Friday, 17 July 2009

Stocking up on ebay.

Using ebay as a product source for your off ebay store

As ebay is determined to destroy the online auction part of its business, by slowly forcing sellers of that format to leave, through hook or by crook methods, then it is becoming more of a source of goods for off ebay stores, such as bricks and mortar, personal websites or many of the new improved venues.

Don't bother with the new stock on ebay, as most of the time you will find it cheaper on the sellers' websites, or alternative venues, (Most of these sellers are using ebay as a marketing tool, and are no more wanting to pay the fees to ebay than you are.)
Ebay are trying to make it cheaper, by offering these "good sellers" a lot of discounts, such as free listings for some of the bigger ones and percentage off their fees if they be "good" and reach their monthly quota for most of the power sellers. The problem is these "good sellers" are supposed to be handing these discounts onto their customers to make ebay twenty percent cheaper than high street stores. The sellers however are the ones that have to pay for all this "buyer protection" that ebay is adding, and unlike the auction sellers that basically just have to swallow it, the "good (BIN) sellers" just use the discounts and benefits they get to cover that. Making ebay more expensive, and a place to avoid for new goods.
You may be asking why do the auction sellers not just raise their prices to cover the costs of "buyer protection" and the other problems ebay are landing on them, but I am afraid that a lot of them, still do not even know about it, and those that do also know that people will not bid on items that start at too high a price. So they are just another group on the edge of extinction, but this does mean more money for you.

So if you are looking for unique vintage used goods, at a discount price then ebay is great for that, if you know where to look, as at the moment ebay are messing up the search so badly for these sellers that their items being auctioned are going out at the start price, or a lot less than most other venues.
All you have to do to find them is learn to use the search, which is often more of a case of skipping back as far as you can go, to where those sellers who are not shill bidding and feedback cleaning are hidden.
These are the ones ebay consider "bad sellers," but the only bad thing they are doing in most cases is being small sellers, that are not out to rip off their buyers, so as to pay ebay more money, and if you do not pay the piper (ebay) then you are sent to Coventry ( the back end of the listing pages.)

If you are unsure of their "crimes," as you are not sure of the changes occurring to ebay then you may wish to look around any of the message boards linked to the right.

Ebay have been making a really bad mess of their system for some time now, and it seems it had gone past the point of repair sometime ago, so they bring in Donahoe to make the changes that were started before he even arrived.

These changes are things like giving big selling companies special treatment, such as free listings.
Forcing free shipping on sellers, so that ebay not only get the fees from the normal ebay fees and their paypal fees, but also the fees that are now added due to the shipping that was before not charged by ebay. So a bit of circumventing sellers fees in favour of ebay, and more swallowing of fees for the auction sellers.
The "feedback system" is now so destructive to small sellers that even a single negative feedback can have them pushed back in search, or even kicked off ebay.
There are so many more changes that are basically the destruction of the auction format and the small unique goods sellers that made ebay, so I suggest you look at the forums and see the massive list sellers have to deal with.

So back to the subject, if you go right to the back and look at the numbers you will notice that several of the sellers should be ending sooner than the rest but have been pushed back and, the pattern will keep going the further back you go, and the reason you are using the normal search rather than ending soonest is to see, which sellers this is happening too. You will notice that there is no easy way to jump to the back, and you have to go through the pages 1, 2, 3, 4 etc'.

Once you find those sellers, with goods that you are interested in, then start adding them to your favourites, if their stuff is ending too soon to ask any questions you may need to ask, or if you are ready to bid, understanding ebays new hate the seller "buyer protection."

Once you have them there then you will be able to search their goods without even thinking about the search, at least until they are kicked, which most will be.

If you are wondering if they are good or bad, then I would like to say check their feedback but I am afraid the feedback system is in such a state at the moment, that it is not really going to tell you anything, make sure you ask any questions you need to ask if you see an item you like, and try and find more info. Even if they are not great answers, then that still may not be a problem, as a lot of them are not experts and will rely on the buyers expertise to tell them what to look for.

They may also take a day or two longer to get the items out to you, as these small sellers are often, a housewife or granny just trying to make ends meet, and are often restricted with the chores of life, so do not panic if the item takes a few days to get to you.
Most of them will not have a set of scales so will often use a flat rate shipping, or a guestimate, that is not always close to the shipping you see on the label. this is not always trying to rip you off, which if you think about it, is not really hurting you, as you picked your price, that included the postage and then that was the most you were going to pay. So the only people losing anything will be ebay, just not purposefully in most cases, but as you look above then who cares about that.

When you get your item and find it is what you want, take a look at the sellers feedback, and see how healthy the DSRs are, if they are low give them five stars, as anything less may have them kicked and you have to start searching for their new account or a new seller.
If their DSRs are high then a four will keep them at the same level, if not drop them a little. I know four stars say good, but that is just more of ebay trying to get rid of the sellers they no longer want.
But you can check to be sure with the feedback tool from auctiontrax. What you are trying to do is not bring them forward in the search, which would make more buyers find them and then cost you more money to buy their items, but try and make sure that they do not get kicked.
They will eventually quit ebay all together, as ebay want them too, and it has become so they are no longer making any money back for their work, and in some cases will find they are paying out more than they are making, due to the higher ebay fees and the rise in the cost of the goods they are buying to sell for next to nothing to you, so do not forget to keep up searching for new sellers.

If the item is not what you want, then do not panic, do not start screaming and shouting on the email. Calmly make your point, as an ebay seller has no rights.
Your aim is to get your money back without costing you anything more than the return postage, and not getting your name added to their block bidder list, if you still wish to shop with them.

If they persist and claim they clearly state that they do not accept returns, then still do not get angry, just state that you are not trying to be awkward but are trying to sort this out amicably before having to resort to contacting ebay and paypal to get your money back, but you do not wish to damage their account.
You may find yourself added to their block bidder list due to this action but all you have to do is open up a new account, which will bypass that.

Again with the feedback, the same rules apply as above.

Most of the people I know online know most of this, so it is more for those that are just finding the ebay mess and are wondering what to do with it, so hope this helps and allows you to build your business in these times of panic, when others are going under and not doing so well, as they try to fight ebay, rather than try and save their business.

Remember your future belongs to you not ebay, or anyone else.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Just love this sort of article with lots of useful links

Just added a new article link to my free stuff links although it is not totally free it has a lot of great links to save you money, and is all related to online shopping.

A lot of the links are full of more links, like the Stop spending, start swapping! link, which leads you to links that allow you to swap everything from your home for a few weeks (holiday) to the clothes off your back.

As it is from a UK site, most of the info is for UK shoppers, but a lot of it will transfer, and some of the info such as in the second linked article Online shopping is cheaper which offers the insight into a buyers mindset to some extent. This also allows us to see what tools the buyers are now starting to use to search for items, and why getting your items out there is more important than ever.

If you wish to read the full article you can read it here