Online auction businesses are booming. As more savvy consumers try to save money and battle a tough economy, online auction sites continue to thrive and flourish. Online auction sites are often referred to as “online yard sales.” Business owners and casual sellers alike sell coveted, unique, and sometimes unusual items on these sites to interested [...]
Online Auction Selling
Selling goods or services through an online auction site is a quick way to introduce your product to a worldwide market. While eBay is perhaps the most famous online auction site, there are countless auction sites that offer the same service, often being directed toward niche markets such as art or antiques.
To get started selling on an auction site you will have to register for a membership, almost always free, and sign up as a seller. Some sites, like eBay, require you to have a Paypal account so your seller fees can be automatically paid.
Most auctions will charge for each listing that you place on their site. It is a very nominal fee. Normally the sites will allow you to load a picture of your item for free. Additional pictures may cost extra. Once your product has sold, the auction site will take a small percentage of the winning bid as their commission.
Many work-at-home entrepreneurs find that selling online in this manner can be very lucrative. Additional tools, such as auction stores and automatic listing programs create an even easier way for online sellers to reap the rewards.
Getting Paid For Your Items
If you are an individual selling on an Internet auction, your best bet is to sign up for a Paypal account. Paypal will process your transactions for a very small fee and make the money available to you instantly. This saves a lot of headaches in trying to accept cash, cheques or credit card payments by your self. Paypal provides the auction winner with the option of using their own Paypal account to pay for the transaction, credit cards or eCheck. When eChecks are used, however, payments can be delayed for a few days.
If you already own a business and have credit card or cheque processing capabilities, you may take payments directly. However, credit card processing fees for small businesses often exceed the fees that Paypal charges for the same service.
Equipment Needed To Effectively Sell On An Auction
You will need a good computer that can easily upload photographs to the site. High speed connections are always preferable. You should have a printer, although not necessary, to print shipping labels of purchased items. Finally, you should have a good camera to take pictures of your product. Depending on the item, stock pictures from the manufacturer may suffice.
Shipping And Lost Packages
Shipping of your items needs to be carefully considered. The first issue you must deal with is appropriately pricing the delivery costs. If you charge too little, you cut into your profits. If you charge too much, you acquire a poor reputation on the auction site.
The second thing you must do, to prevent fraud and customer dissatisfaction, is make sure your packages are shipped by traceable means. If you have a routing number connected to a package you will always be one step ahead of the consumer. Tracking numbers provide a way to prove that you shipped an item if a dispute occurs, and they will. Keep good records.
Always make sure that your computer has the proper protection to keep unwanted visitors from accessing your information. You are now entering into the eCommerce world, and there are some dangers. Hackers are always trying to find information, but the only way they can do this is if your computer is not protected. Install firewalls and other protections, make sure any manufacturer patches are up to date, and never give out your passwords.
Every auction site has a way to rate sellers, and sellers would be foolish to ignore this rating tool. You want to establish the highest possible rating by providing superior customer service all the time.
Make sure that you:
- List item descriptions as accurately as possible. If the item is used, and shows some wear make sure you describe it thoroughly. People do not like to be surprised.
- Answer any inquiries about your item and respond quickly
- Ship items immediately and at a fair rate
- Package items well so there is no chance for breaking
- Keep tracking numbers in the event of a lost shipment.
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