eBay Selling Strategy: FREE Shipping

February 23, 2011 by The Selling Sisters  
Filed under Ebay, Marketing, Pricing Strategies, Shipping

Here’s an idea presented to me during a little brainstorming session with my friend .  Everyone needs someone to brainstorm with and Sandy is one of those people. When she hears an issue, she almost immediately has a good solution in mind.

Keep in mind that I’m a little hard headed, so she had the idea for me right away, but it took her and together almost an hour to convince me to give it a try.

Here was my dilemma:

In the month of January, I was sooooooo close to earning Top Rated Seller status, but I got marked low twice on the dreaded “Shipping and Handling charges” category.  The category that I have been fighting with for so long.  I thought I had it beat, and no, it came back to haunt me.

I wasn’t too happy about it and shared my dilemma with Sandy.

Immediately, she told me that it would help my DSR’s to offer free shipping on my lighter weight items.  That way, I’d automatically earn 5 stars in that category, and it would bring up my average.

I was skeptical.  I thought of the 800+ items in my store and the task of revising them.  Plus, I don’t charge very much to ship light weight items, $2.99, how on earth am I going to get marked down for $2.99 items.  “It’s not the light weight items causing me to get marked down.” I told her.  Yet, she insisted and Ginger reinforced Sandy’s reasoning……..there might be one or two light weight items that you got marked down for this year that wouldn’t be there if you’d have offered free shipping on them. (I found out after pulling a report later, that yes, that was true.)

So, I went through my inventory and put FREE shipping on over 150 items in my store.  I’ll let you know how it goes as far as improving my DSR’s in the “Shipping and Handling Charges” category……and you never know, it might even increase my sales ;)

Rachel

5 Easy Steps to Show Newly Listed Items First In Your eBay Store

When you open an eBay store, everything is set to the basic default settings.

There are so many options in “manage my store” to customize your eBay store and maximize your selling efforts.

One thing that I like to do is set my store to show the items newly listed rather than the items ending soonest on the front page.  I find that my items sell faster that way.

If you want to do this with your storefront–

1.Click on “manage my store

2. Click on  “store design

3. Find “display settings” click on “change

4. Find “item display settings” click on “change.”

5. Find “sort order” you click to display the newly listed items.

Rachel

How to Make it Through the Slow Winter Months

It seems like the online sales tend to slow down this time of year. Sales picked up for Christmas, and now, even though you’re making some sales, it’s much slower than it was during the Christmas season.

The first two years that I sold on ebay, I thought to myself…..“How do people who rely on their ebay income make it financially this time of year?” I knew that I wasn’t making it. Sometimes I’d go for days without a sale.

When that happens, there are two things you can do:

You can accept it and say…..”oh well, that’s just what happens this time of year”…….and be on your merry way (upset that your sales are down.)

or

You can refuse to accept it and say……”I’m going to find a solution to increase my sales over the winter months.”

I choose to do the latter. There are plenty of sales to be made during the winter months, and I plan to make them.

First of all…..don’t limit yourself.  Just because it’s not the back to school season, it doesn’t mean you can’t list a backpack in your store.  Just because it’s not Christmas doesn’t mean you can’t have Christmas inventory in your store.  Just because it’s not summer, it doesn’t mean you can’t have swimming suits, capris and sandals in your store……..stop asking yourself “should I list this?” and just list it.  You never know what people are looking for and if it’s not listed in your store, it can’t sell.

You’d be surprised at what will sell during the off season, if you’ll just put it in your store.

Second of all…..don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.  I know people who sell just one type of item on eBay.  While that’s great to specialize in one area……….the downside is that if it’s the off season for that item, your sales will go way down.

I want consistency each month.  I know that sales will vary from month to month and of course, I’m trying to increase my online sales, but I like them to stay with in $200 from the previous month if it’s going to be less than my previous month. (On the other side, I like them to go up as much as I can get them to go from the previous month, of course)

If you only sell plush, during the back to school rush, your sales will go down.  If you only sell clothes, your sales will go down in the Christmas rush, etc…….if you’re not already selling a variety of items, give it a try.  You can still specialize in an area, but try to branch out a bit……..a wise person once said…..

“Why not go out on a limb?  That’s where all the fruit is.”

Lastly…..keep listing. It’s like what Dorie on “Finding Nemo” says……”Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…..”  except, just keep listing.

During the slow times, it’s easy to sit back, get discouraged and not list new inventory….I know, I’ve been there myself.  The only thing that I found that would get me out of my sales slump is to keep listing new inventory.  I started telling myself that what I list this week will turn into next week’s sales……..of course not literally…..but usually if I list $500 worth of items this week, I’ll make around $500 in sales next week.

For the last two years, what has been selling for me in January and February is Starbucks mugs and bears, jeans, sweaters, shoes, and textbooks.  I don’t know why, but for some reason, the Starbucks sales spike in January.

So, stop accepting that your sales are down, and start listing.  Start your spring cleaning a little early and find items around the house that you can list and get busy :)

Rachel

From The Inbox: How do you know what price to ask for an item?

Here’s a question that we’ve received from several readers over the last few weeks:

“How do you know how much to ask for an item in your eBay store?”

This is a great question, especially since selling on auction and selling in your store are really two different strategies.

I try to get as much as I can for an item in my store.  I’m not a huge fan of auction because most of the time, I find that auctions aren’t as profitable as buy it now store items.

I don’t normally do a lot of research on an item unless I’m not familiar with it.  Usually when I look at an item, I price it in my store based on my gut feeling.

My gut feeling comes from what I know about that item, my previous experience with selling that brand or type of item and what I think I can get for an item.

For example, if my gut feeling says $24.99, I will price it higher than that.

If $24.99 is the lowest I’ll go on that item and most of the time, I’ll list it at $29.99 so I have room to take an offer.

Some times, people will pay my full asking price, other times, they’ll come along and make an offer that’s in line with my gut feeling, either way it’s a win-win situation.  I’ve found that if I price an item at the price I want to get for it with no room to accept offers best offers get frustrating.

Most of the time, I can look at an item and tell you what price I’d list it at.  Cashmere, $39.99 (unless it’s new with tags)  CAbi Jeans $59.99, etc.

It’s because of my selling experience for the last 5 years on eBay that my gut feeling is pretty good.

As you sell more and gain more experience, you’ll learn to trust your gut feeling more and more.

If I don’t know anything about an item, I usually set it aside in my eBay room until I have time to do a little bit of research  so I can get an idea of how to price it and what keywords to use in the title.

Rachel

Motivating Yourself to List Etsy & Ebay Items

Treasure hunting is so fun. I find lots of great items for personal use and am always amazed at the items people dispose of.

When I started selling, I didn’t have a strategy or routine. I  went shopping, found a bunch of  treasures and went home to list a few of them.

Then I’d go out and find more great treasures, bring them home and list a few of them.  Then I’d do it again a few more times that week.  If you’ve ever done this, you know what happened.

Pretty soon, I had big bins of  items sitting around unlisted because I only listed a few things and went out to buy more.  I quickly became overwhelmed in the listing process. I had new things that I was excited  to list and piles of  things  purchased weeks before still waiting to be listed.

Finally, I decided to just stop .

I stopped buying  inventory and spent an entire summer from May through September listing.  I finally caught up on my listings and started treasure hunting again.

I’m sure I missed great treasure that summer but I made a ton of money without having to invest any  more.  Within a few weeks, I sold items that sat around unlisted for months.  I wanted to kick myself.

*I learned that if it’s not listed, it can’t sell.

*I’ve learned that it’s not efficient to buy, buy, buy and only list a few  of the items.

*I’ve learned that I can make more money by listing the items I have before I go out to buy more.

While it’s addicting and loads of fun to treasure hunt, I’ve chosen  list everything before I go look for more treasure.

I make myself stay home to work on listings on Monday mornings.

If I have all of my listings done, then I’m free to  shop. If not, I have to stay home and work.

I actually get things listed much faster by following this rule, which in turn, brings in more money.

Since I want to do lots of treasure hunting, I get items listed the same week I buy them. Many times, they’re listed within 24-48 hours of bringing them home.

I’d rather store listed items than items that are just taking up space!

Rachel.

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