The story begins with Pierre Omidyar who developed software for Apple computers and worked with Claris. It starts in September 1995 when Pierre sat down to write a set of code which is today famously called eBay. However, he did not think of this back then. eBay name came much later. Originally it was called AuctionWeb. It was hosted on the same server as that of Pierre’s page.
The story begins with a broken laser pointer. It was the first thing to be listed on the site. Although it was nothing serious but just a test, the real shock came to Pierre when this got sold at $14.83. This price for a broken laser pointer!! Pierre knew he had created something really massive when the bidder told him “I’m a collector of broken laser pointers”.
AuctionWeb had already started to grow. It took over the domain www.ebay.com or Echo Bay, the name of Pierre’s consulting firm. In a span of just one year, the company was looking for new members on-board. Jeffrey Skoll, a Stanford MBA joined in 1996. Later on, Meg Whitman, a Harvard graduate soon became the president and CEO. With these leaders and their leaderships, eBay kept growing steadily. By the time Bay was to go public in 1998, Omidyar and Skoll were already billionaires.
Let’s have a look at eBay’s revenue on a worldwide basis from the third quarter 2007 to 2013 in terms of million USD.
The revenue in the third quarter of 2013 was 3.89 billion USD which is a 14 percent change from the last year.
The story of husband-wife Matt and Amanda Clarkson is one of “from rags to riches”. Four years back, Matt was working as a carpenter on a beautiful mansion owned by some millionaire, while Amanda used to sell pies from a rusty van with the name of “Pie Princess”. Matt said to The Mirror “One of the biggest dreams I started out with was I wanted one day to be able to travel business class on flights and that spurred me on”. His achievement is a living proof that if you can chase your dream with immense hard work, you ultimately get it. Matt was mesmerized by the beauty of the mansion he was working on. He went up to the owner and asked how at all did he make so much money. He told Matt “I created software for the internet”. Without a hint of what computer was, Matt was yet inspired.
In February 2006, the couple left their jobs, started working on a $400 laptop. With no financial backings, the first thing the couple listed was a DVD box set called “How to make money on the internet”. Although they had spelled Internet as INTENET, they managed to make a whopping s77.50. They knew this will work if right amount of effort is put in.
Matt and Amanda gave up on everything. They had almost no social life. ALl they were doing was working day-in and out. The sell was increasing and after eight months, they were making s24,000/month. In a span of just 24 months, this couple made it to 8 million through eBay. Today Matt really travels in business class on flights.
After Matt and Amanda’s story, its time to scheme through tips and tricks of selling and bidding on eBay
Here’s few Selling tricks from Matt and Amanda:
- It is advisable not to assume the wants of a customer and start selling things at random. Spend money on what WILL SELL.
- Find a product that will make a mark. It need not be something out of the world, but it has to be niche.
- Its better to start with things that aren’t nailed down at your place. Then approach friends and family to give things to sell.
- Have a detailed research done over the web about suppliers, both local and globally to stay updated about the recent price.
- A good relationship with suppliers and customers is mandatory to keep the flow of buying-selling intact.
- A face to face interaction with suppliers in the initial days is required to establish the trust factor.
- Advertise your product with clear pictures without omitting anything. Matt and Amanda says “The best time is 8 pm to 9 pm, when people are relaxing after dinner”.
- End your auction when you know more buyers are actually seeing your product.
- Product description wins a major part of the game. So make it clear, accurate and appealing.
- Pay more focus to customer service. Build a database of customer email ids and send emails with teasers, offers, etc.
Few more tips for new sellers on eBay:
- Feedback score must cross 50 orelse buyers will not trust you enough.
- Excessive shipping charges will increase the buyers’ bounce rate. Put up a price that is standard and acceptable.
- Low starting auction price is sure to attract bidders and Buyers.
- Reassurance is important. Let your buyers know that your items are perfect, and if damage is to be found, you are willing to offer a “Return policy”. Describe accurately what kind of damages will have this policy in effect.
- Never end your auctions on Sundays or on public/national holidays.
- Encourage buyers from across the globe. Ensure that you have all the International packages set.
eBay provides two research tools for the sellers to check their sale and its history, as well as manage replies to feedbacks that they receive.
eBay resource #1 for Sellers
- Marketplace Research Tool: This tool comes handy for eBay sellers in order to check their auction history (the completed ones). It is important to know if a rare item will sell. Even if it got sold previously, you need to know whether it will sell again at the similar price. You can subscribe to this tool at $24.99/month for a proper marketplace research service. You can get a 90 days pricing history of the auctions with “completed” status. You can sort the data and represent it in a graph form. Not just this, you can even filter out which item received at least one bid and which didn’t.
eBay resource #2 for Sellers
- Automated Leaving Feedback: Sellers agree that leaving feedbacks is a time taking job. You cannot avoid as this is vital for your buyers. Reading and answering emails is also a time-taking task. eBay resource tool “Automated Leaving Feedback” will enable you to leave automatic feedbacks for your buyer. You can subscribe at a price of just $15.99/month for this feature only. By setting up “Selling Manager Pro” you can have automatic feedbacks for all positive feedbacks you get. The neutral or negative ones can be handled personally. Also, it can leave random feedbacks to buyers giving a feeling that some real person is interacting.
After talking about tips and tricks for sellers, let’s take a look at some quick tips for new bidders on eBay.
eBay bidding tips:
- Repeated bidding on same item doesn’t help you win the bidding race. Its about timing the first or second bid as the last bid before time gets over.
- Read, re-read all the auction details or “fine print” before putting your hands down in an auction.
- Check thoroughly the shiping and/or handling cost properly. It should be listed for your country specifically or at least listed down there. If not, beware!
- This is not a “must win” place. Do not bid an amount you cannot afford, because if the hammer is hammed on your bid, you are dead!.
- eBay houses good and honest sellers, but still we would suggest you go through the seller’s feedback before you start bidding.Do not search randomly on the web and say you are not getting what you want. Its all about being precise. Be specific about the keywords.
- “Buying” is not the motto. You must know what you are buying and more-so WHY. Orelse, you might end up bidding and spending on an item that is available in the shop next door!
- If you have faced any issues while bidding or buying, get in touch with the sellers first. Its bad to foul mouth without knowing why things messed up before making negative feedbacks public.