."

I think if you decide to list at all on ebay this is a very smart move. It is also a very smart move to research everything before you list it. If something is listed on ebay 100 times in 30 days and it sells 10 times at an amount that isn't worth it...chuck it. However, I don't believe an eBay store is viable for most people anymore, especially for vintage saturated items. I think you will be better off building stores elsewhere that are free, no fees and better exposure.

"I am going to try moving some of my lower priced inventory over to my new store on Etsy. I really like the community vibe over there, and it is free to have a store, 20 cents to list an item for 4 months, and the FVF is only 3.5%. I think more vintage sellers are starting up on Etsy these days."

I think this is a very smart move. I think this is where your whole store/ or at least one of your stores should be. And if you are going to use eBay, only list items that have a 75% sale rate or higher on items you can easily get $25 or higher for. You might even want to consider only using Buy It Nows with best offers. We started doing this a long time ago. When we decide on buying an item to offer, we research very well to see what the sell thru rate is and what we can get for it. We then offer it at a fair Bay price but allow best offers. The best offer ability has actually brought back the true intent of the auction format. People have to offer the MOST they are willing to spend under the asking price, not the least by nickeling and diming with a proxy bid. We then get to check their feedback and decide if we want to do business with them. This has protected us many times from bad buyers and gives us a good amount on our item. 90% of the time our items do sell at or very close to the BIN price.

Use some good name items to draw people to your name and other stores. But again, you don't want to waste your time on things you can't make a profit on. I know you have a number in your head regarding the amount per month you would like to bring in, correct? Most people do. We all need to add up what we have to make to cover the bills, what we would like to make, what the costs of doing business are, and use that to figure what our time is worth. We no longer even bother with $10 items, it just is not worth it, for the most part...especially with storage concerns. ...not even in our stores unless it is a a good name dropper and small to keep in storage.

We do it this way; what is the sell rate, how much can I get for it and how much room does it take to store? Obviously there will be times we come across a super uber cool item we have no knowledge about and we HAVE to offer it... but for the most part..We use a lot of bins, my rule is; I have to fit at least $300 worth of stuff in each bin, or it is not worth it. We chuck the rest, no matter if I paid money for it or not, we chalk it up to a learning experience. Cheaper than a college education:)


"I currently have a backlog of books, magazines, magazine ads, and other paper/ephemera items in my inventory. I was thinking of "niching down" and opening a 2nd eBay store focusing on those types of items, since my main store has a bazillion categories as it is. Now I am considering using eCrater/BISI instead. They are mostly low dollar items that could take a while to find the right buyer, and they are also hopefully items that people might Google to find. I figured it would be a good place to start, and if it went well I could consider moving other inventory to another off eBay store."'

I agree, no ebay. Too expensive. I think ecrater has more exposure than BISI right now, but stores NEED to stand on their own. If you have a good following and customer base, you have a strong advantage..but again, keep in mind the work each item will require and decide if it is worth it or not. Sell the rest at a flea market etc and use it for advertising dollars. But again remember, all the work put into selling things on ebay, has to be re-evaluated. eBay needs to stay for sure bets..not wasted time and fees. You could use the money saved on non selling item ebay fees, as well as the time you would list, to put your things at more than one venue. You also want to get as many well search brands in your new places as fast as possible. You want to draw people in from google who are looking for brands that people also look for on ebay, and you want your items to be bargains. The fees you save not listing on ebay, can mean a cheaper price in your store..which will encourage off ebay shopping.


"I found from your side bar two sites I hadn't seen before, Popula and CyberAttic. They are interesting because they are specifically geared toward antiques and collectibles, maybe they would get more targeted traffic? That is what I like about Tias and Ruby Lane too, but they seem a bit too expensive for me right now. I saw that you are considering Ruby Lane too."

I am really liking the Cyber Attic idea and I do think in the future we will use them. Maybe Ruby...but for right now, I am with you, kind of expensive. I honestly do think Etsy, ecrater/ BISI...I have heard Ruby Lanes sell thru isn't that great..and unless you have a lot of *antiques* I am just not too sure yet.


"My biggest problem right now is time, I am so busy with eBay work trying to pay my bills that finding time for Etsy or anything else is turning out to be really difficult. I simply can't afford to spend a lot of time on a project that isn't showing results yet. It's tricky to say the least! It's just one more way that eBay has its claws in me."

I know..believe me, I know. my better half and I have these discussions frequently. eBay can be a very vicious cycle.

However, all the energy and money that is spent without getting anything in return on ebay anyway, simply needs to be re-shifted into a different venue or focus. Researching sell thru rates and what items sell for on ebay BEFORE listing is a necessity. If they are not a guaranteed high item sale...then it won't be for ebay..That energy saved can be for putting the somewhere else....and so can your money...into advertising instead of ebay's pocket when your item did not sell.



"Anyway, any ideas or thoughts you have are most appreciated. "

Those are my initial thoughts. I do want to go more into this..but I am hoping this is enough to get you thinking and re-shifting.

I do believe you have the power to make this happen. I do believe you won't be using MORE energy, you will just be re-shifting the energy already used....and in return, be more successful to reach your goals.

Thoughts? Questions?

USPS To Start Adding Bar Codes For Better Tracking...

READ ARTICLE HERE

"As for the general public, Day said he is uncertain as to whether individuals see any need for real-time tracking of first-class letters, noting that the Postal Service already provides delivery confirmation for packages and that most bill payments and birthday cards arrive on time."

"The question is, do we need to build an intelligent mail, unique solution for individual customers?" he said. "We can. I don't yet see the reason to do it. But if the demand is there, we'll build it.""....


Now, I am not sure where the line is drawn between individual item mail / small parcel...and businesses but it is a step in the right direction.

I know Paypal has been terribly confusing for years since their terms state *online viewable tracking* yet DC is the only thing most seller's use, which only shows delivery, not tracking. eBay and Paypal are horrible when it comes to being clear about their terms..to buyers and sellers. Having a better tracking ability without the cost will greatly reduce the chance of fraudulent charge backs due to non delivery.

Thoughts?

Mitzi's Vintage Goodness Blog Radio Interview!

From one vintage geek to another, CONGRATS MITZI!


Don't forget the radio interview tomorrow night on Blog Talk Radio / Auction Wally with Mitzi from "Vintage Goodness".

RADIO LINK

You can find Mitzi's great blog

HERE