Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Learning to Sell on eBay by Studying Other Sellers on eBay

I am still a Top Rated Powerseller ... Phew!

I've been researching other sellers that have 100% positive feedback because 99.8% bothers me.  Can you say perfectionist? 

What I have found is some sellers clearly state in the description to please contact them first if there is any problem.  

Well, that makes sense!  I need to go back to the mindset of a teacher and never assume.  I need to plainly state in my description to contact me first.  

I will say that I spend a lot of time on eBay in buyer mode (not always buying) but looking to see what other sellers do well.  

If you are thinking of selling on eBay the best thing to do is to start out by making a few small purchases to learn how others pack their items, what pamphlets, cards, or notes, are included and how they communicate with you.   

Take what you have learned and then create your own style. 

There are also a lot of discussion forums and online communities you can join.  I have done just one Q&A forum.  This is an area that I need to improve in.

In case you haven't noticed I love learning and adjusting and learning and adjusting.  It keeps things interesting and my mind stimulated.  Selling on eBay is rewarding.  You just have to find what works for you.

Friday, May 23, 2014

What Can You Do?

As you may or may not know, I am trying to make my new business work.  I am taking a leap and trying to sell on eBay full time and it is nerve wracking.

In life I have come to accept that you can't please everyone (this took years and I'm still working on it). Right now, I am a little frustrated trying to do the right thing.  

If I see an imperfection on an item, I note it unless I don't know that there is one to begin with.  I am not an expert on all vintage items so I take pictures and if something doesn't seem right I say it.  When it comes to sizing I can only state what it says and offer to measure it.

I offer a 14 day return policy but only hope/ask that the buyer contact me first so I can resolve any problems. With eBay's new return policy, if a buyer initiates an item not as described returned, it is considered a defect on my part and affects my rating.  

I do not deliberately mislead anyone and I answer and welcome questions.  I wish that returns were not considered defects because we have all bought something and decided it wasn't quite what we wanted or expected.  I buy and sell many things that are vintage.  I can only state what I see and not comment on the unknown.  

This is not the buyers fault because he/she deserves to get his/her money back if it is not what they wanted or what he/she thought it was going to be.  I just wish a return wasn't considered a defect because I welcome returns if someone is dissatisfied.  I would rather he/she feel comfortable to buy from me again.

What I do take issue with is when I refund the money and let the person keep the item and I get a neutral rating because ... What else can I do to make it a pleasant experience.  

People that are newer to eBay do not realize how important these ratings are to the sellers.  I am trying to keep everyone happy.  Normally I do not react like this but I am frustrated because even when I am a conscientious customer oriented seller, I cannot make everyone happy.  I wish I could.  

I want to remain a Top Rated Power Seller but I guess some things are just out of my hands and I have to accept the outcome.  

I'm trying to stay focused on this dream of working from home BUT with what's in the news AND with the uncertainty of income AND with feedback I really cannot control (even if I try my very best) ... It's Hard.

I keep repeating "Without Risk There's No Reward - Do Not Give Up" as my mantra.  Right now I am not so sure...Tomorrow will be another day.   

Finding Items to Sell on eBay (Part 2)

There are many places to find items to sell on eBay.  It depends on your purpose and niche.  I am still reluctant to have a niche even though that is probably the best way to go.  I like a wide array of items but if I had to be categorized into a niche it would be vintage (with a focus on costume jewelry).

With that said there are several sources where you can find items to sell on eBay:

  • Your House-Start out by selling items around the house that are in good condition.  It might be an odd item and that is okay as long as you can describe it where others can find it.  The key is to find things that are in good to fantastic condition.  Be honest when describing and photographing the item.  Make sure that you highlight any defects or imperfections.  It might sound counterproductive when you are trying to make a sale but honestly I would rather not make the sale than have an unhappy customer.  If you have a bunch of small items you can sell those as a junk drawer lot.  Simply fill up a medium (or large) flat rate box.  When it's full list it as a Mixed Junk Drawer Lot
  • Yard Sales-These are amazing for finding unique items at a fair price.  This is the treasure hunting part of eBay.
  • Flea Market- Here you have to go EARLY to find the treasures because there are others searching for a deal to resell too.  Either that or you have to be an expert in your niche and see things that others do not see.
  • Thrift Stores-The treasure hunt continues but it is much harder to find items at a price where you can make a huge profit.  I was very discouraged when I found out a local thrift store has a jeweler on staff who has first dibbs and who helps price what's left.  Still be relentless, check back often, look for clearance items too.  Eventually you will find something that slips through.  Recently I found a Budweiser Beer Stein for less than ten dollars.  When I looked it up on eBay, several have sold for sixty dollars or more!
  • eBay-You can find items to sell on eBay too. Sometimes sellers make mistakes and misspell important words in the description or list an inopportune times (I'm guilty of this).  You can find items for a great deal on auction and then sell it under buy it now for the price you want.
There are more sources but I can't give ALL my secrets away...Can I?

Finding Items to Sell on eBay (Part 1)

Part of the fun of having your own business is the "treasure hunt."  I love looking for gems that are overlooked.  Now I know I am fairly new at this and cannot get to the sales before everyone else sometimes so I have decided to delight in finding the "overlooked" wonders.

The amazing thing about selling on eBay is that it is accessible to the world.  You never know what someone is looking for.

When I am shopping I've learned to look for a few distinct things:

  1. Is there a name?  Is it signed.
  2. Is there a size or other pertinent information on the item.
  3. Is it broken? Does it have spots?
  4. Can I ship it easily?
  5. Will the shipping take too much from the profit?
  6. Can I make 9 to 10 times the cost?
  7. Am I excited about it?
Now I know the last one is very subjective but I want to sell things that I like.  I know that may not be the best route but for now it's the one I'm on.  

Number 6 is a key question:  Can I make 9-10 times the cost?  
I aim for ten but settle for double occasionally.  Currently I tend to sell smaller items so the profit margin is smaller.  I have to factor in the time I spent finding the item, photographing and listing the item, as well as packing it up into the price.  If I pay a dollar I want to charge nine to ten dollars to make it worth my while.  Sometimes though something is just too cool and I have to post it because of the enjoyment and other times I am trying to sell something I have had for a long time and I just want it to find a new home.

Please like Lowery's Loft on Facebook.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Growing a Customer Base

This last week I have devoted countless hours to web reading trying to discover how to build traffic to my website.

I've looked into stumbleupon, digg, trafficswarm, Facebook, Google + communities, Pinterest, & more.  I wish I could crack the code to exponential growth.

Perhaps that is reserved for startups with a fantastically original product.

My store celebrates unique items.  I tend to focus on jewelry and collectibles but like to add other "fun" items.  I've considered changing my strategy but this store is something I enjoy right now and I want my customers to enjoy it too.  I do not want to sell items that I am not interested in.  Perhaps that is poor judgement... Only time will tell.

This Saturday, I worked the local Flea Market.  I brought a lot of my teacher "stuff" to sell and items to declutter my house.  In a smaller corner of the table I had some of the collectible type items I like to list.  Anyone who seemed interested in those items, I handed out a business card.

Handing out business cards is new.  Is there an etiquette to this?  It is yet another area I plan on researching.  Everything is new.  Everything is exciting.  Everything kind of feels like being caught in a rip current where you don't know if you will make it back to shore or drown.

Any advice is always welcome.  I will share as I learn which will hopefully help others succeed like me or learn from my mistakes.

Here's to adventure!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Special Promotion Going on Right Now-See Below

This week my eBay hobby officially became a business.  Lowery's Loft is an LLC!

It is an exciting, yet somewhat nerve-wracking, time.

Starting a small business is a leap of faith.  As a former teacher, preparation is key yet there is a HUGE learning curve.   Like anyone who takes a risk, there is HOPE.  Whenever I start doubting myself I keep repeating in my head "Without risk there is no reward" and "Give it your best try and live with no regrets."

I am reading as much as I can about successful businesses, tips and tricks for gaining more traffic, to my store, and just the "how to's" of everything.

The "How to's" is what led to this post.  In eBay's Manage my Store page, there is a new option for creating a special promotions.  In the marketing tools section, it is under item promotion.  I had to give it a try by clicking on manage promotions.

In an attempt to build a repeat customer base, I want to reward my customers so I am exploring options on how to do that.  This tool allows sellers to create coupons (in a link form) that can be added to websites and social marketing sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Right now you can get $5.00 off every $50.00 you spend but you have to follow this link.  CLICK HERE.  This is only good through May 22, 2014.

My eBay Seller ID has Changed...

 GroovyEducator is now LowerysLoftLLC

If you are looking for me on eBay and want to do a seller search, I am no longer GroovyEducator.

You can type it as LowerysLoftLLC or lowerysloftllc.

I don't plan on changing it again but if I wanted to I would have to wait 30 days.  By making everything Lowery's Loft, I thought it would be less confusing.  I will still be Groovy Educator on TpT and on my education blog.

I am slowing transitioning and trying to grow this business.  Any advice is welcome.  :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


I'm so excited!  Lowery's Loft has a new home - www.LowerysLoft.com.

It has a link to my eBay store and a link to my blog.  It also has a link to my Groovy Educator blog.
I still plan on blogging.  It feels great to finally hit the ground running.  Working from home can be a challenge in that it's easy to get off schedule.  I am tweaking my "home" work schedule and have even purchased business cards.

My DBA (doing business as) paperwork has been filled out and, and, and...It's just exciting!
As always feedback is welcome.  This is an ever evolving process with loads to learn.  That's why I love it so much!

My Amazon Store

Please visit my Amazon Store for essential teaching resources, great read alouds, and children's books.

Here also some music I just love from the TV show Nashville.