It is that time of year again ... the weather turns cooler, children go back to school and people begin to prepare for the holidays. It is also time for all you as an online seller to take a look at your inventory and get ready to capitalize on the annual shopping spree.
Just like any business, you have to not only have products that are demanded by consumers, but you have to be able to reach them effectively as well. Right now is the time to optimize your ecommerce listings and make sure your potential customers can find your products first and fast when they embark on their online shopping days.
Check out my tips and suggestions that follow to make sure you maximize your profits this holiday season:
First, don't ignore eBay. I have some stock that Amazon won't let me sell: various new Transformers toys, Matchbox cars, Christmas lights, etc. I'm using eBay more this year than the last 5. If you haven't sold on eBay before, here's a short and sweet tutorial: wikihow.com/Sell-on-eBay . Remember eBay places selling limits on new sellers, generally a few items per month, so start now.
Organize and list all inventory. Take a look at all the things you've purchased for resale over the year and invest the time to list them online. Hire friends and family to help you get everything listed as soon and as early as possible. Retail stores know that some super-organized, holiday-loving shoppers start shopping right after Halloween--that's why all the holiday products appear earlier and earlier each year. Be sure your items as an online seller are listed just as early.
Specify at least a 30-Day return. By allowing shoppers to change their mind, you build a lot of goodwill through your listings. In addition, you will actually bump your listings higher with great return policies, which means more shoppers will see your listings.
List used items. Not all shoppers are looking for brand-new bargains on eBay (I wrote entire ebooks on used: toys, plush, and 'stuff' that sells for big profits on eBay). Re-purposing and up-cycling are today's fads and lots of potential customers might be looking for inexpensive used items to personalize for a perfect gift. Many of my readers are on a cash-crunch, so to them I say: Look over the stuff you have stashed in closets to see if there are any personal items you want to sell - eBay's terrific for that.
Order shipping supplies now. More and more people are shopping and selling online and the chances of shipping suppliers as well as delivery companies running out of padded envelopes and tape is very high during the holiday season. Don't get stuck without the basics to get your products to their customers. Remember, USPS Priority boxes and supplies (I use them a lot) are 100% free and can be delivered to you free, too. Sams Club has some cheap packaging supplies. If you anticipate shipping lots of products, get boxes from uline.com
Be wary of eBay Valet. Last yearw I saw a fancy infomercial extolling the virtues of eBay Valet. It sounded a little too good to be true: just drop off your items at of the U.S.' 1600 eBay Valet locations and "they'll take care of the whole process of posting, selling and shipping your items, and you keep up to 80% of the selling price." So I did a little homework (including asking some trusted sellers in Jim Cockrum's Free Facebook Group) and I discovered this:
- Many of the eBay Valet centers are within FedEx Kinko retail centers, where it's dubious if their employees are properly trained to evaluate, take pictures of, and post your items.
- The centers won't accept anything that won't sell for more than $40
- The centers won't accept various items
- For your items that sell for (say) $50 to $99.99, you earn only 50% of the selling price. Your earnings go up for higher priced items, and down for lower priced.
Disregard stores' 'hot' lists. I recently wrote about that here.
Speed up your listing creation: Instead of creating a listing from scratch, I'll use Wowlister.com to (with just a few keystrokes) take the content from the same product in an Amazon listing and - within a few seconds - create the eBay listing within my eBay account. Remember it copies everything over (including the Amazon photos) so if you're wary about copyright issues, replace the photos with your own and rewrite the content accordingly. Separately, the free eBay Selling App (iTunes/Android) now makes it incredibly easy to list virtually any item.
More Christmas/eBay tips can be found via one of my favorite Youtube channels, Raiken Profit (Hi Steve!)
Online arbitrage/retail arbitrage tips can be found here
Good luck, and remember: If you won't list it, you can't sell it!