Archive for eBay
Your own antiques business, selling stock part 11- online sales
In the previous part of my guide to running your own antique or vintage business I talked about selling your stock through off line venues. Today its the turn of on-line venues 1. eBay, 2. setting up your own website 3. Other options.
I’m starting this section as it is probably the best place for a would be on-line antiques dealer to start selling their pieces. For general antiques and collectibles the main place to sell is on eBay. I sold antiques, collectibles and vintage jewellery through eBay for almost 10 years and although it was very hard work I did manage to make a living that way. This is not going to cover the mechanics of how to sell on eBay but more when eBay is suitable for selling them and what to look out for .
What is ebay good for:
- Selling just a few items ( selling a lot is time consuming but quite possible). At one time I was running up to 60 auctions a week this really was a 7 day a week effort,
- Selling very rare collectable item ( if you get it right the price can still go very high)
- Selling smaller items ( you can post worldwide)
- Named brand items eg Antique Wedgwood or Limited edition collectables
What eBay is not so good for:
- Every day run of the mill stuff such as grannies old plain china tea set ( car boot or local auction house for that)
- Lots of big items ( you will spend all day packing – I know I’ve done it)
- Technophobes – you need good photographs and you must be able to use e.mail, a website and still need a paypal account
- If you need the money immediately – auctions take a week and then you have to wait for the buyer to pay and for paypal to send you the money
- If you have no time to spend on the selling process
What to look out for:
- Practice selling and build up some feedback before you auction off your best moorcroft vases or anything valuable
- Good Photographs sell you item and write a good title for it
- Make sure the buyer pays you before you post your antique and check that paypal has cleared the payment for shipment
- Pack the parcel as if someone was going to play football with it – you dont know what is going to happen in the post
- Send the parcel by registered Post, Special Delivery or International Signed for service to make sure that you are covered against the parcel going missing and fraudulent buyers.
- Research which category you are going to advertise your item in – look through the Antiques, Collectibles and Pottery, Porcelain and glass sections to help you decide which gets the most adverts for similar items
2. Your Own Website
Given eBay a try for a while? Mastered all the on-line selling skills necessary? Feel you are ready to tackle the Internet on your own? Want to own a site like antiquesavenue.co.uk? This is a great opportunity for those who have a defined area to sell in such as Antique jewellery , art pottery, antique furniture, postcards or linens.
There are plenty of companies around who will sell you an off the peg web shop or build one for you. If you ask me the best way to start is to buy an off the peg site as you can expect to pay set up fees and your first months running costs for less than £100. Running costs for a basic shop are about £25 a month . Sounds easy and it is easy to set up a basic shop if you have mastered all the skills necessary for on-line selling. You will also need:
- Your own domain name . Choose something which reflects the items you sell. AntiquesAvenue was chosen many years ago when I was selling general antique pottery, glass and antique Jewellery. Now I have specialised it may not be so appropriate but at least it doe have the word antique in it and is a much better name than Anneshop.co.uk for example.
- A merchant account for accepting debit and credit cards. You can start without this but accepting credit cards will get you more orders and is really expected by customers today.
Setting up the shop is just a small part of running your own site. You now need to attract customers to your site. If you have a large customer database of existing customers you can mail them otherwise you need to advertise your site. The main way of advertising webistes on the interenet is to use the Internet search engines and in the main search engine is Google. There are two types of listings on Google : paid for and free listings. When you first start out you may consider buying adverts from Google as it takes a long time and a lot of skill and effort to get onto the first page of google’s free listings so that you can be found. The art of getting onto Google first page of free listings is known as “Search Engine Optimisation” or SEO for short . If you are thinking of opening your own website I suggest that you consider learning about SEO or consider paying an outside company to do this for you. SEO is complex and one of the reasons I write this blog is to help with the SEO of my web shop www.antiquesavenue.co.uk .
Other ways of finding on-line customers are through the social media such as facebook and twitter.
3. Other options.
There are other options for selling on-line. For example I could sell through this blog by adding paypal buttons or setting up a post about an item and asking interested people to contact. Alternative websites to eBay exist but I have never had much luck selling on them. Probably the best is Etsy for vintage clothing and jewellery and if your stock is attractive to American customers try Ruby Lane. I tried eBid but never had any success there myself. Before paying your money research to see if there are lots of items like yours on the site already and try and find out what is actually selling. Some of these sites will sell you a slot but they dont actually have many visitors who will buy.
Whichever on-line selling channel you try you will have to be comfortable spending many hours behind the keyboard and I know that is not for everyone. Me – I love it . AntiquesAvneue.co.uk is going to the next level before the end of August with my own customised shop rather than just a basic one which I have modified myself.
AntiquesAvenue Sale of pottery and glass items is now happening on eBay. All pieces are for sale by eBay auction with starting prices from £4.99 including postage . Have you seen whats available?
Caithness glass vases, Denby Mugs, British studio pottery, Wedgwood items, Coalport Cottages, Victorian glass ware and more. Please take a look this week and over the commming few weeks to grab a bargain.
I am having a bit of a clear out from my shop via eBay this week. I am still hoping to move house later this year and am making a start in reducing what I need to take with me. If you are interested in studio pottery or modern glass it is well worth taking a look as most items start at just £9.99 plus postage. What is available?
Freeform vase by Poole, Kosta Boda vases, Bernard Rooke lamp base. Studio pottery including Phyllis Dupuy and Bridget Drakeford. There are a couple of pieces of Lovatts langley Mill pottery and much more. Take a look at antiquesavenue on eBay
Here is the next part of my guide to buying antiques and collectables on eBay. How much and when should I bid?
There are four types of sale to consider here:
- buy it now
- buy it now with best offer
- auctions with buy it now
Remember this applies mainly to antique, vintage and collectable items where the seller will rarely have more than one of each item. Different strategies apply for new items. Read More→
Here is the belated third part of my guide to buying antiques, vintage and collectables on eBay – checking out the seller .
Lets assume you’ve followed my advice on searching on eBay and have found a treasure you are thinking of buying. The next step is to check out the seller to see if they are reliable. eBay provides us with a number of guides towards this: Read More→
Part two of my guide to buying antiques, vintage and collectables on eBay takes a look at how to find the special object you are looking for.
eBay literally has millions of items for sale and there are several ways you can look around:
- - Search
- - Browse
- - Have eBay notify you when a specific item becomes available
Today takes a look at their search facility, tomorrow the Browse option and on Monday I’ll look at setting up eBay to mail you when a rare item is listed.
Here are two searches to look at:
Simple – art nouveau tile
Complex – victorian 18 carat gold emerald ring to fit size M finger