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Toward Self-Sufficiency: Utilizing an eBay Store

December 19, 2010

This is the third in an eight part series of articles outlining how I am working Toward Self-Sufficiency from a financial perspective with my hobby of collecting of sports cards and memorabilia.  Here’s links to the first two articles in the series:

Establishing a Focus
Selling on eBay to Achieve my Goal

In the last post I provided some insight into what I feel it takes to get started selling on eBay and moving toward realizing some success as a seller from my own experiences. 

Auctions are definitely a fun way to both buy and sell on eBay, but as I continued trying to earn more money from my unneeded items I realized that selling solely through auctions was not going to cut it. 

I made a point of testing out different things while selling in auction format only for the first little while.  Over time, I began to realize that my best sales results came on Sunday nights.  It got to the point that Sundays were the only night that I listed auctions, but I simply was not able to get enough items listed and subsequently sold to generate a large enough return  in sales to make any real progress towards my goal.

Add in the fact that I was still buying boxes, packs, lots, and singles on a regular basis and I was continuing to amass more unneeded cards.  As a result, the ‘non-keeper’ boxes I mention in my summary post about this series continued to grow faster than I could move the cards out.

For those reasons I began exploring the possibility of setting up an eBay store and launched it in February of 2008, and the system has been hugely beneficial to me as I pursue my goal.

First off, selling through an eBay store allows me to have literally thousands of items available for sale 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.  Anyone, from anywhere, can access and purchase items listed in my store any time they would like as opposed to only through my Sunday night auctions.

Second, it helps me avoid some of the inefficiencies of listing in auction format.  The timing of starting and ending listings becomes irrelevant since the items are only removed from the site once they sell.  A tool like eBay’s Turbo Lister also allows me to list items in bulk using a process that is much more streamlined than individually listing auction items.

Third, on a per item basis it is pretty affordable.  At my subscription level I can list any item with any asking price for an entire month for just a nickel.  To list in auction format for just a week can cost significantly more than that depending on my minimum asking price.

Fourth, it is a more ‘buyer-friendly’ option.  Rather than having to find an item, place a bid, monitor the status of that bid for the duration of the auction, wait for that auction to end, and then finally pay for the item, a buyer can complete a transaction in a matter of seconds.

Fifth, it is a fantastic inventory management tool.  With a simple search I can know exactly what I have available at any given time.  This can be very helpful in keeping things organized, as well as for addressing customer inquiries about the availability of items.

Finally, I have found that in general I realize better sales figures for my items that I get through auctions, which in itself is justification enough to for me to continue using the system given what I’m working towards.

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When it comes to operating an eBay store, I have found that buyers’ expectations seem to increase as well.  Although I only do this on a very part time basis, the expectations of my customers are as if this were my full time job.  In order to make this a successful part of my plan to move toward financial self-sufficiency with my collecting, I need to provide the best service I possibly can in the little time that I have available, which is the topic I will cover in the next article in this series which will be posted on January 2nd.

Until then, you’ll get a Retro Review box break on Wednesday, a Month-End Store Update a week from today, and the first Project Progress Report on December 29th to finish off the posts for 2010.

As always, please feel free to leave your comments or send us an e-mail at bb_bros [at] hotmail [dot] com.

Until Wednesday, all the best in your collecting pursuits!

Ryan

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