BAM eBay Blog

Posts for eBay buyers about buying on eBay

Ideas for Back-to-School Bargains and Money-Making on eBay and Amazon

Ideas for Back-to-School Bargains and Money-Making on eBay and Amazon

It may only be mid-August, but that's never too soon for the online marketplaces to start pushing back-to-school merchandise. EBay has an area set up here devoted to back-to-school items, which it touts at up to 70% off.

Your offspring, be they child, tween, or teen, may be picky about the things they wear, but on the other hand, back-to-school can be a great time to both sell your kid's gently used clothing and other school supplies, as well as buy items.

In terms of buying, consider getting bargains on these things:

- backpacks

- musical instruments

- textbooks (these can be found in abundance on as well as eBay).

But consider going through your child's possessions and making extra money by selling items such as these:

- gently-used jeans that have been outgrown

- sports clothing and equipment, such as soccer shin guards and outgrown cleats

- calculators (such as those fancy one needed for calculus; if your kid is going off to college, they may not need it anymore).

- prom dresses that likely got only that one use

- and again, musical instruments! (Did your little darling give up the viola or flute, the way mine eventually did?).

- even Halloween costumes (it's never too early to sell these, and even school theater departments can use some of them).

So consider back-to-school as a time to get bargains online, but also to de-clutter and make extra money as well. What types of items are you most likely to buy online for back-to-school?  Post a comment here!

Are Fancy Item Templates a Turnoff?

Are Fancy Item Templates a Turnoff?

As an eBay buyer, do you find listing templates with all the "bells and whistles" a turnoff, or do you like them? According to some online discussions I have read, that fancy html listing template may not just be annoying, it may keep listings from displaying properly on mobile devices, where more and more people are buying from now.

One user on an eBay Reddit thread wrote, "A large percentage of eBay's traffic is now mobile users and most of those templates do not display correctly on mobile. A simple text description is fine, if not preferable for most buyers. It's similar to all the old-timers putting up walls of text with pseudo-legal / professional sounding language describing return policies and a ton of other nonsense that just clutters up the page. The less stimuli overload, the better chance of someone clicking buy instead of getting overwhelmed or frustrated and clicking back."

Personally, I prefer at least three or so photos, and a simple but detailed item description. It does not need to be "War and Peace," but neither should it be so short as to be practically just a repeat of the title. My pet peeve is listing descriptions that give you no added info on the item, and appear to have been written in a matter of seconds.

Plus, the way eBay listing templates are moving, and have been moving, it is becoming more important for sellers to check all the right item specifics and other policy boxes, so this is more important than having, say a floral design around your listing.

Another commenter added that while many people hate bad photos, they once got a killer deal on shoes due to the photo quality being so bad!

What are your thoughts on fancy listing templates vs. simple, text-based listings? Post a comment here!

eBay CEO Devin Wenig Emphasizes User Growth, Product Reviews, VR and More in Keynote

eBay CEO Devin Wenig Emphasizes User Growth, Product Reviews, VR and More in Keynote

EBay CEO Devin Wenig kicked off the eBay Open 2016 conference in Las Vegas yesterday with a speech that introduced himself to the eBay community in general and laid out a positive, seller-inclusive vision for the future. A few of the key areas he touched on included his desire to grow eBay at least 100,000 new customers, continuing to improve their growing stash of product reviews, and looking to the next platforms of the future; of which two he mentioned are AI and Virtual reality.

Wenig was received warmly by the sellers in the crowd, at one point with someone yelling out "I love you Devin!"  He said he'd been at the company by now a few years, and "I had seen the good, the bad, and the ugly, and I love this company. And I care deeply that eBay is going to be set up for huge future success.  And I care deeply that we win."

But he emphasized that "You can't run the company in 90-day, or even one-year increments; we are playing a game that is a long-term game."

He said that sometimes "I think a valid criticism of the business historically is that we may have been trying to be like other people, adding, "I don't want to be like anybody else.  I think our company is awesome the way it is. And actually, I want it to be more awesome."

A graphic came up behind him and he said he was showing you something every employee in eBay sees. "Our ambition is to have the world shop first on eBay.  Not second, not last resort, not when I can't find it somewhere else...But go to eBay because it is the world's greatest store."

He mentioned the new branding, which he said was "this idea that everyone gets their version of perfect."  Not everybody wants the same thing.  Some people want a brand new item in season that's shipped quickly, and some people don't.  Some people want last year's.  And some people want a white label, and some people want a manufacturer refurb.   And some people want a used version.  "And there's some of us here that sell everything I just said," he said. "And that's great, because that's somebody's version of perfect.

He went on to emphasize eBay's adding of many product reviews in the last year, and said it began with adding/ structuring product data.

"We ask you to go on this journey with us to structure our data.  The reality is that asking in 2016, asking a billion people who should be shopping on ebay, to sort through 100,000 separate iPhones to find the one that they want is a bit rough. We should do better than that," he said.  We've got to understand the products being sold, so we asked you to give us that data and we went on that journey, he added.

"People asked, people like product reviews, how come we don't have product reviews? And my answer was we don't have product reviews because we don't understand products.  And that's not an answer anybody wanted to hear, but that was the truth," he said.

"We had listings, not products.  And now, 12 months later, there are 12 million product reviews on eBay.  "And by the way, you haven't seen anything yet on product reviews; wait 'til you see what's coming."

Addressing sellers' concerns and sense of fairness with policies, Wenig said, "And I actually think we got way out of balance. And I listened to sellers who said you know, you're jamming policies down our throats that we cannot live with. We cannot  rely on those policies." So he said we've got to adjust this.  "We have to have policies, because buyers' standards matter. But if it's not fair to you as a seller, we lose our greatest advantage."  [And here someone called out "thank you" or such.]

Addressing his desire for new users, Wenig said, "I want 100 million new customers.   I've got 164 million active customers. What I think about is there are 4 billion people on the Internet.  Facebook has a billion." They show pictures, they don't open their wallets, I get that; he added.

But, he said, "The market is moving towards us, and  100,000 new customers "ought to be a layup"   As we move from building and emphasize acceleration, you will see us launch some new categories.

He said eBay had already launched the new category of Wine in the US. "That's pretty cool. I like to drink wine...Apparently I did drink some wine last night," he quipped.

He emphasized that eBay was going to  launch other new categories; "they are going to come really soon."

There's new, there's's the bringing together of those things..around the world, said Wenig, adding, "We are going to build the world's best comparison shopping experience.  This ability to show choice, simplify the billion items that are now for sale on eBay and make it consumable by the next 100 million is something I'm really excited about."

He did say you will see product reviews "evolve quickly to something you won't see anywhere else on any other ecommerce site. Stay tuned for that."

He said you will see eBay tell more stories about unique items, and "by the way, I want you to tell more stories."

Wenig also touched on eBay's plans for social media and its Seller Hub.

"We're the most aggressive commerce company pushing out into social," he said. "I want to meet them there. I want your inventory and eBay's inventory to be showing up in these places.

[A graphic showed "eBay everywhere," with the logos for Facebook, Snapchat, Pihterest and Instagram. ]

"We have big plans for Seller Hub.  This should be the way you really get insight into your business and manage your inventory.

Lastly, he touched on the future and the next big technology platforms eBay was looking into.  "There are a couple more platforms that are going to be really important," he said.  AI [artificial intelligence] is coming, it's going to be important.  The ability to take big data sets and create a highly personal experience is going to be the future of commerce. We're going to make big bets on it," he said.

So is the Internet of Everywhere, he said.  There are going to be a trillion devices connected in the cloud. Those two are going to be commerce touchmarks. "eBay should be everywhere, and be in those connected places."

And finally, virtual and assisted reality.   "I sat down with StubHub and built a virtual reality view from your seat," he said.  Ninety days later, 20% of all tickets sold use that app --  one out of every 5 tickets, he said.  People strapped on headgear "to get that inside view before they bought tickets."

Wenig assured the crowd that eBay will be there, eBay will be a leader, and "we will be your partner in taking you into that new order."

eBay Strives to Get Everyone Their Version of Perfect

eBay Strives to Get Everyone Their Version of Perfect

EBay has a new catchphrase, which is "to help every person get their version of perfect, no matter what it is," as reported by EcommerceBytes. 

In a YouTube video that shows women discussing their idea of perfect, one woman cheekily says, "My perfect would be somebody else's nightmare."  Another woman says one of her favorite items of clothing is a pair of Justin cowboy boots, and she says she's sold quite a few pairs of shoes on eBay.

"I love the idea of taking old clothes and bringing them into a new situation," says another woman.

EBay CEO Devin Wenig says the company has done some testing in the US and UK, and "you should begin to feel the sharpened eBay brand in our major markets" in the second half of the year, according to what he told Wall Street analysts, EcommerceBytes reported.

This latest catchphrase made me think of some of the others eBay has had over the years. In an ad campaign reminiscent of this one, eBay had said it was the perfect place to find "It," whatever it was. That year at the eBay Live convention there was a large fuzzy word, "It," on display in the foyer.

Another slogan eBay had at one time was to get your "Windorphins," meaning the feel-good endorphins from "winning" an auction. I recall seeing a large billboard with a Windorphins slogan on it when flying out of one eBay convention.

What do you think of eBay's new slogan? Do you think eBay is still the place to find "your version of perfect," or are there things that you feel you cannot find on there, or prefer to buy somewhere else, such as Amazon? Post a comment here!

What Categories are Hot on eBay Right Now?

What Categories are Hot on eBay Right Now?

What are the "hot" categories on eBay right now?  I am not totally sure, but I can tell you which are doing the best right now by amount of sales. (Anybody remember "eBay Pulse?"  eBay dropped that a while back, from the speculation of one user, due to their just not wanting to maintain it along with all the category and search changes). 

But back to the "hot categories." According to the terapeak research tool, these include:

- Asian Antiques
- Art > Art from Dealers & Resellers
- Books > Nonfiction
- Collectibles > Comics
- Computers/Tablets & Networking > Laptops & Netbooks
- Business & Industrial > MRO & Industrial Supply
- Cameras & Photo > Lenses & Filters
- Cell Phones & Accessories > Cell Phones & Smartphones
- Clothing, Shoes & Accessories > Women's Clothing
- Coins & Paper Money > Bullion
- Consumer Electronics > TV, Video & Home Audio
- Crafts > Sewing & Fabric
- DVDs & Movies > DVDs & Blu-ray Discs
- Dolls & Bears > Dolls
- Entertainment Memorabilia > Music Memorabilia

Some other categories that caught my eye were:
- Music > Records
- Pet Supplies >  Dog Supplies
- Toys & Hobbies > Action Figures
- Travel > Luggage

What are we to make of these categories having a high amount of sales? Asian antiques have been hot for a while, as American collectors and Asians themselves try to buy back the "before olds."

Art as a hot category surprised me somewhat, but not much, as art has actually been a sound investment over the years, if you pick the artist and scene wisely.

Laptops and cell phones always seem to be in high demand, but I did not expect "lenses and filters" in Cameras / photography. The professionals or professional amateurs must really like to pick their equipment carefully.

With eBay encouraging sellers to list crafts, and to have crafts in general to compete with Etsy, it's not a surprise that Sewing & Fabric would be in there.

Do these "hot" categories mesh with your experience on the eBay site? Where are you seeing the most sales, or where do you buy the most?  Post a comment here!

As for Music > Records, we have heard vinyl is making a resurgence, and this would seem to bear that out.

Finally, we certainly can expect to see "luggage" on there, with this being a big travel season with millions set to move around by train, plane or automobile.