My first ever eBay find was a duo of Coles Funny Picture books – and I’ll never forget staring at the eBay screen in wonder and elation when I found these titles after a totally unexpectant search for the precious books my grandfather had once left me – books that mysteriously disappeared in the haze of many house moves, along with an impressive vinyl collection (records, not flooring).
After staring at the eBay screen and clicking ‘Buy’, I was hooked. Very soon after receiving my precious books in the mail, I began a long buying relationship with eBay that has not only secured me a plethora of highly-desired items, but has – many times – provided me an income.
I became a two-bit seller on eBay ten years ago. Sometimes I’d sell a little, sometimes a lot and I still sell the odd thing here and there. For the most part, it’s a profitable and pleasant experience and far outstrips the garage sale in terms of bang for seller buck.
In the decade since I sold my first eBay item, I’ve watched a literal tonne of sellers enter the eBay selling world. Many of them are importers but many of them are stay-at-home-mums making a quick return on anything from carefully constructed handmade jewellery to their kids’ outgrown clothing.
In fact, second-hand children’s clothing has consistently been one of the biggest-selling items on eBay, along with heart-thumping used (read: retro) furniture finds and those special and unique treasures (like out of print books or elusive crockery) that makes seekers peep with glee.
For those embroiled in or about to enter into a virtual sales role on eBay, there’s no one more qualified to tell you how it’s done than Todd Alexander. An eBay employee of eight years, Alexander has worked extensively with eBay sellers to optimise their sales income and was recently appointed eBay’s Head of Customer Insight, which helps maximise the growth and development of eBay businesses.
Alexander’s first book – How to Use Paypal: the official pocket guide sold over 25,000 copies and his new book should outstrip all sales if the popularity of eBay is anything to go by. Entitled, most enticingly, How to Make Money on eBay – the subtitle says it all: an official guide for sellers who want to seriously boost their sales.
Anyone can pass on their hot tips for increasing sales yardage, but who better to give info that sizzles than from the expert himself? In this pocket tome with plenty of punch, Alexander admits the eBay scene can be a rather complex affair. This book not only helps you cut through to the nitty gritty, it explains, step-by-step the basics of marketing, supply, service and creating an impactful sales strategy.
The book also carefully explains how to use eBay safely – with ideas on passwords, financial accounts, spoof mail, even budgeting for loss. There’s info on business registration, how to sell internationally and – most helpfully – how to source products to sell, with advice on wholesaling, manufacturing, even importation.
Above and beyond prepping to sell, Alexander makes navigating selling pages easy with points and tips on product photos, descriptions, titles, price points – even advanced information like eBay’s search algorithm, which essentially helps you understand your item search ranking.
For advanced and full time sellers, there’s really clear, step-by-step information (including eBay screenshots) that allow you to learn the specifics fast, and the chapter on providing outstanding customer service is something all sellers should tear out and keep (trust me on that one).
There’s even info on utilising eBay tools like Selling Manager Pro which effectively automates much of your correspondence and selling paradigms, giving you more time to actually source and sell.
Rounding out How to Make Money on eBay is solid advice on marketing and branding, as well as taxation and legal issues and specialised tips on optimising the entire package, making this book a pocketful of everything-you-need. Written in a concise, straight-to-the-point manner that is intelligent, clear and approachable, Alexander’s book will get you up and running quickly without having to wade through an encyclopaedic tome, wayward highfalutin terms or patronisation.
So what are you waiting for? Clean out that shed, get eBay sales-savvy and have the virtual garage sale of a lifetime!