Ebay store question

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by BeesNBunnies, Oct 8, 2005.

  1. BeesNBunnies

    BeesNBunnies Schnauzer nut

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    I've recently gotten into selling on ebay and I must say I'm havin more fun that a pig in mud! I'm considering opening an ebay store but I'm not sure if it is worth the added expense. I know some folks on here have ebay stores and I thought ya'll might be able to answer some questions for me. The main thing I was thinking of an ebay store for is things I have that I don't think would be a good candidate for a typical 7 day auction but I think they would sell to the right person if it was available all the time. When folks put in key search words....for instance ceramic pot.....I know they get all the auctions that have ceramic pots in them but would they also get a prompt to go to my store to look at the ceramic pot I have to sell? Has it been worth the extra expense for you? Thanks!
     
  2. SHELBY

    SHELBY Well-Known Member

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    Here are a few things you should know about a store.

    If you have a unique item and only a few are listed on ebay, (I think it has to be less then 10) then an item in your store will show up in the search. If there are more items listed , then no it won't show up.
    You do pay a monthly fee just to have a store plus a listing and final value fee, but listings are only like 3 cents for 30 days.
    If you have similar items to sell then you can just put one up for auction and then when someone opens up your auction then they will see that you have others in your store to chose from.
    You need to have auctions running to drive people to your store.
     

  3. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Concur with what Shelby said. I have about 380 items in my store and normally only use regular listings* to drive people to my store. For example, my regular title might be: Railroad Spike Tongs and Hot Twisting Wrench. Subtitle might be: Lots More Items in my Store: Poor Boy Blacksmith Tools.

    *I do use regular listings to sell somewhat special items. For example, I purchased a quantity of items at a recent blacksmithing conference for resale. Some when into my store right away since I was fairly comfortable they didn't have mass appear and I could put a decent store price on them. Others I listed separately as bidding auctions and sold almost every one. Those were the more unique or high demand items. A judgement call on my part. I've put some items in my store and have them sell within literally hours. On those I probably could have gotten a higher price if I had listed them, but hindsight gained nevertheless. However, even on these regular listings I will have a paragraph in my description to try to drive people to my store.

    If I list something on a regular auction and it doesn't sell, I'll normally relist in the store (usually at a higher price) and it usually eventually sells. Ticked one guy off doing that. He assumed if it did sell on a bidding auction I would put it in the store at a lower cost, thus didn't bid. I had up the price 50% for the store sale and wouldn't come down on it for him. He changed his mind about a week later on price, but by then I had sold it for the higher price.

    I have also canceled some regular listings after a couple of days if it doesn't appear they will get a bid, since I don't use reserve pricing. They then go into the store for what I really wanted for them.

    As noted, if few regular listings are available on a search, eBay will flesh it out with store listings. However, yours may or may not be among them. On listings with numerous items they is the option on the bottom of the page to see all stores, which will give you the store name and the number of items with the key search words in their title. I specialize in blacksmithing items, thus try to put Blacksmith in as many titles as possible. If someone does a search on blacksmith, then on stores, my store will show up at the top of the list. Actually, there are few ways to inquire on a blacksmithing-related item without my store being the top listing.

    (A note here is I am somewhat unique in that I offer tool customizing service, usually at no additional cost. Say you have an anvil with a 3/4" hardy hole. Hard to find used tools to fit. I can put a 3/4" hardy shaft on almost all of my shop-made tools. In some case, as far as I know, I am the only source - worldwide - of some of my items.)

    I believe eBay also still lists the top ranking stores, by name and number of similar items, at the side of the regular listing.

    Store also allows me to target market on key word searches. For example, I have the same small propane forge listed several times, but with different titles to appeal to those who forge railroad spikes, knives, horseshoes or blacksmithing. Say someone makes items out of railroad spikes. If they inquire on it, my regular listings for the tongs and wrench will show up. If they go down to the stores I will probably be the top store to show up there also.

    I have also used store listings for popular misspellings. At one time I sold retractable dog leashes. I also listed them as dog leases and did sell some that way. When they did an inquiry on dog lease, only my store listing usually came up.

    As long as you are willing to pay the $15 a year fee, you can have several stores. Say you specialize in used clothing. You might have a store for Laura's Baby Clothing Botique, Laura's Junior Miss Clothing Botique, Laura's Petite Women's Officewear Store, Laura's Vintage Clothing Botique, Laura's Prom Dresses or Laura's Men's Workwear Outlet.

    Stores can be a great way to supplement a bricks and mortar store. Say you have a store in a farming area specializing in Carthers (sp?) work clothing. You can offer the same inventory on eBay as a way towards paying overhead. If you can underprice local sources (such as Farmer's Co-ops) when shipping is included, you might do a nice supplemental business which can be done in-between store customers.

    Say you are an experienced seamstress and specialize in clothing for veternarian clerks and assistances with a pet-related motiff. You can offer your line by design, pattern and size in your store, with one regular listing a week to drive people there.

    However, inventory can be a problem if you both sell retail and on-line on a limited quantity item. Here you might have a special tag on the retail items you pull off to remind you to cancel the on-line store listing. I have this problem with some books I have listed both on www.half.com and eBay. If one sells, I have to cancel the other listing.

    A WAG on my part is you probably need to maintain about 100 items of general interest to make a store worthwhile. Say it is 100 items and you use one photo so listing fee is $.03 per 30 days per item. If no sales at all, you are out $18.00. You might only do 10-15 regular listings for that cost.

    Stores may not work for everyone, but mine sure does for me.
     
  4. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    P.S.: On the above on prom dresses, once read where an employee at a university ran a regular ad in the school newspaper offering to buy prom dresses. Seems 'the freshman 15' means few will still fit the owner. She would buy them cheap and resale them on, I believe, eBay, or at a booth at a large weekend flea market.
     
  5. BeesNBunnies

    BeesNBunnies Schnauzer nut

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    I guess I need to go back and look at the fees. My understanding was it was $15 per month. That was the part I was having trouble with. Whether or not I would sell enough per month to make up the extra $15.
     
  6. katlupe

    katlupe Off-The-Grid Homesteader Supporter

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    It is $15. per month. What I like about the store is that you can list alot of items, and then just let them set there till they sell. I always list some auctions to get the buyers to my store, but the store is where I really make the money.
     
  7. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    i am just in the process of opening a store, need to get of my "sitter" and get a zillion photos taken so I can list 1-2 stone knobs or coat trees in auction and the rest in the store. i am excited about it but a bit nevous too since i make what i sell i dont want this thing to get away from me and it has threatned to do so in the past~!
     
  8. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Clarifications: It is $15.00 per month per store. A seller can have more than one store. You can also have a lot of categories within one store, such as Laura's Used Clothing Botique and then have categories for the various ages and sexes.

    Advantage of mulitple stores if it can be item or category specific, making it more likely people will go there. Categories work only if you can drive people to the store itself.

    I suspect for most people a single store is the best option.

    If you want to see how mine is set up I am seller scharabo. The ones with a buy-it-now price are in my store. Those without are bidding auctions. I do not use categories in my store figure people will use keyword searches as they need to.

    I agreed with my neighbor to list his cast iron cookware, but only in my store and he gets 1/2 of sales price when sold. Items might sell tomorrow or not for six months or more. Essentially what I'll do here is to research what similar items have sold for recently and start the buy-it-now price higher than I suspect it will bring, then drop the price a bit each month until it finds a buyer. Some of the skillets are BIG, which might make them more sellable.

    He is a tool collector with probably the largest private collection of tools in the world. When I was there this afternoon his wife showed me an old outbuilding with his 'extras'. When I opened the door I felt much like Carter looking into King Tut's tomb for the first time. When asked what he saw he replied along the lines of, "Many wonderful things." In the near future we will haul out what is in there and see what is eBay sellable.

    My listing commission is 50% of final sales price and I have to have the item(s) physically. Had one consigner back out after the listing sold and won't do it that way again.
     
  9. BeesNBunnies

    BeesNBunnies Schnauzer nut

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    You say that your ebay store is where you really make your money. I guess it would depend on the volume of inventory you have listed in your store. It seems a bit expensive to pay $15.95 a month plus a percentage of the sale price. At least on the surface it seems cheaper to sell them via auction. Most of my auctions cost me .70 per item. At what point did ya'll decide to open a store? How much value wise in inventory do you need before a store makes sense? Also do you do better with a store specializing in a couple of different areas rather than having a large range of items for sale? Thanks!
     
  10. Mel-

    Mel- Well-Known Member

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    I have been selling on ebay since 1997. I've had a store since last summer.

    I sell vintage items. My sell through rate in 97 was over 95%, my sell through rate today is 15-30% depending on time of year. if I still had a high sell through rate, auctions would be cheaper. but with selling on average only one out of 5 items, it is cheaper to run an item at auction once then put it in my store until it sells. its the relisting fees and fees for auctions that don't sell that are the killer for me and the ebay store helps alot there. I have over 1400 items in my store and aim to have 6000 by the end of the year. no way could I have that many items and only run auctions.

    there is an ebay store discussion board on ebay, it has alot of information and the people are very helpful.
     
  11. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Assume you maintain an average of 100 items in the store. If the store monthly fee is $15.95, it prorates to $.16 per listing per month. Listing itself if $.03 a month (30 days) with one photograph. Thus, cost is $.19 per month. If your regular listing is $.70 for one week, you can have that item in your store for about 3 1/2 months for the same price.

    One nice aspect of the store concept is it allows you to fairly conveniently manage your inventory. You have the option to delete something which doesn't sell after a couple or months, or do like I do, which is to keep dropping the price every so often until it finds a buyer.

    I maintain about 350 items in the store. I have put some in which I didn't think would sell at all, and they have been good sellers. Others I thought would do well, haven't done so. At 350 items the store fee is about $.045 a month per listing, or about $.075 per listing with the individual monthly listing fee.

    Commission on sale is almost a non-player are you are going to pay it whether it is a regular or store listing.

    As noted above, if you have hot items, do regular listings. If you have plodders, then a store is likely the better option.

    Also as I noted earlier, I use regular listings more as advertising than for sales sake. For example, I might list one of my small propane forges at $125 - same prices as in the store. In the listing I will indicate you can do a buy-it-now for the same price by going to the store. Rather than giving them the specific item number in the store, I make them have to look. Hopefully they will see other items of interest also.

    One problem with selling on eBay is the sheer size and the number of players. For example you have some cast iron skillets you want to sell. Do a keyword search on cast iron skillet to see just how many are listed. Your chances of a regular auction sale are slim simply because there is sooooo much competition for the same items. You may think what you have is unique, or rare, only to find ten others just like it listed. If you put those skillets in your store they might eventually sell either through people searching the stores for better prices or to someone who came to your store looking for something else and also decided to buy a skillet or two.

    I personally have a problem in that many of the items I offer can be made by the buyer if they have fairly common garage tools. Thus, they use my listings as inspirations for making their own.

    In 04 my eBay/PayPal costs ran about 17.5% of sales (which includes the cost of listings which didn't sell). In 05 I have been far more selective on regular listings, with a much larger store, and to date my eBay/PayPal costs are running bout 11.5% of sales. Now 6% on projected 05 sales of $38-40K add up to a substantial savings. The reduction is predominately in eBay fees, since I still have to pay PayPal fees on sales.

    And, yes, I could avoid the PayPal fees by requiring payment by check or money order only, but it SURE is nice to be paid quickly, particularly when you do a high volume. On about half my sales I get paid within hours, on about 75% I get paid within 24 hours and on about 95% I get paid within two days. With quick payment and use of priority mail, some of my buyers get their order within 2-3 days of placing it.

    Remember coming into play is your marketing ability as much as the ability of a store itself to be of benefit. If you put up poorly written descriptive titles, use poorly written descripitions and/or photographs and try to sell items for which there is very little market appeal, chances are a store won't do any better than regular listings.
     
  12. BeesNBunnies

    BeesNBunnies Schnauzer nut

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    Thankyou for all of the good advice! I think I will start a store but I want to build up a bit more inventory first. I think that may be the key to a store being profitable. Thanks!
     
  13. Charleen

    Charleen www.HarperHillFarm.com Supporter

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    Many new ebay selllers start out hot & heavy and enjoy the rush (and money) that comes with ebay. I'm one of them. After cleaning attic, closets, book shelves, kitchen cupboards, etc and making lots of money, the rush kind of died back and now it's an occasional sell. I just don't have the extra time available that I used to when I started selling.

    I'd be sure that ebay selling & an ebay store is something that you'll be committed to and able to keep current. I've been dissapointed to view someone's empty store, or really OLD about me page, etc.

    Now that the weather's turning colder, maybe it's time for me to start selling again. Hmmm....
     
  14. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    One more comment about eBay stores. They have a two vacation options. One is you can put a header at the top of each of your listings you are out of town, expect to return on a certain date and the buyer is advised an order placed during that period may result in a delay in fullfillment. The second lets you temporarily suspend store listing from searches or sales. I use the notice if I am going to be out of town for a couple of days. I used the suspension when I was taking some of my one-of-of-kind type items to a trade conference for sale there. When I return I took those I sold out of the store.

    On the notice feature it will also appear over regular listings. You cannot selectively suspend items. Action applies to all items in store. Regular listings will continue until they close.

    eBay cautions you increase your chances of negative feedback using the notice feature. Some folks are quick to leave negative feedback.

    You don't need to be away to use them. Say you expect to be flat out too busy with something to attend to eBay store. You can suspend sales until you have time again.

    You continue to pay store listings fees during the suspension period.
     
  15. pamintexas

    pamintexas Well-Known Member

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    I agree 100% with everything Ken says. I've had a store for a good while, presently with over 400 items in several categories, pushing now for 500. I always learn something from Ken, though! I would like to stress the importance of maintaining excellent feedback. I bend over backwards at times to keep my customers happy but I think that has paid off in the long run. I've found that buyers very much prefer to deal with a seller who has an excellent record. Often they are willing to pay a bit more for an item just to have that assurance. Also, I think it helps to have categories within your store IF you are offering a variety of diverse merchandise as I do. My store is A COTTAGE IN THE HILLS if you care to check it out. I hope you do well with your store. Good luck, BeesNBunnies!