Wrangling the Cash Cow (or How I Manage Online Sales)


Sarah has been telling me for a while now that I ought to write a blog post on how I do my online sales.  She even suggested that it could be good advertising for my Ebay, Half.com, and Amazon accounts, and, now, Sarah’s Ebay!  (Feel free to click on those hyperlinks and buy anything you want.  Lots of great options there!)  So, here are my online sales thoughts:

Locating a cash calf (or Finding things to sell)

  • Before getting rid of anything, always stop to think: “Could I sell this?”  I’ve been able to sell a number of things that I would have considered trash, such as a wooden box used to package some food and my collection of old desktop calendars
  • Look through your bookshelves, movies, and CDs.  Is there anything you don’t want anymore?  Anything that you use so rarely you might as well as get it from the library or Netflix?  This is also a great way to reduce clutter.
  • Sort through your clothes.  I’ve been able to sell some of my old athletic shirts and, just yesterday, an old Carolina Basketball t-shirt.  I feel like selling used clothing can be kind of hard, so I try to make sure it’s something distinctive, as opposed to old plain shirts.
  • Right before we moved to Kentucky, Sarah and I went through all of our old stuff still at our parents’ houses.  To me, this was a gold mine.  I started selling online last summer with many of my childhood Legos.  Now, I’ve listed many other keepsakes that I had kept because they were once precious to me (ok, the precious ones I didn’t take to sell.  Just the things I kept because I was a pack rat).  I was surprised what could sell: old temporary tattoos, Neopets stickers, medals I got from swimming with the YMCA, and much more!

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Taking the herd to market (or Listing your treasure trove)

  • Where to list a specific item?  I put books, video games, movies, and CDs on Half.com, before there is no limit to the number of things you can list there.  Other easily categorizable items, such as Pokemon cards and posters, I list on Amazon, because they often have a good picture and it’s easier to use their template.  I think Amazon has a limit to how many things you can list, but I’ve never hit it.  Everything else, knick-knacks, collectibles, multiple item lots, gets listed on Ebay.  I can only list 50 items free per month, so I have to circulate them through.
  • When I take my own pictures, I try to have as plain of a background as possible, to highlight the item.  Recently, I have started including a quarter in pictures next to small items to provide a size comparison.
  • On Ebay, when I title a listing, I try to be as descriptive as possible, to increase my odds of showing up in a search.   For example, the picture below (on the left) could be titled “3 Christian Bracelets + WWJD Pen”.  Or, it could be titled “Christian Bracelets and WWJD Pen w/ Lanyard – faith, Watch for God, Bible”.
  • I always try to have the lowest price when I list.  I’ll often start auctions at $0.01, 0.99 or 1.99, to make it more appealing for people to bid.  However, you have to always make sure you can cover the cost of shipping with your sale.  If need be, estimate the shipping cost at USPS.com.  I’ve lost money a few times because I didn’t charge enough for shipping.

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Directing the stampede to the buyer (or Shipping )

  • I used to ship most everything in bubble-padded envelopes from Walmart (~$6 for 10 envelopes).  Then, Sarah suggested I buy shipping supplies in bulk online.  On Ebay, I got 50 envelopes for less that $15.  Then, I got 100 unpadded mailers for $7.  I’m never buying shipping supplies in a store again.
  • When I print out packing slips and shipping labels, I reuse old paper.  Not only does it save paper, it’s like a bonus gifts to customers.  They have had the chance to enjoy pieces of my old resume, coupons for restaurants in Wake Forest, and pictures of a yak from our wedding.
  • Important: I try to get my items shipped as quickly as possible.  That way, hopefully, people will give me good reviews.  Good reviews were key to me getting my Blue Star on Ebay.

That’s all I’ve got.  Unless you missed the hyperlinks to our stores above.  Here they are again!

Andy’s Ebay || Sarah’s Ebay || Half.com || Amazon

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