Monday, January 05, 2009
Make Money by Thrift Selling on Ebay
Thrift selling is exactly what it sounds like: selling lots of unique items on Ebay that were obtained at a low cost, usually at thrift stores or flea markets. These items are occasionally worn or damaged, but buyers like them for their low cost and uniqueness. Thrift selling might not sound very profitable, but it can be – if you do it right!
Thrift sellers have a lot to do. Their business is one of bulk; they will often have hundreds of individual items in their inventory at a given time. This makes for lots of auction listings. Thrift sellers can’t afford to lose track of their goods or their listings, so excellent book keeping is an absolute must. If you plan to sell thrift on Ebay, use a book keeping program that you’re comfortable with. Excel is a good low-frills spreadsheet program. Use it keep track of your stock, your auctions, and your shipping.
Spreadsheets are also excellent tools for tallying your net profits over time. Use them to see which items have performed well, and which should be replaced.
While you’re organizing your virtual inventory, take time to organize your physical inventory as well. You don’t want to have to dig through a messy heap of goods to find the one that needs to be shipped. Instead, use meticulously organized spaces to store your products. Label each space or item with a post-it note containing the listing number. That way, you’ll know you’re shipping the right item.
There are also auction services such as Vendio that will help you with manage your inventory, and are much easier than spreadsheets. Google "eBay inventory management" and you will see a selection of possible solutions, both free and paid.
On Ebay, a seller’s reputation is vital. Since thrift goods are often used items which might have a little damage, be completely honest in the item description. Disclose any damage the item has sustained, and include photographs of the worn or damaged areas. Specify that buyers purchase the items “as is”, and emphasize that you do not know the items’ histories and are not responsible for item failure. It might sound harsh, but you need to protect yourself.
Even better, come up with your own rating system for the condition of your merchandise. A worn corner on a book cover might be a 1 or 2, while a hole in fabric might be a 5. Use consistency and a well-defined rating system so that buyers know what they’re paying for.
There are tools that thrift sellers can use to make their lives easier. Bulk listers are programs designed to make many listings at a time. This is a real time saver for merchants with hundreds of simultaneous auctions. Turbo Lister is the most popular bulk listing program. It’s free and available for download on Ebay’s web site. Other programs are available for low subscription fees.
Thrift items come at a low price, but they can be costly if the size of your inventory leads to mistakes. Keep everything neat and easy-to-find. Use software to help manage your listings. And give buyers your honest assessment of an item’s condition. Whatever you sell on Ebay, you want to maintain a great reputation. Become known as a go-to seller for quality thrift items and wonderful customer service.