We have been selling stuff on eBay for a few years, now. It’s how we generate most of our online revenue.
I had a lightbulb “doh!” moment a few days ago. I’d like to share so maybe you won’t hurt yourself slapping your own forehead.
eBay’s Changing Environment
eBay, in its own efforts to attract more high-volume Sellers and to settle the fears of new Buyers, has been re-working various fees and listing policies. Most notoriously, they have removed the option for a Buyer to use personal checks or Money orders as a method of payment, and forced most Sellers to accept PayPal as their only means of payment.
But, eBay has also raised the Final Value Fees on items sold from a Store, lowered the fees to List a Fixed Price item, and the fees for any Book or CD/DVD.
This is all wonderful and confusing and maddening and generating “who-knows-what-this-will-do-to-MY-business” howls from Sellers of every business level.
One change we have taken advantage of is the new Fixed Price Listing fee structure. They are now just a Flat Fee. For a single price of $0.35, we can create a Fixed Price Listing offering unlimited number of the item. It used to be based on the Total represented by the cost times the quantity. Now – Flat Fee for any quantity/price offering.
The Gold Among Dross Secret
But, buried in these changes was a simple concept that I had overlooked or dismissed as not important.
Was I ever wrong.
It was a simple change to a previously forbidden or very restrictive policy. This is found in their “Circumventing Fees” examples.
Choice Listings – A listing where a seller allows buyers to choose from a selection of completely different items. In general, sellers are permitted to offer a choice of sizes, colors and configurations of a particular item within a listing, However, a listing may not offer buyers a choice of completely different items.
This is the final piece:
Listing a single item but offering additional identical items for sale in the item description is not permitted.
Exception: Multiple quantities may be sold in one listing through the following formats:
- Dutch auction-type listing
- Fixed Price listing
- Lot listing
As it turns out, we sell primarily Brand New items. We do a good buying job, and then offer them on eBay and our other online store, www.bobbibopstuff.com.
We sell 8 different designs of the same Locking Diary for teens. We sell a dozen different designs of Blank Book Journals. We sell several items that are identical except for design or color.
All Righty Then!
My lightbulb is that I now only need to create a single listing for Teen Diaries, show all the design choices, and ask the Buyer to indicate how many of each design they want.
I can then keep track of how many are left. As we run out of a particular design (which happens far more often that I generally keep track of) I can modify the hosted photo of that design to say “Sold Out” and then any and all my listings with that design are current as to availability.Ordinarily, I will have 3 or 4 listings of a design, sell out, and then have to find and cancel the remaining ones – wasting the listing fees in the process.
WooHoo! I cut my listings to only a fraction of my previous number and I keep track of inventory all in one swell foop.
What did I learn from this? Sure – I learned a technique for saving eBay fees.
Mostly, I learned to look a bit more slowly at the fine print, and to think more seriously about always finding ways to improve my business. Saving a dime is a dime more of profit. Save enough dimes, and the Profit dollars begin to add up.
What did you learn?