When eBay sellers decide it's time to start using Auctiva to better create and manage their eBay listings and sales, it can be difficult to determine which of the many tools to use to get up and running quickly and efficiently.
To help those just starting out with Auctiva, we spoke with two Auctiva employees who have the experience and the expertise to help newcomers. Rebecca Miller is both a product analyst for Auctiva and an eBay PowerSeller and Top-rated Seller. She's been with Auctiva for about two years, and she's been selling on eBay since 1999. Mike Davies is Auctiva's customer service manager. After five years with the customer service department, he's seen just a little bit of everything come his way.
Could there be better sources of practical and actionable advice? Let's roll up our sleeves and get started.
The 'Master' plan
"With so many features available, it's hard to know where to begin," Miller acknowledges. "The first thing I did was create a Master Profile, and I'm very glad I did. This simple step saved me a lot of time in the long run."
With a Master Profile you can create one profile that includes all of the details you would need in a typical listing. Miller considers this an indispensible tool, because it allows sellers to automate listing details. She also uses it to keep her listings up to date when eBay announces changes. For example, when eBay changed its Payments Policy, disallowing sellers to accept checks and money orders, Miller quickly updated that information across her listings.
"I just had to change my profile," she tells us.
Creating a Master Profile should be one of the first things a new user does
Davies agrees that these profiles are important. "This should be one of the first things a new user does," he says. "The longer you wait to use a Master Profile, the more time you're wasting. I can't harp on this enough!"
Avoid the potholes
Even longtime eBay users may not realize that, particularly when using third-party listing tools, there is a delay between the process of creating and submitting listings and then actually seeing them go live on eBay. The reason for the delay, Miller explains, is that eBay has indexing to do. So new listings won't be there right away.
Not understanding that this delay is normal, it's not uncommon to see new users resubmit a listing, sometimes up to five times!
"Check your My eBay area" before assuming a listing didn't post, she advises. "It may take hours for the item to appear in search results."
In fact, new listings can take as much as 12 hours to appear in search results, although the average is much less than that. But you can find out instantly if your listing was launched successfully or if there was an error by checking your notifications. When you're logged into Auctiva.com, on every page—whether it's an inventory, sales, or listing page—if a listing error occurred, it will be noted in a red notification box at the top of the page. A green box means the listing was posted successfully, Miller explains.
New Auctiva users also may not be aware of how many help resources are available. In addition to FAQs, Community Forums and tutorials, Auctiva has 24-hour live customer service, seven days a week.
"A support ticket is really easy to file," Davies tells us. Start by clicking the Help tab on the main navigation bar. "During busier times, it might take a few hours to get an answer, but more commonly it will take just a few minutes. Our goal is to reply the same day, and during regular business hours; the response should be under two hours."
Davies also recommends newcomers make use of all the help features that appear behind that Help tab.
"Our FAQs are searchable, and our Help Resources include tutorials and video links. There's also a link to attend the 'Auctiva 101' Webinar." And, speaking of Webinars, Davies reminds us that there is one every Thursday at 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. "We try to cover all the basics," he tells us. "How to get started, how to upload and then there's a question-and-answer session at the end of each one."
Finally, Davies explains that Auctiva customer service staff members monitor the Community Forums. "We're always on the lookout for any potential issues with our software, and we will answer questions directly in the forums," he said.
Using too many different fonts and colors to try and attract buyers can actually have the opposite effect
Both Miller and Davies emphasize the value of Auctiva's Master Profile, but beyond that each offers advice for quickly making use of some tools that can help a beginner get up and running quickly.
Miller notes that if you're just beginning and are still a casual user, with maybe 12 listings per month, you should make extensive use of Auctiva's templates and image hosting. She also offers some great advice for consignment sellers.
"There's a whole section under the sales tab for consigners," she said. "We have a lot of consignment customers who use Auctiva. These give consigners the tools they need to create contracts, mission plans and gather contact information for consignees. Plus, once an item is sold you can print out the contract, which clearly explains all your fees."
Davies also has some practical advice for newcomers. "The big thing that confounds a lot of new users is that they sign up with Auctiva and want to 'Auctivafy' their existing eBay listings. You can't just click on a link and convert all your existing listings to Auctiva listings," he explains.
Instead, Davies outlines a few steps you must take to convert your existing listings.
- Use Auctiva's One-Page Lister to create the design.
- Click the "Save" (not "Post") button.
- Go back to your Saved Listings page and, next to the listing you created, click on the HTML link to view the actual code. Copy it to your clipboard.
- Go to your eBay Reviser form for that item. Click on HTML. Now, delete the code that's there and paste in the code from your Auctiva listing.
All this sounds more daunting than it really is. "It gets easier," Davies says. "If you have a lot of listings to convert, do a few each day until you get them all done."
Finally, Miller recommends users keep their listing designs simple and easy to read. Using too many different fonts and colors to try and attract buyers can actually have the opposite effect.
"Don't make your listing hurt their eyes!" she says. "We've been getting requests for simpler, more streamlined professional templates. The ones we've introduced along these lines have been received quite well."
And that seems to be the most important part of getting started with Auctiva. It's important to remember that the people behind the company are watching, listening and responding with new features and improvements to help you better use the tools that are available.
Next time, we'll look at some of those tools for advanced users. Until then, happy selling!