Topics in this issue:
1. eBay News: New TV advert
2. Top Tips: Drop shipping explained
3. eBay 101: Buyer protection measures
4. Ask Molly: Starting my eBay business
Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of The eBay UK Bulletin.
So, did you hear me taking over the airwaves last week? Many thanks to everybody at Liverpool’s Radio City, for asking me to appear on the late show on Tuesday 25 July – I had a great time, in a great city. Thanks to Jay and Pete for keeping me supplied with fluid on a very hot night, Andrew from postalsupplies and to all the callers who joined in the fun – sorry we couldn’t speak to everyone. Remember, you can always e-mail your questions across to me and I’ll do my very best to answer each and every one.
[For details of this newsletter, please scroll down to the end.]
1. EBAY NEWS: NEW TV ADVERT
eBay.ie and O2 (the mobile phone company) have produced a joint television advertisement, to show how eBay can be accessed on the move. It’s been showing on Ireland’s TV channels for about a week – if you haven’t seen it yet, check it out here. It looks good and highlights items from four categories, showing how eBay Mobile can be used to:
- Search for items
- View a simplified item listing
- Add items you are interested in to your ‘Watched Items’ list
- Bid and Buy!
- View a simplified set of information from within ‘My eBay’
For more details on the eBay Mobile service, click here.
Television adverts about eBay will drive more visitors to the site. They are bound to hit our screens over the next few months and in time for the Christmas rush (which starts for me in mid-September)…so be ready.
2. TOP TIPS: DROP SHIPPING EXPLAINED
Have you ever wanted to sell something on eBay, never handle it, not have to pack it for dispatch, or pay for it up front – but still pocket the profit? Well, “drop shipping” may be for you. Here’s how it works:
1. You open an eBay seller’s account.
2. You find a distributor who is willing to drop ship the products you want to sell. Check out the ‘UK Dropshippers Directory‘.
3. You establish an account as a retailer, with the Wholesale Supplier you choose.
4. You receive images and descriptions of the products you want to sell from the Wholesale Supplier and use these in your eBay listings.
5. If priced correctly and all the other aspects of your eBay business are in order, your item will sell.
6. You send the buyer’s details to your supplier.
7. The Wholesale Supplier sends the product directly to your customer, with YOUR details included. The buyer will not know that a third party was involved with the delivery.
8. You will then pay the supplier for the item and the delivery charge. You retain any margin, between buying and selling price.
9. Your buyer receives the item and leaves you great feedback.
- No outlay for stock
- Sell before you buy
- No packing (what a result, I hate packing!)
- Your supplier represents you in the area of packing and dispatch – if they get it wrong, you will get the blame
- Selecting the right supplier – trust is a key element in this business, start with something small
If you use a drop shipper already, please let me know how you are getting on and any tips you would give to a newbie in this area.
3. EBAY 101: BUYER PROTECTION MEASURES
During my appearance on Radio City in Liverpool last week, there were many calls and e-mails concerning the pitfalls and scams in place to catch buyers on eBay. Following on from the programme, this week I have included a few of my thoughts on safe buying on eBay:
1. Do not trade outside of eBay. There is a temptation for some sellers to complete trades outside of the eBay system, they will save on fees and don’t risk receiving negative feedback for a bad trade. As a buyer, trading outside of eBay will remove any buyer protection. If you do want to buy an item that may have ended without a bid for example, just ask the seller to re-list with a BIN price – they should be happy to do this.
2. Check the feedback of the seller. Check not only the score and feedback comments, but also the type of items being sold. If a seller of shoes and toys suddenly starts listing BMW cars and Rolex watches, I would be tempted to ask “why?”
3. E-mail the buyers of similar items. Ask other buyers how their trades are progressing. To find them, use the search engines – search by seller and check the ‘Completed Listings’ box and all trades will be displayed. Select the one you want and click the ‘Contact Member’ button.
4. Purchase Protection Programme. eBay operates a programme to protect buyers from rogue sellers. This standard option covers items up to a value of £120.00 (less £15.00 admin charge). Find full details here.
5. Paypal buyer protection. If you buy your item with Paypal, you may be covered by buy a £500 Paypal insurance scheme. To see if your item is covered, look in the ‘Seller Information’ section of the listing. Full details can be found here.
6. Beware of spoof e-mails and fake websites. There are many spoof e-mails in circulation trying to gain access to your accounts and trying to entice you to part with your money. Be very cautious before sending payment for an item, based only on the content of an e-mail. Sending £5.00 for a bag of Lego is one thing – sending thousands of pounds is another. Take a look at the eBay help pages.
7. Item Not Received or Significantly Not as Described Process. The eBay User Agreement states that “sellers must deliver the items that buyers purchase from them”. Sometimes this is not the case. If you cannot resolve the issue directly with the seller, start this process. For a step by step guide, follow this link.
8. Avoid sending cash. Sellers cannot ask for payment in cash, but you can still send it. Use alternative methods that can be tracked and do not use money transfer systems such as Western Union.
I’ll end this section with some words of wisdom that I was told many years ago – “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is”. If you are offered the “deal of a lifetime”, ask yourself “why would a seller do this?” It may be fine, but spend some time making certain it really is.
4. ASK MOLLY: STARTING MY EBAY BUSINESS
This week: a question concerning the first steps to consider, when starting an eBay business…
“Dear Molly, I am interested in selling on eBay and starting my own business. Do you have any pointers to help me get started?”
I think the first thing to consider would be your eBay name; it should be something that can be remembered and be read. “Mollybol” doesn’t actually mean anything, but it reads like a real word. For example, “dvdseller” would be great if you sold DVDs . However, be prepared for disappointment, as most of the best names are gone. It might be worth changing your eBay ID, as this will become your brand. Avoid numbers, underscores and random letters.
‘Terms and Conditions’ would be the next thing to think about. What payment methods you will accept? How long will you give buyers to pay? Which parts of the world will you sell to? How quickly will you post your items? – and so on. Check your competition and see what they offer, because if you cannot offer the same terms, your sales may suffer. I have found that a pleasant, friendly environment works best for me. On a more practical side, think about storage of the product, packing materials, insurance and dare I say – the taxman.
Start small, size doesn’t matter when you are starting out; get the hang of the systems and processes, before going full time. For more information see Chapter 2 (‘Starting Out’) of my book. It will guide you through those daunting first steps and give you plenty of useful tips.
[In 'Ask Molly' I answer questions from eBay members about any aspects of buying, selling or just general interest. If you have a question connected with eBay, please email me and I will include it in a later edition.]
– END NOTE –
An eBay Power Seller visits his doctor…
Power Seller: Doctor, you have to help me stop talking to myself.
Doctor: Why is that?
Power Seller: I’m an eBay Power Seller and I keep selling myself things I don’t want.
That’s all for this week. Please keep your e-mails coming – this week there’s a FREE copy of ‘The eBay Business Handbook‘ up for grabs, courtesy of Harriman House, for the best (or worst!) eBay story.
Best wishes and happy eBaying!
Author of the bestselling title, ‘The eBay Business Handbook’ – available direct from the publishers at: www.harriman-house.com/ebaybusiness
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