For Jackie Greene, selling on eBay was love at first sale.
"I was collecting antique linens, and I had a small pillowcase that I purchased for $1," the seller recalls. "I listed it on eBay, and it sold for $50! I fell in love with the gross profit and how easy it was to sell on eBay. From that moment on, I looked for things to sell."
At the time, selling was a hobby, but Greene admits that she couldn't stop talking about all things eBay. More than 11 years later, as owner of The Steinsburg Store, one of Greene's favorite topics of conversation continues to be eBay.
"When I became a serious seller, I think I was getting on everyone's nerves because it was the second topic of conversation—right after I told them all about my new baby boy!" she says.
Not surprisingly, her two favorite subjects merged in her selling world.
"After having two children, I found myself with an abundance of items they had outgrown," Greene notes. "From safety items to toys, I noticed a demand for children's items on eBay and started selling the things that we no longer used. It was a natural fit for me, since I was already familiar with things for kids."
She posted these and other products like kitchenware and collectibles to create a general store, The Steinsburg Store, where buyers can find a little of this and a little of that.
The best way to learn is to start with the items that you want to get rid of
'Selling It Now'
Having so much to say about eBay and the online selling world, Greene recently began her own blog, "Sell It Now," where she tells readers about some of the treasures she's found for resale, and what she's learned through her years of selling. In one recent post, Greene reminded fellow merchants not to forget about educational items like books during the summer months. They don't lose their luster, she says.
Actually, she notes, parents look for these to keep kids reading all summer long, and books can be very profitable for resellers.
"Children's books, especially chapter books, can be purchased for pocket change, and made into lots that will turn that change into big bills. With yard sale season in full swing, now is the time to buy low and sell high!" she notes on her blog.
The trick is to not overpay when you find books you want to offer. "You don't want to pay $2 per book," she continues. "You need to buy books at a low price to make a profit… I've found several yard sales offering to 'fill a box' for a fixed price." Thrift stores also frequently have books for as little as 50 cents.
Greene is a wealth of information, notes friend and fellow eBay seller Jennifer Sinsel, one of the people Greene taught to sell online.
"[She] lives and breathes online selling," Sinsel says.
"I love to share things that I enjoy and feel passionate about," Greene explains. "Selling on eBay is something that almost anyone can do, and in this economy, it's helped many people make ends meet. It is very rewarding to see someone thrive as an online seller after suffering financial hardship."
Secrets of the trade
Greene's specialty is customer care, she says, and shoppers will notice that when they visit her general store filled with children's items, collectibles, kitchenware, clothing, shoes and season products.
"The transaction isn't complete at the time of payment," she explains. "It's complete when the customer is 100-percent satisfied."
And other sellers should keep that in mind. To make buyers happy, Greene packs her items with plenty of cushioning so they'll arrive at their destinations in pristine condition—and as described in her listings.
"The right size box can also make a big difference in the final outcome of the transaction," Greene adds.
Sellers should always try to please buyers, she says, and new merchants should also keep a few other things in mind: "You only have 55 title characters to allow your buyer to find you. Use them wisely," she advises. She adds that those just starting out should test the waters by selling items they already own.
"So many people think they have to buy things for resale, but the best way to learn is to start with the items that you want to get rid of," she notes.
My favorite tool is Auctiva, which I have used for years
Part-time seller, full-power tools
Though Greene's been selling online for years, she says she's a part-time merchant, getting about 100 orders a month. However, she really springs into action when the holidays approach, "but spring and summer tend to be a busy time for other activities," she says.
Over the years, Auctiva's tools have been a vital part of Greene's business. She uses the image supersizing feature to give buyers a detailed view of what she's offering, the Scrolling Gallery to show them what else she has to offer and Auctiva's listing templates to make her listings pop.
"My favorite tool is Auctiva, which I have used for years," she says. "For accounting, I use Easy Auction Tracker, which is imperative for tracking my profits, inventory and expenses."
Yes, eBay has been a great adventure for this seller. It's allowed Greene to make some extra money, teach others about one of her passions, and even go green.
"Selling second-hand items is great for the environment, which is an added bonus," the seller says. "Even when selling new items, I use recycled packing materials that I get from friends and family. I also have several local businesses that provide boxes and bubble wrap that they used to just throw away. As an avid recycler, it's rewarding to know that more items are getting a second life instead of being added to a landfill."
Visit The Steinsburg Store on eBay, and read Greene's blog, "Sell It Now."