With Halloween over, the Christmas selling season is now underway. If you haven't yet put your holiday sales plan into action, it's not too late.
We've put together a few ideas to help you get started. By following these tips you'll be able to save time, save money and sell more.
What to sell
If you don't have a ready source of supply, you can find plenty of merchandise to sell on eBay right at your local retail stores. The secret is to purchase items that are in demand and likely to command a higher price at resale, or are discounted by 70 percent or more. Scour the closeout and clearance bins for items that are off-season but would still make great holiday gifts. Become a regular at chains like Big Lots that carry liquidation and overstock merchandise for below-retail prices.
Before you buy anything, use Terapeak to research how much the items are selling for on eBay. You can do this right in the store if you have a 3G-enabled mobile device.
Check out "hot" lists on Amazon, eBay and Toys R Us and stock up on these items. But always verify stores' return policies and keep your receipts. If items aren't as hot as expected, you'll want to be able to return them.
Good product images are a must. Make the photos you post crisp, well lighted and close up enough to give buyers a good representation of the item.
Photograph all your items in one session to save time setting up and taking down your photo equipment
Using a lightbox will lend a professional look to your images (we show you how to make your own in this video), but natural lighting with a solid or neutral backdrop also works well. Whether you post several images or just one, you'll want to make them your best.
Photograph all your items in one session. This will save a lot of time setting up and taking down your photo equipment. Then, using a listing service like Auctiva, upload images in bulk and save them in folders until you need them.
Group similar items together and create listings for these all at once, using one listing as a template for the next. To speed this up, use Auctiva's Profiles to store reusable information—think shipping terms, payment terms, listing enhancements and even descriptions—and plug them into listings with a mouseclick.
Create listings ahead of time in Auctiva and schedule them to post when you want, for no extra fee. Instead of scrambling to get items on eBay at just the right time, you can relax knowing your listings are done.
Your listings can get a boost in eBay's Best Match search this holiday season if you offer expedited shipping with one-day of handling time. eBay considers "expedited" to be USPS Priority Mail or any other two- to three-day service.
Listings that include an option for free shipping will also be favored in Best Match. This option isn't for every seller, but if you can work it in your holiday sales plan, you might see a nice bump in your sell through.
If you do decide to offer free shipping, register on FreeShippingDay.com. The site provides free advertising for merchants who offer free shipping on Dec. 16, 2011, with delivery by Christmas Eve. There's even a category just for eBay sellers.
Then give visitors to your listings a look at what else you have on eBay with Auctiva's Scrolling Gallery. Match your gallery to your listing template, customize your message, and change the display and placement of your gallery to best showcase your items.
Happy holiday selling!
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.