Thursday, February 28, 2008

eBay questions answered

Dot at Somewhere Over the Rainbow asked a few questions about my eBay post and since I can't think of anything else to blog about I'll be happy to answer them here. ;)

I started this post with a very long detailed description of my whole process and then realized no one really wants to read all of that so here's the condensed version.

How do I organize my eBay business?

Currently we're going through a bit of a reorganization to keep track of our inventory. When I only had a few hundred items listed it was easy to sort of just know where everything was and get it to the right person every time. Now we have over 1000 items listed at all times and are listing more so it's necessary to change the way we do things. I now log everything into an Excel spreadsheet and keep it updated so I always know where everything is, if it is listed, when it sells, and how profitable it was. Now I can look quickly and know what kind of items my customers are buying and what I should try to keep in stock.

Where do I store my items?

Some of my inventory is stored in the closet that is located in my office. With over 1000 items, however, we quickly outgrew the closet and had to look into other options. Now, the bulk of our inventory is stored in airtight bins and labeled with a number that helps me to find the inventory when it sells. These bins are lined up in the hallway leading to the children's bedrooms in my house and also in my office. This is probably the most irritating part of the business. :) The inventory has taken over my house!

How do I deal with difficult customers?

The vast majority of my customers are wonderful people. They're friendly, they pay on time, and they communicate well. However, there ARE some that can be quite nasty. I try to always be professional and communicate with considerate language... even when I would much rather use not so considerate language. ;) The most important thing I have had to do is to have policies in place to deal with situations that inevitably will come up. Mostly this deals with payment terms and return policies. If I have a potential bidder who sends up red flags, like they have a lot of negative feedback or they are rude in their emails, I will block them from bidding on my auctions. Sometimes there are customers that just can't be pleased... I just try to be nice, block them from bidding in the future, and take the hit. It's impossible to please everyone all the time.

Where do I get my shipping supplies?

I get almost everything from the United States Postal Service. I ship almost exclusively with Priority Mail and the shipping supplies can be sent to me straight from them. I also try to keep bubble wrap and other shipping supplies that I receive from packages and I purchase sticky labels for my printer online.

I hope I've answered everything you asked, Dot! If you'd like to know any more, I'll be happy to answer.


Dot said...[Reply to comment]

Yes, you've answered them quite nicely! Thank you. I understand that "taking over the house" feeling. I don't have an ebay business, but I've collected plenty of stuff for yardsales over the years and sold a few things on ebay and that was bad enough. LOL

I've only had a couple of non-paying customers on ebay, so I figured with your business being so big you might have that times 100.

I might try ebay again in the future, but it really is a LOT of work. My hats off to you!