As per spokesmen James Griffith, in July of 1997 eBay had 6,500 officially registered users, shown on the site alphabetically by his or her email addresses. Nowadays, email addresses are no longer user ID’s, and listing all eBay users would be hard workâ€” being as how eBay has grown to over 153 million officially registered users world wide, making it maybe the seventh or eighth largest ‘nation’ on the planet. Basically, according to A.C. Neilson analysis, there are almost 750,000 USA traders who intend to start a part-time or permanent working on eBay. Is it possible to increase on this tremendous growth?
eBay believes so. To grow its traders and expand trade and income, eBay started the latest version of its traveling road show known as eBay University in July 2005, teaching three courses on how to notably trade on the site. Since after that and through the rest of 2005, eBay University will have visited 43 cities, and is going to continue the program in 2006.
eBay University is promoted to registered eBay users through emails and a link on the eBay site. The three, day-long courses are “eBay Basics,” “Beyond The Basics” and “eBay For Business,” all taught by a group of eBay and common business experts, many of whom have written how-to guidance on notably trading strategies for the site or their areas of expertise. The payments are moderate â€”59,9 USD for each course, with a ‘package’ payment of 89,9 USD for the ‘Basics’ and “Beyond the Basics’ classes.
The moderate prices can’t start to cover eBay’s costs for running a program such as this, but after that eBay’s agenda here is to promote the site, and the eBay University program does merely that. In addition to the “eBay Basics” course â€” which is aimed to segue eBay purchasers and non-users into the trader mode â€” the two advanced courses strongly promote PayPal, selective features, egg on International trading, and propose strategies designed to propel puny volume and occasional eBay traders into Power Trader status.
This reporter caught up with eBay University at the Jacob Javitâ€™s Convention Center in New York City in late October and sat in on the “eBay For Business” and “Beyond The Basics” courses. Though trading on the site starting from 1998, I expected to find cues and tips that were effective in future trading. These I found, along with much basic business and mail order data and insights that would be helpful for anyone trading online.
Each course is accompanied by a 100-plus page guidance covering in detail what the presenters discuss. Some course experts can be exuberant, by using demonstrations sprinkled with such adjectives as “awesome” and “very awesome” (whatever that might be), but they are all skilled speakers, and the offer problems are demonstrated by a 20 foot projection screen, emphasizing and summarizing each point.
eBay for Business
In comparison with the other two courses, eBay for Business is presented once rather than twice over the three-day program, possibly because of the schedule of its tax/legal issue expert, attorney Cliff Ennico, a nationally syndicated columnist and author on the subject. Issues include selecting from the different types of business entities, that which suit’s the individual situation â€” such as sole proprietorship, partnerships, “C” and “S” corporations, and limited liability companies â€” each presented by using the pros and cons in a clear, concise manner.
The demonstration moves on to legal liabilities for trading on eBay â€” warranties, express and implied, legal disclaimers, refund and return policies, etc. Under dealing with deadbeat bidders, you can call and threaten to sue, but itâ€™s advised that you canâ€™t imply that the debtor has committed a crime, call in the midnight, or threaten to attach a debtor’s wages or property â€” unless you really intend to do it!
The final suggestion is to consult an attorney before calling a deadbeat bidder.
Tax difficulties are complex and covered in detail, starting by using the basics of tax compliance such as Federal and local tax ID’s, filing on time, tax payment schedules, requirements for trade tax collection, and the same. Deducting home office space used to automatically trigger an audit, but this is no longer the case, though home office space must be precisely measured, and a baby’s stroller or any other non-business item in the space kills the deduction.
Accounting and bookkeeping difficulties are also covered at length, including what to look for in an accountant or bookkeeper. Also covered are the legal aspects and responsibilities of hiring and firing employees. Under the delicate topic of firing a worker, it is advised to lock he or her out of the computer before the meeting, fire on a Monday, instead a Friday, have a viewer present, keep emotions out of it, and, strongly emphasized â€” the less said, the better.
In all, Ennico’s demonstration should provide highly useful data to all but the most experienced and savvy entrepreneurs.
The Business course after that transits into operating an eBay business, beginning with creating objectives, and the first of several pitches touting Power Trader status and why and how to accomplish it. (Power Trader status starts at ‘Bronze’ with trade of at least 1,500 USD a month, and extends into the stratosphere to ‘Titanium,’ at 200,000 USD a month.)
There are common sense suggestions, like avoiding the use of music in listings and keeping image sizes reasonable (since 50% of the U.S.A. still uses low-speed dial-up connections,) taking in account your competition, avoiding spelling errors and combative trader terms, and, in general, doing an attractive demonstration in your trade.
The section on Analysis Tools should be useful to many eBay traders. Trading something without making analysis the past performance of item is a way for wasting time and, often, losing or leaving money on the table. eBay presents several services that provide insight into what moves on the place by using a link in it’s Marketplace Research page, accessed via web browser at http://solutions.ebay.com
The first of these is the “What’s Hot” page linked through Trader Central. By clicking on “Trade By Category,” then “In Demand,” a trader can resolve prevailingly popular items in most categories.
Relatively new to the area is the “Want It Now” page linked through the eBay home page. There, purchasers post items they would like but canâ€™t find on the site.
For those who wish to tie his or her trade to eBay’s promotions, there is the “Merchandising Calendar” linked through Trader Central that gives advance notice of offers â€” one tool particularly effective to Store traders.
The course segues into common sense solutions for finding merchandise to trade on eBay, suggesting the usual suspects â€” garage and estate trade, flea marketplaces, thrift shops, auctions and the like, as well as cueing traders into the “Whole Sale Lots” category on the site, then using search words such as ‘bulk,’ ‘pallet,’ ‘case,’ ‘lot.’ The problem with this strategy is that many traders are wholesaling goods for some reason and it is basically because the item canâ€™t be sold individually on the site. In the “Beyond The Basics” course, finding independent eBay certified wholesalers is dealt by using in detail.
The afternoon sessions offers micro detail cues on how to begin, create and expand an eBay business in the auction and Stores formats â€” from pricing, listing, keyword strategies to shipping advice and virtually every issue in within. Interspersed throughout are touts for eBay product or services such as PayPal, payments that are offered by a huge majority of eBay traders. eBay claims that traders who demonstrate PayPal average 5-6% higher trade-through costs than those who donâ€™t.
eBay â€” Beyond the Basics
There’s a particular amount of redundancy between the ‘Business’ and ‘Beyond the Basics’ courses, but deeper detail and additional demonstrations, such as International Trading, add to the worth of this course.
International Trading covers an untapped source of income for many eBay traders. The truth is, eBay claims that 48% of his or her trade are now international, and that cross-border trade average 6.5 % higher than domestic trade-through payments. The demonstration whets the appetite of the audience by using the fact that someone in Germany was willing to pay 79 USD for a 3.99 USD five-pack of Oreo cookies. Whether anyone else will ever again pay 79 USD for the same cookies on eBay is another matter, but the point that many products in USA can do well overseas, is reality.
The demonstration covers the basics of how to fill out a customs form, legal issues including accurate and honest declarations, the most price efficient shipping (ordinarily USPS), language and money conversions, and foreign purchaser- friendly ways to list. And, again, pushing traders to use PayPal. eBay claims that foreign traders who use PayPal payments average 16.5% higher trade-through prices. This makes sense because transferring funds from overseas can be costly and troublesome for international purchasers who don’t have an expedient such as PayPal, Bidpay or Western Union checks payable on banks of U.S.A. For anyone who trades principally or exclusively to overseas purchasers, PayPal is a necessity.
In the “Beyond the Basics” course, eBay screams the following: Grant the purchasers what they expect to have! To this effect, huge number complicated search and marketing report tools that help in nailing down what is hot and when, are covered. One such pay-for, eBay certified site is Terapeak, which demonstrates sophisticated data on category results, key ratios, listing features and successful duration times, among other features. Free and choicely eBay features like “Trade Report Plus,” are also covered in considerable detail.
Under the topic of search engine marketing, thereâ€™s also an interesting demonstration on the necessity of having a ‘top-30’ search result placing on Google and Yahoo!, as well as ways of achieving the top five results, or “before the fold,” which yields the greatest results in search engine queries. This is achieved by bidding on a pay per click (PPC) basis for top placement on the search engines. Bids or costs paid per click-through range from a few pennies to 100 USD. Also covered in detail are important keyword cues for linking with purchasers and many other aspects of search engine marketing. This should be a fascinating demonstration for all those, who like myself, are semi- to totally clueless on the process and its worth.
While many aspects of the “Beyond The Basics” course are covered elsewhere, here they’re covered in marvelous detail. Under finding merchandise to trade, for example, eBay certified but independent wholesalers who donâ€™t trade on the site (and thus don’t, theoretically, compete against you) are offered, as are others. (The rub here’s that basically you have to buy BIG: one speaker contacted wholesaler on the minimum order for an item and was told it was five shipping containers â€” for 150,000 USD.)
eBay claims that it takes 20 minutes to manually list a trade, and if you list one-of-a-kind-items as I do, this can precisely be the case. eBay demonstrates a variety of absolutely free and selective charge automation tools like Turbo Lister, which can be useful for any trader who deals in bulk listings. File Exchange, a new eBay tool thatâ€™s platform independent, allows medium to high volume traders to record o eBay auctions, fixed-price or Stores by using a single application from an MS Excel spreadsheet, MS Access or other software.
Cross-merchandising and offers are covered, as well as linking to stores and external web pages by using free and selective eBay tools.
The rest of the course demonstrations advanced suggestions and solutions for virtually every other aspect of eBay trading â€” from photography, headers and descriptions through packing and shipping to feedbacks and trade and inventory management. It is mentioned that the dreaded task of packaging isn’t thankless: well-packed goods give a sense of professionalism, and do lead to more positive feedback â€” not to mention that the item doesnâ€™t spin back because it broke in transit.
The demonstrations are lively and upbeat, interspersed by using anecdotes and eBay success stories by using examples that would incite greed in a hermit, like the absolutely free box at a garage trade which contained a fish lure that sold for 33,000 USD. (On the screen we see a rather silly looking lure, in our hearts we feel money passion.)
eBay University is also offered online, but the live demonstrations are recommended. For most people, the impact of the live demonstrations accompanied by a 20-foot square projection screen and frequent question and answer periods should enhance and ease the teach yourself experience over just reading a downloaded guidance or PC screen.
Overall, eBay University by using its moderate prices constitutes a bargain in today’s ecommerce solutions marketplace, and should prove itself valuable for many, if not most, eBay traders.