ASK THE EBAY QUEEN: What kind of eBay seller should I be?
By SUZIE EADS, Ask the eBay Queen | 3/14/2013
Dear eBay Queen: I’ve been reading your column for years. I think it’s time for me to take the plunge and sell some stuff to make some extra money. I’ve been wondering if you could answer some of my questions.
1) How should I choose an eBay name? Does my name need to let buyers know what I sell? Could I choose a bad eBay name?
2) My brother-in-law sells on eBay, and he says there are different kinds of sellers. Do you think that’s true? If so, what do you think those type are? Which is the best?
3) Should I be a PowerSeller or a Top Rated Seller? What is all that stuff after a seller’s eBay name?
Thanks! — Samantha J., Ottawa
Dear Samantha: Let me give your list a shot.
1) I have found no correlation between a person’s user ID and the quality of their merchandise. Whether the seller uses an anonymous ID, like ChickenLittlesShack, or a clear name like JacksCameraStore, the only thing that matters is the person’s feedback.
Whatever eBay name you choose, make sure you can buy the website domain name too, that way if you decide to open an ecommerce store later, you can.
2) Most sellers are either professional eBayers who sell a lot of stuff for profit, or guys who just want to get rid of stuff around the house. I think the professional sellers come in many categories, and it’s easy to figure out who’s who by looking at their feedback ratings and items for sale.
• A professional seller typically will have a feedback rating (that’s the number in brackets next to the percentage) in the thousands, or at least the high hundreds. Really busy operations have six-digit ratings, meaning they’ve sold hundreds of thousands of items.
Normal people will have a rating anywhere from zero up to a few hundred, if they buy a lot of stuff. Look at how much they’ve sold versus how much they’ve bought. Full-time sellers buy almost nothing, and others mostly buy. It’s odd to find people who sell about as often as they buy.
Professional sellers don’t buy on eBay. They get their items every other place except eBay. They sell on eBay because they get the highest prices. When pro sellers do buy on eBay, they never buy using the same user ID from which they sell. They don’t want buyers looking at their feedback, and finding the feedback from the listing from which they bought today’s for-sale item at half the price last week. Professional sellers come in these categories:
• Garage shops — These are the sellers who typically have hundreds of items listed at a time, and make what seems like a full-time living selling their wares on eBay.
• Scavenger sellers — These are people who rummage through dumpsters, or go to live auctions, thrift stores and garage sales to find their wares. It’s easy to identify them: look at what they’re selling. If it looks like the same mix of products as you’ll see in any thrift store or garage sale, like clothes, old VCRs and stereos, an odd camera, tools, and auto parts, you’ve found a scavenger.
• Real stores — These are the same retail stores at which you might shop in person. When they can’t move an item at retail, they throw it on eBay. eBay tends to attract more buyers for weird, expensive and unusual items, while common items are sold at the store.
• eBay drop spots — These are local stores that specialize in listing your items for you. They sell the same broad range of stuff as the scavenger sellers, but are far more professional.
3) Ignore all the stuff next to the seller’s name. These are merit badges that eBay gives to sellers. It’s great for a seller to have them, but in the long run, it does not mean much if you are not selling stuff.
Strange eBay item of the week: eBay item No. 390548030611. Circus memorabilia is quite popular. Check out the history on this piece: “1872 P.T. Barnum Circus Stereoview Photo of Sideshow Tent Interior w/Freaks” It sold for $2,550 at http://www.ebay.com/itm/1872-P-T-BARNUM-CIRCUS-STEREOVIEW-PHOTO-OF-SIDESHOW-TENT-INTERIOR-w-FREAKS-/390548030611?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item5aee7a0493&nma=true&si=oLs0dV1dh6ydjy1WJkR8pFuwK0Q%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557
Suzie Eads is a nationally known eBay marketer and eBay trained education specialist. She lives in Rantoul. Do you have a question for the eBay Queen? Email the eBay Queen