Make some eBay New Year resolutions for 2016…

Almost 2016: time to make New Year resolutions to improve your profits and performance on eBay

PLUS: What is the best time to start and end your auctions on eBay?

PLUS: Liars, cheats and a scam to watch out for…

Here’s how to make those eBay-centric New Year resolutions:

  • Study products which for some reason you stopped selling and haven’t looked at since. Why did you stop selling those products? Is the reason you stopped selling them no longer applicable? Has a product you dismissed as old-fashioned come back into vogue? Are there new suppliers for products you abandoned due to delivery problems? Can you locate and test market all of those products and consider reintroducing them to your permanent inventory?
  • Have you applied the 80/20 theory to your sales on eBay? The theory basically suggests (and is usually accurate) that 20% of whatever goods you are selling on eBay, or elsewhere, accounts for roughly 80% of your profits. Also, 80% of your time is spent working for 20% of your takings, so 20% of your time accounts for the vast majority of your income on eBay.
    Once you’ve worked out where money-makers and money-losers are in your business, you maintain the 20% of products and time from which you already make good profits. Then you identify the 80% of marginally profitable products and time-restricting endeavours in your business and seek ways to convert them to profit.

A couple of ideas will get you started:

  • Can you bundle any of those marginally profitable products, or add some unique bonus to increase sales and profits? If not, have you considered selling them off and putting the money into products similar to those accounting for most of your profits?
  • Exactly how do you spend 80% of the time that represents so little of your takings? Do you waste time talking to suppliers and waiting for calls to be answered and telephone messages to be answered? Might you be better off emailing suppliers? Do your suppliers actually return your messages or do you end up making several telephone calls until the person you want to talk to answers the phone? If so, perhaps you should look for a more efficient, more considerate supplier.
  • Are there ways to cut your costs on eBay? Are you selling most of your products from auction listings and getting pretty much similar results every time? Might that suggest you sell your goods from lower-cost fixed-price listings and save money that way?
    What is the best time to start and end your auctions on eBay?

Newcomers to eBay often worry about when to end their listings in expectation of highest eBay viewing numbers.

Personally I think the weekend, notably Sunday (Saturday to a lesser extent) when more people are off work and using their computers, is the best time to end an eBay auction in expectation of high visitor levels and greater chance of a bidding frenzy for your listings.

In the UK I find Sunday evening from 6.00 p.m. onwards is the optimum time for me and many other prolific sellers.

So for a seven-day listing, surely that means spending all weekend photographing and describing items to sell seven days hence, while other people are off work?

Not so: you can in fact work just a few days, Sunday not included, and still have all sales end Sunday at the precise time that suits you best.

This is how:

  • Using free eBay software TurboLister you can list as many items as you wish and upload to eBay all in one go – in this case round about 6.00 p.m. on Sunday evening.
  • Use three, five, seven or ten-day auctions, according to when you list your products. So if you’re listing Saturday and Sunday, use seven-day auctions to end the same time the following weekend. On Monday and Tuesday use five-day auctions, again ending Saturday or Sunday; Wednesday and Thursday use three or ten-day auctions, again for weekend-finishes. Fridays don’t fit the plan, and one-day auctions are generally too short for all but perishable and really high-demand items. Three-day auctions aren’t always a good idea either, so test carefully, or use ten-day listings instead.
  • The biggest bonus of all listings ending together is that you can plan your week more profitably: visiting auctions, checking suppliers, fulfilling orders; without having to be wait at home every day answering last-minute questions from last-minute bidders.

Liars, cheats and a scam to watch out for…

Someone sending an email a few months back said my eBay listings were so poor they must be very off-putting to potential bidders. The anonymous sender said: ‘People like to see attractive borders, different fonts, a few pictures here and there. Look at mine.’

So I clicked through a link in the email to visit the sender’s website and yes, it was very visually appealing.

‘I’ll let you have my template free,’ he said, but still I was cautious: this free lunch thing doesn’t sit well with me. But I thought I’d give it a go, in case it’s something my readers might like or something they had better avoid at all costs.

To cut a long story short, the template was free, there was tons of space to upload graphics and you could use it to create as many eBay listings as you like.

All your listings would be hosted on the template provider’s website and redirected to eBay. But there was one small problem: hosting for the free template was very expensive indeed. Worst of all, if you accepted and used the free template and created listings, the first thing you might know about paying is when you click the button to upload and direct all your listings to eBay.

You have to be careful and always view ‘free’ with suspicion, because scams like this one are all over the Internet.

The scam depends on every eBay newcomer’s lack of confidence in his or her own ability to create quality eBay listings.

Most people sending emails like this are insulting you on purpose, to make you feel bad, to worry you, and to goad you into buying their inferior products.

It’s all so unnecessary because whatever you are doing already, whatever products and software you are using, the end result is probably as good as it needs to be to make money for you.

So next time someone criticises you or your work, ask that person to give you contact details for of some of his past customers. Contact those people and ask if they liked the recommended product. If they do like it, ask the provider for a free trial of the product. Virtually every reliable company with quality products offers a free trial, or at least a money-back guarantee. If there is no free trial or no guarantee, this may not be a good company and not a good place to do business.

Time to give ‘so and so’ and all his followers the elbow! Time to trust in yourself!

This article first appeared on Auction Genie. Read more and comment here