ISSUE 14: Apr. 2004
Yard Salers: Issue 14! Amazon. Vs. eBay? The Rise of Prefilled Item Info; eBay "Inches Deep and Miles Wide"?; Thinking Outside Your Selling Box; What Sells for What? Levi's Jeans and Board Games - Apr. 04
Yard Salers and eBayers: Issue 14! 2.14 -- April 7, 2004
**Our Most Long-Winded Issue Ever!**
Happy Spring, everyone!
OK, I'm finally going to tell you about the book I was working on all Fall and most of the Winter. (I know; the suspense has been killing you). ;) It's called "eBay: Top 100 Tips & Tricks Simplified," by John Wiley and Sons publishers (actually a division owned by Wiley known as Visual).
It's available now on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. If you do want to order the book, I'd appreciate if you'd use my affiliate link below, so I get a (small) cut of the deal. ;) (OK, so I'm not in this for my health!).
ebay top 100
The book is filled with buying and selling tips, including tips on using third-party eBay tools such as timeBLASTER and Gutcheck.
I think my favorite tool is Gutcheck, which allows you to dig up an eBayer's negative feedback with one mouse-click. You can also click again to see the actual feedback comments. Very cool.
Another cool tool that I cover in the book is timeBLASTER, which lets you download "photo albums" of items you search for. You can then view the pictures and descriptions offline at your leisure. It expedites the process of searching on eBay and lets you see photos of items in a more compact, concentrated format.
There is also info on using Keywords by eBay, setting up a Vendio store, using andale's Gallery to show thumbnails of your other items in a listing, and tons more. (Not that I'm biased, or anything).
I was blessed to have Ina Steiner of AuctionBytes fame as a technical editor, and David Steiner helped me out in numerous other instances as well. I've already thanked them, but in case they're reading this, I thank them again.
Disclaimer: If this issue has some weird characters, I apologize...Topica seems to have changed things around again, and I don't have time to monkey with why it's turning my characters into hieroglyphics. I edited it as best I could, but you still may see some oddities.
****** WIN! WIN! WIN! ******
So maybe I'm pushing books at you, but it's not all about taking here at Yard Salers and ebayers. Oh no, we give as well! And to demonstrate that, we're running our first ever Yard Salers Best Item You've Sold at Auction Contest!
We're giving away a signed copy of my new book, a package of all 5 of my auction ebooks, and a bunch of collectible pins with tin from last year's eBay Live.
Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me...you guessed it, what is the Best Item You've Sold at Auction (and Why)! The winner will not necessarily be the one that sold for the most money! Entries will be judged on creativity, humor, and anything else I feel like judging them on!
Prize to be awarded by our June issue.
A few rants and one rave about customer service:
Is anyone else out there experiencing horrible customer service?
I don't mean on eBay, though I'd like to talk about that as well. Actually, this is one of the areas where I think eBay sellers have an edge over the rest of the world, or where they can. But before I get into that, I want to talk about some of the brushes with surliness and indifference I've experienced out there in the retail world.
- Venue: a 7-11 near my house. I patronize this 7-11 fairly often. Would it be too much to ask to get a simple "thank you" after handing over my money? That's the least I ask.
Instead, I get a curious phenomenon: dead silence. I am talking crickets chirping from the second I walk thru the door, to placing my stuff on the counter, saying "hi" (I like to do that but I may have stopped doing it due to the lack of response I usually get), handing over the dough, and receiving back the change.
And here's the kicker: *I* am actually thanking *them* for, I guess, the privilege of patronizing them! I've thought about not saying anything, but my mother taught me that"two wrongs don't make a right." Besides, saying "thank you" after receiving change is just a habit for me.
I should add here that this does not necessarily happen in every 7-11 I buy from. Some of their employees are friendly and polite.
And it's not just convenience stores where this problem crops up. It can happen in upscale places as well.
I seem to have the annoying habit of trying to be on time for everything. How fun is it to rush out of the house to an appointment, only to have to cool one's heels at the place of service? Once I went to get a haircut and the stylist -- dare I say a bit of a diva -- blithely sashayed in 30 minutes late. Instead of apologizing profusely, he said "I thought we said 12:30" and not 12 (which was not true, anyway).
It's not just me? USA Today did an article recently on poor customer service, and their survey found that some 14 out of 17 industries were found lacking in this area.
But, it's not all dark out there. The other day I had an appointment, and I did have to wait. But,they were extremely apologetic about it, the owner came out and talked to me personally, explaining that they had a trio of customers who came in earlier who were all late, and that had put them behind schedule; plus, the guy doing the service came out and spoke to me twice about timing, and then threw in an extra 10 minutes for free.
Also, there is a mom 'n' pop type convenience store around the corner where I live, and the owners are extremely polite and solicitous. One of them asks me if I want any half'n' half, as I but it a lot (I take a little coffee with my cream). He even goes so far as to order it for me when they are running low (I may be the only person buying it there!). You can bet I take as much of my business there as I can.
So now you may be waiting for me to bring this back around to eBay. You probably guessed it; I'm going to say that eBay sellers have an opportunity to shine in the area of customer service where others fail, particularly the "real world" retail and chain establishments out there.
I've often found that other sellers use the same techniques I do; they wrap things carefully, using nice tissue paper or other materials; they include a thank you note, hand-written or customized on their computer; they communicate any problems and/or let me know when the item is going to ship, so I am not sitting around wondering.
It can be fun to tailor your packaging to the item, too. For example, I sell Lilly Pulitzer clothing sometimes, which is known for its bright, cheerful colors -- yellow, pink, green and blue. I try to use bright pink or green tissue paper when wrapping the item. It's a little thing, but little things like that can make the emotional experience of unwrapping the item better for the buyer.
I've also found that with my eBay purchases the sellers are much more communicative and warm n fuzzy that I've experienced in the retail world in general, often emailing me to let me know the item has shipped, and thanking me several times.
What do you do in the customer service to give your business an edge? Email me at email@example.com and let me know!
Have you checked out YAB's new design? Give it a look at http://www.aolmemorabilia.com/yab/index.html (I know, the next step is a better url).
I still need to plug in a few holes for a few back issues, but we'll get there.
The design is by Robin Donley of Donley Designs (www.DonleyDesigns.com
Well, let's get to it!
And, as always, please forward this newsletter to anyone you think may like it! (One thing you can certainly assure them is that it will not come so often as to annoy them! But we really do plan to get back on at least a monthly schedule).
Do you like this newsletter? Please forward it (in its entirety) to a friend!
Back issues now available! Go to:
**Don't have five minutes to read the newsletter now? Print it out; take it to bed with you! (That's my favorite place to read my newsletters!). **
In This Issue:
1) Amazon. Vs. eBay? The Rise of Prefilled Item Info
2) eBay "Inches Deep and Miles Wide"?
3) Thinking Outside Your Selling Box
4) What Sells for What? Levi's Jeans and Board Games
5) Reader Mail
6) YOUR FEEDBACK WANTED
NEW ebook offered:
Get my NEW ebook, "How to Spot Fakes," for only $3.95! It covers how to tell if some of the major upscale-brand designer handbags and accessories are authentic.
If you want it, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1) Amazon vs. eBay? The Rise of Prefilled Item Info
eBay has recently added "Prefilled Item Info" to several of their categories, especially in Entertainment categories such as books, movies and music CDs, and will soon be adding it to electronics categories Cell Phones, PDAs, and Digital Cameras. This seems to be going more in the direction of amazon.com, which currently makes it very easy to sell a book on their site if you have one like one they're selling.
(There is an excellent article on eBay's Pre-Filled Item Information on AuctionBytes at http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y04/m03/i19/s02, if you want to read the whole thing, or get more detail than I am going into here.).
In a nutshell, with pre-filled info, you can use a number such as the SKU, or ISBN number in the case of a book, to have eBay automatically fill in the details of your listing, such as author, title, description, and even a photo of the cover in some cases.
From Ina Steiner's AuctionBytes article: "Pre-Filled Item Information makes listing in these categories easier. Sellers can use the manufacturer part number, as well as keywords, to pull up stock listing information on these items. They can then select content, including stock photos and item descriptions that is added to listings automatically."
Which makes me wonder, will we see amazon.com and eBay competing more against each other in the future?
In one category, that of books, I've played around with using pre-filled methods to sell on both amazon and eBay, and I'll tell you what I think of both methods/venues currently. Although I have not yet listed many books on eBay, I have found amazon.com??s method of listing books extremely easy.
I've sold more books on amazon than on eBay, and right now I feel like in the public's mind, one equates amazon.com more with books than eBay. (With eBay's Pre-Filled Item information, that may change). So my sense is that amazon is currently a better place to sell most kind of books, but not necessarily antique and very collectible books.
As a matter of fact, I recently went through many of the books on my shelves and checked them out on amazon to see what they were selling for. This exercise was prompted by my husband, Nick, saying "can't you do something about all these books on the floor?" They had overflowed from all the existing bookshelves in our house and onto the bedroom floor, where they sat in rows, their stacked spines a silent group accusation of my packrat tendencies.
(One thinks of the classic scene from the opening to "The Odd Couple" tv show, where they explain why, "On November 13th, Felix Unger was asked to remove himself from his place of residence...That request...came from his wife."
And here we see a disembodied female arm thrusting a saucepan out the door to poor Felix, presumably for his use in his new home. Or was that Oscar Madison's wife handing the pan? I can't remember. Anyway...
In the interest of marital harmony, I made it my weekend project to go through the many books on my shelves, sell the ones worth about $10 or more, take to charity the ones that weren't, and keep the ones I really wanted.
In just a few days, I sold nine books on amazon.com. I also discovered some "sleepers" on my shelves: books that are worth a lot more than I thought they were!
Turns out the most expensive book I've discovered I own so far is (I know what you're thinking -- an ancient anthology of poetry? A lush art coffee-table book? No, something a little less highbrow.
It's a vintage copy of "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," a paperback version from before the movie came out. This little number, picked up for a dollar or so by me at some yard sale, is going for in the neighborhood of $90 and up! Who knew? Although, my question now is, will anyone actually buy my copy for that much?
Here are some of the books I listed that actually sold:
- Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 [Hardcover] by Burrows, Edwin G. -- $28
- A Field Guide to Reptiles & Amphibians of Eastern & Central North America -- $9.99
- Sixteen Scandals: 20 Years of Sex, Lies and Other Habits of Our Great Leaders. -- $9.20
- Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America [Hardcover] by Wurtzel, Elizabeth -- $21
- The World's Top Retirement Havens [Paperback] by Goldstein, Margaret J. -- $9.99
- Kiss My Tiara: How to Rule the World As a Smartmouth Goddess [Paperback] -- $6.80
(not that that has anything to do with me!) ;)
(OK, so I didn't make $10 my cutoff point.)
I urge you to go through your own books...price them on amazon and see what you come up with. (Just click the "Have one to sell?" button on the book's listing). It's quite addictive to see what those bad boys are bringing in, let me tell you.
Meantime, I certainly wouldn't count out eBay in the pre-filled item info arena. They seem to be moving pretty quickly to add the SKU/ISBN/other identifying number info as options in auction listings, in more and more categories.
This way of listing items to sell will probably help the whole auction/reselling biz as a whole, anyway, because it will bring in those Luddites who just can't handle dealing with a digital camera, figuring out how to list items with photos, etc., etc., and so forth. They, too, will learn the joy of making money off their old stuff. Well, if they can handle packing and shipping, that is.
In fact, I did use the pre-filled item option to list a book that I included in screen shots in the eBay Top 100 book, "eBay for Dummies" by Marsha Collier. It certainly was easy to just enter the ISBN, and have eBay pull up the title, author, and other info. And, the book did sell easily. So, in the future, I plan to play around more with this on both eBay and amazon, and let you know how it goes. Meantime, I??d love to hear your own take on these selling options.
2) eBay "inches deep and miles wide"?
Are you worried about the competition from large corporations dumping their wares on eBay in volume?
A recent Wall Street Journal article indicates that maybe you needn't be. Some large companies are finding they can't get high enough prices to justify selling in bulk. Omaha Steaks, for example, stopped selling meat on eBay because it couldn't make enough profit.
When a company such as Omaha or ReturnBuy, which helps retailers sell overstocked and returned merchandise, flood the eBay marketplace with hundreds of identical items, as they did with some Circuit City merchandise, it depresses the prices eBayers are willing to pay, according to the article.
Sounds like simple supply and demand, right?
So the upshot of the piece is that many large retailers are hesitant to do business in bulk, one of them coining the phrase, "eBay is inches deep and miles wide."
(I struggled with parsing that phrase for a while; my best interpretation is that it means eBay is ostensibly a good place to sell a ton of stuff?Kand while it has a ton of customers, you can sell only so many items to those tons of customers. But, if you have a better interpretation, let me know!).
For now, anyway, eBay seems committed to its "level playing field" policy of not giving special perks to large sellers.
Anyway, the Wall St. Journal piece was very interesting. If you want to look it up, the headline was "As eBay Grows, Site Disappoints Some Big Vendors." (You need an online subscription to read their articles, but you can always trek it down to your local analog library and look through back issues.).
3) Thinking Outside Your Selling Box
I had some unexpected results for my auctions the other week. An item I didn't think would do very well, did well, and an item I thought would bring more money -- you guessed it -- brought diddley.
I'll tell you what the items were in a minute, but first I just wanted to suggest that you think outside your selling box, meaning try selling some things you don't usually sell, every so often.
Why? Well, the item that sold well was a small bit of Waverly brand fabric -- about 2 yards by one yard, which I had picked up at a yard sale for a few bucks. It sold for $36.55, not a bad return on investment!
Now, I realize this doesn't necessarily mean every piece of fabric I sell will do so well. And I was lucky to come across that piece, I think, given that Waverly is a popular and quality fabric brand, and the piece had colors and a design that I think appeal to a lot of people: a green vine-like design on a simple white background. And, it was 100% cotton.
But I sort of put up the piece for auction as an afterthought. Now, I'm thinking I will be on the lookout for other fabric as I am out. (Now that Spring is here I am hoping we start seeing a lot more yard sales! I was getting withdrawal symptoms!)
4) What Sells for What? Levi's and Board Games
What's been selling recently on eBay for what? Let's take a look at a couple things I like Levi's brand jeans, and board games. BTW, board games, some say, are in plentiful supply now at thrift stores and yard sales because people are doing Spring cleaning. So, check 'em out and snap 'em up!
(Name of Item/final price/number of bids/Buy It Now or Fixed Price, if Applicable)
- NWT LEVI'S PREMIUM CORDS QUINCY JEAN 29 brown $52.00 5
- LEVI'S 31x 30 LEVI JEANS 550 RIPPED FADED STAINED $0.25 1
- LEVI'S ~ 519 RED TAB JEANS ~3 2x33 WOMENS BOOTCUT $4.24 2
- NEW LEVI'S MENS TYPE 1 REAL LOOSE JEANS 36X32 $20.49 2
- *LEVI'S* Jeans 550's Size 5 Long $10.00 5
- NEW LEVI'S super low boot cut jeans size 7 $4.51 11
- Levi's Misses Jeans - Lot of 2 (Long) $22.56 BIN
- NWT JUNIOR LEVI'S JEANS SUPER LOW SHORTS LEVIS 9 $11.99 BIN
- $95 Levi's Premium Skinner lowrise levis jeans 33 x 31 $48.99 FP
- NWT JR'S LEVI'S JEANS SUPER LOW RISE SHORTS LEVIS SZ 3 $11.99 BIN
- 1880s McLoughlin Bros Baseball Board Game NICE! $1,009.00 14
- VINTAGE LIFE BOARD GAME $0.01 1
- Vintage ANNIE OAKLEY Board Game~Milton Bradley 1950s~Ex $59.99 13
- Vintage WAR GAME WWI Board Game of war circa 1911 $57.00 12
- HASBRO MOODS BOARD GAME NEW SEALED RARE FREE GIFT $34.99 FP
- BLITZKRIEG AVALON BOARD GAME $32.02 5
- Big Business Board Game - 1948 - Transogram - SEALED $19.99 1
- CBS SURVIVOR BOARD GAME NIB SEALED!!! LOOK!!! $10.50 6
- THE LOVING GAME BOARD GAME $4.75 1
- MY LITTLE PONY BOARD GAME ~ AGES 3+ ~ SEALED ~ $1.99 1
- Franklin Mint MONOPOLY Game Board, Table, Glass Cover $475.00 FP
- Vintage Monopoly Board Game (Wood Pieces) $76.00 12
- New SOLID WOOD Box MONOPOLY SORRY Board GAME $75.05 22
- New FRENCH MONOPOLY Board Game Sealed Cool !! $24.99 1
- BETTY BOOP Monopoly Board Game NEW/NIB $24.00 BIN
- Las Vegas Monopoly Board Game NEW SEALED $21.00 15
- Risk 40th Anniversary Game Collectors Edition SEALED! $130.05 32
- RISK " WORLD CONQUEST GAME" PARKER BROS 1975 (Lowest in Price Range) $1.00 1
- Risk 2210 AD Board Game $30.00 18
- "NEW" RISK 2210 A.D. GAME $27.00 3
- 1986 RISK AND CASTLE RISK BOARD GAME MIB 100% $15.00 9
- 1959 RISK Continental Board Game Parker Brothers $14.50 10
- 1986 RISK + CASTLE RISK GAMES SEALED + BONUS $11.50 10
- Risk Continental Board Game PB 1968 $10.50 6
Well, I'm gonna have to end it there, or I'll never get this issue out. Let me know what items you??d like to see in the next issue.
5) Reader Mail
My name is Maggie and I've dabbled in antiques and collectibles for some time; approximately 20 years. I'm pretty good at finding bargains and when I've done this type of business for profit (buying and selling at a local flea market for example) I've really done quite well. My question, if it's not asking to much, how does a person get into the business of selling estates? If you could point me toward a book or other resource I'd appreciate it. Thank you.
As for getting started with running estate sales, my sense is you probably already have the experience you need to do so! It would just be a matter of maybe finding a mentor in your area to help you with the details of starting the business, running the sales etc.
There is one resource I found helpful, it's not specifically about starting a business, but may give you some pointers in dealing w/ some people in the business: http://www.iwantcollectibles.com/estate_sale.html
here's another link I found on Google...try running Google searches for terms like "estate sales" and "how to":
Why not approach an existing estate sale co in your area and ask if they can give you pointers, or mentoring?
Best of luck and please let me know how it goes!
Got your new newsletter today, really enjoyed it. Thought you'd get a
kick out of this. All of this is from 1 church flea market I went to
the other day. I will sell almost all of it on eBay.
Here's what I got:
- a woman's 3/4 lengh leather coat;
- women's magenta suede pants, size 12,
- women's GAP sz. 6 khakis,\
- women's white fleeze zip up jacket,
- big round crockpot,
- new, in box, electric ice cream maker
- 2 air force garrison hats and all kinds of patches,
- 2 pyrex pie plates, brand new,
- a nice old stoneware bowl,
- a homer laughlin platter,
- a tensor halogen desk light,
- a ceiling fan in great condition--will install this week,
- picture frames,
- a paperback I'll sell on Amazon,
- a beautiful Hamilton Beach Mixer, 1940's,
- 2 Whittier BagTagger machines,
All that for $3.75. Ha ha. That excludes the stuff I got on the porch
of the church that was marked "free."
- Paul (an eBayer in Vermont!!)
(Ikeboy on eBay)
- Hi Paul,
Wow!! You really cleaned up! Awesome. Seems like those kinds of yard sales for me are few and far between these days, but every once in a while I do well too. I recall someone saying that Vermont is great for yard sales.
Thanks for sharing!
Also, would love to hear how anything u decide to resell does. :-)
Thanks again! Keep YAB'ing! :)
First I want to say I learned so much from your ebook. Thanks! I just wish there was more info on how to spot a fake as far as Coach goes. :(
Also, I opened Ebay Groupie (Ebayholic was taken :( ) [ It's at http://ebaygroupie.com ] Please take a look at it and join. If you can announce it on your site I would be much grateful. I'll also have a link to your site as well. If you have any suggestions or complaints please let me know if you can. I tried to make sure to let it be known that I'm not affiliated with ebay.
Wow..the site looks really cool! I love the cool animation you have in the opening page, too! Looks like a very fun and helpful site. I especially enjoyed the bit about Bill Clinton's old house being up on eBay..I hadn't heard that! (Say, if you light a fire in his old fireplace, does the chimney not inhale? Sorry, couldn't resist!).
Well folks, you heard it here..check out eBay Groupie at http://ebaygroupie.com if you get a chance!
5) YOUR FEEDBACK WANTED: An Update to "What Sells on eBay": Secrets of the (High-Margin!) Powersellers; The Real Deal on Wholesalers, and What Else Do You Want to See?
Note: I am always open to reader articles, so if you want to write about something relating to yard sale-ing and eBaying, just flag me down! I will of course give you credit, using your eBay ID, web site, or any other contact info.
I'd love your feedback on this topic, as well as other topics you'd like to see me address.
That's it for this issue. Until next time, happy yardsale-ing and eBaying!
eBooks by Julia L. Wilkinson:
[all my ebooks are offered at substantial discounts from their regular price of $8.95 to the subscribers of this newsletter. Only $4.95 each! If interested in any of them, please email me at email@example.com.]
- Making Big Bucks off Catalogs on eBay:
- Over 100 Books that Sell for $50-$100 on eBay: email me!
- Selling Kids Clothes on eBay: email me!
(these last two will be available for purchase via my site soon).
- How to Spot Fakes: email me!
What Sells on eBay for What:
My Life at AOL (available at amazon.com, booklocker.com, and 1stbooks.com)
And introducing:eBay: Top 100 Tips & Tricks Simplified (John Wiley & Sons, March 2004)
Copyright 2004 Julia L. Wilkinson
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