Monday Tips and Tidbits for eBay Sellers

This is a new feature I plan to run every Monday. Blog posts usually cover one topic and sometimes the small things that are important get left out.
USPS Rate Increase
Today (5/14) is Shipping Hell Day. If you had sales over the weekend and bought your postage online, you will still have to go to the post office and stand in line to add the additional postage to your package.  New USPS rates go into effect today and a lot of sellers with automated postage systems or those who used eBay/PalPal shipping calculator are tearing their hair out today.
Shipping costs continue to rise across the board. Besides the USPS rate increases, the other shipping companies are struggling with high fuel costs that are decreasing their margins and there will be rate increases and special fuel surcharges coming soon, now that the postal service has increased their rates.
Fortunately there is some help on the way.  All of the carriers are very competitive –but not across all markets, locations and weight and size classes.  There is a new service for eBay and website sellers called Shipping Sidekick.  It is a website where you plug in the size, weight and destination zip code of your package and it instantly compares the rates between the USPS, FedEx, UPS and DHL.  This allows you to minimize your shipping costs for any given situation.  The cost for the service is pretty minimal and you can make it back with just the savings on two or three packages a month.
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eBay Group Bidding Feature Launched
eBay has launched a new service called Group Bidding.  Its not really a sniping service but has somewhat the same effect.  With group bidding, you can bid on several auctions for the same item that end at different times.  Let’s say you wanted to bid on a certain model of digital camera and you were willing to pay $250.  You see three different auctions running for the exact same camera all ending at different times.  What you do is set up a group bid on all three. eBay will enter your proxy bid on the one ending soonest. If you don’t win that one, they will then enter a bid on the next one and so on.  This way a buyer doesn’t have to keep searching and bidding on a new auction every time they are outbid.
Although the feature is now live, eBay hasn’t actually announced it yet. But its help files includes a section on Bid Assistant that describes bid groups (http://pages.ebay.com/help/buy/bid-assistant.html).
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Yahoo Out – Scramble begins for their customer base
Yahoo has finally given up their auction business.  They have tried to compete with eBay for years without success. Some of the second tier auction sites like eBid, Ubid, Biddersite are competing with eBay for the users, many who are folks that don’t like eBay for some reason or other.  eBid.net has come up with aspecial offer to get a discount on membership and transport your Yahoo feedback to their site.
I get a lot of mail asking about alternative auction sites.  This is too big a subject to tackle here, so I will be writing a full article on it and posting a link to the article in a future blog.
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Use embedded videos in your eBay auctions
A few weeks ago eBay announced that you could place a link in your auctions to a video on Youtube and other video sites. This week, eBay announced that you can now also embed your aown video right in the auction.  I am working on a detailed article about using video in auctions that will appear in our next newsletter, The eBay Seller’s News, the first week on June.
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That’s it for today.  Check back during the week for specific subject posts and every Monday to Tips and Tidbits.
Skip McGrath  www.skipmcgrath.com

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