This guide will assist sellers in listing sports cards on eBay and other online venues. Although some of the tips may seem obvious at first glance, we hope these tips are useful for every seller, whether you are just listing your first item on eBay or are a seasoned seller who is listing your 10,000th item on eBay. One of our favorite teachers in grade school said it best when he said "always remember to KISS". While we are diehard romantics who love a passionate kiss, the kiss our teacher was referring to was "Keep it Simple Stupid." Back then, his advice seemed rather corny, obvious, and even a bit crass. Now that we've matured and gained more insight and life experience, his words ring truer than they ever did.
1. Treat buyers as you wish to be treated. Like being able to catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, following the "Golden Rule" by treating people as you wish to be treated should be the mission statement of every eBay seller, both in words and actions. Quite simply, treat your buyers as you wish to be treated- e.g., with honesty, integrity, patience, politeness, and respect. If a bidder has a question about the item, answer it in a friendly, informative, and quick manner. Even if a bidder asks a question that is already detailed in your listing (e.g., payment methods accepted, shipping costs, etc.), do not resort to negative responses like "duh, can't you read? it's right there in my listing you idiot!" Not only will you likely lose a potential sale, but that bidder may spread word to his/her friends about your response which may cost you even more potential customers. Do not overcharge buyers for shipping or place unreasonable demands on bidders such as "all payments must be received within 24 hours of auction close." Whether someone spends $.99 or thousands of dollars with you, always treat them with the utmost compassion and respect.
2. Stand behind your products 100%. In an effort to protect themselves against buyers claming items were damaged, lost, or stolen in the mail, many sellers include disclaimers in their listings that say "we are not responsible for damaged, lost, or stolen mail unless insurance is purchased." Doing so may discourage buyers from making a claim, but any reputable should stand behind their product 100%. Once a buyer purchases an item, the seller is obligated to ensure that the buyer receives the item. Sellers who fail to stand behind their products 100% may cost themselves repeat buyers and contribute to eBay and other sellers being perceived negatively. Even if a buyer does not purchase insurance, he/she may still prevail by filing a Paypal Buyer Protection Claim if the seller cannot provide a trackable delivery confirmation number. We stand behind everything we sell 100% and if by chance an item is damaged, lost, or stolen in the mail, we promptly offer a buyer a full refund or replacement, regardless of whether the buyer purchased insurance and without any questions asked.
3. Underpromise, overperfom. Rather than striving to deliver the bare minimum required with the lowest level of work, sellers should aim to "go above and beyond" in every transaction. For example, we ship every item within 24 hours of payment receipt, with most shipping the same day. If we cannot meet this shipping deadline, we will refund the buyer's shipping costs. We promptly respond to all buyer questions and notify the buyer once payment has been received and the item has shipped. These little extras go a long way and in today's increasingly chaotic and impersonal society, buyers seem to appreciate the personal interaction and quick delivery. Stand out from your competition in more areas than customer service and product offerings and you will reap the benefits!
4. Think outside the box. This frequently overused cliche is true. Whether it involves finding new products to sell, new ways to increase the efficiency of your business, or something else, sellers should always "think outside the box." Sellers should periodically re-evaluate their business plan, research and implement ideas for improving their selling, and experiment. Take advantage of all of eBay's marketing tools- blogs, guides, reviews, MyWorld, the community discussion boards, and much more. Not only will you likely learn something new (or just be reminded of something), but you will get to interact with the eBay community and see what's on the tips of buyers' and sellers' tongues.
5. Keep that "first date" feeling alive. As business increases, it is often easy for sellers to go into "autopilot" mode, spending less time on listing items, less care in packaging orders, less time in answering buyer emails, etc. If you find yourself lagging in motivation, shake things up to get your creative juices flowing again. Find ways to automate some of the most repetitive aspects of selling (e.g., scanning items, listing items, leaving feedback, emailing buyers, postage, etc.) and use your newly found "free time" to explore and test out new ideas. Develop some innovative ways to market and expand your business or reward your customers or revamp your eBay store. Your buyers will love you even more than they already do and you may end up finding a "second wind" (or 100th wind!).
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