Internet auctions are relatively new having been around since the mid 1990's. There are several Internet auctions including Yahoo Auctions and UBid. But of course the undisputed king of Internet auctions is Ebay. Ebay has over 100 million registered users making it one of the top 10 most visited websites in the world.
I discovered Ebay way back in 1998. At first, I was strictly a buyer. I was amazed at the thousands of items that could be found on Ebay. Just about anything you can imagine can be found on Ebay. And there were more incredible bargains to be found than at any other ecommerce website or brick and mortar store I had ever visited. After about six months or so of buying, I began selling items on Ebay. I had an extensive collection of unbuilt as well as built plastic model cars. I began placing the models on Ebay with starting bids of $5.00 and no reserve. To my surprise, people started jumping all over these model kits. Some of them sold for as high as $70.00. It was at this time that I realized the enormous money making potential of Ebay. The key to being a successful seller on Ebay is selling items that people want. There are a number of ebooks on Internet auctions that tell of the importance of a great headline and a killer ad for your auction. While this is true, it is also important to remember that the best ad in the world will never sell an item that no one wants. The items that do well on Ebay are unique or interesting items. Antiques, pottery, collectables and high-end apparel are just a few of the items that will bring high bids on Ebay. If you can easily find the item at Wal-Mart, chances are it will not do well on Ebay.
There are a number of wholesalers around the country that you can buy merchandise from to sell on Ebay. But before you buy, do your homework. It's very tempting to buy a bunch of electronic widgets that sell for $2.00 a piece. You might think you can buy 20 of the $2.00 widgets and then sell them for $12.00 a piece on Ebay and make a killing. Unfortunately, you discover that no one is bidding on your widgets despite the fact that you have started the bidding at a mere $6.00. In fact, there are very few people that are even viewing your auctions. The end result is you are now stuck with 20 widgets that no one wants. The first mistake here was not doing a search of widgets on Ebay to find out if they're hot or not. The second mistake was trying to sell an electronic item. Yes, I know there is a huge market for electronic gadgets. That's the problem; the market is too huge. It is already saturated. How many times a day are you bombarded with offers for the latest and greatest cell phone or digital camera? If you try to sell in this market on Ebay, you're encroaching on Best Buy's turf, which means you'll be smashed like a bug. On the other hand, how many offers do you receive for NASCAR collectibles or Gucci shoes? Or how about die cast models? These are the hot items on Ebay. These are in demand items and more importantly you can sell these items without competing against Wal-Mart and Best Buy.
If you're new to Ebay, the first thing you need to do is to build positive feedback. Feedback is vital to your success on Ebay. Potential buyers will read your feedback in order to determine if you're an honest seller. If you have high numbers of negative feedback, many buyers will look elsewhere. Take a look at some of the Ebay Power Sellers feedback. Many of them have feedback in the thousands with a rating of over 99% positive. It's no secret how these Power Sellers became successful on Ebay. They take care of their customers. This means they'll have plenty of repeat business.
When you first sign up with Ebay, you'll have zero feedback. Most buyers will shy away from an Ebay newbie with zero or very low feedback. Start building your feedback rating by selling personal items from around the house that you no longer want. This is a good way to get the feel of using Ebay and to build positive feedback. You should invest in a good digital camera. Good clear pictures are an important selling feature on Ebay. Remember to describe your items accurately and honestly. Do not try to trick or deceive buyers in any way. You can't afford receiving negative feedback this early in the game.
I came across a perfect example of a deceptive seller on Ebay a while back. The seller had sold a pair of slightly used shocks for a 2003 Chevy pickup. He used Ebay's Buy-It-Now feature to sell the shocks for just one cent. Wow! What an incredible deal! But wait a minute. The unwary buyer forgot to read the entire auction. The shipping charges were a whopping 60 bucks! The result was a pissed off buyer and negative feedback for the seller. This was an obvious attempt on the part of the seller to make money on the shipping costs. He was banking on the fact that the buyer would not read the entire auction and would simply assume the shipping charges would be reasonable. Do not use deception in your auctions or try to make money on shipping costs. If you treat your customers the way you expect to be treated you will never go wrong and you'll be well on your way to building a reputation as an honest top-notch seller.
If you happen to get a few non-paying bidders, resist the temptation to leave negative feedback for these individuals. Leaving negative feedback will only result in possible retaliation by the non-paying bidder and negative feedback for you. Once again, you do not want any negative feedback this early in the game. Buying items off of Ebay is another great way to build positive feedback. When you win an auction, pay for the item promptly. The result will be positive feedback for you. Most buyers will not care whether your feedback came as a result of buying or selling as long as it's positive.
After you've built a feedback rating of least 25, you'll be ready to start purchasing wholesale merchandise to sell on Ebay. Remember what I said about doing your homework before buying merchandise. If you have your eye on a particular item you think might sell on Ebay, first do a search of that item on Ebay to find out what people are bidding if anything on the item. If it looks hot, at least 7 or 8 bids, then it's probably a good bet. If it doesn't appear to be getting many bids, you should steer clear. You can also do an advanced search for auctions that have already ended. It's a great way to find out the final bid price for a particular item. A few extra minutes of research can save you from a giant headache down the road.
Are You Tired of the scams and the get-rich-quick schemes? Greg Hayes is founding editor of http://www.mammothprofits.com/. Mammothprofits is the website devoted to helping others filter out the scams and become successful in a home based business.