Selling lots of unique items on Ebay that were obtained cheaply, usually at charity shops and thrift stores, can be quite a profitable venture if done the right way. These items are occasionally worn or damaged, but buyers love them for their low cost and uniqueness.
Anyone who sells cheap items on Ebay has a lot of work to do because their chosen business model is essentially one of bulk. They will often have hundreds of individual items in their inventory at any one time. This means that there are a lot of auction listings.
If you sell cheap items on Ebay you can't afford to lose track of your goods or your listings, so excellent book keeping is a necessity. Use a book keeping program that you're comfortable with, such as Microsoft Excel, but if you don't have Microsoft Office or want to keep your costs at a minimum, try OpenOffice.org for a free alternative. Use it keep track of your stock, your auctions and your shipping costs.
Using a spreadsheet is also a good way to keep track of your profits over time. Use it to see which items have performed well and which items you should replaced.
While you're organizing your virtual inventory, take the time to organize your physical inventory. You don't want to waste time digging through a heap of goods to find the correct item to be shipped. 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.
On Ebay, a seller's reputation is crucial. Since the items you are selling are often used items which might have a little damage, be completely honest in the item description. Mention 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 history of the item, and are not responsible for item failure. It is important that you protect yourself.
A good idea is to come up with your own rating system for the condition of your merchandise. A worn corner on a book cover might be a one or two, for example, while a hole in a piece of fabric might be a five. Use consistency and a well-defined rating system so that buyers know what they're paying for.
There are tools that you can use to make your life easier. Certain software programs are designed to make many listings at a time. This is a real time-saver for people 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 software applications are available for a low subscription fee.
You may be selling items at a low price, but it may be costly if the size of your inventory leads to mistakes. Keep everything neat, tidy 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 good reputation. Become known as a seller that people can go to for quality items at a good price, and where they can also get excellent customer service.