It has taken me a while, but if you remember 5 months ago I wrote about the opportunity to make money selling on eBay and how even it wasn’t a truly source of passive income according to my definition of massive income it could still be worth pursuing.
So over the last 5 months I kept playing with this idea of launching an eBay store and also bought and sold a few items to get more familiar with the platform itself. For the most part I’ve bought things that I wanted to get for myself (a digital camera, a couple memory cards and a Nokia cell phone) and sold stuff that I had and didn’t use any more (a bunch of video games, my old digital camera and my old cell phone). This is obviously not sustainable since I have now gotten rid of all the stuff I didn’t want any more and have nothing left to sell, but it gave me the opportunity to learn a few things about eBay.
What I’ve learned about selling on eBay
So far I’ve learned a few thing that I think will be useful moving forward.
- Be patient. Bids go up exponentially when the auctions gets closer to an end. So don’t discouraged if your item has been up for 5 days and still has a low price, it will double it or more in the last 6 hours.
- Plan in advance. With point number one in mind it’s important to schedule your auctions so that they end at a time when most people will be in front of their computers.
- Create the illusion of a bargain. Setting the starting price of a bid at 1€ as opposed to setting it at 50€ (for an item you think might sell for 70€ for instance) only seems to increase the final selling price. My guess is more people get involved in the auction if the starting price is low and therefore there will be more users competing to gain your item by the end of it.
- Ship items yourself if you can. Where you ship your products from matters. People don´t seem to trust Chinese/Indian/etc. buyers, or they simply don’t want to wait so long for their items to arrive. As a result items sold from these countries tend to sell for lower prices.
- Build your reputation. On eBay buyers and sellers get to rate each other once they complete a transaction, this rates build your reputation. Users with a good reputation attract more bidders and therefore their items sell for higher prices than similar items sold by users with a bad or yet inexistent reputation.
- Put some care into your listings. If the items you are selling are used you must take photos of the particular item you are selling, that will give the buyer trust that the item is in fact in good conditions. Don’t use photos pulled from the manufacturer’s website unless you are selling new stuff.
- Communicate. Bidders will have questions. You need to answer these questions quickly (within 24 hours) and professionally (watch for spelling, etc.) to build trust with potential buyers.
What’s next for me?
After 5 months of playing around with eBay I think I’m ready to give it a try and I will be launching my own store in the next couple of days. I’m calling it Hoiol Technologies. Hoiol is my online nickname almost everywhere on the web and I plan to sell only technology (cameras, phones, videogames and other gadgets), so no big mystery there.
To get myself started I plan to use some of the things I’ve learned over these 5 months to my advantage.
I will be buying items from foreign sellers hopping to sell them for a little more than I buy them once I get them inside the UE territory and buyers see they won’t have to wait weeks to get their products. I also plan to buy 3-6 units of the same items to save on shipping and to be able to reuse my listings.
I’m not even sure if it’s possible to make any money with this model, the margins seem to be tight, but I’ll give it a try update you guys on how things go.