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What Have We Learned From Analyzing 232,870,994 Items Sold On eBay?

May 14th, 2016 by Skip McGrath

This is a guest post by Elad Darmon of www.What-To-Sell.com.

What Sells on eBayHave you ever tried to find the top selling items on eBay? Well – we’ve got plenty of data to help you with that, using this unique infographic about “The Science Behind the Best Items to Sell on eBay”.  Here is a link to the infographic.

After analyzing 232,870,994 sold items in the last 30 days (YES, that’s over 232 million…), from 4 eBay marketplaces – it is time to share this data with you, and although the top selling items on eBay may not necessarily be the best path to go when building your eBay business – these are a few of the trends we discovered.

Most Converting Categories on eBay

For starters, the categories with the highest sell through rates are a real surprise:

  • 87.66%- Diabetic Test Strips
  • 82.13%- Fitness Activity Trackers
  • 81.22%- Apple Laptops
  • 80.46%- Video Game Consoles

With a respectable supply to sell, maybe diabetic test strips are a good choice for potential sellers. Clearly electronics are also a good option since they fill three of the top four slots.

On the other hand, these categories had the lowest sell through rates:

  • 3.41%- Diamond engagement rings
  • 3.43%- Adult T-shirts
  • 4.13%- Art posters and prints
  • 4.38%- Bridesmaids dresses

Selling diamond rings in an online auction may seem like a good way to turn a large profit. With a sell through rate that low it may never sell, and no sale means no profit.

4 eBay Marketplaces, 4 Different Paths

Each nation has its own separate marketplace on eBay. We found that each marketplace buys items at a different rate, and at different prices.
Note: all prices have been converted to USD for convenient comparisons.

Nation Items Sold In Last 30 Days Average Price Of Sold Items New Item Sell Rate Used Item Sell Rate
US 129 Million $81.90 56.3% 39.8%
UK 53 Million $121.40 53.2% 45.5%
Germany 41 Million $75.20 45.5% 52.8%
Australia 8 Million $75.60 62.9% 33.2%

The US has the highest total number of items sold per month, but that could also lead to more competition for sales. We found that the UK actually pays more per item, making it a better place to sell when aiming for higher value and lesser quantity of sales. eBay Germany is also the best place to sell used items, since their marketplace is the only one with a higher used item sell rate.

eBay – International Bridge for Buyers and Sellers

There are 10’s of millions of sales every month – so why not sell on all of eBay’s sites? If you can ship internationally, join the party and increase your eBay sales!

As opposed to Amazon – eBay is a marketplace that purely connects sellers with buyers, so there is a lot of room for used items on eBay, especially in Germany, where most of sold items are used…
Which category sells well or sells poorly also changes drastically from nation to nation:

Nation Category With Most Sold Items Items Sold Category With Most Unsold Items Unsold Items
USA Necklaces & Pendants 2,035,152 Music CDs 4,595,944
UK Clothing- Women’s Dresses 1,109,852 Mobile Phone Cases & Covers 7,128,580
Germany PC & Console Video Games 991,384 Mobile Phone Cases & Covers 4,323,690
Australia DVD & Blu Ray Discs 262,300 Non-Fiction Books 3,749,279

Clearly Germany and the UK have more phone cases than they need and are not a good place to sell such items. It’s also fascinating that jewelry was selling well in the US leading up to Mother’s Day- perhaps that was a one month trend to circle on next year’s calendar?

This is just a taste. We can provide plenty of other insights into eBay marketplaces.

If you’d like to know more, feel free to visit our source: www.What-To-Sell.com.


New Newsletter – Managing Your Search Results on Amazon

April 20th, 2016 by Skip McGrath

Managing Your Search Results on AmazonI’ve got another issue of the eBay and Amazon Sellers News ready for you.

Here’s what’s in the newsletter:

  • Managing Your Search Results on Amazon
  • Getting Wholesale Suppliers to Ship Direct to FBA for You
  • Tips to getting into Restrictive Categories
  • New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

Do you want to read one of the articles, but you’ve missed this issue?  No worries!  I keep a newsletter archive with two to three year’s worth of newsletters.  Click here to read this newsletter.

Latest Newsletter – Amazon Taking Steps to Reduce FBA Inventory on Slow Moving Items

April 12th, 2016 by Skip McGrath

Newsletter for Online SellersThe first Version of eBay and Amazon Sellers News for April is ready!

Here’s what’s in the newsletter:

  • Amazon Taking Steps to Reduce FBA Inventory on Slow Moving Items
  • List of Amazon Prep and Ship Centers in the US
  • How to Remove Negative or Neutral Feedback on Amazon
  • eBay Spring Seller Update
  • New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

Don’t worry if you missed this issue. I keep a newsletter archive with two to three year’s worth of newsletters.  Click here to read this newsletter.

New Newsletter – Wholesale Sources from ASD Las Vegas

March 31st, 2016 by Skip McGrath

A new version of eBay and Amazon Sellers News is now online.

Here’s what’s in the newsletter:

  • Wholesale Sources from ASD Las Vegas
  • The Official Geezer Guide is for Sale
  • Trade Show Tips and Tricks
  • Niche of the Month – eBay and Amazon Seller Supplies
  • Is it Really Possible to Make a Living Selling on eBay and/or Amazon

Wholesale Sources from ASD Las Vegas

Wholesale Sources from ASD Las Vegas

Don’t worry if you missed this issue. I keep a newsletter archive with two to three year’s worth of newsletters.  Click here to read this newsletter.

March 7th Newsletter – Amazon Introduces Customer Dissatisfaction Metric

March 7th, 2016 by Skip McGrath

The March 7th issue of eBay and Amazon Sellers News is now online.

NewsletterHere’s what’s in the newsletter:

  • Amazon Introduces Customer Dissatisfaction Metric – Whenever a customer emails you, they will get a message from Amazon asking if you solved their problem. If the customer answers “No”, that will count against your account. If the total of your No responses exceeds 25%, your account will be in danger of suspension.
  • Sourcing From China Basics – Sourcing from China can be highly risky and it’s not something I would recommend to beginners. But if you have been selling on eBay and/or Amazon for a while, it is something you may wish to try. Here are a few tips to get you started.
  • Timing Your Sourcing to Take Advantage of Holidays and Seasons – I meet sellers all the time who don’t understand the realities of sourcing goods on time. They tend to wait way too late to take advantage of holidays including Christmas, Valentine’s Day as well as Mother’s and Father’s Days.
  • New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

Don’t worry if you missed this issue. I keep copies of the newsletters on hand for a few years. You can find this information in the newsletter archives.   Click here to read it.

Latest Newsletter – The Internet Tax Bill is Coming, What You Can Do

February 25th, 2016 by Skip McGrath

The latest issue of eBay and Amazon Sellers News is now online.

Here’s what’s in the newsletter:

  • The Internet Tax Bill is Coming – What You Can Do
  • A Neat Tool for Your Website from Infinite Buyer
  • eBay Niche of the Month – Gourmet Food Items
    eBay Niche of the Month – Gourmet Food Items
  • New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

Don’t worry if you missed this issue. I archive a few years worth of newsletters. You can find this information in the newsletter archives.   Click here to read it.

Tips for Running a Successful Online Business

February 15th, 2016 by Skip McGrath

Online Business TipsToday’s post is a guest post by Peachy Murry of Zuzutrading.com.  Peachy  has been selling online since 1997. Today she shares with online sellers specific habits and processes she has found that works well for her.

  • Work your way

I learned a log time ago that I’m an early morning person who likes to get up and get going pretty quickly in the morning while my husband, who is also an early riser, likes to ease his way into the day

Neither way is right or wrong. Discover what is your natural tendency to be the most productive and work that way.

  • Organize your way

If you work best with a clean desk with everything in its place, then the time you spend filing and tidying up is worth it to you.

If you prefer to have everything within easy reach (AKA piles of paper) then organize your desk and office that way.

The only caveat here is whatever method you use, be sure you can find things quickly because you can’t buy more time. Organize is the key here, not the way you organize.

  • Your routine

Develop a daily routine and prioritize what has to be done first. Is it shipping, returning email or something else? Work your way down the list. This insures you get the ‘must dos’ done every day. Whether you use a paper calendar or something online it doesn’t matter, just use something.

Add a once-a-week routine that is set to be accomplished on the same day each week. I like Thursdays because Mondays are usually crazy.

Add a monthly routine of things that must  be done every month and set it up on the same day each month, maybe the second Monday of each month. This is great for things like sales tax reports or other government requirements. If the day of the month is early for the due date it’s okay. You can do it early. Early is better than late in my book.

You can expand this to include a quarterly and yearly list.

A routine will help you more than you can imagine. It insures things done on time, relieves the stress of worrying about getting that sales tax done on time, and it frees up time for other things you want or need to do. I’m sure you’ll find other benefits as you get in the habit of using your routine.

  • Be flexible

   While it may seem contrary to what I just said about a routine don’t be a slave to your schedule. After all you’re doing this online thing to have some freedom and if you aren’t flexible you can’t enjoy the hard work you’ve put in to earn some of that freedom.

Don’t miss that big FOL sale because a specific task is on your list for that day. Complete the task before or after the sale. And don’t even think of missing seeing your child or grandchild play that baseball game or be a tree on stage. Like I said do things before or after something you want to do.

Think of your routine as the recipe for a complicated dish and your flexibility as your option to leave out the cilantro because you don’t like it.

  • Invest in the equipment you need

   You can’t run an online business without a computer, printer and internet access. I suppose you could go to the library and use their equipment but think of the lost time. In my opinion it isn’t practical.

Additionally, you should have a label printer for your shipping labels. You might want to consider a scanner too if you go to a lot of yard sales or Friends of the Library sales.

These are the tools of your trade and are fully deductible from your taxes. I also believe that business cards are essential. You can have very nice cards printed for about $10. Imagine meeting someone at a sale that wants to give (as in free) you 25 pairs of new shoes. A business card conveys the message that you are serious about your business. It is a cheap investment.

  • Set goals

   I know the ugly G word. But .. remember goals keep you focused, increase the effective use of your time and allow you to be more creative in looking for ways to reach your goals.

Don’t be afraid to readjust your goals especially if the goals you’ve set show you need to be moving in a different direction.

I recommend that you make assessing your goals on a regular, stated basis, a goal in and of itself. You could add that to your weekly or monthly list.

  • Why are you doing what you’re doing?

I know some people make this part of their goal setting. Only you can say why you’re doing what you’re doing. Maybe it is to spend more time with your family or owning your own business has always been a dream of yours.

Whatever the reason don’t lose sight of it. Focus on that reason and love what you are doing.

I hope reading this post helps you in your business and your personal life. Feel free to contact me at peachy@zuzutrading.com

Tips on Handling Amazon Returns

February 12th, 2016 by Skip McGrath

Surely when you started your online business, you weren’t expecting to end up spending almost half your time handling returns, but the statistics are real. Returns usually comprise about 10 – 15 % of a seller’s inventory, yet on average, monopolizes about 40 % of a seller’s time.  Some Amazon sellers just look at their returns as the cost of doing business and consider it a loss. But, one of the most efficient and effective ways to make your business more profitable is to refurbish those returns & re-list them for sale on Amazon.

When dealing with returns, time is always of the essence. Not only to keep your customers happy and stay in good standing with Amazon, but any item (especially consumer electronics) depreciate in value relatively quickly. So to recover the most money out of your returns, you need a quick turn around time from when it’s been shipped back to when it has been completely refurbished and ready to re-list for sale on Amazon.

So, what is refurbishment exactly?  Refurbishment is part of the return handling process. Once a return is received, it is checked into the returned inventory system by first evaluating if the return has the correct product including: all parts, cords, etc. Next, a qualified technician:

1. Tests each item to ensure that it works properly

2. Sets the item back to its original factory defaults

3. Cleans (sterilizes, if necessary) each item thoroughly

4. Issues a ‘Condition Status’ per Amazon’s Guidelines, for example, USED – Like New

5. Repackages the item

6. Updates the item’s LPN label to re-list it for sale on Amazon

As I grew my business, the more returns I received and the less time I had to deal with them.
That’s why I choose to outsource my return handling to MarksmanRSC. In fact, in my Amazon Seller Central account I updated my ‘Ship Returns To’ address to Marksman Refurbishing Service Center (+ my five digit account#) so all my returns go directly there.

When MarksmanRSC receives my return, they check it into my inventory page per my account number so I can follow the whole process online. If a return ships in unopened, there’s no charge. The great thing is, once I see that an item on my inventory page has had it’s ‘Condition Status’ issued (usually within 3 days), I know it’s been completely refurbished and can then use that status to immediately relist it for sale on Amazon. If it sells in less than three months, MarksmanRSC dropships my order directly to the customer (or back to FBA) and there’s no warehouse charge. Outsourcing my returns has totally opened up my time to focus on growing my business and it costs me less than doing it myself. Registration & quotes are free and they only charge per item serviced. To learn more about outsourcing your returns, here’s a link to MarksmanRSC’s website and youtube channel.

Website Tune-Up PLUS Pros and Cons of Private Labeling in the Newsletter

February 9th, 2016 by Skip McGrath

The first February issue of eBay and Amazon Sellers News is now online. Don’t worry if you miss it.This issue is in the archives, just click here to read it.

Here’s what’s in the newsletter:

  • Five-Step Website Tune-Up for 2016 – Make Sure Your
    Website is Ready for the New Year
  • Pros and Cons of Private Labeling
    Pros and Cons of Private Labeling
  • eBay Flat – Amazon Grows Sales 21% in the 4th Quarter
  • New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

Start a Local Classified Site on Facebook

February 3rd, 2016 by Skip McGrath

Classified Facebook SitesToday’s post is a guest post by Diana Ratliff

Diana Ratliff is an experienced online marketing consultant and Amazon seller. Visit http://easternshoremarketing.com/diana/ for information about ecommerce web design and marketing, or for information on their new platform for Amazon Sellers who want to grow their brand while still generating sales through Amazon.

Amazon and eBay sellers often find themselves with extra merchandise to dispose of – returns or damaged items. And many sellers scour garage sales or thrift shops for certain types of merchandise they like to sell.

Not many know that there are Facebook groups – probably already running within your community – to allow area residents to sell unwanted items. And it’s not hard to start your own!

To find local groups, search within Facebook for your city name or area plus terms such as yard sale, garage sale, swap shop, classifieds, or buy sell trade. Join a few groups, read the rules, and start buying and selling! Note what you like and don’t like about how each group operates as you decide whether to start your own.

I ultimately started my own group (which now has about 3300 members) because most of the local groups were filled with ads for used clothes, purses, and shoes – items I was not interested in buying or selling. So in my group you can’t sell those items (unless mentioned as part of a larger garage sale). I also don’t allow pets, real estate, any businesses or for-profit sales within my group.

Members may sell individual items or advertise their garage, estate or yard sale.

I have seen groups focused on children’s clothing and toys. Groups focused on items of interest to men. Groups focused on books.

The point is that if it’s your group, you can set it up so that it benefits your business.

Mine is set as a CLOSED group (so you need to ask to Join) and posts need to be approved. I do have one other Admin (a lady I’ve never met but who has been an active member.) I got it started by mentioning it on my personal Facebook page and asking a few friends to do the same. I also periodically ask members to invite their friends.

Most of the time it runs pretty smoothly – although every once in a while some member is mad at another member and messages one of us. (Usually the complaint is “I said I wanted it first but they didn’t sell it to me.” I respond that people can sell to whoever they want, and that there are reasons a seller might prefer one buyer over another – they know the person, they can pick it up
faster,etc .)

You’ll need to set up group rules, which is one reason to look at how other groups do it, first.

For example, most set rules about how often you can add items or “bump” an existing post. Most caution you not to make frivolous comments or “likes” on items being sold. Most request a clear photo, price, description and location in the post.

I tell members that price negotiations and pickup arrangements should be moved to private messages. Members are usually asked to delete the post when an item is sold, but they forget, so periodically we delete old posts.

I have sold some good merchandise that way and bought some too. My most profitable find was a collection of 75 NIB Barbies for $300 – they sold for a nice profit on Amazon. I also said one time that I was looking for Starbucks mugs and got a bunch.

Of course, you have to abide by your own rules. If you say “no businesses” you can’t represent yourself as one, either. That negative is somewhat offset though by the fact that, if posts require approval, you see them before everyone else does.

I encourage you to use such groups within your own area when you have extra merchandise to sell. And consider starting your own! It’s free to do and relatively easy to manage if you check Facebook often.

Updated – Sell Used Books on eBay, Amazon.com and the Internet

February 3rd, 2016 by Skip McGrath

Updated Jan 2016
I’ve updated one of the most popular books on the site, Sell Used Books on eBay, Amazon.com and the Internet for Profit. The book business is a natural choice for someone who loves books. Life is always better when you are doing something you love. If you love books and reading as much as I do, you can find joy and satisfaction in helping others find what they are looking for and you can make some really good money doing it. What could be better?

If you love books and want you own online business, this might be a good fit for you.  Learn more about selling used books online.

January 21 Newsletter – Tips for Income Taxes on Your Online Business

January 21st, 2016 by Skip McGrath

The latest issue of eBay and Amazon Sellers News is now online. Don’t worry if you miss it. I archive a few years worth of newsletters. This issue is in the archives, just click here to read it.

Here’s what’s in the newsletter:

  • Musings from and about eBay, Amazon and The World Wide Web
  • Income Taxes on Your Online Business – Some Tips to Help
  • Amazon Updates Rules on Product Reviews
  • Registering Your Private Label Brand on Amazon
  • How to Create A Product Listing Page on eBay or Amazon That Sells
    Create A Product Listing Page on eBay or Amazon That Sells
  • Are We Headed for Another Recession and Will It Affect Online Sales?
  • New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

January 2016 – Get Exposure for Your Products on Amazon!

January 11th, 2016 by Skip McGrath

The first issue of eBay and Amazon Sellers News for 2016 is now online. Don’t worry if you miss it. I archive a few years worth of newsletters. This issue is in the archives, just click here to read it.  And while you’re there you might look through the 2013 newsletters.  I plan to remove those very soon.

Now let’s look at this newsletter.  Here’s what’s in it:

Get Exposure for Your Products on Amazon

  • Musings from and about eBay, Amazon and The World Wide Web
  • Great Trick for Getting Exposure for Your Products on Amazon
  • Protect Your Business – Security Tips for Online Sellers
  • Could I Sell That? – The top 5 Rules for New Product Discovery
  • Does It Make Sense to Incorporate Your Online Business?
  • 2016 Sales Tax Compliance Checklist
  • New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

10 Tips to Make Money With Your Digital Camera

December 22nd, 2015 by Skip McGrath

No post today – just a link to a great article by someone else

10 Tips to Make Money With Your Digital Camera

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanuka to all my readers

Skip McGrath

Five Tips to Increase Your Amazon Sales

December 15th, 2015 by Skip McGrath

Five Tips1. Always Answer Customer Communications quickly – When you get a question from a customer, Amazon wants you to answer it within 24 hours and if you do not that is a demerit against your account. You can see customer questions in your Seller Central just to the left of the page and you can set up your account so customer questions are forwarded to your email so you can answer them even if you are not currently working on Amazon. If you have a smart phone, you can even answer them from your phone.

2. If you are merchant fulfilling make sure to ship all orders within 1 business day and always enter the tracking information – Amazon requires you to state the handling time for all products and to meet that expectation. Not doing so can lead to losing featured seller status and if your numbers are really bad Amazon may cancel your account.

3. Don’t trust UPC codes when listing items – When you have an item for sale, you enter the UPC code into the Amazon page where it says Add a Product. But it is your responsibility to make sure the item you are selling is the exact same item as listed on Amazon. What happens is that manufacturer’s update their products with new features and don’t always change the UPC code. This happened to me a couple of years ago. I bought some home security camera systems from a liquidation outlet. Unbeknownst to me, the reason the manufacturer sold to the liquidator was they had improved the item by adding a recordable disk drive but they did not change the UPC code. So I listed my item and when they sold, I got everyone of them returned along with a couple of bad feedbacks.

It is your responsibility to make sure that what you are selling on Amazon is exactly like the product in the listing. Not only look at the photographs closely but read the full description and the specifications to make sure what you are selling is the 100% identical product.

4. Describe product accurately – This may seem like a no-brainer, but believe me if there is even the slightest difference between the product you are delivering, and what you describe in your listing, customers will notice. This will lead to returns and negative feedback.

5. Ask for Feedback – Amazon buyers seldom leave feedback unless you ask them. I currently use Feedback Five. This is a third party service that automatically sends out an email to each customer telling that if there is anything whatsoever wrong with the transaction to let us know and give us a chance to fix it. The emails are sent out automatically and contain a link for them to just click on and leave feedback. After 5 years on Amazon my feedback was still under 50. After just two years of using Feedback Five, my feedback is now over 900. And those emails have helped me prevent several negative feedback situations when customers contacted me first before leaving feedback.

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