Buying and Selling on eBay: Tips, Tricks, Problems & Questions

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by HansderHund, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. jebarne

    jebarne Senior member

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    Honestly, this is the thing I like most about this forum.

    I love watching the process of someone who is willing to work hard to start up their hobby/business and try to improve their success every day.

    Step one in menswear seems to be photography. I love to see people generate a bit of income and reinvest it in photography lights, a better camera, a store front or whatever to improve their presentation.

    After a while, each of us seems to develop a presentation style that works for us and begins to become our own, even if our initial efforts are pure emulation of another's store.

    I think in the long run though, once the photo's are great, you've built a consistent supply and throughput, you have buyers who regularly check out your items, there is one last major thing that for many of us still needs work.

    I believe that working on your people skills is the area most of us don't think about but it's hugely important.

    Every time I read someone going ballistic about a transaction, I get a bit concerned. 99% of the people buying from us are straight shooters who just want a deal. Then there's the 1% who want a deal, and then want a better deal, or want to change the return terms so they don't have to pay shipping or restocking or whatever.

    We have to approach each transaction as if the buyer is in the 99%, unless they give us a reason to believe they aren't.

    Even though this is an electronic business and tends to be faceless or anonymous, all business success is still achieved person to person, one buyer at a time. If you view every question or complaint as a confrontation or someone trying to rip you off, then you'll never be as successful as you could be. Used clothing isn't a black and white business, though we want it to be. My "8" may be someone else's "6". Your "vintage" may be my trash.

    Nitpickers are the hardest to deal with. (Honestly, there are a couple of you guys that I flat out wouldn't sell to on ebay.) But a % of the people who buy from us, will be nitpickers, uninformed, impatient, or whatever. Some will think we're Amazon doing this full time.

    Of course we need to really help sift out the truly dishonest buyers. And yes its frustrating when we have great photo's and descriptions that your smartphone impulse buyer never bothered to read. In any of these cases there is the problem itself, and there's the person who is unhappy. How you deal with these people will matter more that the steps you take to resolve the problem. Of course we will need to focus on the problem, but if you forget the personal side you will fail.

    I sold a PRL/ corneliani suit last week. when I bought it, I knew it had 2 small holes right at the bottom of the flap, and it had some abrasions on the right shoulder. I also had 20 photos in the listings. After it closed, I sent the buyer an email to let him know I shipped the suit and that I had already had it dry-cleaned, so he shouldn't have to do that again.

    He left me feedback that said "The suit is better than described". To me, that's exactly what I want every prospective buyer to read when they check my feedback.


    ok. the air's getting a bit thin up hear on my soapbox, so I'll stop.

    Think about it.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2014


  2. jebarne

    jebarne Senior member

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    I laughed at this.

    We went to the coast 10 days ago for a wedding and stayed through until wednesday. I took with me every item I had ending on sunday night (about 25 items), a small printer and shipping supplies and ended up shipping 9 items on Monday and another 3 or 4 on the Tuesday.

    My wife believes she is watching the rapid erosion of my mental health.......some day's she walks in, see's the bags and is convinced she's in a Hoarder's episode.

    However, she was with me when we found a pair of Alden's for $7.50 that sold for $150. She was there when I picked up the PRL suit for $7 that sold for $94. A tie she picked out for $1 just sold for $30 this morning, so she's gets it.
     


  3. richnet12

    richnet12 Senior member

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    I often get feedback that the item is better than described because my photos of that item are pretty bad and its actually quite nice when received by the buyer. Not a great strategy, but no buyer remorse.
     


  4. jebarne

    jebarne Senior member

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    Yes. Feels is spelled wrong.

    If you had the characters, I'd use Liquid Pleasure, but more people probably search for sex than pleasure.
     


  5. Koala-T

    Koala-T Senior member

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    I just did this. Ordered a Canon EOS M, mirrorless lens/sensor with the option for interchangeable lenses (had been using a Canon 300 P&S). It's a step below DSLR, which at this stage I feel would be an overkill (and I wouldn't know how to use one anyway). I got a good deal on it, and I can't wait for it to show up so I can start playing with it. It has it's faults, which you can easily find with a search for reviews, but the image quality is supposed to be superb, and it's one of the best rated versions in it's price class. Many pro photogs use mirrorless cameras for their second camera. You can't use them for like sports or wildlife photography because they won't be quick enough for action shots, but for still life and product photography, they seem ideal to me.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2014


  6. Snoogz

    Snoogz Senior member

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    Jebarne, well said. Consistence service that always goes above and beyond is the most important thing in a business. Put your personal pride aside, but not your morals. Engage in the buyer, and make sure the outcome is beneficial to "doing what is right". Whatever those standards are for each of you.

    Consistency in service is just as important as any other category to continue upward progress in business. I have family members who run local businesses with a chip on their shoulder. You can imagine the lack of repeat customers. They are always ready to blame their business failures on people or the economy. They are not open to adjust, change, or adapt to what is required in business...it's unfortunate, but they would rather "be right" or be "prideful" than be beneficial to customers. We sell items to make money, but no money will be made unless we are to some benefit to the buyer.

    Make your businesses invaluable. Make your service unmeasurable. When this is done, that is when and only when you will see the value of your worth paid out to you in the form of an exchange of cash, because of your worth to another individual.
     


  7. ridethecliche

    ridethecliche Senior member

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    That's pretty hilarious.

    It also means that you're probably getting less money than you should be, but if you're happy...
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2014


  8. Fueco

    Fueco Senior member

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    I agree wholeheartedly with what jebarne mentions in that post.

    The hardest thing for me when I first started getting serious about this was letting go of the anger when buyers didn't think the item was up to par or thought that my service was sub-standard. It's the internet, and as well all know from posting here, it's hard to communicate things like sense of humor without coming across as a dick.

    Customer service is huge. I spent way too much of my Twenties working retail, and value customer service above everything else. Happy customers WILL return. Unhappy customers will tell their friends about the experience. The vast majority of people are NOT trying to screw you over.

    I just got a note from a customer buying a second pair of compression socks. She was incredibly happy with the first pair she got, the price, and my service. To me, that's the greatest complement, and makes this "job" worthwhile.

    As to other points... I want to add a couple of considerations. If you work in a lucrative job that requires you to dress in suit/tie, be well-manicured at all times, commute to work and have your soul sucked out by a machine when you walk through the front door, you're missing to broader picture of the benefits of working for yourself. My commute is accomplished in roughly two minutes (counting the trip to the bathroom), is often done with a bad case of bedhead, and my office plays the music I want to hear at the volume I want to hear it (loud). (edited to add) I don't have to get clothes dry cleaned every week since I don't have to dress up to go to the office. I have very nice clothes, but the idea of wearing them to go thrift shopping seems ludicrous to me. Pretty much all of my driving around town is a tax write off (you can't do that with a normal 9-5 job). I work the hours I want to, I have freedom to do something slightly different if so desired (I just did a small Photoshop job for an SF member). I don't have to ask the boss for time off when it comes to vacation. Yeah, I don't make money when I'm gone, but to me the freedom is priceless. When we're ready to have kid(s), we won't have to hire babysitters and daycare.

    Yeah, it's hard work to do this. But I routinely get returns on my investments of 4-10X, and consistently so. It's like what being a stock trader would be if you knew what the stock was going to be worth in a few weeks.

    Will I be selling used clothing on Ebay for the rest of my career? Probably. Will I be doing it full-time in ten years? I doubt it... This experience will allow me to better understand the business world, and I'm sure I will be into selling more lucrative things in ten years. There's NO CEILING to what I can make owning and running my own business. I will get out of it what I put into, along with a healthy ROI.

    Dream big, or you will never become big.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2014


  9. suited

    suited Senior member

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    That's one advantage of doing it on the side, you have the luxury of keeping something like that for yourself. However, most items like that wouldn't fetch anywhere near $2,500 on eBay. More like $800.
     


  10. capnwes

    capnwes Senior member

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    I was reminded of this video with all this talk about providing a memorable experience for buyers through photo settings, product and service.

    Don't let it be a bland experience.
    [​IMG]
     


  11. ReubenR

    ReubenR Senior member

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    FWIW, I'm pretty sure I bought both my first and second eBay'd jackets from Wes's store and his was definitely first one I followed regularly.
     


  12. capnwes

    capnwes Senior member

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    ^ That's worth a lot to me, thanks!
     


  13. ReubenR

    ReubenR Senior member

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    ^Well, that navy blazer meant a third date with the girl I've been dating for the past three years, so right back at you!
     


  14. hbkshin

    hbkshin Senior member

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    What can I do to make it a memorable experience? Outside of the standard proper packaging, accurate listings, etc? Thinking of getting business cards made as well.
     


  15. Snoogz

    Snoogz Senior member

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    A memorable experience does not lye solely on the purchase of an item. Having consistency in providing new items on a weekly schedule provides an outstanding experience for buyers. I myself personally enjoy looking through updated sellers "newly listed items" or specific feeds and searches with new items. Does not mean I buy every single time, but I sure want to be someones regular view! That is where I want my "memorable experience" to lye. When you have that down, time will do the rest. You will get followers, and from those followers you will get views, and sales are only an outcome of a view.
     


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