Back in 2004, becoming an online sales guru and understanding the complexities of eBay was rare. Online Consignment became a boom of de-cluttering and making more money than pawning an item.

“I don’t actually sell anything in the store. I just sell them on eBay.”
“I don’t get it. So I guess I’ll just give you some money and you can just give me these shoes.”
“I wish it could be that easy, but…”
- Quote from The 40 Year Old Virgin

I started out selling my own items on eBay and becoming very fascinated with the online selling industry. I opened the newspaper one Sunday and discovered there was a store in Tampa already doing what I wanted to start myself. “Why reinvent the wheel when someone has already invested into the storefront?” I walked in the door, explained how I wanted to work at the store and I was then handed a camera to take photos of items in the back. This was 2004 when I started with an eBay drop-off store and The 40 Year Old Virgin became an advertising ploy for people to search for these stores. Business was slamming without doing any advertising.

The major radio station started talking about the eBay drop-off business so I quickly called in while I was on my way to work. Many people heard the radio DJ say our store name and we had even more business. Making money became easy while we were able to turn many things away that wouldn’t sell for more than $100 eBay worth.
Business is not this easy anymore…

The business model has drastically changed, but are you still trying to play by the same rules as when you opened your doors?

People are shopping for items from their smartphone. People can list items to eBay from their smartphone. If you are only selling items on eBay because that’s what you’ve always done, what separates you from them being able to easily list the items themselves? “We ship the item, deal with the buyers and deal with any complications that may come about. We also know what the item should sell for and how to best describe it.”
I know, that was my line too but it’s not good enough anymore.

“What should I do differently?”

  1. You can’t solely be an eBay Guru. Begin looking at other marketplaces or even selling on your own website. There may be marketplaces that SellerVantage doesn’t currently support that you may want to try out. With eBay taking a substantially higher Final Value Fee, it wouldn’t hurt to try out other marketplaces. If you start selling on your own website, you begin to build up credibility with your consignors and potentially repeat buyers. You can still manage your inventory through SellerVantage by using our Storefront feature for your website.
  2. If you want to be in the business of selling items online, the best step is to become excellent and well versed at a niche type of items. While still focusing on selling all things, be incredible at selling certain type of things that can be advertised. But think in seasons where you will have year round business. If you enjoy working with skateboards and snowboards, advertise to that specific market but also let people know you are not solely listing those items. Don’t just focus on pool supplies or Christmas ornaments. But think, “how can I be this town’s go-to business for the market of ______?”
  3. If you are going after the niche markets, start out by advertising to local stores offering to sell their non-moving products on their shelves. Pick their brain to find out more information about this market. Become knowledgeable about selling prices of the different year, make, models of that niche product.
  4. Don’t ignore social media and don’t ignore the latest and greatest trends. The moment you do, someone in their twenties will come along and dominate your market because they’re reaching people they way people are able to be reached. Marketing your business isn’t about what YOU want to do, but it’s about how people are reached and informed. Create business Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts to start. DO NOT only post the things you are selling. No one shops from social media this way. Instead, create conversation with followers. People love talking about themselves or thinking about what they should buy. Put the thought in their mind that they need that product. Take photos of the products maybe not in the way you would display on a marketplace, but of someone holding (let’s say) a purse and stating, “Wouldn’t you look good holding this purse?” and add a link to your website.

Have you made any changes since opening your doors?
Let us know what you found works for you!