Guest Author - Lisa Shea
This article is part of the eBay Chat Log. The conversation came after the eBay Basics Discussion topic.
Julie: The majority of what I sell is still dropshipped and if you are very careful about choosing a supplier this can work really well.
Lisa: I use ezthumbnail - a freeware software product - it instantly makes thumbnails of any size you want on a whole folder of images. That's great for ebay stuff
Scott: The only problem with searching for the item and including wholesale is you will get a lot of companies that are not truly wholesale
Jase: yeah, that has been my problem Scott
Julie: Yes, there are MANY scams.
Julie: I work at eBay and I get tons of emails saying "I bought your XYZ product, when do I get it." eBay doesn't sell anything.
Jase: like I make All natural Candles.. and I look for wholesale soy wax and essential oils.. there are a ton of companies out there on the internet who say they are wholesale that are not
Scott: You can also go to the manufacturer's website and do a search for "authorized distributors"
Lisa: You need to talk more!
Scott: You can go to Nintendo's website and search for that and you will find all the distributors Nintendo has authorized, and it just happens to be the same for Microsoft ;-)
Lynne: I guess so
Camille: But do these companies only sell in bulk?
Julie: Some do, especially for electronics, but I found a local distributor for herbs and such that has no minimums. They are not reliable as s dropshipper, but I can sell their stuff as long as I keep it in stock myself.
Scott: I do a lot of research and there are some great keyword terms for finding the right wholesalers ... another one is "net 30" which is what some wholesale accounts will allow or "net 60 terms"
Lisa: What are some of the biggest concerns or worries that some of you have - things you'd like to learn how to handle or do better?
Jase Julie that herb place sounds interesting. I love herbs and would love to sell bulk herbs... as long as I kept in stock myself I wouldn't have to worry about drop shipping ;0)
Denise: pictures and tables in articles
Lisa: no no I meant in eBay :) LOL :)
Denise: thought you were the filler!
Julie: Most companies have minimum you have to meet, but in some cases you can presell the products. I recently started carrying a new type of baby carrier. The minimum was low, only 6 carriers, but I didn't have the cash. I got on a list serve I was on and offered anyone there free shipping if they bought that week. I got three orders and was able to easily meet my minimum. Notice, I didn't offer a discount because the company does not allow that, but I still sold 4 of the 6 carriers before ordering.
Lisa: although for pictures it's the same in both. The command to show a picture on any website including BellaOnline or eBay is to use <IMG SRC="xxxxxxx">
Camille: Yes, I don't know how to put photos in text.
Elle: .........(Denise, visit Dianne's HTML site - everything you need's there)
Jase: wholesale buying, drop shipping, and better layouts with information to draw more customers to my auctions
Lisa: so just use that command in your eBay description or in your BellaOnline article
Lisa: You have to have the image online somewhere for that to work - talk to Jeanne about having image space, for BellaOnline images at least. You'd have to get a website from your ISP or somewhere else to host eBay images :)
Denise: went to Diane's site numerous times - I'm challenged. I need to create some tables for upcoming things. In eBay I simply need to learn to do it all I suppose.
Lisa: That sounds great Julie :)
Denise: What do you think about reserves?
Camille: I'll be sure to visit HTML site.
Lisa: You guys who want to use images, talk to Jeanne. She has whole sets of information pre-made to help you do that
Lisa: LOL :)
Rhonda: For me, it is finding items to sell. I have some skin care products that I can sell but there are so many others already selling the same line that it is difficult to make much of a profit. We have had some good tips so far regarding finding items :-)
Julie: mpire.com offers free image hosting for eBay as well as free scheduled listings.
Elle: Quick question - what's "drop shipping"?
Lisa: For layout, I really find that people don't care much about the layout. If it's an item they want, and a good price, they'll buy it. That being said, I show 5-6 large images so they can clearly see what the item looks like. I think that matters much more than the specific format
Lisa: so I wouldn't go overboard with tables or fancy fonts. You want it to be super easy to scan, so they can see the item clearly. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words
Camille: Lisa, these photos come from a disc, a website?
Julie: Dropshipping is selling something you ain't got and having the manufacturer ship it for you.
Lisa: No, if you are selling something you should have photos of that item you took yourself, i.e. photos of YOUR item
Julie: For instance, I sell car seats and furniture, much easier to let them ship it.
Lisa: unless it's a CD or something generic in which case when you type in the UPC code it auto-fills that in for you (the photo)
Camille: I take the photos myself, but in order to put the photos in the text and not the template, where do they come from?
Lynne: Good night everyone, I 'll catch up in reading the log.
Scott: The formatting is something we learned when selling the Elmos ... we had a fancy layout, made sure it was all professional, and the people with just basic listings were outselling us ;-)
Elle: Thanks Julie
Lisa: Night Lynne :)
Lisa: Camille - that's what I was saying with the <IMG SRC="xxx"> command. You link to where the image is on the web. You have to put it on the web somewhere so people can see it
Julie: However, it is risky. I was doing really well on one of my eBay stores til my distributor FLAKED out on me and lied about when stuff would be available. I am very lucky no one left me a neg cause several of them had to wait weeks for something I was told was in stock.
Lisa: Julie said that there are websites that let you do that for free
Scott: Books can also use the ISBN to get the stock photo, but some older books may not be in the stock database
Julie: Other places I deal with though have been reliable and I know they will ship on time.
Lisa: She recommended mpire.com to store the images
Julie: Don't pay for dropshipping
Camille: OK, got it.
Julie: Places that charge for dropshipping are distributors and you can almost never make money from them.
Julie: Real manufacturers and legitimate distributors won't charge you.
Lisa: yup I am currently selling a Mustang repair guide and the eBay system didn't have a photo of it so I took one myself and loaded that up
Jase: yeah distributors are annoying. I deal with them for my professional beauty supply. I wish I could get bulk direct from the manufacturer LOL
Lisa: If it's just a CD I won't load lots of extra photos - I'll just use the one free stock image they supply. But if I'm selling actual objects - like an engine for a H-O train, I'll take 5-6 photos and show them all, from all angles
Julie: Most of the places I deal with do charge a higher wholesale price to dropshippers. I figure that is their right since they are shipping for me. But places that charge monthly fees are ripping people off.
Scott: I do like the new selling page on eBay .. much easier to use, but if you sell digital items you have to search for the check box to include that
Julie: You are in a substantial minority on that Scott, though it isn't as bad as some people say.
Scott: I agree completely with you Julie regarding dropshippers that charge a monthly fee
Lisa: Scott - someone asked about reserves. I personally dislike reserves but you might have a different opinion :)
Rhonda: I have to go now. Thanks for all the great tips! I can't wait to read the whole log.
Lisa: Night, Rhonda :)
Scott: I don't think reserves work unless you're dealing with high dollar items or antiques, and even then you will turn away more buyers than you care too.
Denise: I think I'm sunk. I've got literally a truckload coming within the month - rare books, antiques etc. I haven't a clue where to begin
Lisa: Even for high priced items I just list them at 99 cents, they always bubble the price up to something reasonable. There's always more than 1 person interested in an item
Jase: reserves are bad
Scott: If you absolutely have to use a reserve make mention of it in your auction, so buyers will know how high they must go to win it
Julie: Find the right source though and you can do well with dropshipping. I am a powerseller on one account almost exclusively through dropshipping. I have talked to Gold PS who are just dropshipping everything.
Lisa: Denise - no no, you will be quite fine. Take it in stages.
Lisbeth: Or just list it at the minimum you are willing to sell it for.
Lisa: Start with whatever is the easiest thing to work with. Books are easy, they are books, and they have a set title and author. You can look them up on Amazon and see what they're selling for
Scott: The problem with using reserves ... your buyer will most likely move on to the next seller who doesn't use a reserve, buyers want a bargain, and if they don't know how high they have to go they will move on
Lisa: then just take a photo of each to show their condition, describe it as well you can, say you're not an expert and put it up. I do that with coins all the time. People understand that.
Denise: Some are first edition from the 1800's, Lisa
Lisa: Even those should have a listing online that you can research
Lisa: those might be even better documented
Lisa: and again it's far easier than a mysterious "blue plate" or something. You know exactly what that book is
Julie: Research both Amazon and eBay for those old books. Some of them do better on Amazon.
Scott: Make sure to mention the first edition too, that will be a big selling point
Denise: So which is better? Setting the price at the minimum or using a reserve for this type of stuff. Your opinion.
Jase: OMG yes.. my first edition Harry Potters went for $$$$$$ ;0)
Scott: We have a bunch of those plastic army guys, cowboys and indians we bought at a second hand store and there are no identifying marks, but in our research we found there is a book we need to take a look at where we will be able to find more information on them
Lisa: see I just went on Google and searched for "first edition Alice in Wonderland". ABEBooks.com came right up, says it can be $35,000
Julie: This guy is an expert on selling used books http://www.weberbooks.com/selling/selling.htm
Lisa: so there are definitely sites that will show that price
Lisbeth: Setting the price at a minimum in my book. I never bid on reserves.
Scott: Yep .. go with the minimum, you will get a bidding frenzy that way too
Elle: See I thought setting a minimum price *was* setting a reserve ;P
Lisa: I don't like reserves, it makes it a guessing game
Lisbeth: It's not though. You can set a price at 9.99 with a reserve of 20.00 - I know, it makes no sense.
Scott: When you enter the starting price that is your minimum
Camille: Reserves haven't worked for me. But how do you get the price you want without starting high?
Lisbeth: Might as well set it at 20.00 - what's the point in getting a bid for 14.99?
Julie: The reserve is a hidden price. If the product doesn't hit that price then you are not required to sell it.
Lisa: right so people have to keep bidding and bidding and they don't know if they'll even get it, because the reserve isn't met. It frustrates me.
Scott: Setting reserves also cost you additional fees
Lisbeth: And if the reserve is not met and you are the high bidder - you aren't required to buy it either.
Lisbeth: Reserves are dumb. Booooo reserves!
Camille: So you suggest telling them in your text what the reserve price is?
Scott: lol .. yes they are
Lisa: I would just set your minimum at a price you're comfortable with, if you're really worried about it
Lisbeth: Don't even mess with a reserve. Just list it at what you will minimally take for it, I say.
Scott: If you must use a reserve yes, there isn't anything against telling the buyer what your reserve is
Lisa: but again, I just list things at 99 cents. I really don't see things going for $5 if they are worth $500
Lisbeth: List it with a starting bid of that, I mean.
Elle: That makes much more sense anyway
Camille: I have a backpack from Tiffany in the original box. I had a reserve for $75 and it didn't sell. I wasn't about to sell it for less and virtually give it away. So it didn't sell.
Lisbeth: See Camille - you could have just listed it starting at 75.00
Scott: Some seller who offer consignment have to use a reserve if the owner of the item doesn't want it to sell for less than a certain amount, however, it's still against my judgment to use a reserve, I just counsel the owner of the item that the reserve should then be the starting price
Lisbeth: You might have gotten a bid - but having the reserve is too much guesswork. People like me move on to the next non-reserve auction. ;)
Lisa: yup exactly. If you have researched the price wisely, there's no reason it won't sell for your minimum
Scott: Camile .. do you know what the other backpacks were selling for ?
Camille: That does make sense (now).
Lisbeth: Also dittoes Scott.
Lisa: ebay has billions of users, *someone* out there wants your item
Denise: Is the shipping easy to figure out?
Camille: I haven't seen any like it. I've had it for a number of years and I don't see them on the Tiffany site.
Lisa: yup I won't bid on reserve auctions, it's not worth the hassle to me
Lisbeth: Yes, and the someone is likely me. :D
Lisbeth: <--- Addicted to buying on Ebay.
Lisa: LOL :)
Jase: <--- wishes he could sell more on ebay
Lisa: I do that sometimes :)
Jase: I became Jaded 1.5 years ago
Lisa: The key to selling is usually the title you choose, if you rely solely on people "finding" you by browsing ebay
Lisa: but in a more global sense I get far more sales if I promote them myself outside of ebay. It's just like cafepress. How many people "browse" cafepress and find your specific tshirt? But if you promote your cool tshirt on gaming to your gaming newsletter, with 3,000 avid gamers, a lot of them are likely to buy
Lisa: So I promote my game sales to my gaming newsletters and get a lot of them buying. Not only do they love games but they trust me
Scott: or you can get quotes at UPS, and DHL too ... I just find an address online that represents the furthest possible place I would ship to (for me that would be NY) and estimate my shipping that way
This article is part of the eBay Chat Log. The conversation then moved on to the eBay Shipping Discussion topic