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Aron Hsiao

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Ten eBay Best Practices for 2014 and Beyond

Sunday March 30, 2014
  Image: valterdias / Fotolia  
eBay has been around for two decades now. Over that time, and almost endless amount of material has been written about how to succeed on eBay—and an increasingly vast number of changes have occurred in the basic ways that eBay works and the basic paths on eBay that lead to success.

It can be difficult, if not impossible, to separate the useful from the less useful, the old from the new.

In the interest of making things simple, here's what you need to focus on now as an eBay seller—the ten best practices that will separate the winners from the losers for the rest of 2014 and beyond.

See Also:

     • Use Terapeak for Data-Driven Selling
     • Make eBay's Cassini Search Work for You
     • Rely on Data, Not Dreams, for Decisions

What eBay's New "Defect Rate" Calculation Means for You

Sunday March 30, 2014
  Image: eBay  
eBay's 2014 Spring Seller Update shook up the selling world by introducing one of the largest new seller performance metrics in years, eBay's "defect rate."

But what is the defect rate, how is it related to eBay feedback, and what does it mean, in practical terms, for you as a seller, whether small or large? Read on to find out.

See Also:

     • Understanding eBay Feedback
     • Feedback Evaluation Quick Guide
     • Understanding Detailed Seller Ratings

How eBay Selling Has Changed

Thursday February 27, 2014
  Image: Sean Gallup / Getty Images  
For nearly twenty years now, eBay has been slowly evolving from a community-oriented trading spot into one of the world's largest online retail behemoths. If you're an active eBay seller, you've rolled with the punches and muttered under your breath once or twice, but you probably rarely stop to look at the big picture.

If you've never been an eBay seller before, you may even have heard things about eBay that simply aren't true any longer, or that don't match what eBay selling is really like these days, on the ground.

Here's a quick list of some of the most important and general ways in which eBay has been transformed over the course of it's lifetime.

See Also:

     • How did eBay start?
     • Ten Lost Good Things About eBay
     • Is eBay the right business for me?

Five Ways to Find Keywords for Your Listing

Thursday February 27, 2014
  Image: Google  
Even after the arrival of Cassini, getting keywords right in eBay listings is a key part of success in eBay selling.

Most of the time, the obvious keywords for an item are--well, obvious. But obvious keywords can only take you so far. To stand out from the crowd and catch the eyes of those that might be most interested in your products, you don't just want obvious keywords, you want great ones. Here are some ways to identify them.

See Also:

     • Get the Title Right
     • Item Descriptions Made Easy
     • Quick Tips for eBay Photos

eBay and the Sochi Games

Sunday February 16, 2014
  Image: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images  
Before we know it, the Sochi winter olympic games will be wrapping up. This means that the best window of opportunity for getting ahold of Sochi and olympic memorabilia is also about to close, at least for another couple of years. If you're interested in getting your hands on some Sochi collectors' items—or items related to previous games—here are some tips to help you to make the most of the opportunities currently on eBay.

Meanwhile, for sellers, check out this list of items that were trending on eBay just before the Sochi games opened. If you're interested in catching the tail end of the olympic selling season before it runs out, inspiration may be lurking somewhere in it.

Chinese New Year and eBay

Friday January 31, 2014
  Image: Vassil / CC-ZERO  
In honor of Chinese New Year, three nuggets for eBay users of all stripes on eBay and Chinese or Chinese New Year trade.

First, this infographic from eBay and Amazon.com research company Terapeak showing how eBay sales related to Chinese New Year break down in terms of categories and amounts.

For shoppers, an answer to an increasingly common question. As eBay becomes more and more global, Chinese goods are more and more common—and often cheaper than domestically-listed counterparts. Should you buy that item from China? The answer may surprise shoppers that have hesitated in the past to buy from faraway lands.

For sellers, foundational knowledge for making the most of the Chinese opportunity. Unless you've been living under a rock, if you're an eBay seller, you're aware that eBay is more and more a venue for the sales of goods imported from overseas, and from China in particular as it's become the manufacturing center of the world. If you've been waiting for an introduction, take a look at this guide to the basics of making deals on Alibaba, one of the most popular clearinghouses for Chinese wholesale goods.

Don't Make Purchase Offers Behind the Scenes

Monday January 27, 2014
  Image: eBay  
It's just smart shopping to negotiate on price, haggle a little, and make counteroffers to sellers, right? Maybe. You can certainly save money by offering sellers less than their listed price, but do it the wrong way and you could lose buyer protection for your purchase, get yourself or the seller suspended, or mark yourself as an easy target.

Read on for some of the right ways and some of the wrong ways to make offers to sellers on eBay, and how to tell the difference between the two.

See Also:

     • eBay Rules Survival Guide
     • Understanding Suspensions
     • Understanding Buyer Protection

Quickly Repair Your eBay Bookkeeping

Sunday January 26, 2014
  Image: Syda Productions / Fotolia  
January is a common time for growing eBay sellers to begin to feel the bookkeeping pinch, and to resolve to do something about a bookkeeping mess in the coming year. For eBay sellers, who are often specialists in their own areas of interest, business, or enthusiasm, but not necessarily in business and paperwork needs, this is often easier said than done.

If you're struggling to stay on top of your basic transaction records, costs, expenses, revenue, and profit numbers, tax paperwork, and other similar issues, here are four tools that may help you to finally pull your bookkeeping life together without requiring you to become an accountant or go to night school to figure it all out. Read on to learn what they are.

See Also:

     • Create an eBay Home Office
     • The Pro eBay Seller Basics
     • Use Terapeak for eBay Marketplace Research

Tips and Red Flags for Buying Refurb on eBay

Sunday January 26, 2014
  Image: mindscanner / Fotolia  
One of the biggest attractions about shopping on eBay is that the range of non-new-but-still-great goods on offer there can't be matched. No other shopping marketplace—not Amazon, not Craigslist—comes close to eBay for the availability of non-new goods that are in great condition and can save you money on your purchase.

Shoppers for these kinds of goods often think about condition in a kind of hierarchy: new goods are on top, used goods are on the bottom, and "refurbished" goods are somewhere in between, just slightly below new—almost new or as good as new is how these goods are often characterized.

In fact, "refurbished" can mean a broad range of things on eBay, and refurbished goods can be offered by everyone from small, independent sellers to the manufacturers themselves. Read on for things to be aware of and some questions to ask of sellers before you spend more on eBay to buy refurbished rather than used.

See Also:

     • Tips for Buying Consumer Electronics on eBay
     • Tips for Buying a Phone on eBay
     • Creative Ways to Save on eBay

Working-from-Home Resolutions for the New Year

Tuesday December 31, 2013
  Image: Feverpitched / Dreamstime  
It's time for New Year's resolutions once again. Many veteran sellers will have dozens of resolutions outlined by now and ready for laser-like focus, but if you're feeling somehow apathetic--or a little lost--about your selling in the coming year, maybe you should take that as a prompt to focus on the conditions in which you're working, rather than on the work itself.

Do you have a home or selling office, or is your eBay selling messily integrated into the rest of your life? The "messily integrated" model isn't necessarily wrong if you're just a casual or periodic seller, but if you're hoping that online sales will become a nice sideline—or even a viable business—for you, the lack of a dedicated workspace may be limiting your success.

Resolve to create a workspace for yourself during the coming year, and follow this quick guide to help you to think about what you'll need to outfit it with as an eBay seller.

  Image: Photomak / Dreamstime  
If you already have a home office and a growing selling business but are still feeling the "can't come up with resolutions" malaise, ask yourself whether or not you're feeling a bit isolated and out of the loop--something that can afflict small- and home-based business owners of all stripes.

If this is you, maybe your resolutions ought to be focused on overcoming the work-from-home blues and overcoming the obstacles that independent work may have silently and subtly created for you over the past year.

Even if you don't feel troubled by your current working conditions, it's a good idea to reflect on them them as a new year begins.

No office yet, but hoping to grow? Maybe it's time to build one. Perfectly satisfied working independently or in your small group? Be aware of the isolating tendencies of home-based or small businesses anyway, and proactively avoid them over the months to come.

Happy New Year!
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