eBay University … Rah, Rah, Rah

Remember pom-poms, megaphones, and cute cheerleading outfits from your school days. If you decide to take an eBay class, expect the opening of the course to bring about that kind of "rah, rah" feeling. However, eBay does not have a lot to cheer about. In just 10 years eBay has become a worldwide marketplace, purporting to be the most popular and largest on the Internet. It boasts that eBay makes over 50 million items available online, with more than 5 million items added everyday, not to mention that eBay has a single-handedly boosted digital camera sales. After all you can not be a profitable seller on the site without having one.

Do not get me wrong; the "rah, rah" business is not necessarily all bad because the instructors come to that position quite honestly. They have been very successful sellers; many of them power sellers, on eBay. They enthusiastically speak from their hearts and their own experiences. However, the eBay party line is a dominant theme during the introduction to the class and borders on being overkill. In all likelihood people would not have signed up for the class unless they were already serious about learning how to be buyers and sellers on eBay.

Since my reservations about eBay touting its own praises, I still recommend that you do take a class on the eBay basics. One day of your time will be well worth it. You can find classes in your area by going to "Community" on the eBay home page. From there click on "Community Calendar" and then "eBay University." The eBay University page provides information on eBay Basics or Beyond the Basics classes.

If you decide to attend a class, act fast because eBay classes fill up quickly. Why? Stop and think about it. There are more than 1.2 million registered eBay users, and and more than 25,000 members make five figure income as full time eBay entrepreneurs. In addition, more than 250,000 part timers make several thousand dollars a year of supplementary income. This has gotten the attention of many, and the many are flocking to the classes to learn how to get started right away.

The six modules that the eBay Basics course will deliver are:

1. The History and Safety Features – The history and background of eBay is designed as a welcome to new users. It is the "rah, rah" part to which I have been referring. It is interesting to have that in the booklet that follows along with the PowerPoint presentation for the class, but this could be read later if anyone is interested in that. The safety feature was an important part in the first module because it offers peace of mind to know that eBay has a safe environment with a success rate for transactions of 99.999%. There are more than 600 reps available 24 hours a day, but they do need more when you look at the ratio of users to tech support personnel. The eBay safety features include: feedback; buyer protection program; PayPal Protection; third party dispute resolution; and a security and resolution center.

2. Setting Up an Account and Researching the Marketplace – To set up an account the students Learn how to register for eBay and how to set up a Seller's Account. They also learn how their ID becomes verified. In the research part of the module students are prompted to select an item to sell and guided on how to research the market value of the item. Included in module # 2 is information on restricted items that can not be sold through eBay.

3. Enhancing Listings – This module covers the topics of pictures, pricing strategies, and PayPal. The recommended way to put pictures in a listing is to use a digital camera although using a traditional camera or a flat bed scanner are other options. There are some funny examples of what not to do when using a digital camera. The pricing strategies include starting bid; reserve price; buy it now, fixed price, and Dutch Auction. A most important aspect of this module was the information on PayPal. It is a safe and easy way to receive payment from buyers. PayPal is accepted in approximately 90 percent of the lists.

4. Detailed Listings – With this information students are shown how to choose a good title and write a good description for an item they hope to sell. The goal is to make an effective listing by including information that is honest, concise and professional. This is also where the students learn about packaging and weighing items; payment options; shipping; and returns.

5. Completing the Sale – This module guides students through the process of monitoring listings and what to do after the listing closes. It emphasizes that communication is important because a seller must be ready to answer buyers' questions on a daily basis. It necessary that a seller look at hits, bids, and email queries. When there are questions, the seller needs to be professional and helpful with responses. An easy way to monitor listings is to use My eBay. It makes a consolidated listing of all the particulars of the items which are listed. The other areas of interest in this module are the fees that are charged for the various details in the listing and the feedback information.

6. The Appendix – The materials in the reference section of the course booklet is invaluable. The samples included are: selling examples; tips on photography; item descriptions; HTML tips; basic fees summary; and a glossary of terms.

Selling products and services from a home based business can be an exciting, and profitable enterprise. To get a solid foundation on how to efficiently use eBay consider a course offered by certified eBay instructors. They have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with new users. Three cheers for eBay and its class offerings … hip, hip, hooray …

For more information on eBay visit the How to Sell on eBay Resources Page at http://www.sbmag.org/howtosellonebay.html . While you are there, click on the eBay banner and then on "register" at the top of the page and its just that easy to be up and running. Oh, and do not forget your pom-poms !!

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