Topics in this issue:
1. eBay News: eBay University event – Central London, 3rd June
2. Check those ‘Pending eCheques’
3. Trade of the week: Can we fix it?
4. Ask Molly
5. Did you know…?
6. Tip of the week: Saving you money
Welcome back, and for all new readers who have joined us this week, welcome to The eBay UK Bulletin. This weekly newsletter is for those of us who are, or who are becoming, more involved with eBay – whether it be as a business or as a hobby. It is very much a community newsletter, so if you have any comments, just email them in.
Welcome also to those of you I met at the Chelmsford branch of Ottakar’s bookshop last week, what a great day, although I did drink too much coffee as usual.
1. EBAY NEWS: EBAY UNIVERSITY EVENT – CENTRAL LONDON, 3rd JUNE
eBay are always keen to encourage more members to take up selling – after all, it’s very good for fee generation! To encourage this, eBay offers organise training events. Known as the ‘eBay University’, a range of training programs are available (at a cost) to those who would like to know more.
The next university in the UK takes place in central London on 3rd June 2006. Three seminars are available: Selling Basics (£30), Beyond the Basics (£30) and Top Seller University (£50). Check this link for more details of course contents.
I attended the very first university to be held in the UK in 2004 and found it to be exceptional value for money – although it was only £15 then. If you are in the vicinity, and can sit still in a classroom, I would recommend browsing through the course contents – thumbs up from me!
2. CHECK THOSE ‘PENDING ECHEQUES’
A standard payment via Paypal is straightforward and, with the exception of a later dispute, it is fairly certain that the funds are secure and you can send the item. A pending eCheque on the other hand is something a little different. Paypal issue the following warning with each eCheque they issue to you:
“This eCheque payment will remain ‘Uncleared’ until the funds have cleared from the sender’s account, which usually takes four working days. If you are shipping an item, please do not ship your item until the funds have cleared into your PayPal account. You will be notified by email when the funds have cleared into your PayPal balance.”
Do you ever ship the item before it clears? I do, and as I have never heard of a payment being refused, I assumed that all is well. However, eCheques can be cancelled for several reasons and the notification emails do not always arrive from Paypal – you may be losing money! To check the state of your account, access Paypal in the usual way and then click the ‘All Activity’ tab. On this page you will see a drop-down menu within the search fields named ‘show’, select eCheques (it’s towards the bottom) and ‘within the last year’ then hit enter. All your eCheques will be displayed and you can see if any have been cancelled. Now all you have to do is contact the buyer and try and get the payment again – good luck.
3. TRADE OF THE WEEK: CAN WE FIX IT?
Ever thought about making money from the High Street? It can be done. It’s just a case of looking at things with a new perspective. This week I want to let you in on a trade that I have used extensively over the past few months: Bob The Builder. Not the toys this time, but instead a floor rug. I have decided that I will no longer stock this item, so it is time to spill the beans and give you the opportunity to add another line into your bedrock of steady sales.
Visit your local QD store, they are on almost every High Street in the UK and stock mostly remainder lines, one of which is a 100% cotton floor rug in the shape of Bob The Builder. Retail price for the rugs in store is £3.99, and they seem to have hundreds of them. I have been selling them on a fixed price listing at £7.49 to shift some volume, but if you are happy to wait a bit longer for your money, they will sell for £9.99 or maybe even higher in the run up to Christmas.
Take a trip into the store and stock up, it’s easy money and they are simple to pack as well, just a little bubble wrap and brown paper. Take the time to browse through their other lines, you may well see me along the toy aisle, you never know what might turn up.
Please send in any details of your favourite or crazy trades – but, please, no more rugs!
4. ASK MOLLY
I am often asked questions about eBay and how to improve sales and profit margins, so in this section I will answer any questions that you may have to the best of my ability, just email them in. This week a question from a reader who wants to remain anonymous which is fine).
“Dear Molly, Love the newsletter [I like this bit - M]. Can you please let me know the best place to buy bubble wrap, I am always running out and local shops are just too expensive.”
Well, you may already have guessed the answer, it is eBay, but which seller, there are literally hundreds? I use loads of bubble wrap, it is so light and, from the right seller, is very cheap. Buy it by the roll; I use 500mm wide by 100m long with the small bubbles. Prices do vary, but check out “rechemdks” product list.
I usually opt for the 3 x 500 x 100m deal, delivered next working day for £29.99 plus £7.99 postage. They will also email you about delivery in case you need to be in. Consider your storage facilities before placing an order – 3 rolls this big take up a lot of space – but they do make an interesting seating arrangement if you have visitors calling round for coffee.
Last point about bubble wrap: in the run up to Christmas order early and stock up well – this is not the time to run out!
5. DID YOU KNOW…?
Just a few quick facts from the world of eBay that you may just find interesting. Did you know for example that:
i) You are allowed to run no more than ten identical auctions at any one time and this includes all of your selling IDs. Check out the details here.
ii) There are currently 50,375 open shops on eBay.co.uk; this has increased from 35,000 in the past 5 months. The highest number of stocked items in a single shop is approximately 112,000 at: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Timikes-UK
iii) You can sell alcohol if it is in a collectable container that is worth more than the contents. There are restrictions of course, find out more here
iv) Human body parts may not be listed on eBay – now what am I going to do with my old wisdom teeth?
v) A seller can block any bids from people they do not want to sell to, just update your Blocked Bidders List
6. TIP OF THE WEEK: SAVING YOU MONEY
Would you like to save 7 pence on every auction you run from now on? If so, why not add your own coloured border and do away with the “Listing Designer” cost option. It will take just a few minutes and then be in place each time you list an item using the ‘sell similar’ option. It involves some HTML code, but nothing too complicated, just follow these few simple steps:
a) Start the listing process as you usually do.
b) In section 2 ‘Title & Description’, enter your title as usual, but then at the item Description stage select the ‘Enter your own HTML’ tab. This will look quite confusing, with loads of HTML code, just highlight and delete the whole lot.
c) Copy the code below and paste it into the blank page
d) Click the ‘Standard Tab’ and continue with your listing as usual.
e) For your next auction, select the ‘sell similar’ option and your border will still be there.
To change the colour of the background or border, just replace either ‘blue’ or ‘white’ in the code with another colour. This is a very simple way to save money and a great introduction to HTML – there will be more HTML tips to come over the coming weeks. If there is something you would like to do in your auctions, just send me a note, I may just have the code you need.
That’s about it for this week, I’ll be back in 7 days. If you do have any questions or anything that might be of interest to other readers, please do send any thoughts and I will add them in. If you can think of anybody who might like to receive this ebay Bulletin, please sign them up at www.ebaybulletin.co.uk . All past bulletins are there as well.
Before I go, just time to share with you a question recently received from a potential bidder for a ‘Woody’ doll from the Toy Story films. The question went: “How tall are these guys?” Check for yourself.
Best wishes and happy eBaying!
Author of the bestselling The eBay Business Handbook