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Starting Your Online Auction Business...

Ok, Let's get started on building your online auction business. Below you'll find the first 25 tips on starting and profiting from your online auction business using Ebay.

1. Collectibles

Hot sellers on eBay are collectibles such as coins, stamps, or dolls. You can check out the collectibles category to get a better idea of what people love to buy. Anything that will move up in value would fall in this category.

2. Consumables

This popular category would include anything that people use and then would need to buy again such as lotions, perfumes, camera film, candles, etc.

3. Information Products

In this category, you would sell anything that can be sent on a CD or floppy disc or downloaded from the Internet. This is another popular category.

4. Start at Home

When you first get started, it can be a little unnerving. The best option is to start by looking around your own home. Think of items that you would sell in a garage sale.

However, instead of pricing each item and lugging it outside hoping for a nice sunny day, you can advertise them on the Internet.

5. Just eBay

Although there are several other quality auction websites, eBay is by far the most popular and most successful.

Although you could start using all the other sites, by spreading yourself out too thin you take the risk of getting things mixed up. In reality, it is better to use eBay and focus your attention and efforts on this one site. You will not be disappointed.

6. Look Around

Navigate through each section to familiarize yourself with all the different pages. You will find a site map and help tab, which are very useful tools. It will take a little time to get used to the site but start by looking. As you start selling, navigating will become much easier.

7. Quick Response

When you have an item listed on eBay and a potential buyer contacts you with a question, respond quickly. It is important and actually critical to your success to check your account several times a day. Answering a question could be the difference between you getting the sale or the buyer going elsewhere.

8. Trustworthiness

It is extremely important that you handle your account with integrity. The number of positive comments and amount of stars earned are what will be the deciding factor for many buyers. Be professional, polite, and stand by what you sell.

9. Accuracy

When you list your item(s) on eBay, write an accurate description. You do not have to write long paragraphs of rambling information but provide exact measurements, colors, condition, etc. Be extremely precise when it comes to your description. 

Actually, your description should read like a long form sales letter - focus on the benefits, give a compelling reason to order now, use social proof if you can...everything you've no doubt seen in a good sales letter. If you are just getting started, then Instant Sales Letters will guide you through the steps involved in writing a great sales letter for your Ebay auction.

10. Buyer Contact

Once your item(s) have sold, be responsive to the buyer. Contact them in a quick manner, thank them for their purchase, and provide the required information for payment.

11. Sending Items

In your description, provide accurate details regarding shipment. Make sure the item(s) are sent within the time you stated.

In many cases, people purchase something for a specific purpose and if you do not ship it when stated, not only do you mess up their schedule for the item but you have probably lost a customer and opened the door for a negative feedback.

12. Professional Wrapping

When you wrap your item(s), wrap it professionally in nice, clean tissue paper. If breakable, be sure the item is wrapped with bubble wrap as well.

Include a business card with your website information, name, address, or a printed out statement showing the item(s) name, item(s) number, price paid, and a small hand-written note thanking the buyer for their purchase.

13. Payment Options

The more options you can provide potential buyers, the better your chances of making the sale. Your options include PayPal, which is an online payment service, Billpoint, eBay’s payment system, personal checks, money orders, or cash.

Remember that you will have buyers from around the world so an online payment service is extremely helpful.

14. Shipping / Handling

You should always charge actual shipping costs. Several options can be added to your account that provides the actual costs. Another option is to state that you will provide actual shipping at the end of the auction, based on the destination zip code. 

Overcharging customers for shipping and handling is frowned upon and will result is unhappy customers.

15. Insurance

Insurance is usually a good idea but in general, it should be an optional feature, with the decision left to the buyer. Remember two important things about insurance. First, insurance is VERY inexpensive.

Therefore, in your description, you should state how much insurance would cost and recommend it. Second, you should also state in the description that if insurance is not purchased, you are not responsible for lost or damaged items.

16. Go the Extra Mile

You want every customer to be a happy customer. If you have to do a little more research on shipping, or negotiate on price, remember that the customer is the reason you will have success. Therefore, be prepared to go the extra mile in providing them with superior service every single time.

17. Auction Price

Set your auctions low, which will help encourage more bidding. The more bidding you have, the higher the price will ultimately go. In addition, if you add a “Buy Now” option for your auction, keep this set at a reasonable rate as well.

18. Listing Category

When you choose which category to list your items, choose wisely. You will find some categories that are similar yet just enough different that it could make a big difference in how your item(s) is sold. Look at other items listed and choose appropriately.

19. Sell by Lots

If you have two or more of one item, you can list it as a “lot.” For example, if you had five bottles of suntan lotion purchased from a salvage store for .50 each, and you decided to list them on eBay for $1.00 each, rather than list each one separately, another option is to sell them as a lot.

Often times, people perform their search based on lots. However, if you had one bottle of suntan lotion, one bottle of regular lotion, and one bottle of aloe vera, you would want to list them as their own item.

20. Completed Items

Look through completed items to research the prices paid by buyers for other auctions similar to yours. This will provide you with a better idea of what a good asking price would be if you were not sure where to start.

21. Photographs

While auctions without photographs can and do sell, auctions with photographs sell much better.

People like visualizations and want to see what their money is getting them. Make sure your photograph is clear, focused, and depending on the item (such as rings, shoes, etc.), offers more than just a straight view.

22. Competitor Analysis

Just like any other business, you need to know what your competitors are doing. This will help you make the best possible decision when it comes to your own auction.

Before listing your item(s), do a search for the same type item(s) to see what their descriptions looks like. Find different aspects from different sellers and use them to form one comprehensive site for yourself.

23. Mister Lister

If you have trouble listing your item, use eBay’s service, Mister Lister, to help you get your items listed with ease. This is just one of many outstanding services provided by eBay.

24. Size and Weight

If possible, stay with items that are smaller and lightweight. Remember that whatever you sell, you have to ship. Items such as furniture, lawnmowers, etc. are generally sold through a manufacturer or wholesaler. As an independent seller, you want to sell items that are easy to manage.

25. Shipping Options

Set up accounts with several overnight couriers such as Federal Express and UPS. Once again, the more options offered, the better your auction will be received.

To read through the next 25 eBay online auction tips, click here

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