Friday, October 17, 2014

How Do You Think You're Going To Sell That Item?

So you haven't heard from me lately. I know. I could give you the usual, "I've been busy..." excuse,  but truly, I just haven't had much to say. That changed last night, however, when I decided to browse a category at OLA. Oh my goodness! Folks, how do you think you're going to sell that item? I was a serious buyer last night, and so disappointed to find more than a few auctions that lacked vital information that every seller should include in order to close a sale.

Now before anyone gets offended, let me say that not all the auctions I viewed were a disgrace. OLA has many experienced, professional sellers, and to those that care enough to be one of those, I salute you. The others? I certainly will not name names. We should discuss, though, the years of posts and mounds of information that has been shared in the chat room at OLA regarding best practices for listing, for photographing, for shipping, for Search Engine Optimization, etc. Apparently some sellers have not listened. Or learned. Or tried. (Are they the ones complaining that sales are non-existent?)

Yes, sales are slow. Hopefully we'll see an uptake with the Holidays approaching. But even in my full-time job, which includes managing an antique store, we feel that antique purchasing has slowed considerably over, say, the past 10 years. Everything being cyclic, we all pray for that cycle to come back to our type of goods. Practicing proper selling techniques online, all the time, can help keep a seller prepared for a sale at any time. (Like me, window shopping last night!)

So there I was in the Antiques category. Two hundred fifty-six auctions. I couldn't wait to dive in and shop! Let me tell you, I looked at each auction. First of all, can I ask you a question? What age is appropriate to be using the terms Antique, Vintage and Retro? (Please answer in the comments!) It's a personal pet peeve, feeling like I am being misled by sellers who mislabel products with those popular words.
I've always tried to abide by the following:
  • Antique is 100+ years old.
  • Vintage is 20 - 100 years old
  • Retro is up to 20 years old, but not "last year's model". 

Next, let's talk about descriptions and titles. Seriously, I saw an auction that the seller did not even tell what they were selling. The items were photographed beautifully, but nowhere in the title or the description did it say what those items were. Another auction had a fantastic item, but it was difficult to determine size based upon the photo, and this seller did not give any measurements.

Really? Common sense should prevail here. If I cannot hold it in my hands, and talk to you about it, you ought to write to me as if selling this item is your first priority, your singular objective. Not just a few words of how great it is! I need details... as many as you have. It's that simple.

Kudos on the photographs, sellers! I mean it. Either cameras have gotten so ridiculously good, or people have finally realized that quality pictures are worth the effort.

Now about the Shipping Policy area...
I really don't care if you have to walk 10 miles, uphill, barefoot, in the snow, to get to your Post Office, and stand in line for an hour in order to purchase postage for my item. All I need to know is: What's it gonna cost me? And be fair, please. We all know postage is outrageous, but if I think you're scamming me in that arena, I will breeze past your auction towards the guy who sells with exact shipping costs.

Please go to the chat room and find the help sections and tutorials on ways to improve your listings. So many sellers have shared knowledge and experience. Surely there is something there that will assist you in creating attractive listings, filled with relevant content.

In the past I've written plenty of blog posts about how I love OLA, (I do!), and how to get the most out of selling at a place where you control every aspect of your business. This time I am blogging from a buyer's point of view and I just can hardly believe that after all this time, and all the coaching, and all the struggling, there are still sellers out there that resist change... that don't want to evolve into sellers who can operate outside the walls of eBay. (Yes, I said it!) Well, listen up. I am not gonna buy from you. And it's doubtful if anyone else will, either.