Trials & Tribulations of Selling on the Internet/eBay

We have alluded to this topic many times over the past months, but it takes a special type of individual to sell on the internet in general and eBay in particular.  We started selling on eBay to unload a bunch of video games that our son had collected over the years…this was more than 9 years ago.  Some 50,000 sales later we are still going and Judy has become an expert in many areas especially navigating around eBay.  Over the years eBay has evolved, in our opinion to the detriment of its users, into a large and difficult environment to work within.  We also feel that final prices have come down some over the years.

The many rules that one must learn and adhere to, make it most difficult and frustrating to sell on their platform, and they are always changing things without notice.  When one calls support, you are told that you should know what is taking place, a college degree is easier to obtain than learning what is and isn’t permitted to be sold.  Our general feelings and experiences are that sellers have been relegated to a subordinate role and it has hurt our business somewhat.

To sell on the internet, one must be very patient, detailed and open-minded.  You are dealing with people from all over the world, looking for a quality product at a “cheap” price.  The process to post an item for sale is extremely laborious and remember you are dealing with the individual whims of the buyers.  One is continually asked questions about the item for sale, even though, in our case, Judy is extremely descriptive in her presentation.  If an item is not described to the smallest detail, someone will come back at you with a complaint.  Often we find that the buyer just hasn’t even read what had been posted.  Often, the questions come with very little time to answer as the auction will end within minutes of receipt of the inquiry.

When selling for individuals, which is our primary role, we are often asked to deal with unreasonable expectations as to selling prices and even sometimes how the pictures and descriptions are presented.  This makes for very difficult auctions and on occasion, we simply tell the client that we cannot sell for them under such circumstances.  It is the nature of selling and dealing with people.

In spite of the drawbacks, the excitement surrounding selling an unusual piece, which you sometimes consider “junk” makes for interesting times.  Judy in particular is very detailed and spends an inordinate amount of time researching pieces she puts up for sale.  We have developed a network of knowledgeable individuals who do help us identify puzzling items, and usually we will sell something for a reasonable price, often for more than we have seen the particular item recently sell for.

It is a challenging business, with the world as your competitor.   eBay is a great place to sell the occasional item that one is trying to unload,  but when a hobby turns into a full-time endeavor, beware and be forewarned…it is not for everyone!

We would love to hear from eBay users about their own experiences and observations, just post any comments here on the blog.

Published in: on December 15, 2010 at 1:52 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. Patience is definetly a must buyers can really get on your nerves…once I had a lady buy a ton of video games at low prices with my stated combined shipping rules (which is where I actually made my profit). After winning she decided that she wanted to only pay actual shipping charges. Unbelievable.

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