A Wedding… Steven and Cierra Finally

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A Wedding… Steven and Cierra Finally

In less than a month my son Steven will get married to a girl he has known since first grade and has dated for over four years.  We are so happy and excited for both of them. We love her family and adore her.   The coolest.. She is an engineer and is ALL for selling online and wants to do it with Steven part time.  They love the thrill of the hunt for the treasures to turn around and make some money on.  I am super excited to be growing their eBay business.  Steven has a few items now in his store on eBay 

Steve and Cierra 18 Oct 2014 Wedding Day

Steve and Cierra 18 Oct 2014 Wedding Day

Wedding Announcement

Wedding Announcement


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Sunday Musings by Special Guest Marcia Glenn

In Cindy’s Online Selling Tips I have been honored to have Marcia Glenn write a Sunday Musing for us for a long time. I wake up every Sunday to these wonderful posts.  

Sunday Morning Musing with Coffee: What Does Ebay REALLY Want From ME?

I have thought long and hard these last few months on how to do my Ebay business better. From getting faster at listing to buying only things that I know will generate me a good if not great profit, there are a bazillion things to learn to do my job faster, better with more profit. I am using some great APPS like KiQuantity and KiPhoenix to streamline my process but one thing keeps cropping up in my daydreams and my dreams at night….

What Does Ebay REALLY Want From ME?

They won’t tell me.

Well they won’t tell me in a definitive statement. Or even 10 statements. They will never come out and say, Marcia (fill in your name), THIS is what we want you to do!! Follow this and that and the other thing and we almost guarantee we will love you forever and a day and show your listings to EVERYONE!!

But they hint at it and it is these hints that I have started to listen to and do for them. When I do these things that they hint at telling me my sales go up. So I continue to do them. I believe that they “rate” me somehow, no idea what that “rating” is but if I do what they have told me to do in newsletters and policy changes I will get higher rankings, my listings will be shown to more qualified people (people who are searching for what I have to sell) and I will have more sales.

Here is what I have heard from them over the last year, thought about and implemented.

1. They want me to use 12 pictures. They expanded the pictures to 12, thus I believe they want me to use 12. So pretty much I do now. I do my very best to fill up all 12 spots, sometimes it is easier than other times but try I do.

2. They want my pictures to be bigger. They made the picture requirements bigger and will actually kick off my listing if it is not to their requirements picture size so now my pictures are the size they want. I make them cleaner, bigger, clearer, more details. I want my pictures to rock not only because of MY pride but because Ebay wants my pictures to ROCK. So I do my best to get the very best pictures I can.

3. They encourage me to put Free Shipping in my listing and while there is no such thing as Free Shipping as we add the shipping price to the listing price, what I think they are saying is that with Free Shipping the buyer has no surprises as to the final price. People search for FREE SHIPPING listings ONLY and never ever do I think someone searches for “no free shipping please” so I add the shipping value to my listing price and have 99% of my listings as Free Shipping.

4. They want me to have short and simple, non HTML filled listings. Whether this is a software issue or not, Ebay says no HTML so now I am in the process of dumping my Auctiva templates on Glass Confusion and reworking those listings to a simpler, cleaner line format. Surprise surprise that these new listings are selling and the old HTML are not.

5. They want me to be Top Rated Seller, Power Seller and have a Store. All three of these things they encourage for me to do or achieve so do and achieve them I did. With this Ebay gave me the option of having a cleaner looking store front with new store look and I changed over to that as well. My store looks clean and pretty (especially with my new store banner from Scott Henshaw).

6. Ebay wants me to ship FAST. 1 Day shipping is what I say I will do thus this is what I do.

7. Ebay wants me to sell Internationally so I do. It makes me money, I have no issues with it and in a global economy it only makes sense. I ship Internationally.

8. Ebay wants me to have a very larger than necessary return policy so I do. I get so little returns that it means nothing to me. I have had 2 pieces of clothing returned in the past, one was too small and we both knew it would not fit him, he paid shipping both ways and apologized profusely for it not fitting…I sold it to another with a higher price and my first buyer bought a bigger shirt…win/win.

My second one was a mistake on my part…learned that you really cannot rely on the Levi butt tag as the real size, those jeans shrunk an amazing 4 inches from what the tag said. Taught me to measure. Again I sold them only this time with the right measurements and even paying double the shipping made a profit. Since I was polite and apologized to the seller and paid the shipping to her, from her and gave her an extra bit of money for her “trouble” she bought the correct size from me the next week.

9. Ebay wants me to promote the listing with Pinterest. They spend a bunch of dollars to put the Pinterest link on all listings thus it is important to them. So it is important to me and I have found that it works for me. I pin, I sell. Ebay just makes it easier for me to do it.

10. Ebay wants me to be the best seller possible, give the customer the best that I can be so that they will rate me the highest rating if I earn it. The rating system could use some work and this stupid, idiotic defect thing will go the way of leg warmers but for now I just make sure I do the best I can in listing, photographing and shipping so that I get the best feedback that I deserve.

This is my top 10 list of what Ebay wants from me. Now what does that REALLY mean?

To me and remember this is only MY opinion, Ebay will promote me if I do what they ask me to do. With all the data that companies gather on me in the world, I cannot imagine that Ebay does not have the software or the programmers to pick apart…well ME. I believe they take every single thing about me on Ebay and put it into a computer somewhere and come up with something that they use to determine if they really really really like ME.

I think they even look at all the WORDS that are typed in my feedback from others. Why not? The information is there, why not use it. So when 10 out of 10 or 100 out of 100 of my feedback says FAST Shipping, I gotta think that means another notch in my virtual profile towards love from Ebay. When people say positive things about me I know Ebay is taking notes. As well as how much I list, when I list, what I list, how much I sell, when I sell, what I pinned, what I purchased, what I said in Feedback and on and on and on.

Then they use this information to compare to others who are selling the exact thing that I am selling and put me just a tad higher in the ranking or the showing or something so that mine will sell before the others.

All this information they gather about me and YOU is called BIG DATA by the computer geeks who name things like this. Ebay “Wants” you to evolve along with e- commerce which is shaped by what buyers want and expect. Also, I think the reason for any wants are based on a this new thing called, “Big Data” which is a means of collecting mass quantities of pieces of data and in the end their data shows that what I have mentioned above are things that “Buyers want”. So in the end eBay wants me and you to provide this.

Let’s use an example. I have a yellow rubber duck. Mass produced and sold by many other people. Lets compare me to one that Mike has (if you are a Mike, please think about your middle name as this is not to compare to YOU).

Mike and I have the same Rubber Duckie. My pictures rock, his do not. I have a store, positive feedback, top rated seller, all the bells and whistles. Mikey does not…his pictures are lousy, his feedback is borderline, he has no store, no top rated seller. I offer free shipping, he does not. On and on and on. He will lose out overall I feel.

Mine will show up more in searches, higher in searches, Ebay will promote it with things that they do to promote it online. They send out emails, they show my listings when you log on, I will feel the love more than poor Mike.

Algorithms. Kinda like Calculus that it is part of the universe but does anyone really understand it? I don’t and don’t have to. All I have to understand is that Ebay understands it and applies it to me and you and everyone and I want to be top page, above the fold (newpaper term), highest of the high.

So I play the game. But playing the game instead of fighting it, well that gives me money. In the end that is all that I care about.

What DO I Have to do to make Ebay happy? Pretty much play their game.

If I don’t like the game I can go to Etsy, Bonanza, Craigs List, Amazon and the others that provide me a selling platform to sell my wares. I do sell on multiple platforms but Ebay is tied with Amazon for income stream and I pay both games with different rules because when it is all said and done, that is what I want to do.

When Ebay comes out with changes, I listen and implement them. They are subtly telling me to do this without forcing it down my throat (normally) but I don’t care, they tell me this is what they want, I will do it. I won’t cross the road without holding their hand as we are partners in this business, the more I sell the more money we both make. I have to think they are trying to make me a better seller which will make their goals for their investors happy and their bank account numbers higher.

I don’t think they made up these new things like bigger, clearer pictures just because they were sitting around a board table and wondering what they could do this month to make my job harder (changing 2000 listings with pictures that are too small for example). I think this is what they have determined that buyers want so they have told me this is what buyers want.

Gotta listen to what my buyers want. Fast story. I created and sold my own jewelry when I had the storefront. Glass pendants mostly. Had them in a large jewelry display, each in an individual box for gift giving. Over the course of a year I heard over and over again “Do you have a chain for sale in the store to go with the pendant”. My answer was always “I’m sorry, no we don’t”.

Took me a year to “listen” to what my customers were asking me to stock so they could buy it along with the chain. A YEAR! Finally, finally, finally it dawned on me to start stocking chains…duh! Which sold. With the jewelry and without. Just because I own a bizzillion chains does not mean others did not.

So I listen to Ebay when they whisper and I listen to them when they scream and I watch my bank account grow.

Summer sales everywhere, are you stocking up on discontinued items in the stores? Are you thinking Christmas yet? I am. I am selling Christmas Icicles, fall glass pumpkins. It will really get into the “shoppers” mindset within the next 30 days so I am tweeking all my pumpkin and Christmas items to make sure they are what Ebay likes in all regards.

Great week for all…summer vegetables, warm temps and safe lives for all.


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20 Tips for a New eBay Seller

I got a random PM today from someone that has heard about me but didn’t know me. They asked “Cindy what are the top things you can tell a new eBay seller” I said… let me write it up for my group and I will message you later… so you all get to read what I will send to him.

By Cindy Sorley- Owner CO$T (Cindy’s Online Selling Tips) on Facebook. Please email me if you want to share this information. I do not want it on paid sites that an owner will turn it into an eBook and claim the information as their own and charge all of you for it.   Please do not copy without permission.  

1. Postal Scale: You must have a postal scale and not a food scale. You can get a 35 lb scale on eBay for under $20.00 with free shipping. This is something every seller needs to have before they sell on eBay. You can set your shipping price at listing and also never have to go to the post office. Never use the counter at the post office as it is much more expensive. Do online shipping and drop your packages at the post office without standing in line.

2. eBay and PayPal Account: Make sure you have an eBay and PayPal account and buy inexpensive items on that eBay account to get your feedback number to around 20 before you sell. This gives you experience as a buyer of what you do and do not want to do to your buyers. Also, make sure that your eBay name is easy to remember with not a lot of underscores and dashes. You will have selling limits as a new eBay seller to make sure your buyer has a good buying experience so my suggestion is to list items that will sell quickly and not sit. The more you sell you will get feedback and such and your limits raised.

3. Sell Your Own Stuff: Start by selling items in your own home. No need to go and buy items to start selling on eBay. Look in Closets, kitchen cupboards (for unused Coffee cups), children’s rooms, book shelves and ladies, how about the garage? Okay, maybe not. As you sell these items, save some cash back to buy inventory from thrifting, wholesale or arbitrage.

4. Research Before You Sell: Research the item you are selling. a. Go to eBay b. search box c. type in item and on the left side you can see show only, hit sold. You will see what has sold on eBay. (Remember eBay on PC or Mac is 90 Days, Mobile is 15 days). Make sure that if is sold for less than you thought it more than likely could have been a Buy it now and sold immediately without the seller doing research (I buy to resell on eBay). You don’t have to be the lowest. I am most of the times the highest and still sell… Make sure people know you are a business and not a thrift store. I use Terapeak because I can check items that have sold on eBay for up to a year.

5. Title: When you list an item make sure you use all 80 Characters in your title. Don’t use all Capitals. Use Title Case Like This. No ” ” ? or keyword spamming using words like style like etc. Look at your items and think what you would search for if you were looking for that item. Do not even attempt to sell a fake item. You will be kicked off eBay really quickly.

6. Photos: Photos are what can sell your item after they arrive on your listing from searching key words. Put your photos (you get 12 free) in GALLERY and not embedded. Mobile users can thumb through the photos and if interested will then open your description to see the rest of your listing. Sell your item with title and photos.

7. Item Description: On your item description remove all templates. You want to be mobile ready. More and more buyers are using mobile devices and it is shocking the number of eBay listings touched by mobile. Use short sentences to describe your item. Left aligned. no bullets. Google shopping does not allow bullets so why use them? You don’t need to tell people why you deserve five star feedback. You don’t need to tell people you will ship in one day or you ship international. eBay does this for you. When a buyer comes to your listing they see that you ship in so many days, that you ship internationally, etc. eBay states your return policy.. no need to reiterate it. You do have a box to add return policy information, Use it. When you have a long, detailed TOS “terms of service” you appear hard to work with and will lose customers so fast and they won’t be back. Use only one color of font, preferably black.

8. Organization: Get organized. Have your eBay listed items in one area and easy to get to to pull when sold. Organize your unlisted inventory in like categories in bins or on shelves in another area if you have space. . List Like Items all at once so that you can do it faster and easier. Pull a bin at a time and list that bin so you don’t have to change category, shipping prices etc much. For example, I grab a bin of coffee mugs and list 30 or 40 in one sitting. The next night I list 40 Cross Stitch Kits. My shipping stays the same. Category is not that big of a change and it just goes faster.

9. Shipping: Understand shipping and ship international. 1. First Class is under 13 ounces in the USA and under 4 pounds international 2. Learn about Regional A and B Boxes. These are not available at the post office. They have to be ordered for free online at usps.com. 3. Padded Flat Rate Priority envelopes can be your best friend. You can ship heavy coffee cups in them for under $6.00 anywhere in the USA instead of priority rates of up to $12.00. Check out my invention of FOMO Shipping at www.FomoShipping.com 4. If you ship lightweight flat items such as leaflets, patterns, kits, etc you can use the first class large envelope flat option and save a lot of money. eBay and PayPal does not offer it but stamp.com does. 3 ounces worldwide is $3.75 (Canada is less) vs almost $9.00 for Package first class. If you use eBay and Paypal shipping, along with Stamps.com the tracking information is uploaded to eBay immediately.

10. Ship Fast: When an item is purchased get it out as soon as you can. eBay has changed in so many ways in the 14 years I have been on the site and people want their item fast. If you have 1 day shipping listed you have until the next day at Midnight PST (eBay time) to get it the label on it. I have a policy that if a customer pays by 4:45 PM Monday through Friday I ship that day. Leave feedback for your customer now .. not after they leave it for you.

11. Be The Customer: Treat buyers the way you expect to be treated. Make sure customer service is your number one priority. When a buyer buys from you do what you can to have them come back and buy from you. I always send an invoice so they know who I am (have an easy name to remember so they can just type it in) Buy the domain name of your eBay store or seller ID and have it forwarded to your eBay name or store. I have www.bubbacandance.com forwarded right to my eBay store and it is on all my business cards and invoices and it so easy to tell someone. Just go to www. etc.) Yesterday I was talking to the owner of the place we eat breakfast occasionally and Steve said. When we go to McDonald’s and they mess up our order we sort of expect that but we go back. When someone comes to my place they expect more and if we mess up they don’t come back. Don’t be McDonald’s be the place you love to frequent. Again leave feedback when they pay.

12. Bad Experience & The Need for Customer Support: When you have a bad experience with a buyer, handle it professionally. When you get a neutral or negative feedback respond positively and not negatively to the buyer. Future buyers look at these neutrals and negatives and see your response. If you need to call customer service at eBay remember eBay employees are not your enemy. They, too, are available to coach and offer support. They don’t *only* protect the buyer- They protect the entire community.

13. Mobile: (My Baby) Consider Mobile. I am a 100% mobile user. I do all my listings on eBay mobile for IPhone App. This is the best thing I ever did when I changed my way of listing. You don’t need the best device on the market. The $299 IPad Mini with Wifi at 16 gig is great for an eBay seller. Your photos are NOT saved on the Mini but are launched through eBay on the eBay app and it doesn’t take up your space on the Mini. The eBay App I prefer is the IPhone app and I use it on both the IPhone and the IPad and the IPad Mini. It is the most frequently updated.

14. Paid Mentors: Years ago when there was no support groups and people willing to help other sellers there were experts, coaches and mentors who charged monthly fees to have you learn from them. Oh wait… they are still there in December 2013. There is no need for them. You have so much FREE Help and support there is no reason to pay them for this SUPPORT. I have heard of people charging these fees to their credit cards because they had no money to pay the fees and then rack up interest charges. Many times a seller is beginning and needing to pay bills and eBay is a must do situation to save someone from losing a house or helping with monthly bills and these seem to be the ones sucked into paying for support from a mentor. We can mentor you here for free.

15. Your Dashboard in My eBay: Watch your Dashboard (available after ten sales on eBay). Your DSR’s and feedback are found here. A lot of sellers get into trouble by not checking the dashboard. If someone dings your DSR’s you could be in a world of hurt if you ignore them. This shows you where you are on policy, DSR numbers and other very important information. I do this daily.

16. Best Match Search: If you find that your listings are not getting views and not selling I suggest tweaking the listing by fixing title, add to description and or item specifics. I do a search for an item and if I am not at the top of the default search of Best Match I look at the Best Match listing and see why they were above me and I change my listing to try to get the Best Match spot. Don’t get worked up about the search engines not working. eBay also allows you to pin your items and to twitter them right from the listing. It just takes seconds.

17. eBay Store: If and when you open an eBay store, make sure you have store categories such as the retail stores you shop in. Also make sure you use your title box for keywords. I had three eBay names and merged them all when I decided that store categories could allow me to sell Cross Stitch and Hunting rifle scopes all in one store. I had a guy last week buy a coffee cup, jeans and a cross stitch kit.

18. Love your eBay Job: Love what you do… eBay is not easy. Make it work for you. Set Goals. It can get frustrating.. ask for help in groups such as CO$T (Cindy’s online Selling Tips). My saying is Buy Low, Sell High, Sell What you Love! (I also sell things I don’t love because they make me money) I sell what I love because I know what it is and the value of those items.

19. Attitude: Have a positive attitude and ride the roller coaster of online selling with all of us. I have found when I am upset that things have not sold or that I don’t want to list… I kick myself in the butt and say.. you have a family to feed, bills to pay, chickens to feed and they are relying on you. I know when I list consistently on eBay I make more sales and so many a night I have stayed up to list when I didn’t want to … it is part of the job we chose to do. Be careful not to listen to naysayers or to get caught up in too much negativity. Stay positive and see this venue as a gift and opportunity instead of a right. It is a like a continual brain-teaser – challenge to be solved, not a one-time thing to learn. You don’t just do it and then forget it – you constantly learn and adjust. It’s what makes it maddening, challenging, fun, frustrating, and exhilarating all at the same time!

20. Thank You: Always say Thank You and let your buyer know you appreciate them. Write Thank You on your invoice that you mail to your buyer. Get in the habit of sending an invoice. You are now a business not a hobby. All business give you a receipt.

I love what I do… Thank you eBay for giving me that opportunity.


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