Tuesday, January 29, 2019

How To Sell Video Game Wholesale Lots on eBay (Tips and Tricks)

If you browse eBay's video game section as of late you'll notice that most of the top sellers are selling retro games in wholesale lots. Why? Because listing one game at a time is time consuming, especially for lower priced games, it is often not worth the time or hassle. The other reason is that eBay has prioritized listings with free shipping over those with calculated shipping or shipping rules. This makes it harder to sell games individually as most buyers are looking to save money with combined shipping. So, switching to wholesale game lots makes sense, the question is how do you maximize sales and profits?

selling video game lots on ebay for profit
Tips and tricks to sell game lots on eBay

  • Organize games by sale price and rarity. Using tools like pricecharting.com and rarityguide.com you can sort out games by their popularity, sale price, and rarity. Collectible games with high value should be sold on their own to maximize their value. However, popular games that aren't really rare or in collectible condition can be added to your lots. You need these games in the lots to give people a reason to buy. A lot filled with common and unwanted games isn't going to sell.
  • Size your lots for easy shipping. When deciding how many games to put in each lot it is essential to take into account shipping costs. If shipping USPS it is helpful to use flat rate priority shipping boxes or padded envelopes. This makes it easy to calculate shipping and work the cost into the final buy it now.
  • Use a pick'em wholesale lot. Another tactic that can be use is the so called "pick'em" lot. What you do is organize your games as stated before and then take a picture of all the games in one category. You list as a lot of 5 or 10 and tell the buyer to choose from the games listed. In the past eBay frowned on this practice because it if someone looks at the picture they'll think they are buying all the games. It seems they are allowing it again, as long as you're extra clear that they aren't purchasing all the games listed.
  • Add games to your console lots. By adding games to your console lots you can charge more and increase the sell through rate. When buying game consoles people like to have everything at once to begin playing right away. Game consoles without games, controllers, or AV hookups are mostly bought by re-sellers looking to make a profit. those kind of buyers do not want to pay full price for anything.
  • Sweeten the deal with a bonus. A digital bonus can be a great way to stand out among all the over video game sellers on eBay. Of course you want to be sure that you have the rights to anything you give away. Some ideas are PDF game guides and walkthroughs, freeware PC games, or stickers/artwork.

Of course before you can sell wholesale lots you have to buy some games to sell. Luckily, there are ways to get games on eBay that you can resell. It is not as easy as it was in that past but it is still possible. Got any of your own tips? leave them in the comment section below.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

4 Ways eBay Can Revitalize The Auction Format

4 ways to improve ebay auctions
Whatever happened to eBay auctions?

Why Should eBay Care About Auctions?

In short, eBay needs to care about the auction format because that is what sets them apart from the growing list of ecommerce platforms. While some sellers may see no value in auctions the truth is that without a strong base of auctions eBay is just a poorly designed Amazon.com clone. Auctions are what made eBay what it is today. By trying to distance themselves from that they are putting themselves at a disadvantage. However, some may feel that the auction format no longer holds the appeal to consumers that it once did. The thrill is no longer there. While to a certain extent that may be true it doesn't mean that auctions should be abandoned. Instead innovative approaches can revitalize the auction format and bring back both buyers and sellers to eBay.

  • Descending Price Auctions. Descending price auctions could really help bring buyers back to eBay and would also help sellers get fair market value for their listings. Here's how it works instead of starting at a low price and being incrementally bid up the auction would start at high price and go lower over time. The first buyer to bid would win and be able to purchase the item at the price. For example you could start an item at say $20 and have the price lower every hour by $0.05. A buyer then would have to determine when to pull the trigger, knowing that the longer they wait the more likely it becomes that someone else will buy the item. This new format would bring back some of the excitement that has faded from eBay auctions. That addictive feeling of "winning" an auction. For sellers it would mean that they could list items at auction without worrying that they won't get a fair market price.

  • Extend Active Auctions. One of the things that turned off many buyers to auctions was sniping. Sniping software allowed professional buyers to swoop in the final seconds and outbid the competition. Of course many buyers who were just looking for bargains were discouraged from even trying to bid on auctions. One solution is to extend the time limit on active auctions. For example, if an auction has received bids in the closing minutes then the time limit could be extended by a few minutes. Then if more bids are received it could be extended further, only after not receiving any bids for a specified length of time would the auction end. This would put an end to sniping as the practice would only serve to extend the auction and give others a chance to bid. It would also help sellers by maximizing the potential auction price.

  • No Seller Cancellations. Another practice that hurts the auction format is seller cancellation. Sellers have been allowed to cancel an auction after it is complete if they no longer have the item or there was an error in their listing. This policy has been abused by many sellers who will cancel an auction if it doesn't reach their price. This drives away buyers who are looking for a deal. They soon realize that most sellers won't let them get any real bargains and that low starting bids will often end with a relisting of the item.

  • More Flexible End Times. Sellers don't care so much about when an auction starts, what is really important is when it will end. Instead of giving sellers a fixed auction duration, why not let them decide when they want the auction to end? If I'm listing a product on a Monday I may not want to have that auction end in week or three days.What I probably want is the auction to end on the weekend. Under the current system for that to happen I would have to schedule that item to start on the weekend and wait an extra week. All the wasted time is unnecessary, just let the seller schedule their own end time. This in itself should boost the number of auctions on eBay.

eBay may not realize it but without auctions they are just another e-commerce venue. Auctions are what makes eBay unique, in fact the first thing that pops to mind when someone thinks of eBay is the auction format. The auction format isn't dead but it can be made better and revitalizing it should be a priority.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Unexpected Places To Sell Games Online

unexpected places to sell games online

For the longest time the answer to the question "Where should I sell my games?" has been "eBay, of course!" but with more and more options out there some unexpected sites could prove worthwhile.  While none of these sites will have the traffic of an eBay or Amazon they also won't have the same level of competition. Different tactics will have to be used to make these sites work for you than just throwing up a listing like on eBay.

Go Where The Collectors Are Already

Where do game collectors hang out online? That old forgotten platform from another era, the internet message board. That's right anybody who's hardcore into game collecting will be found on a forum of some sort. The great news is that many of these sites have whole subsections dedicated to trading and selling collectible games. The not so great news is that newcomers are often looked upon with suspicion, especially if they show up and immediately start hawking their games. Think of a forum as a community, until you're welcomed into the community, it is unlikely anyone there will want to do business with you. So you should take things slow and show them that you're one of them not just there to make a quick buck. Some of my favorite forums to sell at are retrocollect.com, racketboy.com, and gametz.com.

Another place where collectors can be found are on video game pricing sites. Because of this some of them have recently launched their own sections for trading games. These can be great places to sell games especially if they are in collectible condition.  My favorite of these sites is the PriceCharting.com Marketplace it is free to list with no final value fees.

Get Out There And Be Social

Social media sites have always been great for promoting a eCommerce store to a target audience. In the past, there was always the problem of getting the audience off of social media and onto your site to buy. That problem is now a thing of the past. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest have all announced that they will be creating ways for people to buy directly from their sites. Part of this is that they don't wish people to leave their sites to go shop. They may also reason that this will decrease spammers and affiliate marketers on their sites. This is great opportunity to increase conversions and sales. Imagine people being able to add items to their cart and checkout directly from your Facebook Fanpage. Shopify.com has really taken the lead in this area. While some free apps promise to create a Facebook store, shopify has created a fully integrated solution. It is very simple to add a shopify store to a Facebook Fanpage, a step by step guide can be found here.

The Forgotten Sites That Still Work

Besides the sites above there some older sites that are decreasing in popularity but are still worthwhile to list on.  The first of these is half.com, although it is technically an eBay company, that doesn't mean there aren't some benefits to listing on this site. For one thing there are no listing fees so you can list some your less desirable games on half.com without worrying about them eating up any profits. The listing process is also simpler and doesn't require taking any photos. You could even upload thousands of games using a CSV file. The only caution is that half.com takes their condition requirements very seriously. Even if a cartridge is in great condition, if there is no box or manual, it will be considered in "good" condition at best.

Another option is iOffer.com this site is very much like half.com and even allows you to import  items directly from eBay. This great for those leftover items that just aren't selling through fast enough on eBay. The site does get a bad rep for some of the scammers on there but unless you're selling high ticket items it shouldn't be an issue. Fees are lower than on eBay though and you can market your store any way that you like.

Want a true auction site to list on? Try ebid.net this site works very similarly to eBay, the main difference being that eBay has a larger consumer base. Ebid though is luring many sellers with a one time fee that eliminates all FVFs and comes with many other perks.  The site has just undergone a massive redesign to modernize the look and feel.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Improve Your eBay Listings with Terapeak's New Listing Optimizer

Terapeak Introduces New Listing Tool to Help Sellers Improve Visibility

Terapeak has added a new tool to improve rankings

It is no secret that since eBay implemented it's new Cassini Search algorithm that many sellers have seen views on their listings plummet. There are ways to improve your this as I brought out in my special report. Until now though there were no automated tools that could look at your listings at tell you specific steps to help you rank better in search.

If you haven't heard of Terapeak they eBay's official provider of market research. What that means is that they have access to much more eBay data than the average user. Things like sell through rate, avg sell price and number of competing listings. They also have the stats on which sellers have the most successful listings and which do not.

All This Data Means Terapeak Knows How To Rank On eBay

With all this information available Terapeak knows what it takes to get listings ranked on eBay.  They have narrowed it down to six basic categories where listings can be analyzed and score from 0 to 100. They are:

  1. Listing Title

  2. Listing Price

  3. Listing Category

  4. Seller Reputation

  5. Images

  6. Product Identifiers

Their are also some basic eBay best practices or recommendations that can help you rank higher as well. Some may not fit with your current business model but if you can you should implement these.  For example eBay has said outright that handling time is very important to them going forward. Obviously then you want you handling time to be as quick as possible if you want to get better rankings.  Terapeak subscribers can log in and get scores and recommendations at no extra charge.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

eBay's New Defect Rate Policy In Effect August 20th

ebay seller performance frustrates users
eBay Sellers once again frustrated with policy changes

The Evolution Of Seller Performance On eBay

eBay has always tried to find ways to evaluate sellers based on their performance. The first and simplest system was the feedback system which allowed both buyers and sellers to leave feedback for one another. This system wasn't without it's problems as many buyers and sellers would leave negative feedback as retaliation. Or some sellers would only agree to refund an item if a negative feedback was removed. Because of these problems eBay implemented the DSR system (Detailed Seller Ratings) with a one to five star rating on things like shipping time, item as described, and communication.  Generally buyers though didn't understand the system very well and sellers hated it. A three star review which the buyer may view as satisfactory would actually count as negative in eBay's eyes. Now eBay has a new policy which looks at factors that buyers don't see when looking at your feedback or DSRs.

What Is The New Defect Rate Policy?

The new defect rate policy takes into account the following:

  • Detailed seller rating of 1, 2 or 3 for item as described

  • Detailed seller rating of 1 for shipping time

  • Negative or neutral feedback

  • Return initiated for a reason that indicates the item was not as described

  • eBay Money Back Guarantee (previously known as eBay Buyer Protection) or PayPal Purchase Protection case opened for an item not received or an item not as described

  • Seller-cancelled transactions

All of these various scenarios can't add up to more 5% percent of all your transactions or 2% if you wish to stay on as a Top Rated Seller. The complete eBay policy can found here. I've highlighted some portions that I find unfair about this new policy. First neutral feedback is not a great indicator of whether a seller did a good job or not. For example many buyers leave a neutral when they don't end up liking the item. One buyer actually left me neutral saying "I didn't like this book". Most of the time I would let those things go because it wasn't enough to bring down my rating but now we'll all have to fight to remove neutral feedbacks from people who don't get it.

The second portion is returns, eBay has been encouraging sellers to accept returns and issue refunds as a way to gain the trust of buyers. In a perfect world buyers would contact the seller and allow them to try to solve the problem before starting the return process. Most buyers though will go directly to opening a case to get their refund. Also, many will state the reason as "Item Not As Described" when in actuality it was buyer remorse or some other reason. Buyers aren't dumb they know if you say that the item came damaged or wasn't what was advertised that the seller will have no way to dispute it.

The last part that seems unfair is that as a seller you will have to think twice about canceling a transaction. Now I know that some sellers cancel auctions when they don't get the price they want and that isn't fair and hurts the reputation of eBay sellers. However, some transactions are canceled for valid reasons. Sometimes buyers will contact you after a sale and try to modify the price, shipping or other conditions. Sellers should be able to cancel these "problem transactions" before they turn into negative feedback.

In the long run I don't think that this will prove to be the answer to measuring seller performance. It is too complicated and requires sellers to fight every error made by uninformed buyers.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Can You Sell Downloadable Game Content On eBay?

Infographic: Gaming Goes Digital: Physical Video Game Sales Hit 5-Year Low | Statista

The future of gaming may indeed be digital delivery. While Blu-ray is still the most popular choice for console gaming publishers prefer digital downloads. Digital downloads allow publishers to keep a game fresh longer with extra downloadable content like maps, new items and fixes for online play. It would also stop the practice of sharing games among friends though as each download would only be valid for one console. Digital downloads would also have a massive effect on used game sellers like GameStop, Amazon and eBay. You will find more statistics at Statista

eBay The New Home Of Video Game DLC?

If you've browsed the video game section on eBay lately (especially the PC category) then you've probably noticed something strange. Sellers are selling digital copies of complete games. More accurately they are selling download codes from markets like EA's Origin.com or  even Amazon.com. Anyone can open an account on these site and try to sell the the codes for more on eBay. Much like drop shipping the seller might only buy a download code if the listing was successful. A seller may also wait until a special sale to buy a code and then try to resell it after the sale had ended. However, is all this allowed by eBay's strict TOS and what potential pitfalls could there be?

Digital Products And eBay's TOS

eBay's Digital Product Policy is quite clear that any item that is delivered digitally must be listed in Everything Else>Classifieds. You and I both know that not many games would sell that way however. In fact most sellers are selling these download codes alongside physical copies. So how are they doing it? It's simple really although eBay's terms restrict items delivered digitally they don't restrict those same items if delivered by USPS. For example a PDF book delivered by email would be restricted however a CD with a PDF file on it delivered by USPS would not be. So what many are doing is delivering the game code through the mail (although I have seen some offers to email this is clearly against eBay policy). By using delivery confirmation you can also protect yourself from buyers claiming that you never delivered when in fact you did. I still would recommend selling game codes though unless authorized by eBay to do so.

The Fatal Flaw With Selling DLCs

Even if you take all the precautions necessary there will still be a problem with selling Digital Editions of games. The problem arises when a buyer decides to open a dispute with PayPal saying that the download code didn't work. As seller how could you defend yourself against that charge? With a physical item you could at least show a picture of the item you sent as proof of it's condition. With a game code you could never prove the code was genuine or if it was genuine that you hadn't already used it yet yourself making it useless. Although it may be tempting to sell these items on eBay for quick dollar I have decided against it. It's better to take a more long term approach than risk getting burned (and perhaps banned by ebay) looking for a shortcut.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

eBay About Me Pages Replaced By User Profiles

eBay has done it again, taken something that's not broken and decided to fix it. You may not have noticed that it even happened unless you were trying edit your eBay About Me page. Every time I tried to click edit I was taken to my User Profile page instead.  Until finally a message came up saying that About Me pages will be replaced by a new User Profile.

ebay's boring new user pages
eBay replaces About Me page with generic User Profiles

So what's the big deal? Although many sellers didn't realized it the About Me page was one of the most powerful on eBay.  The reason being that it was completely customizable, you could use it for whatever purpose you saw fit. If you wanted to promote a blog, start an email list, grow a Facebook page you could do it with your About Me page. What can you do with the new User Profile? You can add pictures and a description and that's about it! You can't link to anything outside of eBay. You're stuck promoting their new followers system which isn't nearly as effective as an email list would be.

My guess is that eBay saw that most people were either (1) not using their About Me page or (2) using it to keep their customers on their own email list or blog.  In eBay's thinking your customers are really their customers.  Even though you find the products, list the products, deal with the customers and pay eBay at the end of it all. It is not enough for them to even give you the slightest control over your own business.

eBay may say that this new User Profile will help engage buyers and keep them coming back but I doubt that very highly. The whole thing looks like a cheap Facebook ripoff. As a buyer I wouldn't see any extra incentive to follow a seller since the page is static and lacks any interactivity at all. As seller there is no system to allow you to give buyers an incentive to follow your profile like Discounts or Free Shipping.

This new User Profile system like many eBay features will end being something that is there but is not really used by sellers and that buyers simply don't care about. When will eBay understand that sellers may just have a better idea of what there customers want than they do?

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