Friday, July 25, 2008

How I land Repeat eBay Business

In the continued interest of decluttering I am preparing myself for a major eBay weekend. I've been eBaying for about seven years and these are the tips I pass along most often:

0. Take clear pictures, provide a good description. I'm not numbering this one because its pretty obvious. These days everyone has a webcam, digicam or cellcam. A blurry image is still preferable to no image. A link to the same object on Amazon or another major site is also better than just typing its name and letting the buyer do their own research.

1. Create brand recognition. Use the same colors, layout or image for your name in all of your auctions. People who browse in your category will remember your auctions and associate them with trust

2. Send a personalized note with all your auctions. I always enclose a small business card with a handwritten note thanking the buyer and encouraging them to leave feedback. The notecards were free from Vista Print and give a small business feel - even though its just me mailing stuff that's taking up space in my room.

3. Ship quickly. Buyers are willing to wait upwards of a week from a legitimate store. You're an unknown variable and need to prove yourself by getting their items to them stat.

4. Professionally package your items. Don't use cruddy, beat up boxes. Drop by the post office for shiny new priority mail boxes. They're free and using decent boxes lowers the chances of crushing during transit. If you're planning to use ten or more of the same size box, order from Your neighbors will laugh at your "box of boxes" but its a huge time saver! If you end up using eight of the ten boxes, return the other two to the post office. They love getting cast offs.

5. Print your labels through paypal and get free delivery confirmation. Once I started doing this I stopped receiving e-mails claiming not to have received packages. Since I don't pay for delivery confirmation I say "delivery confirmation is complimentary." Most buyers won't pay extra for it but if its free they can't argue against it. Everyone loves free!

6. Send an e-mail saying the item has shipped. Sure, paypal creates a delivery confirmation e-mail but most buyers like getting personalized (if generic) notes saying their stuff has shipped. I use the same note all the time and just sub whatthe item they won is. ie: Congrats on winning this great purse/box of toothpaste/used sock

7. Offer a return policy. My policy allows for returns as long as the buyer pays for shipping. I hate doing it and have only dealt with returns twice but its an added layer of security for the buyer. Make sure your policy is worded along the lines of "items are not as described or pictured." I wouldn't want to deal with buyers sending stuff back just because they didn't like it. *shudder*

8. Use widgets. See that little box on the left showing my current items up for auction? Paste that on your other auctions, Myspace, Facebook, LJ, blog, etc. Free advertising is great!

Basically use the Golden Rule and you should end up with return buyers and people sending happy notes once they receive their item.